Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Pope Arrives in Green Bay

That's right. The Pope has come to Green Bay. Not Benedict XVI. P.J. Pope.

Maybe you caught him in the pre-season, where he was Da Bearz' leading rusher. Da Bearz? I know. It's like getting salsa made in New York City. But as an earlier post of today indicated, the Packers' running game took a hit Sunday when Vernand Morency sustained a back injury that will sideline him at least several weeks, and FB Brandon Miree hyperextended his left elbow. That left only Ahman Green and Noah Herron as running backs, and William Henderson at fullback. It figured that GM Ted Thompson would be looking at other teams' practice squads for a warm body to add to the roster.

Thompson found Pope sitting on Da Bearz' practice squad. And with a good college career behind him at Bowling Green, Pope may very well have been the best of the bunch available right now in terms of being more than just filler.

Here's the link to the Packers' announcement re: the signing of Pope. The Packers released second-year center Chris White in order to make room for Pope on the roster.

No Trick, No Treat

Happy Halloween, Packer Fans! May all your sugar-filled dreams come true.

There is a dark side to today, however. It sure has deja vu written all over it, too...almost seems like 2005 again. You know what I mean. Injuries. And more injuries. First it was the receiving corps. Now it's the running backs.

Coming on the heels of the Packers' second-ever game where two running backs each surpassed the 100-yard rushing mark, RB Vernand Morency is going to be out at least several weeks and FB Brandon Miree is doubtful for this week's game at Buffalo. Morency -- who showed exceptional bursts hitting the holes -- suffered a lower back injury related to one of his lumbar disks. When the TV cameras showed him being carted off the field near the end of the game, a reasonable question to ask at the time was: How did that happen? Still don't know. The only thing Coach McCarthy said was that tests were still being evaluated but he doubted Morency's injury would be season-ending. Still, right at the point things start getting cranked up...BAM! (as Emeril might say).

Interestingly, one of the unsung heroes of Sunday's rushing game was the new FB, Miree. McCarthy is quoted as saying, "He played excellent," McCarthy said. "He's a big part of the success in our run scheme. I thought his decisions were very good; he played with good pad level, good finish. He was really rolling there." The average viewer might have noticed Miree making a few great blocks and catching a few passes. In fact, it was on one of those catches that Miree sustained a hyper-extended left elbow.

So who will fill these spots? Noah Herron will be Ahman Green's backup. And while not as fast as either Green or Morency, let's not forget that Herron also has a 100-yard game under his belt this year, too. And ol' reliable, William Henderson, will once again resume his starting FB duties. It's also possible that the Pack will look at adding another running back to the roster as insurance. If they do so, they'll have to look at picking up someone from outside the organization as there is presently no running back on the practice squad to bring up.

So, a great game to remember on Sunday. But it comes with a bitter aftertaste. Just like some bad trick-or-treat candy left over from 2005.

Monday, October 30, 2006

At Least We're Realistic

Still basking in the glow of yesterday's win against the Debacle from the Desert (that would be the AZ Cardinals), the online Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel asked whether this two-game winning streak (the first since 2004 if memory serves correctly) would propel the Packers into the playoffs. As Nancy Kerrigan once said, "Why? Why?". Why do they have to burst that green 'n gold balloon and bring us crashing back down to reality? We may be fans, but we also are realists. OK, maybe not all the time, but at least occasionally...like now.

While I would like to imagine that the Pack could somehow play well enough long enough to grab a wild card spot, it doesn't seem realistic. You never know how things can unfold. But at this point...well...I'm not the only one...

At the time of this post, 80 percent of almost 700 respondents to the online poll say "No" to the question of whether the Pack will make the playoffs. Here ya go:

Now that the Packers have won two games in a row, will they ride this winning wave into the playoffs?
    No (79.6%)
    Yes (20.4%)
    Total votes: 673

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Packers Win! Packers Win!

The Pack beat the 4-point spread for the game by 17 points, defeating the Cards 31-14, for their third win of the season. It was also Coach McCarthy's first victory at Lambeau Field, and the first win at Lambeau this season. By all accounts, it appears to also have been the occasion for Brett Favre's first Lambeau Leap following his 13th career rushing TD.

The rushing game was terrific, with both Ahman Green and Vernand Morency each rushing for more than 100 yards. It is only the second time in Packers history that two running backs have each run for more than 100 yards in the same game. It looks as if the running game which started to emerge in last week's victory over the Dolphins got even better this week. Granted, this was the Cardinals. But still, a tremendous effort from the offensive line made it all happen. Green and Morency both showed speed and power on their runs. If this combination can stay healthy for the rest of the year it can certainly give the Pack a chance to be in every game.

