2018 Week 12

Packers 17 Viqueens 24 

Before this latest, greatest loss of the season, I said Minnesota was simply “in the way.” Just the first of six obstacles on the way to a playoff salvage. I was right, they were in the way. Unfortunately (yet having absolutely nothing to do with “fortune”), after Sunday night, they still are. Just like almost all of the NFC in this Chinese water torture of a season.

In this “Review,” what the hell was going on out there? What happened? A too common question. Very simple: They were the better team. Kirk Cousins played one of the exactly two (2) great games he’s had all season (both against us). Also very simple…more of the same from the Packers. Same mistakes. Same poor tackling and defensive busts. Same playcalling. Same bad calls. Same gutless decisionmaking…
Which brings us to the most usual and obvious of suspects: Our Very Successful Football Coach. Not exactly “Riverboat Ron” on the fourth and shorts in obvious go-for-it situations. These repeated punkouts are absolutely killing us.“McCarthy?” More like McChicken. Like that celebrated handheld culinary masterpiece, we have what has become a Dollar Menu head coach…
Win, lose, or draw (again), he’s on top of the growing “Get Rid Of” list. I don’t care if we somehow win out, finish a stellar (9-6-1) and miraculously make the playoffs, start digging the graves now. Regardless of the outcome, we will have plenty of guys to fill them when this is over. Although we haven’t won since Warren Buffet was on welfare, we “just need to win the last five in a row,” including Chicago, which looks more like 50. And of course, get by with a little help from our unfriends and get to the dance. Didn’t you hear Aaron’s Plan?
For we “Fans,” it’s a Head versus Heart analysis at this sorry juncture. The Head says to accept reality. And with typical, ordinary, well-adjusted and right-thinking people, the Head typically prevails, as it probably should. But not others. Others let the Heart be their guide, often criticized as “ignorant,” able to “suspend reality” and absolutely believe in their cause, despite all wordly indication and evidence to the contrary. Mocked, ostracized, and hunted down for their “excessive and single-minded zeal, especially for an extreme…cause.”
Sound familiar? It should. Definition: Fanatics. Historically, fanatics have been a mixed bag of good and evil, and some of both. Like the Jews facing certain slaughter by the Romans at Masada, who to the last defender knew with total conviction that even in death, they would find a Salvation their enemies couldn’t even comprehend. In a darker sense, our fanatical enemies of World War II. The Nazis, totally and completely believing as Der Bunker disintegrated around them that the Fuhrer would unleash his “secret weapons” and yet win the war. The Japanese, worshipping their Emperor, absolutely believing (up until Fat Man and Little Boy) that the Kamikaze, or “Divine Wind,” would wipe the Americans into the sea and oblivion…

The Americans. Like the ones at The Alamo. Their defiant “fanaticism” in the face of certain death spat in the eye of Santa Ana’s overwhelming superiority, rallying Texans into independence from Mexico and on the way to statehood…
Our season has had a half-dozen figurative “Alamos,” albeit without the galvanizing effect. Minnesota. Washington. Detroit. LA Rams. New England. Seattle. We’ve emerged from these failures more like a rabble of dazed and disgraced Davy Crocketts. We’ve had at least one “Alamo” game with about every team in the league in recent memory, including the next opponent, Arizona. Who can forget that overtime playoff collapse and ultimate highway robbery with Rodgers in the end zone? It hasn’t been unique to 2018. It hasn’t been a weekend party, but a years-long binge: Constant, ongoing, increasingly destructive to everyone connected to it. As such, maybe it’s time for an Intervention. So change the channel:
This week on Intervention: “Mike M.” Mike was once, for a short while, at the top of his profession. Gradually, he started to lose control, becoming more and more disillusioned and out of touch. It continued to get worse. Bad coaching, bad calls, overwhelming and inexplicable fear and anxiety at the worst times, ultimately severing relationships with those closest to him. Everyone around him saw it happening, but they simply enabled. They wanted desperately to think it was a phase, to pretend he was the same old Mike. Further, they continued to enable him in his increasingly embarrassing and humiliating press conferences. His Planet Delusional, incoherent, detached, and clearly clueless presentation now appear to be obvious cries for help. It was time for an Intervention.
(Cut to shot of a middle-aged, athletic QB-type, white guy with a moustache): “Mike, I love you. I mean, not as much as I used to, but still. We all love you. You’re a great guy. But it’s gotta stop, man. Can’t take it anymore. What you’ve done to me and the guys I can never forget. But I can try and forgive.”
(Cut to young, athletic RB-type, black guy with dreads): “Coach Mac, I think I love you too, man, but it’s hard. Real hard. I’ve been primed to run wild, there for you, but because of your issues, you did me dirty for the longest time. I was ignored. I know you’re trying harder now but a lot of damage has been done. Sometimes I feel like I’d be better off if I was never in your life.”
(Cut to mid-thirtyish, clean-cut white guy with a golf shirt and khakis): “Mike, it’s been quite a long binge and that’s why we’re here. Why I’m here. It’s time for change, Buddy. And if you just can’t face it right here and now, I can promise you it will happen. Like, five games from now. It will be better for you and better for all of us.”
We’ll be right back after these brief messages…
With only 15 or so of us at Hall of Fame for the game, I was able to game the house and win a door prize. I picked a Packer stocking. What will I stuff it with this year? Let’s start with five straight wins to close the season. Ignorance is bliss? This is not ignorant. Reality? What reality? I absolutely and zealously believe we will win out. In fact, I know it with total conviction. After all, we are the Packers. We have Aaron Rodgers, who has The Plan. We will be saved. Our secret weapons will be unleashed in the final moments to prevail over our adversaries. A Divine Wind will rush in and sweep them all from our path…
Go, Pack, GO!!!
(Kraig Pringle)       

