Somebody Please get this to Coach McCarthy before the Playoffs Begin… 

This Packers team seems to be in turmoil right now. However, I know they have the ability to not only  win the Super Bowl, but to also quietly dominate opposing teams all the way there. 

The keyword here is “quietly”.

Without Jordy Nelson, this is no longer the highflying, headline stealing team you are used to, but they can be just as dynamic and destructive if you follow a few key strategies.

Eddie Lacy has to be your main focus here just like he was when he dominated the Vikings a few weeks ago. 

 

I know it’s hard to believe, but your offensive line is way better at run blocking right now then they are at pass protection.
So the key is to get Lacy those one step cutbacks that he is so fond of using to gash some of the most “terrifying” D-Lines in the league.

If you run him to the left side on passing downs, you will keep those edge rushers honest and help out your blindside protectors when it comes time to play action.

Plus those guys on that side know they can beat your tackles to get to Rodgers, but they aren’t run stoppers, so you are giving yourself a huge advantage, and buying #12 a second or two once you get the momentum in your favor.

If you do need to pass early, don’t forget you have one of the most dangerous screen options in James Starks.  

 

Not only can he gash the defense and move the chains, but he also keeps the corners and safeties leaning in for when you want to run a quick slant to Randall Cobb or a corner route to James Jones. 

Speaking of Cobb, keep throwing him those quick hitters behind the line. One of these days he’s gonna break one for a big gain, and leave the d-backs staring at their jocks. 

 

While I’m on the topic, why the hell haven’t you benched Davante Adams yet? 

I get it. You want to make Ted Thompson look like a genius for selecting the best pass catcher out of that receiver laden draft, but save that for early next year, when you don’t have a Lombardi trophy on the line.

You’ve got two explosive threats in Jeff Janis and Jared “Abracadabra” -deris waiting to make their marks, and you know how much success you’ve had making stars out of no name receivers in the postseason. Give these guys the shot they deserve.  

 

If Rodgers doesn’t trust them yet, that just might be part of his problem. So shorten up their routes and let him fire quick passes over the middle to start gaining back his confidence.

You don’t have the fire power to burn teams deep on a regular basis anymore, but you can rip up the middle of the field when you need to. 

If you are afraid that the corners will cheat up, then let one fly to Jones every once in a while if that’s what you need to destress yourself, and keep them honest, but then hurry back to the original game plan.

I know you love to pass on 2nd and 3rd down when you only need a couple of yards, but that ship has sailed. If you’ve lost faith in  Lacy to do it, give the damn ball to your trusty fullback.

 Nothing livens up the stadium on a cold winter day like a heartfelt chorus of Khhhuuuuuuuuuunnn! 

 

It almost seems like blasphemy to say it, but with A-Rod’s nerves jumping all over the place, you need to utilize his best quality right now which is being a game manager.

Calm his nerves by getting him outside on a bootleg and let him make those quick easy passes to Richard Rodgers in the flats.  

 

Not only will that allow him to get his juices flowing by letting him sprint to the sidelines for a first down or to do that silly slide that always seems to electrify him, but it will show your blossoming tight end that you trust him.
Also, try to remember that unlike most other years, you can trust your defense this season. As a matter of fact they just may be your best asset.

As long as you keep the games close, and keep the other offenses honest, this is one of the most versatile defenses out there.

Please remember, that even though it’s been fun watching Clay Matthews show off his other talents, he is one of the most frightening pass rushers in the league.

When you get pressure on opposing quarterbacks, they are going to be more likely to test your rookie corners. 

From your experience back in 2010, I’m sure you remember how much fun it can be to watch young d-backs dance in the end zone after a pick 6 in the playoffs.

Also, let’s get Julius Peppers as many opportunities as possible to make those game changing big plays, by bringing him hard in pressure situations.

 

Once the opposition learns that it’s too dangerous to throw against you, they will become one-dimensional, and that’s when your big guys up front like Mike Daniels will eat their running backs for lunch. 
 

This team may be lacking confidence and momentum right now, but they still have talent in spades.

Make sure you remind them of that on a regular basis.

Since you lack any natural morale boosters and pep talkers on the team like you had with “Wood,” Driver and Jennings, I suggest you try to create one fast.