Donald Driver also came up big, as usual. And his biggest play of the day, a long (50-yard-plus) pass play, was called back because of a holding penalty. Driver did limp off the field after a great run after a catch. He came back in later. Hopefully, not a problem this coming week.

The defense also pressured Cards QB Matt Leinart most of the day, recording several sacks and a number of knock-downs. There was only one wide open receiver all afternoon on the Cards last touchdown, which appeared to be the result of an entirely broken coverage.

Aside from a questionable play call on the Packers' first possession -- where they were fourth-and-one, set for an apparent field goal and instead faked it, and themselves, into turning the ball over on downs -- most of the play-calling seemed on target.

Packers 31 - Cards 14. Guess that call (noted in an earlier post) by Michael Irvin saying that Matt Leinart would "dominate" the Packers' defense didn't exactly come to fruition, did it? Shocking.

It's great to be a Packers' fan anytime...but especially after a win.

Great Story About Great Green Bay

This is just a pointer to a great article by Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel Packers' reporter, Bob McGinn. Unfortunately, unless you can get a print copy of the paper or are a subscriber to the online "Packer Insider," you won't see it. Sorry.

The condensed, abridged, abbreviated, and truncated version is summed up in this quote from the article: "In today's NFL, however, tiny Green Bay is better equipped to win than either of those places (referring to Miami and Arizona), and most of the others. The advantage that gives the Packers should never be underestimated."


Packers Favored by 4

By the way, the Pack is favored by 4 points going into today's game against the Cardinals. Rumors are circulating that if the Cards don't win this game today, Coach Denny Green will be fired tomorrow. Given the long and sorry state of the Cardinals' franchise, he should be so lucky. The Packers will help show him the door today. Go toward the light, Denny, go toward the light...

An addendum: that paragon of prognistication, Michael Irvin, said on this morning's ESPN Sunday NFL Countdown that Matt Leinart will "dominate" the Packers defense. Yeah...just the way he did vs. Oakland last week. Another good call, Michael...no, really, you're the best...you told us so...

Saturday, October 28, 2006

A Tale of Two Quarterbacks

Today's Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel has an article about Packers backup QB Aaron Rodgers and Brett Favre. Or, more precisely, Rodgers' take on Brett Favre. Rodgers states that he's had the best QB coach anyone could ever have...and that's Brett Favre. Nothing overly revealing...other than maybe what Rodgers cites as Brett's apparently omnipresent "body sounds."

Hey, when you're playing the AZ Cardinals perhaps "body sounds" isn't a bad metaphor.

Jennings Likely Out Sunday

Although the ankle injury to rookie WR Greg Jennings apparently isn't as bad as it could have been, indicators are that he probably won't play Sunday. He will have a pre-game workout on Sunday to see if he can play. But coaches are also reluctant to rush him back too quickly and risk more severe injury and down time. So look for veteran Donald Drive to be paired with the other three rookie wideouts as the receiving corps for this game. That likely means double-team coverage for Driver, and the need for the rookies to make plays. They did what they needed to do last week. That success and a full week of practice...and a home crowd...should make it click.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Ferguson Done, Jennings Questionable, Bodiford Claimed...Wait, Who...?

The Packers today placed oft-injured veteran receiver Robert Ferguson on injured reserve for the remainder of the year. As one Milwaukee TV sports pundit said last evening (obviously anticipating this move), we have likely seen the last of Ferguson in a Packers' uniform. He's a six-year vet who has been injured as much he has played. He's undoubtedly a person who has shown promise in those moments when he has been healthy. And Brett Favre just this last week stated that he admired Ferguson's work ethic. But he's got the football version of boxing's glass jaw: he just can't avoid injury. So, farewell Robert. Good luck wherever you land after this year.

As to WR Greg Jennings who was hurt in the first half of yesterday's game against the Dolphins, Coach Mike McCarthy said today that his ankle is not broken, but that he still might not be able to play in Sunday's game against the Cardinals. Will just have to wait to see how fast he heals this week. Keep your fingers and toes crossed!

In an effort to shore up its depleted receiving corps, the Packers today signed rookie Shaun Bodiford on waivers from the Detroit Lions. Bodiford is out of Portland State (yes, that's Division I...who knew?) where he was a first-team All-Big Sky Conference selection as a senior in 2005.

