Monday, December 26, 2005

With respect to The Doors...

"This is the end...". A great and haunting song by The Doors. Not so great when applied to the feeling many Packers fans have after yet one more loss at home, one more game filled with missed opportunities and turnovers, one more almost-but-not-quite comeback. Da Bearz looked liked and played like the Packers used to; the Pack looked and played like Da Bearz used to.

Actually, you could see the difference before the kickoff even took place. Cameras showed Da Bearz coming through the tunnel onto the field and they looked pumped, the body language was energetic. Cut to the Pack coming down the tunnel: heads were down, shoulders almost seemed slumped. To their credit, the Pack played much better than that initial impression would have led one to expect.

If there was any bright spot to yesterday it was that the ViQueens were knocked out of the playoffs in the late game vs. the Ravens.

One more week of a season to forget. The Seahawks come to town and will take a win back with them to Seattle as they get ready for the playoffs. Then the post-season analysis begins...or perhaps continues, as the season in effect ended months ago. The off-season will offer fans the opportunity to vent on coaching and player changes, and speculate on the upcoming draft (see this story for more). As it would look now, the Pack will get a top 5 pick, but could drop to a couple spots depending upon game outcomes next weekend. The draft won't fix all the things that are currently broken with the Pack, but it does give fans a sense of optimism. The Pack has a lot of money available under the salary cap going into next year to sign the players they want to keep, bring in free agent upgrades, and make whatever other personnel moves they feel will help bring the team back to its rightful place at the top of the NFC North. The biggest boost the Packers will get, though, is getting back the 17 players -- one-third of the team in effect -- that at one time or another were on the injured reserve list for this season. That in itself will win games. The rest should be gravy.

2006: Da Bearz are one and done, the ViQueens will continue in their usual muddle, and the Lions will flounder as long as Matt Millen is GM. C'mon, Packer fans! Looking at the future through Green'n'Gold-colored glasses is just the remedy we need for a season to forget.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Make the bad man stop!

Add to the list...and you know what list I'm talking about...Samkon Gado, Bubba Franks and B.J. Sander are placed on injured reserve.

Add to the team...yes, the MASH unit known as the 2005 Packers...a new punter, a new receiver, and a new running back. Ryan Flinn will be the new punter and perhaps field goal holder, Noah Herron will likely start at RB, and newly-signed receiver Rod Gardner may add some punch. Herron would be the Pack's 6th different starting running back this year...that about sums up the season right there. Gardner was the 15th overall pick in the 2001 draft and is not the usual waiver wire pick up. A load of demonstrated talent that for some reason didn't stick with either the Redskins or Panthers. He sounds excited about the opportunity to be in GB. And the Packers hope to evaluate a possible productive long-term addition to the team during these last 2 games. You can check out the story here.

Da Bearz 6, Pack 0 - for Pro Bowl

It's pretty much a given that teams that win have a better chance of having players selected for the Pro Bowl than will those teams that don't win. Proof in point: Da Bearz had 6 players selected for the Pro Bowl while the Packers had none, zip, zero. On the other hand, and while it is hard to admit, Da Bearz are playing with NFL caliber players while the Pack has been reduced to, as Ron Wolfe said, NFL-Europe caliber players because of the rash of injuries.

As Curly Howard used to say: "What a revoltin' set of circumstances!"

Monday, December 19, 2005


What a snoozer. The Packers were so bad tonight that they made a bad Ravens team look like a Super Bowl contender. So much for playing close games. Good thing I slept through most of this one. Unfortunately, it appears the Packers did too.

Sunday, December 11, 2005


Pack wins! Pack wins!! Pack wins!!!

A 16-13 overtime win over the Lions courtesy at least in part to a very strange endzone now-it's-a-safety now-it's-not play, a bonehead unnecessary roughness penalty in overtime by Shaun Rodgers, and Samkon Gado's continuing emergence as a bona fide NFL running back (and a record-setting rushing game for a Packers' rookie in the process)....oh, and some very bad goal-line play calling by the Lions and some tremendous redzone stands by the Packers defense.

This is the kind of game that the Packers could have just as easily lost, and which they have over the course of this miserable season.

But for at least this night -- one of only three in this season-to-forget -- let us rejoice and be glad. (OK, someone cue the Handel Messiah chorus please: "Hallelujah!" Repeat.)

Pack wins and still loses.

The Pack will beat a pathetic Lions team tonight at Lambeau. Of course, they should have beat this same pathetic Lions team the first game of the season in Detroit. So anything could happen.

But the way this season has gone even when the Pack does something right -- like win -- they will still lose. In this case, by winning, the Packers will drop out of the Reggie Bush Sweepstakes, otherwise known as the 2006 NFL Draft. With a Monday night game next week against the Ravens, followed by a Christmas Day game at home against Da Bearz, and a New Year's Day game at home against Seattle, the Pack could wind up the year at 3-13...or 4-12 at best, counting wins today against the Lions and on Christmas versus Da Bearz. Either record will ensure that the Pack loses the number one pack next April.

