Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Disappointing? Sure.

I don't have many comments about the Michigan/CMU game. I had to work the Michigan volleyball game that afternoon and due to the weather delay I only saw up until halftime. I still don't get the panic though. Yes, I too would have liked to have seen Henne throw the ball once in awhile. A downfield pass or two might have been helpful. But at the same time, they've literally shown Notre Dame nothing. The preseason is over. We took care of the teams that we needed to beat, and now it's time to play for keeps.

The good news is that Mike Hart is healthy coming into this game, which is huge. Due to the fact that we threw the ball about 6 times last week, the new zone blocking scheme has gotten plenty of reps in game conditions. I don't see any reason that we shouldn't be able to run the ball on Notre Dame and keep AJ Hawk's brother-in-law off the field (That right there is the kind of knowledge that you can only get from The Blog That Yost Built. I bet you had no idea that Brady Quinn's sister was married to AJ Hawk).

It also needs to be mentioned that as bad as Michigan's defense was last year, we only gave up 17 points and 140 passing yards to the Irish. I'd take that kind of effort against Quinn again this year. Especially if we can get Shawn "WHY WE ONLY GOT FOUR GUYS" Crable or Woodley into the backfield to lay the wood to him a few times.

It's going to be interesting, that's for sure. I'm very excited to be going to the game, but at the same time, I'm going to be missing a lot of good football games on tv. I can't believe the slate for this weekend. Here's to a great big Meeeechigan victory, and the Cardinals giving Miami a little payback.

To the other football game of this past weekend:
Losing 26-0 to the Bears is not the way I wanted to start the season. After the game, I felt like someone punched me in the stomach repeatedly and then told me that Jack Johnson went pro. But after a week of reflection, I really don't feel all that bad about the game anymore.

The Packers were clearly overmatched coming into the game. The Bears are a legit NFC Contender and the Packers were breaking in a rookie head coach, three new starters on an offensive line that's learning a new blocking scheme, a fullback making his first start, a rookie WR, and six new starters on defense under a new defensive coordinator. Not to mention a new kicker and punter.

But overall, Favre played ok. He protected the ball well until the game was out of reach and he started winging it. The two INTs are nothing to be concerned about (especially since one of them wouldn't have happened had a blatant pass interference call been flagged).

The best sign was that Ahman Green ran the ball pretty well. He had some burst, he showed the ability to make one cut and hit the hole (which Gado couldn't seem to figure out, hence the trade today...which was still a surprise to me). If he can be back full strength, he could be the key to turning that offense around.

The offensive line hurt them. Every time the Packers would start to put a drive together, there would be an untimely hold or sack allowed. Moll screwed up on the 4th and inches and cost them a first down (though Green actually got it on the play before). But when you have rookie guards, things like that are going to happen. What was really shocking was how bad Clifton and Tauscher played though. Can't have that.

Despite the 26 points allowed, the defense was actually pretty darn good. 7 was on a punt return and 3 was gifted to the Bears via a Noah Herron fumbled kickoff. That means that despite being on the field for 20 minutes or so in the first half, and being put in bad field position, the defense essentially allowed just 16 points. And the touchdown was just a blown coverage by a safety that's just coming off an injury and hasn't gotten many reps. Kampman was active, Barnett and Hawk were getting to the ball. The one downer was Brady Poppinga "covering" the tight end the way Brandon Williams used to not cover wide receivers. Ugh.

The Bears are one of the toughest teams they'll face all year. It sucks to get hit in the junk like that right out of the gate, but as long as they learn from it and improve because of it, they'll be ok. I expected some lumps early on, but I think around the midway point of this season they'll start to become a pretty good football team. Especially if Green can run like he did Sunday.

As for Koren Robinson: Character risk, no doubt. But I imagine that it's a fairly risk-free contract for the Packers. If he screws up again, he's gone. That simple. And as long as he's not suspended or in jail, they get a Pro Bowl return man, and a WR with potential, who is clearly better than Robert Ferguson or Ruvell Martin. Add in Morency and they drastically upgraded their special teams this week. No more Noah Herron fumbles.

Finally, I'd be remiss if I didn't comment on the absurd contract that Rick DiPietro was given by the New York Islanders. What dude? Even ignoring the fact that he hasn't proven to be anything special and that if he gets hurt this year and has to call it quits, the Islanders are facing $5 million in dead money on their cap for the next decade and a half, the contract still makes no sense. Why would you give anyone that kind of deal, especially when the money is guaranteed? I wouldn't give Alexander freaking Ovechkin a 15 year deal at this point, simply because too much can happen.

What if he proves to be nothing more than an average goalie? You're locked into him until you draft a player who at this time is three years old. That contract makes him more untradable than Charles Rogers was.