OK, so we have a rookies on the line and rookies in the receiving corps...we have rookies everywhere! But we also have Brett Favre and Donald Driver. And it looks as if Ahman Green is even back to being able to make an occasional impact with a big run. Even Charles Woodson played as if he's finally going to start earning his money. But perhaps the best news for this week is that the Arizona Cardinals are coming to Lambeau on Sunday. These are the same Cardinals who blew two leads against the Chiefs and infamously against Da Bearz, and just yesterday lost to what unanimously is considered the worst team in the league, the Raiders. Perhaps our young team can get another win under their belts before they shuffle off to Buffalo.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Packers Win 34-24!

As I wrote earlier today: we're having a Sunday Fish fry. And so we did. The Packers beat the Dolphins 34-24 in a surprisingly entertaining game. Only so, of course, because the Packers won.

With about 13 minutes to go in the game, RB Ahman Green broke his biggest run since midway through the 2004 season, a 70-yarder for a TD. That made it 27-13.

Unfortunately, the defense gave that lead up quickly thanks to a huge pass play -- courtesy of blown open field tackling. If Charles Woodson hadn't been hustling and knocked the ball out of the receiver's hands at about the 13-yard line it would have been a touchdown. One play later, however, it was. The Fish went for a 2-point conversion and made it. Score: Pack 27, Fish 24 with about 12 minutes to go.

The Packers next drove the ball the length of the field and scored a TD on a shoestring reception in the endzone by David Martin. With about 6 minutes to go, the score had the Pack leading 34-24.

The Fish converted two 4th down plays to keep their hopes alive. Instead of going for a 4th and 2, however, they made a late decision to try a 47-yard field goal to close within 7. Kicker Olindo Mare made it with no problem. Sadly for the Fish, however, they were called for a delay of game penalty, making the next attempt a 52-yarder...which hit the left upright and...no good!

The Pack then ran the ball three times for virtually no gain, thus giving the Fish one more scoring opportunity, just not much time left. In a prevent defense, the Pack gave up a series of pass plays of 15-20 yards each. The Dolphins got down inside the Packers 30, but no time outs and only about 6 seconds left. One last pass to the endzone was caught out of bounds by former UW Badger standout Chris Chambers (who the Packers should have drafted instead of, a-hem, Robert Ferguson).

Final score: Packers 34 - Dolphins 24.

So...would you like your fish fried or broiled? French fries or potato pancakes?


A couple pieces of trivia related to this game...

  • Ahman Green surpassed James Lofton as the Packers' leader in total yards gained.
  • The last time before today that the Packers won a game in Miami was Super Bowl II when they defeated the Oakland Raiders...in 1968!
  • The Packers are 2-1 on the road this season, 0-3 at home...what's wrong with this picture?

End of 3rd Quarter: Packers 20 - Fish 13

About 50 seconds into the 2nd half, Charles Woodson intercepted a tipped pass off the hands of Fish TE Randy McMichael and returned it for a TD. Yahoo! About halfway through the quarter, Brett tossed a 33-yard TD pass to Donald Driver who made a spectacular endzone catch between two defenders. The refs initially called it incomplete, thinking the ball must have hit the ground. Replays continually showed it never did. Driver came up telling his coaches to challenge the play, which they did. Result? Call on the field was reversed. Touchdown! Ditto the yahoo!

Bad news: WR Greg Jennings looks as if he is done for the day (hopefully, no longer); he has not returned since coming up gimpy late in the first half.

At the end of the quarter, looks as if the Fish have some momentum. Harrington is in one of those rare spells where he is hitting his receivers with his passes instead of the ground. Just hope the heat isn't starting to tire the Packers defense.

End of Half: Fish 10 - Pack 6

The good news is the Packers had two interceptions in the first half. The bad news is that they only were able to get two field goals out of those turnovers. I don't think I'm the only one to realize that that's not good enough, not even against the Fish. As a result, despite being given opportunities to take command of the game, the Pack finds itself behind at half. Not that they are playing badly -- although there is virtually no running game to speak of -- it's just that, for a team coming off a bye week -- they aren't playing well, either.

Some additional possible bad news: an already-depleted receiving corps may be even more so. WR Greg Jennings made a tough catch on the Packers last drive of the half and came up limping. If he can't return today, the Fish can double or triple-team Donald Driver and force the Packers to beat them with the other unproven receivers. That would, as they say, not be good.

