2018 Week 16

Packers 44 Jersey Jets 38 

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas like I did! It was just about perfect; saw lots of family and old friends, had great times and fellowship, great food, better drinks. Nobody got hurt, no one got pissed off about anything or even argued. Even the political discussions stayed PG-13 at the worst.
Just like you hope it would be…how it’s supposed to be…
In Chapter 15 of the Shakespearean tragedy of our 2018 season, for a brief moment, a glimpse in time, it felt like it was supposed to. The Packers rallied to tie it late, took the ball down the field in overtime, and scored decisively! It was fantastic! Granted, it was against the Jets, who supposedly “had nothing to play for” like us, but it was evident to anyone watching this game that someone forgot to tell that to the players on both sides…
In truth, New Jersey was dominating this game for about three quarters. Although I know they were playing hard, our defense was about as bad as it’s been in any game this season. Missed tackles and guys running free in those uniforms made rookie Sam Darnold look more like a guy that “guaranteed” a victory. For a moment, I thought the HD was going to change back to analog black and white (or Technicolor if you were at least upper middle class in ’69) and they were going to flash to Weeb Ewbank on the sidelines…
But ultimately, the defense got stops, even when the offense couldn’t step up, just enough to get it to overtime. Aaron missed more throws, but had the swagger, that “It” that we have been starving to see come back out. The Belt was flashed more than once. He was doing his (best?) “Crazy Legs” Hirsch/Rodgers impersonation with two improbable rushing TDs and a successful two-point rush to boot, and without a penalty in OT would’ve had an astonishing three TDs on the ground…Who was the last Packer player, let alone QB, to get that? (Maybe a good lead for Madam Trivia Gambrell?)…
Because of the denial of that third TD, Crazy Legs was forced to hit Davante Adams for another score in another banner season from a true All-Pro and an even truer class act. His efforts were wasted in a lost season, but what a great story the former “Dropvante” has become…

The draft situation for next season is as follows: 10-16, 27-32, and 25 or 6 to 4. For brevity’s sake, try and focus on the first two groups of numbers. Our first pick will fall between #10-#16. This will be the same for each successive round. Our second first-round pick (ala The Aint’s, who could very well win the whole shot) will be between #27-#32. The win against the Jets definitely cost us a few spots, but looking at the board, the Pack will have a great chance to pick up two impact starters, with a ton of picks in early rounds to follow. With all the money we have in our piggy bank, we have great flexibility for free agency, and it will only get better if we clip some of the dead weight we’ve been carrying for long enough…
I’m headed to Dallas Thursday for the College Football Playoff and to visit some more great family and friends. I could tell you some great stories about these guys, and maybe one day in this column or in person, I will. I hope to add (positively) a chapter or two this weekend. In the meantime, I hope y’all have had, and will continue to have, a blessed and safe holiday, and look for us in the rafters of the Jerry Dome, known informally as the Home of the Dallas Cowboys, “Mexico’s Team”…
In review, it was a fun and exciting game, and a great atmosphere at the Hall of Fame generated by a relatively sparse holiday crowd. It was, dare I say, the way it’s supposed to be… Happy New Year! 
Go, Pack, GO!!!  
(Kraig Pringle)

Just Sayin’

 Finally . . . . a victory on the road. I had read various places on the web that the Packers should NOT have played Rodgers. And losing the last 2 games would give the Packers a top 10 draft choice. Aaron had been saying all week that he wanted to play. Can you imagine Vince Lombardi walking into the locker room sometime during the week before the Jets game and saying, “Men, we have nothing to play for on Sunday, except a better draft choice. So let’s go out there on Sunday and give 50%, and walk away with our heads hanging after an intentional loss and showing everyone watching that we just didn’t care. And then we will finish our season at home in Lambeau with another loss to the Lyins.”  Nope, I can’t either. But that is exactly what a lot of so called “Packer fans” wanted to happen. They wanted us to lose, in order to move up in the draft order. Not me. And I don’t think any player, or coach, or anyone employed at 1265 Lombardi Ave., would want that either, certainly not against the Lions.

Something we did see during the Jets game was the coming of age for the 2018 Green Bay Packer offense. They have shown up occasionally this year, but not on a regular basis. We had another Robert Tonyan sighting. He had only one catch in 15 snaps, but it was for a first down on a 4th and 1. We saw 2 of the rookie WRs make big strides (pun intended). The young guys were holding onto the ball after tough hits and blocking down field when necessary. Looking at the updated draft order, the needs for the Packers are listed as OL, S, Edge Rusher. Up until this week, every time I saw the draft order posted, among the listed needs were WR. MVS & St. Brown showed everyone that they have supplied that need. They should only be better next year. Maybe J’Mon Moore will even improve. And add in Jake Kumerow to those guys, and I think our receiver group will be ok. On defense, we also have had to play a lot of guys. For the folks that were thinking that beating a 4-win Jets team was pitiful, remember that for most of the game, we had 3 starters on the field. Like I said last week, we had a preseason defense playing against an experienced offense. And they came through when they had to in the 4th quarter.