You would think that the Islanders of all teams would know not to sign a player for that long of a term after that ridiculous contract they gave Alexei Yashin (which has worked out really well by the way).

There's no possible way to justify it. Sure he could turn out to be the best goalie in the league, and then you've got him at a bargain price. But chances are that by the end of the contract, he's not going to be great. What goalies have been stars at the age of 40? Hasek. Roy was close. Belfour was very good the year before the lockout as a 38 year old. But that's pretty much your list in recent history.

Even if you think the guy is an absolute stud, why not a 7 or 8 year contract? You'd still lock him in through his prime. He's more tradable toward the end of the contract if you decide to go in a different direction. And if he gets hurt, you're only screwed for half as many years.

Apart from finding a way to top "We fired our GM and hired our backup goalie" as the most screwed up sports headline of the summer, there's no other justification for this deal. It's franchise-crippling at worst, and reckless & irresponsible at absolute best.


Anonymous said...

Hey, make yourself known if you pass by the Zone this weekend. I was asking a marketing dude on his way over there "who's the stat guy," and had a hell of an awkward time explaining myself. I think it came out as "we met on the internet and are meeting in real life now."

Packer487 said...


I'm actually not doing the games this weekend. I've got my own hockey game Friday night and then I'll be in South Bend on Saturday.
I want to say the next game I'm scheduled to do is Indiana, but don't quote me on that one.

I'll definitely try and say hey next time I'm doing a game though.

Anonymous said...

Typical fantasy land comments about the Packers coming from a Packer fan. I don't know what game you were watching but the Packer defense looked feeble against a Bears offense that doesn't have great personnel. Let's face reality in that regard as the Bears are not a good offensive team yet they exploited the Packers defense on numerous occasions. The pass coverage was supposed to be a Packer improvement yet they gave up over 250 yards to a joke QB like Rex Grossman.

As far as the offense, almost half of Green's yards (48) came in the 4th quarter when the Bears already had a big lead, the game was way out of reach and the Bears were mainly pinning their ears back to rush the passer. Green's performance was not all that impressive under the circumstances. When the game was still within reach, he only mustered 38 first half yards and the Packers horrible offense couldn't sustain any kind of drive at all.

Favre was terrible and looked like a beaten man out there. It is clear he knows he is in for a rough year.

Take off the green and gold glasses and grasp reality. The Packers will be fortunate to even win five games this year.

Packer487 said...

The defense was fine. They blew the one coverage on Berrian's touchdown (which accounted for what? A fifth of that passage yardage total?), but apart from that they were fine, especially when you take into account how long they were on the field for.

And a fair portion of that pass yardage was Chicago picking on Brady Poppinga (which I addressed). Again, a new starter and he's coming off a knee injury. He'll get better.

If they "exploited" the Packers defense for a whole 16 points (again, 7 is on the special teams and 3 was a gift after the fumbled kickoff) then I have a feeling I'll be pretty happy once they break in those 6 new starters a little more.

Almost half of Green's yardage came in the fourth quarter, yes. But note that nowhere in that post did I say "OMG he got 100+ against the Bears, he's going for 2000 this year!!!". He ran well. He showed he's still got almost all of the burst he had before. And no matter when the yardage came, he ran for 100 yards on a damn good defense, when he's got 3 new starters on the interior line (including 2 rookies). As the blocking gets better and the rust shakes off of Green, there's no reason to suspect he'll run WORSE.

Favre probably is in for a rough year. He'll take a bunch of hits no doubt. But he looked fine before he started winging it around in the fourth quarter.

The whole reason the Packers couldn't sustain a drive was because they couldn't convert on 3rd (or 4th) and short. That's what rookies on the interior line will do to you. They'll get better.

They may only win 5 games this year. The first half of the season is going to be rough (though there are still a few very winnable games). This year, it's all about improvement. And if they show improvement, I'm fine whether they win 3 games or 15.

Anonymous said...

How about that Packer defense? 34 points given up to New Orleans at Lambeau? Maybe 5 wins for the Packers was too generous.

On the positive side, Favre looked like he at least had a clue. Of course, New Orleans isn't exactly a great team either so who knows how much of it was their own ineptitude.

Packer487 said...

The defense was definitely not ok this week. But the game wasn't on TV here so it's kind of tough to comment on WHY the defense wasn't ok (I know Poppinga was against at fault for the 57 yard completion to Horn, but apart from that I'm not sure--and I haven't got to read the GB papers yet today).

Of course Favre looked like he had a clue. The people who think he's washed up obviously don't understand the concept of a supporting cast. He didn't all of a sudden forget how to play football at the midpoint of last year. He's still a great player.

It's going to be a long season. I'm just looking for steady improvement and I'm happy.