They better get it together in the second half, convert third downs -- they were only about 2 of 8 in the first half! -- and score in the red zone. It's a simple game really. Right?

Some other trivia for you: the Packers' longest field goal in history -- 55 yards -- was erased by a defensive penalty called before the snap. Dave Rayner then made a 40-yard kick...which was then negated due to an offensive facemask penalty. By rule, because of the offensive penalty, the 4 seconds left on the clock was run out and it was the end of the half, with no re-kick allowed. So take 3 points off the board...twice! Now, for all the longtime tried-and-true Packers fans out there, I ask this question: when weird stuff like this starts happening in a game, what is the usual result? Oh, the humanity!

End of 1st Quarter: Fish 7 - Packers 0

Something not anticipated and which has already had a major impact on the game: left tackle Chad Clifton -- Brett Favre's blindside protection -- is not playing in the game today due to illness. So the left side of the O-line consists of Daryn Colledge at tackle and Jason Spitz at guard. Colledge has given up two sacks so far to Jason Taylor, both leading to fumbles by Brett, the first one leading to the touchdown by the Fish. The coaches need to give Colledge some help out on the left side. A positive highlight near the end of the quarter: an interception, as the Fish were driving, by Brady Poppinga.

Sunday Fish Fry

As any good Wisconsinite knows, a Friday night fish fry is part of the state's cultural milieu. For those unfamiliar with this aspect of life in Wisconsin, all you need to do is wander on a Friday evening into any restaurant or bar that serves food and you can order up a plate of fish -- usually cod -- fried or broiled, french fries or potato pancakes, cole slaw, and bread or rolls. The really great places will also serve a relish tray. Often, this is an all-you-can-eat affair. Yum!

So, you may well be asking yourself, what does this have to do with today's Packers-Dolphins football game? Actually, I'm asking myself that right now, too. Hmmmm...

Oh, I know...the Dolphins are also known as the Fish...it's going to be very warm in Miami...and I think the Packers are going to fry up those Fish in the form of a win! (I know, I know...it really is a labored metaphor, but what the heck...)

Now, believe it or not, the Pack are 5-1/2 point underdogs going into this game. Against another one-win team! With Joey Harrington at quarterback! As one sports pundit put it, when you look at two not-so-good teams playing one another you look to the quarterbacks to help decide who should get the edge. Hmmm...Favre or Harrington? Gee, that's a tuffy, eh? Let's go with Favre, shall we? Brett will need a good running game today -- and getting Ahman Green back may -- may -- help in that regard. With basically only two proven wide receivers now available, the passing game needs a decent running game to have a chance of working. The Packers are 5-2 vs. Joey Harrington (how'd those 2 get in there???). OK, that was all vs. Detroit. But so far, the Fish aren't looking particularly great either.

The Packers' defense in the past has been able to rattle Harrington. If they can do the same again today, the Pack stands to come home with a win. It will be a tasty Sunday Fish fry indeed!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Bonehead Will Be Charged

OK, sports fans, whatchya gonna do? Yep, in this day and age, no threat -- even a hoax -- can be taken too lightly. In fact, you probably want some type of deterrent against hoaxes, too, let alone the real thing. So, the 20-year-old from the Milwaukee area who was allegedly involved in the stadium threat hoax of this week will be paying the piper soon. Below is the story from Associated Press:

FRIDAY, Oct. 20, 2006, 9:40 a.m.
By The Associated Press
Wisconsin man charged in NFL threat case

Newark, N.J. - Federal authorities have charged a Wisconsin man with making a hoax threat for allegedly claiming that seven football stadiums across the nation would be targeted by terrorists with radiological "dirty bombs" this weekend.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Newark planned to hold a news conference Friday afternoon to detail charges against the man, who was not immediately identified. A news release said the man was to make a court appearance in Milwaukee later in the day.

One of the stadiums allegedly targeted was Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.

The FBI determined the threats were a hoax on Thursday.

A joint statement from the FBI and Homeland Security Department said fans "should be reassured of their security as they continue to attend sporting events this weekend."

An FBI official in Washington, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the case is still under investigation, told The Associated Press the Milwaukee-area man acknowledged posting the phony stadium threat as part of a "writing duel" with a man from the Brownsville, Texas, area to see who could post the scariest threat.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Kid from WI Making Stadium Threat?