Just Sayin’

 I think the tap, tap, tapping has turned into TAP TAP TAPPING. Were there any changes in the 2nd half of the Vikings game vs. the 2nd half of the Seahawks game? Oh, I am sure there were minor nuances that were different, but 3 points against the Seahawks and 3 points against the Vikings? Is that the best that the Packers offense can do? Apparently. But they are capable of so much more.
Did anyone watch the pregame discussion on NBC when Rodney Harrison was speaking? He said if he were still playing and was going against the Packers, he would have no fear at all. He talked about how they run the same old plays they have for years. It’s sad that everybody who watches the NFL can see that except the one person who really needs to know that. And I know that no NFL coach sits around reading articles written about himself, good or bad, but how can Mike McCarthy not know that practically everybody with just half of a football brain know his offensive play design and play calling are BAD ! ? ! ?
Now, having bashed McCarthy, again, let me also defend him, just a little, although this defense probably wouldn’t hold up in court. I read an article this week about a particular play in the Seattle game. There was a 4th and 2 and the Packers were going for it. McCarthy calls the play and a 4th WR comes into the game. Davante Adams lines up in the backfield. The play was designed so Adams would be potentially covered by a LB. And he was. Adams broke open on a short-angle route right in Rodgers’s immediate line of vision. The play worked perfectly. And Rodgers, for reasons not even Sigmund Freud could figure out, tried to break down and extend the play. A quick-strike play like this can’t be extended, though, and naturally, the protection cracked and Rodgers was sacked. So, it appears, at least from THIS story, that McCarthy is indeed calling some different plays. But Rodgers won’t run them. Let’s say for the sake of argument that this article is correct. Can you have a Head Coach and the QB not getting along and agreeing on an important play? That is a recipe for disaster. And that is what this season most closely resembles. I personally think that Rodgers wants so bad to create the “big play”, that he will forgo a short pass that could move the chains and keep the drive alive. But I’ll tell ya, I wouldn’t trade him for any other QB in the league.
Just Sayin’
(Jimmy Smith)       

GPB Hall Of Fame Report

 Sunday evening saw 15 Packer Backers at Hall of Fame Sports Grill to cheer on our Packers.  We cheered and high-fived whenever we could and tried valiantly to keep the “stiff upper lip.”
Nine door prizes were awarded throughout the night.  221 Barbara Gambrell will be serving goodies in her chip tray and bowl, 120 Neil Petersen will be heating soup in his covered soup bowls, and 431 Jan Zlebek can drink his coffee from his mug.  324 Larry Schilz will keep his head warm with a stocking cap while 321 Sheila Chase will be keeping her toes warm in her new socks.  Time is important to 463 Wayne Hansen who chose a watch and 127 Kent Sargent who has a wall clock.  The holidays were on the minds of 123 Kraig Pringle who has a new stocking to hang on the mantle and 328 Marge Bramlett who will be sporting her new Santa Hat.
A $15 gift certificate from Hall of Fame Sports Grill was awarded to 127 Kent Sargent for correctly answering the trivia question.  Winners of the $1 football pool were 127 Kent Sargent, 221 Barbara Gambrell (2), and 123 Kraig Pringle (never got the $).
On Sunday the Packers will host the Cardinals for a 1:00 game.  I hope to see lots of you at Hall of Fame Sports Grill.  I know this has been a disappointing season for us, but I think one of the hallmarks of Packer fans is that we cheer our team on—through good times and not so good times, through thick and thin-- no matter what.  With that said, I will always be courageous, 
(Marge 328)

