Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The Bucks are coming! The Bucks are coming!

Soon this phrase will be shouted along the streets of cities where the Bucks are visiting. Much how this phrase struck fear into the colonial Americans when Paul Revere made his famous ride, so too will this one. Last night the Bucks beat San Antonio 114-107. That's right, they not only beat the Spurs, at San Antonio, but they dropped 114 against one of the best defensive teams in the league. I was going to write more, but I am going to let the best Bucks writer out there do the talking today. Sky Hook has his blog: Bucks Diary, that has such a great writeup that I simply cannot top it.

The game turned suddenly at the 8:32 mark of the fourth quarter. With the Bucks trailing by five, and the Spurs calmly looking to close out another victim, Milwaukee's Michael Redd blew down the lane like an Ohio tornado. Tim Duncan stepped to meet him. Undeterred, Redd wrapped a finger roll around the big man's head and raindropped it into the net. The furious Bucks rally was on. From that point to the buzzer, the Bucks tore their teeth into the wounded and lumbering Spurs like a pack of starving hyenas, scoring 25 of the final 38 points. I still don't think the Spurs know what the hell happened.

I'll tell them. The Bucks opened the wagon and unleashed what looked like a Green Strike Team. That fourth quarter stretch that began with the Redd layup and ended with a huge Bucks win was one of the sweetest displays of coldblooded basket attacking I have seen from this team since the days of Marques Johnson. It was surreal. It was dreamlike. It took my breath away. During one stretch within that stretch, the Bucks scored 10 straight points on lay-ups. At crunch time. Against the seasoned Spurs. It was beautiful. Am I getting across to you how excited I was? The Bucks OWNED the lane in the fourth quarter against an elite team on the road. Reread that sentence a couple of times.

The Bucks are a steamroller baby, gonna roll all over you

The win streak is at 5, the run is at 8 of 11. And it includes a spectacular win on the road against the San Antonio Spurs. I think notice has been served. The Bucks want to be taken seriously again.This win will ring out because of the way it was produced. Unstoppable offense, TERRIFIC DEFENSE, energetic rebounding, and a 'my hairs on fire' fourth quarter rally. I don't want to hear about the "ailing Spurs" either. They had a healthy Tim Duncan, didn't they? And still the Bucks dominated all major phases of the game last night. Let that ring out. The Spurs were fortunate to have even been in the game at all. Three pointers and an obnoxious hometown disparity in free throws attempted (28 to 14) is all that kept that them from being completely wiped out.

But can the good times last in BucksNation? Believe it or not, I think they can. The Bucks may genuinely be a team reborn.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Hey, they won the bet for me

That was, without a shadow of a doubt, the worst NFL game I have ever witnessed last night. The Packers stumbled and bumbled their way to a win over the Raiders 9-7. Wait, you're saying that was against the Vikings? You sure, because 108 yds of offense, 3 first downs gained and 0 points by the offense along with 10 team penalties sure as hell sounds like the Raiders.

But I won the bet!

Seriously, the Vikings have turned into the NFC equivalent to the Raiders. A horribly coached team with absoultely no discipline on the field. The Packers defense completely dominated the Vikings last night. This is due to equal parts of the Packers DL manhandling the Vikings severly overpaid OL and complete offensive ineptitude of Brad Childress.

But I won the bet!

The Packers did do many things right this game, but screwed the pooch at key moments though. The defense played outstanding, although the 2 deep throws from Jackson could have been disastrous, they nevertheless made the worst offense in football look like the worst offense in football. Too often the Packers D makes opposing teams look good, not so last night. The DL harassed Jackson all night long, did a great job in stopping the run and KGB even looked good. Harris and Woodson were absolutely in shut down mode last night and the LB played a hell of a game.

But I won the bet!

Favre made several outstanding plays and some completely boneheaded ones. The 2 INTs were totally on him. The first was a pick even if Jennings stops his route, the second one, Jennings was wide open in the hole in the zone and Favre decides that his buddy Sharper needs a highlight for his season. As bad as those were, his pump fake late in the game where he had rushers all around him then completed a pass back to Franks was a glimpse of the HOF QB that he is.

