Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Thank God for the Chicago Bears

Image result for aaron rodgers

  • Ahhh! Nothing like a game against the Chicago Bears to restore a team’s confidence. The Green Bay Packers rolled to a 26-10 win over the Bears on Thursday night. Aaron Rodgers finally surpassed 300 yards in a game, totalling 326 and three touchdowns. The Pack had 32 first downs to Chicago’s 13, ran 81 plays to Chicago’s 45, racked up 406 yards to Chicago’s 189, and held the ball for 40 minutes to Chicago’s 20 minutes. Yikes.
Image result for lesson #1 chicago bears still suck

  • Hey, Thursday night games are a great idea, NFL! Football players are professionals, right? So three and a half days are more than enough for them to recover from playing an exceedingly violent game so they can play another exceedingly violent game. I know how much the NFL cares about its players’ health and well-being, so I would never doubt their motivation on forcing players to play on Thursday night solely for the purpose of their own tv network’s ratings, but I wonder if perhaps they’d like to reconsider screwing over teams and players every Thursday night.
Image result for roger goodell

  • Mike McCarthy again deserves credit for getting creative with the playcalling, particularly in how he used wide receiver Ty Montgomery in the backfield. Montgomery had nine carries for 60 yards to go along with his 10 receptions for 66 yards. McCarthy also went for it on 4th-and-goal (hallelujah!). Even though the Packers did not get the touchdown and the result was a turnover on downs, I was very pleased to see  the attempt and I hope it will be the first of many. Here's a nice run by Ty:

  • McCarthy had to get creative since Eddie Lacy was put on the IR with an ankle injury that will require surgery and backup running back James Starks is recovering from knee surgery. The Packers signed Kansas City Chiefs running back Knile Davis on Tuesday, who barely played since, ya  know, he just joined the team 36 hours before. Don Jackson was promoted from the practice squad on Thursday, had a couple of carries … and was promptly injured. Not a good time to be a running back for the Packers.

Image result for eddie lacy

  • I hope Jackson’s hand injury doesn’t keep him out for too long. He only had a couple of snaps, but he looked  pretty darn speedy.

  • Considering that Lacy needs surgery, maybe he shouldn’t have played on a sprained ankle Sunday against the Cowboys, Coach.

  • Apparently saying “put on the IR” is too long, so the announcers kept on saying that Lacy had been “IR’d,” but I’d like to advocate that to be pronounced “irrrred.”

  • Welcome to the Packers, Knile Davis! Green Bay traded for the Kansas City Chiefs running back. I like the trade in the sense that the Packers gave up almost nothing (a conditional 2018 seventh-rounder), but not so much in that Davis has averaged only 3.3 yards per carry in his four-year career, or that he was KC’s fourth-string running back, or this:

  • But I think his name is cool and I hope he plays well.
Image result for knile davis
I'm trying really hard not to hold the fact that he looks at
least 40 years old against him. (He claims to be 25.)

  • Poor Brian Hoyer snapped his forearm in half and will be out for the rest of the season (presumably). Third-string QB Matt Barkley came in and had a statistically horrible game (6-of-15 for 81 yards, two interceptions and no TDs), though I thought he had some nice throws and should have maybe been given a longer leash.

  • The biggest winner of Thursday night might actually be Jay Cutler. There appeared to be a very, very good chance that he was not going to get his starting job back when his thumb healed because Hoyer had been playing fairly well. Now ol’ Jay will be welcomed back with open arms as soon as he is healthy. 

Image result for smokin jay cutler
The secondary winner is all of us because it's really much more fun
to see the Bears lose week after week when Cutler's at the helm.

  • Jeff Janis is a terrible blocker.

  • Davante Adams, who perhaps, it could be argued, doesn’t always enjoy the most unblemished of reputations here at O&E, deserves praise for his excellent game. Check out how he fought for this touchdown against the defender who was hanging on to his facemask.

  • Adams caught 13 of his 16 targets for 132 yards and two touchdowns. That’s more catches, more yards, and more touchdowns than the entire Bears receiving corps. Well done.
America's Got Talent applause thumbs up simon simon cowell

  • Rookie safety Kentrell Brice had some fantastic hits on special teams. He’s one to keep an eye on.