Now, looking forward to the Lions game, keep an eye on every player. For some, this will be their last game as a Green Bay Packer.
As far as coaching goes, against the Jets, the schemes and play calling seemed to be in sync with the offense on the field. It seemed like the coach and QB were on the same page. It also appears that #12 is now lobbying for Joe Philbin to remain as Head Coach. After MM was let go, the news came out that Rodgers WOULD NOT be involved in the coaching hire. And #12 himself said that was OK. Rodgers knows Philbin since he was the OC during the Super Bowl run in 2010. So, if Philbin doesn’t get the job, does #12 get pissed off? Or does he accept the new coach, whoever it is?
And so it begins. After the Lions leave town, another interesting off season in Green Bay will be just starting… 
Just Sayin’ 
(Jimmy Smith)

GPB Hall Of Fame Report

 Thirty Packer fans met at Hall of Fame Sports Grill to cheer for our team.  There were lots of hurrahs from the faithful 12 that stayed through OT to see the Packers finally get a “W” away from Lambeau.
All 12 club members present took home a door prize.  510 Michele Morgan chose a trailer hitch and 415 Chris Schulz chose a doormat.  Both 185 Ken Hill and 123 Kraig Pringle now have chairs in a bag.  455 Brenda Davenport will stay toasty warm with her matching scarf and gloves.  127 Kent Sargent will be wearing his new ball cap.  503 Steve Sabin asked 458 Susan Sabin to choose his prize, a packer lanyard.  398 Bill Demuth chose a tote bag.  Ornaments will decorate 524 Seth Ray’s tree.  120 Neil Petersen gifted his visiting sister with a blue tooth speaker.  328 Marge Bramlett will use her new lap tray, and new member 530 Gary Schweikert got a set of grilling tools.
Make sure to welcome new member:
530 Gary Schweikert
whose daughter gave him his membership as a Christmas gift!  Great idea!  Great gift!  Maybe the rest of us could use that idea in the future…
398 Bill Demuth correctly answered this week’s trivia question and received a $15 gift certificate from our friends at Hall of Fame Sports Grill.  The dollar pool was won by 120 Neil Petersen, 185 Ken Hill, and 127 Kent Sargent (2).  Congratulations to all the winners.  If you’re wondering why Barb Gambrell didn’t win this week it’s because she traveled home until next year for the holidays; so we have a better chance to win the pool this Sunday.
Sunday is the Packers’ last game of the season.  I know this season didn’t live up to our expectations, but like true fans we’ll always support our guys.  I hope to see you this Sunday at 1 p.m. so we can support our team as we take on the Lyins.  Through thick and thin… (note: new tag 😊
Marge 328

Packers          vs.         Lyins II

 Sports fans we have a barn burner!  An Historic Tilt!  Loser goes Home!! Winner…goes home too!  It’s the Nothing Bowl.  The last time the Packers were in this position was 2008.   That was Aaron Charles Rodgers’ first season as a starter for Green Bay.
We play the Detroit Lyins.  We beat the Lions previously this year but for Mason Crosby’s epic case of the yips!  His misses, which may have cost him the job but for the overwhelming support of the coaches and players, were the margin of victory the Lyins needed to secure a win. 
The Lyins are struggling under 1st year Head Coach, former Patriot’s D.C. Matt Patricia.  They are in last place in the NFC North and a win won’t move them, so they have nothing to play for either, their draft stock doesn’t improve.   But, then again, this is the NFC North.
I’m not 100% sure, but the NFC North may well be the most densely packed of all of the Conferences in the NFC North, with a major city as home to 2 of those teams.  In Chicago, or Detroit, Bears fans rub elbows with Vikings, Lyins, and Packer Backers.  In Detroit, the same is true.  This rubs off on the teams, so some players genuinely don’t like each other.  Familiarity breeds contempt or something like that, I guess.  I know I had some epic green apple wars with the next door neighbors!
So, yes, there’s pride on the line.  The Fox commentators said that Aaron hadn’t played in a game whose results didn’t matter except for 3 games, probably in the aforementioned 2008 season.  Aaron did comeback last year against Carolina, but was inactive/back on IR the last 2 games of the season.
Aaron is healthy this season, for the most part, especially these latter games, he’s mobile, fast and can run again.  He certainly proved that this last game. 
My boys came with me to the Hall of Fame.  They did this in spite of their own objections, saying, “We don’t like football.”  These are the same 2 boys who not 2 years ago were doing the, “What day is it?  Game Day!” cheer with me.  I suspect it’s that teenage thing again.  It struck my eldest who despite saying the same thing explained to my daughter how we had won Superbowl XLV despite there being a minute and change remaining.  He might have not liked football, but he paid attention.  Of course this was before Smart Phones exploded and he had other things to occupy his attention. 
Anyway, the natives were getting restless, we were down by 2 scores, so I left.  Of course, that doesn’t mean I forgot about the game, it only meant that I was leaving the bar.  Enter the Tune-In App.  Tune-In allows you to basically pick a team and you get to hear your “hometown” broadcast.  I always pick the Packers, unless it’s Saturday and the Tide is playing (Sorry Clemson fans).  I’ve mentioned listening to Wayne Larivee and Larry McCarren in the past, this Sunday was no exception.  I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: Don’t rest on Aaron Rodgers! 
The man a lot of times doesn’t display a lot of emotion.  That’s calculated, he needs to maintain that façade of icy calm as he marches his team down the field.  He needs that quiet in his head, he needs to know that the team is aware of their assignment and that they execute.  He marches a team down the field the same way, 1st quarter, 2 minute drill, 4th quarter, it doesn’t matter.  He pulls the hard count, he rushes them up when the defense has 12 men on the field.  He does it better than any other quarterback in the league.  He can do that because the offense knows to execute.  He’s the GOAT!  He’s not the Gunslinger, he can make all the throws and he knows where they go, not where he hopes they go. 
But he cares.  He cares about his teammates and he cares about the people who coach him.  Aaron this week said that he likes playing for Joe Philbin.  Despite Joe’s small tenure as coach, if the Packers win this weekend, he’ll have almost equaled Mike McCarthy’s win total for the previous 3/4ths of the season.  Management should remember what I wrote last month; “Don’t pi—off the Quarterback.”  If the Packers win, and I think they will, Joe should be given a very lengthy, thorough interview.  The line says Packers by 10, I’m saying 14.  35-21, Kenny and Mike aren’t playing as far as I know. 
Go Pack!!  GO!!! 
(Ken Hill)