Figures. According to CNN, a "young adult" from Wisconsin is currently being interviewed by the FBI in Milwaukee after apparently coming forward to identify himself as the individual responsible for yesterday's posting on the Internet of a threat against 7 NFL stadiums for this coming weekend. The FBI is still calling the threat non-credible, but is obviously taking the necessary steps to verify this person's story.

See what a losing season can do to some people? Or...maybe it's that winning season by the team south of the border (that would be Da Bearz) that's doing it?

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

CNN Reporting "Dirty Bombs" Threat at 7 NFL Stadiums

CNN is currently reporting that the Homeland Security Department has notified the NFL that they have picked up a threat -- although called "non-credible" -- on a website against 7 NFL stadiums purporting that "dirty bombs" will be used in these locales...including Miami where the Packers will be playing on Sunday. For more information, check out CNN or other news sources. Here's what SI.com has to say about this.

Francies Gets Promoted, Brewster Gets Another Chance

As speculated here at PackerFansUnited.com yesterday -- and let's be honest, you didn't have to be a rocket scientist to figure it out -- the Packers promoted rookie wide receiver Chris Francies from the team's practice squad to the regular roster, replacing Koren Robinson (who will be sitting out his suspension for the next year). Francies was installed as the #4 receiver. The Packers also re-signed Carlton Brewster to the practice squad to take Francies' spot. Brewster was also with the team during training camp. You can read the announcement from the team here.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Robinson Suspended for 1 Year, Ferguson Likely Done for This Year

Oy! The NFL finally handed down its long-anticipated suspension of Packers' receiver Koren Robinson. Robinson received a one-year suspension. According to the league statement, he can be reinstated no earlier than Sept. 18, 2007. Here's the statement as posted on Packers.com.

So, that's not good. Robinson was starting to emerge as an integral part of the Packers offense. Now...not.

Add to this bad news the other news that receiver Robert Ferguson is likely lost for the rest of the season with his right foot injury and the Packers are now down to three wide receivers: Donald Driver, Greg Jennings and Ruvell Martin. Either the team will have to promote someone from the practice squad, hire a street free agent, or swing a trade. It's also possible that they could move TE Donald Lee to those formations calling for four receivers.

Despite the fact that Randy Moss wants out of Oakland, it's hard to imagine that Packer GM Ted Thompson would want to make Oakland's problem our own. Given the trends in personnel, it would seem that the most likely quick fix would be that the team would move up one of the two receivers currently on the practice squad, either Chris Francies or Calvin Russell, unless they are able to claim a better prospect from another team.

Yep...starting to smell a lot like last year...

Monday, October 16, 2006

The Horror! The Horror!

For those who watched the Cardinals (football version) melt down to Da Bearz in the second half of tonight's game, all I can say is: I think I'm gonna hurl...

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Bye Day Bye

OK, I know that headline is a really bad take off on the song title "Day by Day"...but what the heck. No Packers game today so what's a fan to do? Watch other games? Do yard work? Read? Watch the Cowboys Cheerleaders "Making the Team" TV show? (Wait...how'd that get in there? And isn't that a really...interesting...title?) Whatever you did, you had to be glad that the Saints beat the Eagles with a last second field goal. And ol' Mike Holmgren beat the Rams. And the Titans beat the Redskins for their first win of the year. The only really bad news of the day is that the Lions actually won a game.

Now if the Cardinals (that would be the football version) can actually beat Da Bearz tomorrow night...riiiiiiiiiiiight. Call me a dreamer. Hey...I said "dreamer," darnit! Come to think of it, maybe the baseball Cardinals would have a better chance at beating Da Bearz.

Oh sure, I know this week I could have written how we're down to four receivers because Robert Ferguson is out several weeks with his foot injury. Or how we might even be down to three receivers soon because of Koren Robinson's upcoming suspension (pending his appeal, of course). Or how...oh, never mind. There's a whole upcoming week to worry about that stuff before next week's game with the Fish (OK, I know technically that Dolphins aren't fish, but just go with me on this, will ya?). So until next week -- or since it's already Sunday is it already "this week"? -- just enjoy your day off. The Packers didn't lose. Nobody got hurt. And, yes, Da Bearz still suck.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Breaking News: Robinson Gets 1-Year Suspension

According to reports just starting to circulate, WR Koren Robinson has received a one-year suspension from the NFL for violation of the league's substance abuse policy, pending appeal. Given that the appeal may buy him a few weeks, it still appears likely Robinson will be gone for a good part of this season and perhaps part of next as well.