  • Thursday’s win was great, obviously, and I’m very happy -- really, I am. It’s just that … well, there were a lot of things not to like. Such as:
    • Chicago is terrible, terrible team that has already lost to the Texans, Colts, and Jaguars. This should have been a blowout from the very start.
    • Aaron had 326 yards, which is great, but it took him 56 throws to get there, which is not great.
    • The Packers only managed six points in the first half. 
    • Mason Crosby missed an extra point and had a field goal blocked! (I blame Jim Nantz, who highlighted that Crosby had not missed any kick all season. Crosby didn’t make a kick after that. Thanks, Jim.)
    • More injuries, not only to Jackson, but TJ Lang left the game for a time with a back injury.
    • I normally hate it when people talk about athletes’ body language (see just about every article written about Cam Newton), but someone might want to let the image-conscious Rodgers know that it doesn’t look great on TV to see how upset he gets after every incompletion.
    • Chicago was playing their third-string quarterback. And again, they’re really bad. I mean they’re waiting for this man to return as some sort of savior! Jay, are you going to be able to help this team?
animated november through numbers jay cutler

  • Kurt Warner weighed in on the great “What’s Wrong with Aaron Rodgers?” debate, and his take seems to me to be spot on:
"I think what really has happened is that there is a lack of trust with Aaron Rodgers. And that lack of trust is when you go out as a quarterback and your receivers haven't gotten open, it's hard to anticipate that they're going to get open on time. So as a quarterback, you drop back and you kind of just in the back of your mind are going, 'Okay, probably not going to get open, I'm going to have to buy some time and make a play.' And then all of a sudden they get open on time and you're like, 'Hey, he got open' and you're a half-second late.”
Image result for aaron rodgers
"Finally, someone who understands me."

  • After last week’s “missed” (whatever, the ref clearly saw it and decided not to call it) pass interference on Richard Sherman gave the Seattle Seahawks the win, many people echoed the call for every play to be reviewable, but I have to say I disagree, even though those missed calls suck. Imagine, for a moment, that Sherman, instead of grabbing and holding Julio Jones’ arm so that he couldn’t catch the ball, had illegally grabbed Jones’ arm, but immediately let go. Imagine Sherman technically committed pass interference but it didn’t affect the play. If the Falcons (or the booth) had challenged that, wouldn’t the refs be forced to call PI, even if it was ticky-tack? The officials wouldn’t be able to review the play, see the PI, and not call it. Another example would be the fact that there’s holding on just about every single NFL play. Do we really want coaches to be able to challenge every time there’s a minor hold? Do we want to see six challenges every single game? As frustrating as it is when referees’ judgment results in a bad call or no-call, it’d be worse to take their judgment out of the picture.

  • The New York Jets benched Ryan Fitzpatrick after he threw 88 interceptions in the first few six weeks, so Geno Smith was named the starter. Asked about Smith, New York wide receiver Brandon Marshall said, “It has been amazing to see this guy grow [and] really punch adversity in the face.” Smith, you’ll remember, lost his starting job last season when he missed games due to a fractured jaw he got when his teammate, um, punched him in the face.
Image result for geno smith
I can't confirm, but this is the face I imagine him making
right before he got his jaw broken.

  • Smith, unfortunately for him, got injured in his first start on Sunday, paving the way for -- that’s right -- FITZMAGIC REDEMPTION!! Well, it wasn’t exactly magical, but it was a good performance with no interceptions that got the Jets the win over the Baltimore Ravens. 

  • It’s always so awkward when you bench a guy, then need him the next game. It’s even more weekend when he spends his post-game press conference talking about how you gave up on him.
Image result for ryan fitzpatrick
Ryan, Fitz, buddy, you know I love you, but you had thrown 5 TDs and
11 INTs; benching you was not so much a betrayal as the only logical move.

  • As it turns out, the Jets will be needing Fitzpatrick for a while, since Smith appears to have torn his ACL. The good news is Geno can now tell Joe Namath that he told him so.

  • The Philadelphia Eagles lined up for a field goal with 15 seconds left in the first half before the Minnesota Vikings tried to ice the kicker by calling a timeout. Coming out of the timeout, the Eagles actually ran a play, taking a shot at the endzone. It was incomplete and Philly kicked a field goal on the next play, but I would have loooooooved to see the Vikings punished for the stupid icing the kicker tactic. Alas. Maybe next time.

  • The Eagles have a lineman named Halapoulivatti Vaitai. (Pronounced Ha-LEH-poop-la-di-da-VAT-di Vee-tah-tah.) 
Image result for halapoulivaati vaitai

  • It was wonderful to see the Minnesota Vikings finally lose. The Eagles swarmed poor Sam Bradford to the tune of 19 quarterback hits, six sacks, one interceptions, and four fumbles. The Vikings bedraggled offensive line looked way overmatched by Philly’s defense, which I didn’t even realize was good, but apparently they’re top three in the league. Whoever the victors, I’m just glad to see the Vikes get their first loss.
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"Please help."