 Packers            vs.        Cardinals

 This has been a tough two weeks to be a Packer fan.  First was the “curse of the hags”.  Crosby missed yet another field goal in a 3 point loss, an incomplete pass was overturned (which I now call the catch, bobble, control, fumble two step), the 4th and 2 let’s punt it away (a numbers thing, see Jimmy & Ken from last week), a completed pass never challenged, electing to use the last time out to stop the clock on a 1st and 10.  Then there’s the viqueens game which I will defer all comments to the poison pen of Kraig.
But enough of my rant, this is a preview article so I mustn't dwell on the past but rather look to the future.  So what is the future?  With the loss on Sunday night, the “numbers guys” now give the Packers a 3% chance at making the playoff; not what we expected at the start of “100 years of football” .  For the most part, the Packers have been in almost every game and could easily has the same record as duh bears (8-3).  A com-bination of injuries, missed opportunities, a little bad luck and a lot of bad coaching has brought us to today. 
I must insert a disclaimer here: I am writing this article early Monday morning so it will not include any major events that may take place in Green Bay this week.
That being said, we host the Arizona Cardinals this week.  At 2-9 they have a 0% chance of making the playoffs so the cards have only two options, play for pride or fold (pun intended). The Chargers took it to them Sunday big time, 45-10.  It didn’t start out that way.  The cards had a 10-0 lead on the road after one quarter but then allowed 45 unanswered points.  They now must come to Lambeau which seems to be the only place the Packers can win.  Let’s hope it’s cold and snowy to help aide in Arizona misery.
They are a young team lead by rookies QB Josh Rosen and WR   Christen Kirk.  Add RB David Johnson and WR Larry Fitzgerald to the mix and they could bring a balanced attack against a battered Green Bay defense.  On the defensive side of the ball, their leading tackler is Antoine Bethea (70), Chandler Jones is their sack leader (11) and Tre Boston has 3 INT’s.
So what can the Packers bring to  the table?  The mainstay answered for years has been, Air-ron but  doesn’t seem to mean what it use to.  The injury in the first game has taken him off his game all season.  Whether it’s because he’s hurt that bad, trying too hard, the revolving carousel of receivers or play calling, he just isn’t himself this year. The emergence of Arron Jones has been a bright spot but seems he has not been used enough.  However, to my surprise, he did have 36 yards on 8 carries in the first half and 36 yards on 9 carries in the second half so Mike, like in weeks passed, didn’t “abandon” the running game, it just didn’t seem to be enough.
Injuries will be the great unknown this Sunday.  Both sides of the ball were hit hard (another pun intended).   Brice & Brown joined King, Greene & Breeland as injured defensive backs.  Mike Daniels foot kept him out of the game and Nick Perry was placed on the IR list, most likely out for the season.  Trevor Davis, returning from a hamstring injury, left the game with a hamstring injury and Bakhtiari finished the game with ice on his knee.  This on top of Cobb missing most of the season, Graham playing with one good hand and G Lucas Patrick just returning from a concussion sustained by of all things, returning a kickoff, and then of course, there’s “The Knee”.  All this must be hard on the coaches.
Which leads me to my last observation, coaching.  Not all blame can be put on Mike, but one has to wonder what Joe Philbin does.  You know him, he’s our offensive coordinator, but yet come gameday, it’s Mike on the headset with the clipboard.  Whether Joe only has 4 plays or Mike only calls 4 plays is hard to know.  What I do know is even the likes of Cris Collingsworth knows what play Mike is going to call.  I listened to ESPN radio on the way home and they noted the lack of original play calling and motion by the Packers offense, relying on our receivers ability to work themselves open, which as we’ve seen, leads to Air-ron running for his life and taking more sacks.  I don’t think they even have a quick slant pass they can call on 3rd and 2 or even 4th and 1.
Come the end of the season, I predict it will be either Air-ron or Mike (maybe even Joe) leaving Green Bay and I’m betting on the latter and it may even happen this week.  The rest of the year has a favorable schedule with only duh bears having a winning record and the Jet’s the only obstacle that can make us 0-8 on the road in this, our 100th year of football.
Most likely, I won’t be at the game this Sunday, just returning from a family vacation in Orlando.  Kraig, Neil and Marge will be there to cheer everybody on because as Packer fans, we will always, always  
Bleed Green My Friends  
(Packer John)