This comes at a time when he is just starting to be a trusted part of the Pack's receiving corps. It also comes at a time when the Packers will likely still be without WR Robert Ferguson due to his foot injury. Can anyone say "Ruvell Martin"?

Yup...this season is starting to smell a lot like last year.

Stick a Fork in It: Rams 23 - Packers 20

With about 20 seconds left in the game, trailing 23-20, and the ball at the Rams' 11-yard line, QB Brett Favre had the ball stripped from him while back for a pass. LG Daryn Colledge had a chance to recover but couldn't...Rams did. No TD for a last-second win. No FG to go to overtime. Just the Rams taking a knee and the Packers losing again. Record: now 1-4 going into the bye week. At least they can't lose then...can they?

Another record also falls: the Packers had been 46-0 at Lambeau when Brett didn't throw an interception. He didn't. Pack still loses.

Again, as noted earlier, this was a game of missed opportunities. Having to settle for field goals instead of getting into the endzone. Failing to hold on to passes. Failing to make interceptions that are in hand.

This team makes its own luck. And what they are making so far is a lot of bad luck. A good effort by the defense and a 106-yard rushing day by Noah Herron is just too little with a team that has no room for error. Regrettably, there are still far too many errors to be overcome.

Enjoy next weekend off. Hey, maybe Da Bearz will lose!

End of 3rd Quarter: Rams 17 - Packers 13

Momentum seemed to turn a bit during the quarter, and not in the Packers favor. Although with under 5 minutes to go and starting inside the Packers' 50-yard line due to a line-drive punt and 32-yard return by the Rams, the Packers were able to hold the Rams to a field goal after being 1st and goal inside the 10. Kudos to a good pash rush and a third-down sack by Aaron Kampman.

One does have the same feeling at this stage of the game as was experienced last week...that is...ummmm...not good. Offense is bogging down. The defense is starting to spend more time on the field. And the Rams are getting field position, thanks to poor punt coverage and penalties. Their last drive of the quarter again began inside the Packers' 50. A sure interception by Al Harris at the 5-yard line was dropped; had he hung on to it, he probably would have had a 95-yard return for touchdown.

As appears likely, the Rams will instead score a touchdown. Figure game over at that point.

End of Half: Rams 14 - Packers 13

The story of the 2nd quarter is a story of -- what else? -- missed opportunities for the Packers. After having first down at about the Rams' 10 yard line courtesy of some great plays and penalties on the Rams, the Packers had to settle for a field goal. In the Packers next possession, they stalled out at about the Rams' 30 yard line, setting up a 45-yard field goal attempt, which K Dave Rayner pushed wide left. The Rams eventually put together a solid drive and took advantage of some Packer penalties, with a TD resulting. The Packers then managed to sustain another positive drive before halftime, but again had to settle for a 32-yard field goal with 3 seconds left on the clock.

The Packers' defense is doing a respectable job holding down a high-power offense. The defense, however, suffered a possible loss with DL Cullen Jenkins being carted off to the locker room after walking gingerly to the sidelines, favoring his left foot. The diagnosis is a sprained ankle; his return is uncertain at this time.

But overall, so far, and as was the case against Philly, the offense is not able to finish its drives with touchdowns.

Oh, still no sign of Vernand Morency re-entering the game either.

End of 1st Quarter: Packers 7 - Rams 7

The Packers won the coin toss and received the kickoff. After having a fairly good start, backup RB Vernand Morency -- who is starting again today because Ahman Green is inactive due to his hamstring injuries -- fumbled the ball on about the Packers 40 yard line. Not long thereafter, the Rams are in the endzone. Al Harris appeared to actually slow up after giving a slight bump on the receiver, allowing the receiver to go by him for an easy TD. Where have we seen this before?

On the next Packer possession, moving the ball on the ground and through the air very well, Morency again fumbled the ball; he did recover it, however. Coach McCarthy wasted no time in yanking him promptly and was giving him an earful on the sideline according to the radio announcers (am I the only one that listens to the Packers radio broadcast while watching the TV?). Noah Herron replaced Morency and proceeded to make the most of his opportunity. With some great run blocking -- perhaps the best we've seen so far this year -- Herron ran with power. He got the Packers first TD of the day (I'm optimistic!) after a defensive holding penalty put the ball at the two. Don't be surprised if Morency sees more of the bench today than the playing field.