  • Which play chart is uglier? Minnesota-Philadelphia or Arizona-Seattle?
Minnesota vs. Philadelphia
Arizona vs. Seattle
Punt, punt, interception, interception, fumble, fumble, interception, punt, punt, field goal, touchdown, punt, punt, fumble, field goal, (half), punt, touchdown, downs, punt, field goal, downs, fumble, touchdown.
Punt, punt, punt, punt, punt, punt, blocked field goal, punt, field goal, punt, (half), punt, downs, punt, punt, punt, punt, punt, blocked punt, field goal, punt, (end of regulation), field goal, field goal, missed field goal, missed field goal.  

  • How about that Seattle Seahawks-Arizona Cardinals game? Peee-yeew! The game was 3-3 before going into overtime, Arizona kicked a 45-yard field goal on their opening OT possession, and Seattle answered with a 36-yard field goal of their own. I mention the kicking distance because the next two possessions would see Arizona miss a 24-yard field goal and Seattle miss a 28-yard field goal!! The game ended in a 6-6 tie. Yeesh. 

  • That’s got to be particularly frustrating for Cardinals fans considering that their team had 186 more yards, more than double the first downs, 33 more plays, and a nearly 20-minute time of possession advantage. Oddly enough, in such a defensive game, neither team had a turnover. 

  • You know what’s not helpful after a 6-6 tie? Calling out your teammates for not scoring any points, as Cardinals defensive back Tyrann Mathieu did: “It's a team sport. When the defense is playing well, the offense has to complement us, special teams has to complement everybody, [and] vice versa.” Not wrong, Tyrann, but again, not helpful.
Image result for tyrann mathieu
Maybe he meant his teammates should have complimented the defense. Maybe
his feelings were hurt because they weren't telling him he was doing a good job.

  • The Monday Night Football ESPN crew decided to test their own kicking skills to see if they could have made the field goals that the Cardinals and Seahawks missed, and they all whiffed terribly … except Randy Moss, who put two kicks right down the middle. In dress shoes.

Straight cash, homie.

  • Those stupid, loser, awful Washington Redskins suck, losing to the Detroit Lions 20-17. Detroit had a 10-point lead a couple minutes into the final quarter before Washington cut the lead to three with a touchdown, forced a quick punt, and then had a shoulda-been-game-winning touchdown drive that culminated in 19-yard Kirk Cousins rushing touchdown with 1:05 left. Barely a minute left! And the Redskins do nothing except stand back and let Matthew Stafford and the Lions go 75 yards in 49 seconds! I mean, come on, Washington! Do something! On the winning drive, Stafford had successive completions of 23, 38, and 20 yards, then a couple of incompletions, then an 18-yard touchdown to Anquan Boldin. It was so easy! Gah! And now the Lions are 4-3 and showing signs of interest in the NFC North title.
Image result for kirk cousins interception
I DON'T like that, Kirk!

  • I thought that Philadelphia corner Ron Brooks rupturing his quad tendon would be the worst injury I’d hear about all week, but then poor Houston Texans right tackle Derek Newton tore patella tendons in both of his knees in the Monday Night loss to the Denver Broncos. That sounds just so gruesome. I hope he gets better soon. =(

  • Rookie Carson Wentz received a $17.6 million signing bonus this year. If only he could have used a couple of hundred -- or even $20! -- of that for a shirt.
Image result for carson wentz post game

  • Jacksonville Jaguar rookie cornerback Jalen Ramsey, who has already established a reputation as an obnoxious loudmouth just six games into his career, was ejected along with Oakland Raiders receiver Johnny Holton after the two got in a scuffle. Here’s Ramsey after the game on his ejection: “They probably don't want me to say this but I'm going to just keep it real with y'all: If I was out there nine more times, I would do the same thing.” There’s that maturity they’re looking for! Meanwhile, every coach in Jacksonville:
shut up

  • Miami Dolphins and Houston Texans running back announced his retirement Monday. Throughout his career, Foster has suffered a litany injuries, which he cited as his reason for retiring. Foster is 5th in NFL history in yards per game with 110.9.

  • I think the Cleveland Browns will join the 2008 Detroit Lions in infamy by going 0-16. They’re so bad, it makes me depressed looking at their stats. Going back to October of last year, the Browns have lost 17 of their last 18 games. They even went 0-4 in the preseason. They already lost to the two easiest opponents on their schedule -- Miami and Tennessee -- and I don’t really see a win anywhere. They play the 2-5 Jets next week, which may be their last best chance at reveling in the win column in 2016.