The moribund Houston Texans (1-11) wrap up their season with home games against Arizona and Jacksonsville and on the road at San Fran...what a thriller that last one should be. With 2 minutes to go in the 4th quarter of today's game against the Titans, the Texans were tied 10-10. They lost in the last 30 seconds, 13-10, retaining their death grip on the number 1 pick.

The Jets took themselves out of the running with a win today against Oakland, going to 3-10. San Fran plays at Seattle in today's second round of games; they will be 2-11 after that game. They finish with two road games -- Jacksonville and St. Louis -- and at home against, as noted above, the Texans. Yawn.

The likely scenario, as it looks now, is that Houston will get the number 1 pick, the 49ers will get the number 2 pick, the Jets will get number 3, and the Pack will get number 4. Under that scenario, no Reggie Bush and no Matt Leinart. The Pack would likely trade down for additional picks.

The Pack beats the Lions today. And loses drafting an impact player that makes a difference immediately. You always have to try to win. But again, the irony of this season -- where the Packers have been so close but not quite good enough game after game -- is that they will have once again been so close, but not quite bad enough either.

Saturday, December 10, 2005


Interesting bit of info in today's online Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Given the emotional funk this season has put Packerland into, we tend to look for anything that might give us something to be proud of. Here it is: through 12 games, the Packers now have the number one rated pass defense in the entire NFL. Really. Go figure.

Through the first 7 games, the Pack ranked 18th...nothing spectacular. But in the last five games they have held opponents to just over 111 yards per game. They've not given up the big play. Al Harris, of course, has been playing at a Pro Bowl level. Unfortunately, playing on a 2-10 team doesn't get one the attention that is deserved.

While it's nice to be able to say the Pack is number one at something this year, we'd trade the number one pass defense for the number one spot in the division. Ah..the good ol' days.

Still, expect the Pack to keep it's top rating through Sunday night's game versus the Lions. I mean...c'mon...Garcia...Harrington...please.

If you want to check out the entire article, click here.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

It doesn't matter...Da Bearz still...

Yes, Packer fans. Another disheartening loss. Plot lines all the same too. Rack up a lot of offense. But another game of missed opportunities, stupid penalties, and turnovers leading to points.

Congrats to that team from Chicago. They aren't pretty, but they do what they need to do. Will be interesting to see what they are able to do in the playoffs.

As for the Pack, as today's Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel pointed out, as things stand now the Pack would have the second draft pick. Still some games to go. But for the first time in a long time -- and especially with this much of the season left to go -- fans can turn their thoughts to who we might be able to get as a high pick in the draft. At least Sherman won't be able to blow another high pick. Thompson will be in the hot seat to make that choice and make it correctly.

As for today's game, it was there for the taking. But once again, more of the same does the team in. Well, it doesn't matter. Because as all true Packer fans know, Da Bearz know.

Da Bearz Still...

C'mon, Packer Fans...say it with know what I mean.

Despite the heralded Bearz defense -- and it is a good one -- they have yet to play any offense ranked higher than 23rd in the league. Da Bearz win with their defense. They stop drives, create turnovers, and do things like hand the ball over to a bland and moribund offense at the opponents 1 yard line. Even the Little Sisters of the Poor could score from there.

Admittedly, the Pack has been cursed with injuries, penalties and turnovers this year. The two games where penalties and turnovers were not a factor -- versus the Saints and Falcons -- they won. Favre plays well in Chicago and in the cold. If the O-line can open some lanes for Gado and Gado can hang on to the ball, and if they can give Favre time to find his receivers, the Pack will score. The Packers' defense -- if it can play four full quarters -- should be able to neutralize what little offense Da Bearz can muster.

The point spread for the game is Bearz by 7. C'mon. Take the Pack against the spread. In fact, take the Pack straight up. It's time for an upset. Let's put Da Bearz back into their decades-long hibernation where they belong.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Calling number 6...number 6, please.

The Pack is about to play its sixth different halfback of the season. In this case, that would be newly-signed rookie Noah Herron, Northwestern's fifth leading rusher of all-time. The Packers grabbed him off the Steelers' practice squad and are putting him through a crash course in the offense. He ran some plays yesterday with the #1 offense. As it stands now, with Rashard Lee -- what else? -- possibly out with a rib injury, the only halfbacks on the roster are Samkon Gado and Tony Fisher. While Samkon ran for 100+ yards the last 2 out of 3 weeks, he's also fumbled 4 times in that same span. Fisher is primarily a third down back, and one still recovering from a rib injury at that. That doesn't leave much leeway in the event of yet another possible injury. And with the way this season has gone, you know it's only matter of time before Gado or Fisher get hurt

It's also possible that Herron might be used to return kickoffs. Given the problems the Packers have had in this area all year, along with the fact that Herron returned kicks in college, don't surprised to see him back returning on Sunday.

More on the upcoming game against da Bearz in a future post.