Go Pack Go!!!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Green's Back, Driver Questionable, Brett Still Sore

The best thing about tomorrow's game versus the Rams is that it is being played at Lambeau Field. Granted, that has not been the home field advantage it once was and, to be honest, might not be for a while yet. The Rams are approximately 3 point favorites going into the game. Despite all this, well, at least it will be a good day to tailgate.

Starting RB Ahman Green may be ready to go tomorrow after sitting out a few days of practice. It's likely his carries will be limited, and that's assuming his tender hamstrings don't give him any problems. Vernand Morency will certainly get his share of carries, particularly after distinguishing himself with a 99-yard running game in his first start last weekend.

WR Donald Driver is still experiencing soreness in his side after that massive hit he took in last week's game. Doctors are apparently still trying to figure out exactly what the problem is. When watching that play I thought Driver would definitely wind up with a cracked rib. Guess not. But obviously he's still feeling the effects. Driver is listed as questionable for the game, which would -- as all fans know -- not be good. That would leave the Packers with only three wide receivers for the game given that Robert Ferguson is also out with a foot injury. According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, "Koren Robinson would start at flanker alongside split end Greg Jennings. Free agent Ruvell Martin then would be the only backup unless the Packers made a roster move today and activated one of two wide receivers, Calvin Russell or Chris Francies, from the practice squad. (Head Coach Mike) McCarthy said a move was possible."

But also of concern on the offensive side of the ball is our starting quarterback. Brett is still experiencing soreness in his neck and back after being drilled in Philly. He says he's ready to go -- shocking, isn't it? -- but backup QB Aaron Rodgers took some snaps with the number one offense on Friday...just in case.

So we have, going into the fifth game of the season, a banged up offense and a defensive backfield that has resembled a sieve. Is it starting to look a lot like last year?

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Judge to Robinson: It's Slammer Time!

The Packers newest addition to the receiving corps, Koren Robinson, got some not-so-good news today: hi ho, hi ho, it's off to jail you go.

That was the decision of a judge in Kirkland, WA, today who sentenced Robinson to 90 days in jail for violating the terms of his probation. Last year, Robinson was given a five-year sentence for drunk driving, although it was suspended as long as he stayed dry and didn't have any other legal problems.

Of course that changed not long ago in Minnesota, where Robinson was arrested yet again for drunk driving. That triggered this probation hearing back in Washington. Which then triggered the 90 day jail sentence. The consolation for the Packers is that Robinson has until March 1 to comply. So no playing time will be lost due to this violation. (OK, OK, I know that whole "justice must be served" bit...but hey...this is football season, dadgummit!) Of course, there still is the matter of the Minnesota violation itself...and the NFL's own substance abuse policy which Robinson also is in apparent violation of...and which may kick in somewhere along the way.

Ohhhhh mannnnnn...I think I'm having a flashback to the Forrest Gregg coaching era! Somebody talk me down...quick!!!

You can read the full story here.

Who Are the 9 Percent?

The question for the day, kids, is: who are the 9 percent of fans responding to the poll in today's online Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel who disagree with yesterday's decision to cut Ahmad Carroll? Who are these people? No, wait, I know. Former GM and Carroll drafter Mike Sherman has been voting. Repeatedly! He's the only one who could possibly -- ever -- think it's a bad idea to boot Mr. Carroll. Even if the Packers do have to eat $1.8 million in salary, they still come out ahead by releasing him. How? Well, perhaps by having someone who can actually cover the deep ball in the lineup...and without holding penalties.

Anyway, at the time of this posting, here are the result of the poll.

Do you agree with the Packers' decision to cut cornerback Ahmad Carroll?
  • Yes (90.9%)
  • No (9.1%)
  • Total votes: 9,831
Go vote. Don't let ol' Mike Sherman skew the results.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Packers Show Carroll the Door...Finally!!!

Breaking News from Packers.com:

"The Green Bay Packers on Tuesday released cornerback Ahmad Carroll. Executive Vice President, General Manager and Director of Football Operations Ted Thompson made the announcement.

Carroll, the Packers' first-round selection in the 2004 NFL Draft, played 34 games in three seasons, starting 28 contests. He had 104 tackles (95 solo), three interceptions, three sacks, 26 passes defensed, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery."

Wow! After Carroll's horrendous game last evening the Packers obviously have decided that somebody -- anybody -- is better than keeping Carroll in the lineup. And as is becoming standard operating procedure under this new General Manager and coaching staff, if a player isn't cutting it, he gets cut. What a concept. Thanks for another really great bust of a draft pick, Mike Sherman!