  • When you’re playing against the Browns and you have AJ Green on your team and he's being defended by five guys, you should definitely go for the Hail Mary before the half because, again, you have AJ Green on your team.

  • And AJ Green can do anything.

  • Here’s hoping that the Atlanta Falcons that always bomb in the playoffs are the team that shows up next Sunday against Green Bay instead of the team that leads the league in every offensive stat. Go Pack Go!

green bay packers packers jordy nelson nevsgb

Monday, October 17, 2016

We, Um, Might Need to Talk About Aaron Rodgers

  • The Green Bay Packers 30-16 loss to the Dallas Cowboys was not pretty. At all. From the Packers giving up their first opening drive touchdown to the Cowboys putting up more rushing yards than the Packers have allowed in the previous four games combined to the increasingly normal impotence of the offense, it was a rough day for the Green and Gold.
Ugh and you just know that, somewhere, Jerry Jones
was grinning like the creepy emperor from Star Wars.

  • As much as I like to blame all passing game ills on Davante Adams and Richard Rodgers, the truth is Aaron Rodgers is obviously struggling. Set aside any drops by the receivers, any bad play-calling, and Rodgers is still just missing things he very rarely misses. His interception into the guy of Barry Church was a perfect example of Rodgers, whose field vision is usually spectacular, failing to see Church coming off the outside receiver.
nfl aaron rodgers yelling at yourself football angry

  • And while I’M TOTALLY NOT WORRIED, and I’m sure Aaron will get out of his slump soon, and I don’t want to pile on to the guy, I also have to admit that I’m less than impressed with his attitude. He seemed to think he only had a couple of bad throws. Said Rodgers: 
We were close tonight. I missed a couple, possibly the one to [Richard] Rodgers down the middle, and I obviously threw it right to Barry [Church]... Other than that, I mean, there were multiple times when we had to extend plays because guys weren’t open on the normal timing or even slightly later than normal timing.

  • Are those really the only times you can think of, Aaron? Not throwing a sure-touchdown six feet too high to Cobb? Or leading Jordy Nelson into crossing defenders? I understand you’re not getting the help you need from your receivers or your playcalls, but I’m going to need a little more abjection from you than a dismissive, “I gotta play better, for sure.”
More like this.

  • I’ll say the same thing to Mike McCarthy as I said all of last season: “DO SOMETHING!!!!” Now, to his credit, he’s using more personnel, working in receivers Ty Montgomery, Trevor Davis, and Jeff Janis. But he’s still not doing a whole lot to help those receivers as far as pre-snap formations, picks, or creative routes. After Nelson and Cobb, there’s little evidence to believe that the Green Bay receivers can out-and-out win individual match-ups. That makes it easy for teams to focus on Jordy and Randall since neither Adams nor Montgomery nor Janis nor Rodgers nor anyone else has proven that he warrants extra defensive attention.
This is not the facial expression of defensive coordinators who play the Packers.

  • The ailing Green Bay secondary did not help matters. Already without top corner Sam Shields, the Packers lost Quinten Rollins and Damarious Randall. This propelled LaDarius Gunter into the lineup, who is, uh, let's just say not ready for prime time. The coaches are (were?) high on Gunter last season and I’m certainly not going to give up on him, but he was absolutely undressed on nearly every single snap he played. 

  • I remain very worried about Shields. I love him, but he needs to retire. Shields has been out with yet another concussion since Week 1 and he needs to start thinking about himself and his long-term health. It’d leave Green Bay up a creek, though. Maybe we can lure Casey Hayward back from the San Diego Chargers at a much-reduced contract. Think he’ll go for it?
Remember all the good times, Case!

  • Eddie Lacy came to play, injured ankle and all. He only finished with 65 yards, but ripped off a couple of nice and surprisingly agile runs. What in the sam hill was McCarthy thinking, though, going into a game with an injured running back and no backup??

  • Yes, James Starks was out with an injury. Try to contain your surprise. Mr. Glass really wore himself out averaging 2.8 yards per carry last week and suffered a knee injury. It’s rumored that Starks tore his meniscus and underwent surgery this week. He is not expected back for a few weeks at least. So I guess that leaves Green Bay with no healthy running back and two days until the next game. Here’s hoping McCarthy decides to pick up a running back really soon. Like, today.

I'm sorry, James, for real. I hope you recover
quickly and find a nice home on some other team.

  • Green Eyes did notch a touchdown, his first of the season. The even worse stat is that it was just Rodgers’ first second-half touchdown of the season.
concerned i give up

  • Besides Lacy, the only real positive was Montgomery. He didn’t have a spectacular game, but had over 100 all purpose yards and got some good reps in.