But I won the bet!

That brings us to Bubba Franks. Poor, poor Bubba. He had the absolute worst game a player could have last night. Two drops, two fumbles, one of which just prior to crossing the goal line on the aforementioned play by Favre that would have likely won the game. He commits a stupid holding call on a big 30 yard completion to Green that would have given the Packers a 1st and goal from the 5 and either a TD or a chip shot FG to win. His game has completely disintegrated over the last 2 years to where he went from a legit threat to a well below average TE.

Let's look at this though, the Pack are 7-9, 3 wins better than last year and have loads of upside. They could beat Chicago next week and come out of this year with an 8-8 record, which after last season, everyone would welcome. But most importantly...

But I won the bet! (if you don't know what I am talking about, please read the comments between me and my neighbor from the previous post, it's quite enjoyable)

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Poe was a Packer Fan

If Edgar Allen Poe was alive today, he would most assuredly be a Packer fan. So, here is what his poem "The Raven" would likely look like had he written it this week. Enjoy!

Once upon a Thursday evening, while I sat with the fish I was cleaning
That I had caught on the ice not more than three hours before
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping
As of some NFL team rapping, rapping at my stadium door
“Tis some dumb-ass Viking fan” I muttered –
“only this and nothing more.”

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December
And as the Vikings fell on their ass then as they have always before
Eagerly I wished the kickoff; - As these “fans” began to piss off
Piss me off even more – So much I hoped we would run up the score
It is time for the man who has beaten them time and time before –
Time to bring out number Four.

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
“Look dumbass, your team and offense is a bore.”
“Your receivers are all lacking, and your losses are all stacking
Your team unity is simply cracking – your offense cannot even score.”
“Your coach is a moron” this I stated many times before –
“only this and nothing more”

And the purple painted loser, wobbling like some drunken boozer
Thrilled me filling him with fantastic terrors never felt before;
For he cannot help agreeing that no living Viking being
Could survive without fleeing – Fleeing from the number Four
Sharper, Williams, Childress, Johnson or even Mewelde Moore;
Not even their mascot, Pauly Shore.

The scrawny Vikes fan stood shaking, in his stupid Helga hat quaking
Teared up eyes begging that the truth he hear no more
But the thought of cold Lambeau, either with or without snow
A place where no Viking really wanted to go – A place of hallowed lore
With quivering lip full of fear, nay dread of the final score –
He peed himself upon the floor.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

We're #4! We're #4!

The Badgers men's B-Ball team is now ranked #4 in the AP poll after demolishing the previously undefeated #2 Pittsburgh 89-75.

Without a doubt, this is the best team the Badgers have had, well, ever. Tucker is playing like a man among boys, Taylor is a very solid PG, and if Butch can keep playing like he did against Pitt with that agressiveness inside, this is going to be a very tough team to beat come March (and hopefully April). Many pundits were willing to give the Big Ten title to OSU before the season even started, now the Badgers are proving that thinking flawed.

Tune in tomorrow for a very special Packer/Viking poem.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Could Jenkins have been the key?

In an undoubtedly better season than last year, the Packers finally reached that magical 6 win mark for the year with a sloppy 17-9 win over the Motor City Kitties.

The running 1-2 punch of Green and Morency clicked for the 2nd straight week of getting over 130 yds rushing. Morency punched in 2 TDs as well (both very nice runs). I have to admit, I was not a big fan of the RB-by-committee approach that some teams use, which apparently the Packers subscribe to now. However, the results have been good this year so while I won't gush over the practice, I'm sure as heck not going to complain about Green not getting enough touches.

As good as the RB were, Favre was about as poor with 3 INT, 2 of which were unforgivable being in the red zone. He is getting ever so much closer to that all-time INT record, which is just as far away as the TD record, and Favre having an equal shot at hitting either one first. Given Favre turned the ball over so frequently, how did America's Team win this one? Defense.