What a Shocker! Ferguson Hurt

Given his history, it is hard to image WR Robert Ferguson being injured.

Just kidding.

Has there been any Packer over the past six years injured as often as Ferguson? Now the team is waiting to find out if his right foot is broken. It was apparently injured while he returned a second-half kickoff. After his injury history I sometimes wonder if the Pack just stashes someone on the practice squad for when Ferguson goes down. Let's see...yup...there are two wide receivers there now...take your pick.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Another Philly Flop

It was expected. The Pack hadn't won in Philly since 1962. Why change a bad thing now? So the Pack kept it competitive for the first half. Then the bottom fell out. Final score: 31-9.

Actually, three turnovers and the Eagles finally deciding to go after DB Ahmad Carroll were the turning points. Once again, Carroll was exposed as just another in a long line of former GM Mike Sherman's horrible personnel decisions. Carroll is a 2004 first-rounder whose level of play is more like that of an undrafted free agent. He gets beat more than an old rug. Granted, if there was any semblance of a pass rush, Eagles QB Donovan McNabb may not have had the time to find these receivers. But this has been Carroll's pattern of play ever since he came into the league.

There was also the matter of pride at the very end of the game: the Pack had the ball first and goal at the Eagles 1 courtesy of a pass interference play. Could they take it in? Of course not. Four rushes to the left side of the line and...nada...squat.

Of perhaps even more concern than this single loss is the apparent injury to Brett Favre. In the fourth quarter Brett took a hit that had him a bit slow getting up. In his post-game news conference, Coach Mike McCarthy said that they don't know for sure what it is but are describing it right now as a head and stinger injury. Let's hope that's all it is.

So, the Pack now finds itself at 1-3 going into next weekend's game at home against the 3-1 Rams. Does it get any better? Can't get worse. That's something anyway.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Green's Two Bad Hamies

Starting RB Ahman had one bad hamstring going into last week's game at Detroit. It wasn't even certain that he would play. He did. No great runs, but did show some toughness as we've come to expect. As we approach Monday night's game in Philly, however, it now seems that Green has not just one but two -- count 'em -- two bad hamies. That's not good. In a game where the Eagles are already posted as 11 point favorites -- the biggest spread of any game this weekend! -- to have the starting running back out just makes an already struggling offense even more reliant on ol' #4 to carry the day. And while Brett was the NFC Offensive Player of the Week for his performance last week, the history in Philly does not lead one to be optimistic. The last time the Pack won a game in Philly was in 1962 when that guy named Lombardi was still coach.

So, according to the article in today's Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, if Green can't go -- and could you blame him? -- the Pack will go with newcomer Vernand Morency with Noah Herron coming in as the third down back.

But that's not the entire story regarding the running game. Fan fave and old-timer FB William Henderson may actually be deactivated for the game Monday night. Whether this is due to the slower-than-expected recovery from Henderson's knee injury or just personnel numbers, it's not exactly clear. Maybe both factors come into play. So if Henderson doesn't start -- perhaps isn't even active -- who does? Newly activated FB Brandon Miree will get the call.

So, it will be interesting to see what this youthful backfield might accomplish. On the other hand, if the equally youthful and inexperienced offensive line -- which did a great job of pass protecting last week -- doesn't also up the ante on its run blocking it really will matter little who Brett hands off to.

It will also matter little if a defense that ranks near the bottom of the league -- and last in the NFC -- doesn't have a quantum leap in performance against the league's leading offense. News articles early in the week indicated that the defensive backfield gaffes that have happened at a disturbing pace over the first three games were due to a lack of "communication." A-duhhhhh! When you have defensive backs standing around talking to one another after receivers are left to run wide open I guess there is a communication problem. Namely, from coaches to players to get their you-know-what together. We're now one-fourth of the way into the season. Communication problems should have been gone by the end of preseason...or the players should have been gone, or at least asked to take a seat.

In this same regard, there is a troubling article by Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel sports reporter Bob McGinn in today's Packer Insider (unless you are a subscriber you have to be quick on the stop button in order to catch the article) about the Packers' newest free agent money pit, Charles Woodson. After delivering a boatload of cash to Mr. Woodson's already deep pockets, the Pack isn't yet seeing much of a return. In performance. In team spirit. In leadership. Charles: please pick at least one of the three, will ya? You know, paraphrasing Carl Spackler, how 'bout a little effort for the somethin'? Or, let's put it this way...