  • It was another rough week for Jordy. He had five catches for 68 yards, but coughed up a fumble for just the second time in his career. 

Don't worry, boo. We'll get 'em Thursday.

  • The biggest downer was the four turnovers. How can you win a game with four turnovers?! On the season, the Packers’ turnover differential, which is my favorite stat, is a dismal -3. 

  • One thing to look forward to is Tony Romo being able to return pretty soon. Jerry Jones, right on cue, has chimed in that Romo is totally healed and just needs to get back in shape. Jones has recently backed off his previously unwavering support for Romo to regain his starting job once healthy.

  • I keep going back and forth on the Pittsburgh Steelers, but I think they’re not good. They beat the Washington Redskins, who aren’t terrible. They beat the Cincinnati Bengals, who are terrible (2-4). They got trounced by the Philadelphia Eagles, then beat the Kansas City Chiefs who are so unthreatening that I’m not going to even bother looking up their record. (Fine, it’s 3-2.) Then they beat the New York Jets, who are no good (1-5), and then lost to the Miami Dolphins (2-4) this week! Even if they weren’t bad before, they certainly will be now that Ben Roethlisberger is out for at least a few games with a torn meniscus that required surgery.

  • Rough, rough no-call on Richard Sherman’s obvious pass interference that stole the game from the Atlanta Falcons. 

  • Why is it that the Seattle Seahawks are always, always on the winning end of bad calls?? No wonder Pete Carroll is so smug all the time.
seattle seahawks nfl draft pete carroll

  • Tom Brady is now 49-1 at home against AFC opponents since 2007. Insane.

  • Check out this Vernon Davis touchdown. Watch it again. Did you see that egregious touchdown celebration?!?! Davis’ jump shot cost his team 15 yards for “excessive celebration” since he used the ball as a prop.

  • I hate that I have an opinion on this, but I really prefer Carrie Underwood’s old SNF opening.

  • Vontaze Burfict is the dirtiest player in the league and needs to be suspended every single time he gets a personal foul from now on. It’s what he’s known for and he does this crap week in and week out.
    • Here he is trying to injure Martellus Bennett:

    • And here he is intentionally stepping on a New England Patriots player:

  • Ugh the worst sounding injury and the one that makes my skin crawl just hearing it is “lacerated kidney.” The Chargers’ Keenan Allen had one a couple of years ago, Andrew Luck dealt with that last year, and now Cleveland Browns safety Jordan Poyer looks to be out the rest of the year with the same.

  • If your job were printing players’ names on their jerseys, wouldn’t you check the spelling before signing off on a jersey for someone named Prince Amukamara?

  • The NFL is a mean and petty little tyrant. The league has declared that teams can no longer post their own highlights on their social media channels. Some teams, like the Eagles and the Browns, mocked the NFL by posting claymation-type videos of their highlights, which, hilariously, have now been pulled.

  • Goodness gracious, the Indianapolis Colts had a 14 point lead with three minutes left and somehow lost! Much sympathy has been sent Andrew Luck’s way as the quarterback tries and tries to lift his dismal team out of the muck. One person who doesn’t have sympathy for Luck is Ryan Grigson, the Colts’ general manager. Grigson, defending himself against the charges of completely failing to put any talent around his #1 pick, blamed Luck’s contract, saying, "Once you pay Andrew what we did, it’s going to take some time to build on the other side of the ball.” Sorry, but uh-uh, Ryan. First off, boo-hoo, it’s so tough having had the top pick in the draft! Second, other teams have the salary cap, too. Other teams have quarterbacks with huge contracts, too, and they manage to pick better players than you have. Luck, for his part, continues to be entirely endearing and refuses to blame his horrible offensive line.

  • Apparently, things are no good between Houston Texans head coach Bill O’Brien and quarterback Brock Osweiler, who reportedly had a blow up at a team meeting last week. It’s hardly a surprise considering their mail-order bride courtship, but Houston sportswriters must be tripping over themselves to write their “Houston, We Have a Problem” headlines.

"Whaddya mean it's been used? This is gold, I tells ya!"

  • Ugghh the LA Rams not only lost to the Detroit Lions, but they also pulled my least favorite move during Detroit’s victory formation, injuring the Lions center and nearly injuring the quarterback. Nothing says low-class losers like trying to injure opponents after the game is over. I hate, hate, hate this bush league move. 

  • I have to end with some devastating news: Green Eyes is engaged and, no, not to me. It’s a tough time, but I just want him to be happy.

We'll always have my near-constant Google Image searches of you.