The best option I see is Damarious Randall. Anyone who can skunk a wily veteran like Dez Bryant without any prior notice, should have a voice in the locker room. 

 

If you have any more questions feel free to IM me. Until then…Go Pack Go!!!

How Important is it for the Packers to Win against the Vikings on Sunday?

The Packers clinched a playoff spot two weeks ago, just before beating  the Oakland Raiders, and after losing to the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, have no chance of getting a first round bye. 

 So basically they are playing against the Vikings next week for a chance to go 11-5, win the division and play their first playoff game at Lambeau Field.

Yes, you heard me right. The Packers who everyone has written off and are laughing about, still have a chance to get 11 wins, and claim their division before waltzing into the playoffs.

They are still tied for the 6th best record in the NFL, 3rd in the NFC, and are still in 1st place in the NFC North.

A win against the Vikings next week will give them their 5th consecutive Division title, and give them back a little bit of momentum and confidence after getting their keisters kicked in by the Cardinals on Sunday.

But is it completely necessary in order for them to win the Super Bowl?

A loss on Sunday will actually leave them with the same exact regular season record they had in 2010, and would send them into the playoffs as a Wild Card team just like they were that year.

And we all now how that scenario played out!

  
The next 4 years the Pack have won their division, and the results weren’t nearly as good.

Am I saying they should lay down and let the Vikings win?

Never! Just like the Packers, I am always happier when the game ends with a “W”!

What I’m saying is, this team has always played better under adversity and when their backsides are pressed firmly against the wall!

We all know how the game played out last time the Green and Gold went to Minnesota on a losing streak.

Eddie Lacy and the running game punched the Vikings “elite defense” squarely in the mouth, and the Packers defense made the best running back in the league look rather pedestrian. 

 
I know what your answer is going to be, “The Packers offense is awful right now, and there seems to be turmoil between Aaron Rodgers and the coaching staff…”

Would you want it any other way?

Would you want your Quarterback to be happy with a year in which he has only thrown for 3, 530 yards and 30 TDs through 15 games.

Yes, you read that right!

Aaron Rodgers is only 6 TDs passes behind the current NFL leader and he is fired up. 

If you’re a Packer fan, that’s exactly how you want the best quarterback in the league feeling as he heads into the hunt for the Lombardi Trophy!

The only thing left for him to get his mojo back from 2010, is to bust out the “championship belt” celebration. 

 
So back to the original question, “How important is it for the Packers to win against the Vikings on Sunday?”

 
Not important at all. 

Right now there is only ONE game that matters, and that’s the first game of the playoffs! 

Draft Day Dreaming

 The season isn’t quite over yet, but a quick look at the Tennessee offense shows a variety of holes that could be the focus of attention as the Titans start preparing for the upcoming offseason. 

So where do they start?

 

  1. Even though it seems evident the Titans have found their quarterback of the future in Marcus Mariota, who has accounted for 21 touchdowns and 3,070 total yards, he has shown flashes of inconsistency and has struggled at times.
  2. Tennessee also has a backfield filled with potential, with three starting caliber running backs, Bishop Sankey, David Cobb and Antonio Andrews who just can’t seem to hit their full stride for one reason or another.
  3. The Titans receiving core is loaded with talented players who seem to underachieve. Kendall Wright, Dorial Green-Bechkam, Justin Hunter and Harry Douglas, are all guys who have shown signs of brilliance but just can’t seem to get over the hump. 

The only solid position for this offense seems to be tight end, where Dellanie Walker has shone brightly, by hauling in 85 catches, for 994 yards and six scores so far this year. 

 

So what’s the solution for this franchise who is trying to start a winning culture? 

Fortunately for the Titans, they will have another top draft pick in 2016. That gives them a shot at selecting 6’5, 305 lb, OT, Leramy Tunsil, from Ole Miss, who seems to be a perfect match for this team.
I believe this young man who has already fought through various forms of adversity could possibly be the piece that completes the puzzle in Tennessee.

The main benefit they should gain from the 21 year old Tunsil, is as the blindside protector they need to keep their second year quarterback on his feet long enough to make plays. He is a natural blocker and is great at keeping his center of gravity low to lockdown on pass rushing defenders.  