Yes, that's right, the much-maligned Packer defense came through big yesterday: 6 sacks, 2 INTs, multiple QB pressures and a fumble recovery. Normally the Packers D makes pedestrian QBs look good and helps them keep their jobs a bit longer. Not so yesterday. Kitna had a horrific day with only a QB rating of 42.9 and only 135 yds passing.

The running defense was even more impressive with limiting Detroit to 58 yds rushing on 20 carries (2.9 yds/carry avg). Granted, Kevin Jones being out was likely a big part of that, but another move that happened a week ago perhaps had a big part of it as well. That being Cullen Jenkins being moved from DT to DE replacing KGB.

Jenkins has flourished since moving to DE and showed it as such with 3 sacks yesterday. Jenkins is a playmaker and the more of them you get on the field, the better your team is. His move to DE has had 4 big impacts with this defense so far. Granted, I am fully riding the big game he had yesterday, but the changes are noticable.

1 - Teams can no longer game plan to run at that side of the line where KGB was. Jenkins is far more stout against the run and does not take himself out of plays as KGB did and has proven this in the last 2 games. Plus, he's got about 40 more lbs for OL to move and is stronger than KGB.

2 - He's got good pass rushing skills to go along with his run stopping ability. He's deceptively quick and has good power and can go with a speed rush as well as a bull rush and be equally as effective vs the on-trick pony that is KGB. His ability to rush the passer will take some pressure off of Kampman as teams will need to account for him. This has already beared some fruit with Kampman getting 2 sacks himself yesterday to end his latest dry spell.

3 - He is able to occupy OL on running plays better than KGB and thus gives the LB that much more room to flow to the play and frees them up to make a play. With our LB, this is an absolute must.

4 - This also allows one of my favorite players to get some more playing time, Corey Williams. Williams has been a project for several years and has shown some flashes of the player he can be. With Jenkins moving to DE, Williams gets more playing time and has now been given the opportunity to display that talent. He's big (313 lbs) and like Jenkins is surprisingly quick for a DT as his sack yesterday attributed to. He is a playmaker, and I will say this again, you get more playmakers on the field, the better your team is.

This DL (Jenkins, Pickett, Williams and Kampman) has the potential to be a very good one. They all are very good against the run and they have proven to be good pass rushers. With a better pass rush from the front 4, the rest of the D can only be better in pass coverage.

Since Jenkins has been moved to DE, the Packers have given up just over 100 yds in rushing over 2 games (SF had under 50 after the move was made) combined and the Packers have given up only 21 total points. Granted, it was against SF and Detroit, but that's what they are supposed to do against them. Plus, add in that in the 2 games (and one possession) prior to that, they gave up 76 points, it's too coincidental.

There is a very good running team in the Vikings coming to town on Thursday and Jenkins is going to lined up against their $500 million left side of the OL. The true test is coming then, but I'm feeling pretty good about it.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

$1 billion? You gotta be kidding me

That's right, the Cowboys are building a new stadium that will cost $1 billion. All I have to say is "Holy crap" (ode to Peter Boyle there).
  • The stadium is going to seat 80k, 100k if they sell tickets to the standing room only area in the endzones (who the hell wants to stand for 3+ hours at a football game anyway?).
  • They are putting a scoreboard that is 60 yards long and 50 feet high hanging over the field. Dear heavens. Just wait until that falls someday. You know, I may just have to rethink my dead pool to include some Cowboy players.
  • At the unveiling party, several things disturbed me. One, Bob Costas was there to be the master of ceremonies and called it "the most extraordinary athletic facility ever conceived". I used to hold Bob in such high regard due to his thoughts on and passion for baseball. But to schill out on this monstrosity like this is beneath you Bob. Two, they played videos of the Pyramids and the Colosseum as if this stadium is on the same level as those structures. That's ridiculous. This is nowhere near as great as those. You never saw Nero clamoring for better luxury suites, more wine and women perhaps. Plus, this stadium will be considered "out of date" in about 30-35 years anyway and be torn down.