Tunsil also has exceptional athleticism, agility and speed, which should allow him to be the building block Tennessee uses to solidify their offensive line and get one, if not all, of their three running backs up to par and help transform their stale run game into the dynamic asset it should be. 

He has shown that he can be a dominating force, both on passing downs and as a run blocker on the collegiate level, and all signs point to those skills translating well to the NFL.
Drafting another OT in Tennessee, just two years after drafting Taylor Lewan, may seem a bit excessive but would give the Titans bookend blockers for a passing game that could also use a boost. 

It may just provide that extra second or two for Mariota to be able to find pass catching machine Wright or to turn Beckham-Green into the dangerous deep threat they’ve been hoping he’ll become.
This may seem like a lot of pressure to put on one player who hasn’t even started his career yet, but the Titans and their fans can hope and dream that the key to a consistently explosive offense is only one pick away.

Primed to Shine in 2016

After being the laughingstock of the league last year, the Jaguars offense has quietly started to become a powerhouse in 2015.

They have blooming stars at all of the key skilled positions, and are poised to be even better next season.  

  QB-Blake Bortles

Just two years after being selected 3rd overall by the Jaguars, Bortles has shown the maturity and consistent performance to become the franchize’s quarterback of the future.

With one game left in the season he already has 11 games with multiple passing touchdowns, and 3 games with 4 or more TDs, and at least 300 yards.

In order to teach his full potential, he will need to cut back on interceptions (16), and improve his efficiency on 3rd downs. 

That should start to happen naturally in the upcoming year as he moves into his 3rd year of leading this team and becomes even more comfortable with his supporting cast.

For now his 4189 yards, and 35 passing TDs, coupled with 310 yards, and 2 rushing TDs, through 15 games should start to open some eyes to his dynamic potential. 

  WR-Allen Robinson

Due to an injury that cut last season short by 6 games, Robinson came into this year as the team’s best kept secret. That secret didn’t last long as he burst onto the scene as one of the top young playmakers in the league.

In week 2, Robinson had 155 yards, and 2 TDs on 6 receptions, as he began to establish himself as the go to guy for this young offense.

It was the first of three games in which he had at least 6 catches, 151 yards, and 1 TD. 

Not only did he start the season well, but he has had 7 touchdowns in his last 5 games, to accompany 25 receptions, and 421 yards.

With 75 receptions, 1292 yards,and 14 touchdowns, in 15 games so far this year, Robinson should be primed for an even stronger 2016, as he also enters his 3rd season in the league, and should definitely provide this offensive a dynamic weapon to build around. 

 WR-Allen Hurns

After starting out as a sort of decoy and big play novelty, Hurns has become a flat out beast, and has turned into the “wild card” for this offense.

He is definitely less polished than Robinson, but has shown that he can be every bit as explosive and consistent, as he had a streak of 7 games where he hauled in a TD.

For now he makes a way more than qualified 2nd receiver, and with his passion and sneaky talent, I wouldn’t be surprised if at some point he becomes top dog. 

In just 14 games, he is 2nd on the team with, 61 catches, 1013 yards, and 10 TDs.

 RB- T.J. Yeldon

The newest member of this group, could actually turn out to be the most important one, as Yeldon hopes to give this team the solid ground presence they’ve been looking for over the last few years.

What makes him even more valuable to this offense is his versatility, as he has shown the ability to pick up yards and TDs through the air, as well as on the ground. 

In just 12 games this year he has racked up 740 yards, and 2 TDs, on the ground, 36 catches, for  279 yards, and  1 TD, through the air. 

 RB-Denard Robinson

Robinson is probably  the most overlooked and versatile asset on this team. 

The diminutive back, who played quarterback in college, can also line up as a receiver, and has helped out on kick returns.

He has averaged 4.1 yards per carry on his way to 257 yards, and a rushing TD, and has helped out with 21 receptions for 165 yards.

I think it’s safe to say Robinson’s role on this team should expand even more in the next season, as his skills and confidence in his new positions continue to grow.

   TE-Julius Thomas

At 27 years old, and in his 5th year in the league, Thomas, is by far the oldest member of this group. 

Although he hasn’t been able to replicate the numbers that made him a pro bowler his last two years in Denver, he does bring quite a bit of experience to a team in need of a veteran leader.

As an ex-basketball player who stands 6’5″, Thomas makes for a large redzone target and is still athletic enough to get separation between the twenties. 

While still adjusting to a new team, he has been able to contribute 44 catches, for 443 yards, and 5 TDs in just 11 games, after recovering from an injury over the first 4.

His numbers should improve immensely in his 2nd year with the Jags, and even more importantly, if they should make the playoffs next year, he will bring valuable experience, as he won the AFC Championship  last year with Denver.

How Good Are the Kansas City Chiefs?

 The Chiefs have the 2nd longest current win streak in the NFL right now with 8 wins. They are the only team in NFL history to do so after losing 5 straight in the same season.

Over the course of that streak their defense has been dominant as they have held opponents to an average of only 12 points per game.

Over that same period, the Carolina Panthers who are still undefeated this year, have allowed 21 points a game to their opponents.

The major knock against the Chiefs coming into this season, was their inability to throw a touchdown pass to a wide receiver. This has changed dramatically over the course of the streak, as Alex Smith has thrown a touchdown to a receiver 9 times in the last 8 games. Ironically, this offense came alive right around the same time Jamaal Charles was lost for the season.

The knock on the Chiefs this year, is that they haven’t beat anyone good, although the streak started when they beat the Steelers who are currently 9-5. 

They have also beaten the Broncos and the Texans who currently sit in 1st place atop their respective divisions, and the Chiefs have out scored their opponents by a ridiculous 238-98 during the streak.

The Chiefs have crept quietly to just one game behind the Broncos in the AFC West with just 2 games left on the schedule.

Besides the fact that their defense is playing lights out football, and their offense is red hot at just the right time, the biggest advantage the Chiefs have right now, is that no one is taking them seriously.

With the 2 remaining games on their schedule being at home against the Browns and the Raiders, the Chiefs have the ability to keep their momentum and anonymity alive as they cruise into the playoffs. 

How good are the Chiefs? It’s almost impossible to put a value on what they’ve done, but it’s clear that they have completely turned the corner on the beginning of the season. 

If the other teams don’t become aware of them soon, the Chiefs could find themselves fighting for a ring in February.

The Green Bay Packers Clinch 7th Straight Playoff Appearance 

With the Tampa Bay Buccaneers losing on Thursday night, all the Packers needed to clinch their seventh consecutive trip to the playoffs, was either a loss or tie by the New York Giants or the Washington Redskins.
As luck would have it, the Giants suffered a defeat at the hands of the still undefeated Carolina Panthers. This keeps the Packers tied with the Patriots for the longest current streak of playoff appearances. 
When the day started, the Packers knew that they controlled their own destiny, “win and you’re in.” That is no longer necessary, but now a win would keep them one full game ahead of the Minnesota Vikings, who won today against the Bears, and put Green Bay that much closer to winning their 5th consecutive crown in the NFC North.
A win would also keep the window open for the Packers to win the number 2 spot and a bye in the NFC playoffs.

The Packers New Look Offense

It’s simple really. The Packers need to run the ball early and often today against the Raiders and make sure to get pressure on Derek Carr.

Khalil Mack is a monster. The second year  edge rusher leads the league in sacks with 14 in just 13 games. Five of them came in last weeks upset of the Denver Broncos.

This could be a problem for Packers left tackle David Bakhtiari who has been consistently beaten this year and leads the Packers in penalties.

If the Packers offense plans to have any success against the Raiders they are going to have to find a way to contain Mack, by running draws with Eddie Lacy, and setting up screens for James Stark to the right side.

Also, if the Packers plan to pass the ball at all they are going to have to leave an extra back or tight end on the right side to help Bakhtiari keep Rodgers upright long enough to deliver the ball.

Ironically, the Packers best games this year have come when they run a ball control type offense, and allow Aaron Rodgers to be more of a glorified game manager.

This is exactly the type of strategy the Packers should try to use today against the Raiders.

With Sam Shields out for the game with a concussion, the Packers are going to be relying on a couple of rookie corners to contain two very dynamic receivers for the Raiders, in Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree.

Even though Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins have proven up to the task of covering some of the league’s top receivers, they are going to need the guys up front to get pressure on Derek Carr and not allow him to get comfortable in the pocket.

If they can accomplish these few goals, it should be a fairly easy win for the Pack as they build momentum for the playoffs.