Clearly Jerry Jones has a big case of stadium envy. Think he's trying to compensate for something? Hmmmmm? No matter how hard you try Jerry, you'll never be able to top the masterpiece that is Lambeau Field.

To me, this is being built because it can, which is never a good reason to do something. You want a legacy Jerry, donate a bunch of money to a university to help research a disease (not like ED which you cleary have).

One thing that has been discovered about the new stadium that is going to be a problem:

There's not enough room in it for Jones' ego.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

The alarm didn't go off

I have to admit something, I didn't watch the game today. My children had their annual Christmas program this afternoon and I gladly missed the game to see them sing and store away some great memories, as my kids were simply fantastic and exceeded all hopes I had in their performance. Afterwards, we went out to eat and I had completely forgotten about the Packer game.

Got home from a great dinner with my family and we started to decorate the Christmas tree. It was fairly late (7pm) when we started. After about 30 minutes of decorating with some incredibly great Christian music softly playing in the background, my wife asks "So, how did the Packers do?"

I didn't know. The evening had been so much fun that I had blanked out about the game. So, I quickly ran downstairs to the computer and pulled up the Yahoo! Sports page (it loads way quicker than anybody else), bracing myself for the impact of another bad Packer loss. Then I saw it: Packers win
30-17. A smile came across my face as I quickly went to the boxscore.

Favre: 22-34 293 yds 2 TD 0 INT. I quickly figure a QB rating of 111.52 (I am the Oracle after all).

Green & Morency combine for over 140 yds rushing and a TD

Driver: 160 yds receiving and a TD

Packers D got 3 turnovers and were actually good for a game.

I simply couldn't believe it. I thought I was dreaming, I was waiting for the alarm to go off and wake me out of this dreamland. After all, my kids who seem to be terminally shy come performance time were outstanding just a few short hours ago and the Packers won a game convincingly on the road.

The alarm never came.

So I went back upstairs and walked into the living room watching my wife and kids smiling and laughing while decorating the tree. The music was joyously perfect and there I was, realizing that sometimes, dreamland does exist outside of sleep.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Woodson's not a stiff

Remember back when the Packers were trying to decide if they should get Lavarr Arrington or Charles Woodson? Both were available and both played positions that the Packers desperately needed to upgrade. Many thought that at the time when Arrington chose the Skins that the Packers got the wrong guy in "settling" for Woodson.

You heard the critics:

  • Woodson has lost too much to injury
  • He's a loner
  • Doesn't play well with others on his team
  • Not a playmaker any longer
Well, Woodson has more than proved them all wrong. He leads the team with 5 INTs, which also happens to be near the top of the NFL. He has 15 passes defensed, again, near the top of the NFL. Add in that he has 3 forced fumbles (that makes 8 total turnovers forced) an has solid run support what you have here is a resume for an elite CB.

What was that? He's not an elite CB? Well, let's compare this to the stats of a well-known CB who is labeled as the best there is currently. This CB currently has:

5 INT, 17 passes defensed and no forced fumbles.

Who is this CB? Champ Bailey of the Broncos.

So it's perfectly clear that Woodson has come back to his pre-injury form. He's not as fast as he used to be, but that's just fine as he's still got the goods and is producing.

I've heard far too much from Packer fans that Woodson is average and is replacable. The above shows that this line of thinking is crap and completely unfounded.

Oh, and for that other guy the Packers missed out in getting? He's currently injured, has done nothing all season (only 16 tackles over 6 games) and is one of the biggest busts this year. We not only signed the right guy, but one of the best FA signings all season.

Monday, December 04, 2006

My interview with Mike McCarthy

Below is my "mock" interview with Packers HC Mike, McCarthy (and some, ok a lot, of help from Monty Python).

CC: 'Ello. I wish to register a complaint.
(The coach has his back to the register and does not respond.)
CC : 'Ello, Miss?
Mr. McCarthy : (turning around, very angry) What do you mean, "miss"?
CC : I'm sorry, I have a cold.
(The coach nods, understanding.)
CC : I wish to make a complaint!
Mr. McCarthy: (hurriedly) Sorry, we're closin' for lunch...!
CC : Never mind that, my lad. I wish to complain about this defense, what I have been watching not more than the beginning of my life.
Mr. McCarthy: Oh yes, the, ah, the Green Bay Packers defense... What's, ah... W-what's wrong with them?
CC: I'll tell you what's wrong with them, my lad. They’re terrible, that's what's wrong with them.
Mr. McCarthy: No, no, they’re ah... they’re resting for the playoffs.
CC: Look, matey, I know a terrible defense when I see one, and I'm looking at one right now.

Mr. McCarthy: No no, they’re not terrible, they’re, they’re restin'!
CC: Restin'?
Mr. McCarthy: Y-yeah, restin.' Remarkable team, the Green Bay Packers, aren’t they, eh? Beautiful stadium!
CC: The stadium don't enter into it. They’re terrible!
Mr. McCarthy: Nononono, no, no! They’re resting!
CC: All right then, if they're resting, I'll wake them up!
(shouting at the locker room)
'Ello, Sanders! Mister Bob Sanders! I've got a lovely fresh Lombardi Trophy for you if you wake up, Mr. Sanders...
(coach hits DC, Bob Sanders)
Mr. McCarthy: There, he moved!
CC: No, he didn't, that was you pushing him!
Mr. McCarthy: I never!!
CC: Yes, you did!
Mr. McCarthy: I never, never....
(CC pulls Bob Sanders off the bench and screams into his ear.)
CC: 'ELLO Bobby! Bob-EE! Bobby Sanders! WAKE UP!
(He bangs Bob’s head against the locker, horribly hard.)
(He does it again, harder.)

(He shows footage of the past several games where receivers are running free and running backs meet no resistance)
Now that is what I call a bad coordinator.
Mr. McCarthy: No, no.... No, he's stunned.
Mr. McCarthy: Yeah! You stunned him, just as he was wakin' up! Bob Sanders stuns easily, major.
CC: Look my lad, I've had just about enough of this. That coordinator is definitely terrible, and when I bought into his hiring not 4 months ago, you assured me that his total lack of movement was due to him being tired and shagged out after a long speech.
Mr. McCarthy: Well, he's... he's, ah... probably pining for Jim Bates.
(CC looks angrily back and forth, stuttering.)
CC: PININ' for JIM BATES? What kind of talk is that? Look, why did he fall flat on his ass the moment he got on the field?
Mr. McCarthy: Bob Sanders prefers fallin’ on his ass! Remarkable team, aren’t they, guv, eh? Beautiful stadium!
CC: (coldly) Look, I took the liberty of examining that coordinator when I got it home, and I discovered that he is extraordinarily terrible.
Mr. McCarthy: He’s not terrible! If he had been terrible, I wouldn’t have hired him, you just wait, his scheme will work and the defense will go VOOM!
CC: "VOOM?" Look matey, this defense wouldn't "voom" if you put four thousand volts through it! He's bleedin' terrible!
Mr. McCarthy: He's not! He's pining!
CC: He's not pinin,' he should be passed on! This coordinator should be no more! It has ceased to be anything resembling a defensive coordinator! His time is expired and should be gone! He's a stiff! Bereft of talent, he should be unemployed! If you hadn't hired him to be the coordinator he would be filing books in the local library! His cerebral processes are history! This should be.... an EX-Coordinator!

At this point I was attacked by security but was able to elude them as they could not get near me or tackle me as Bob Sanders is apparently in charge of them as well.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Hodge Podge

Time to just on some topics that have crossed my mind.

What a mess this defense is. Sanders has not progressed in his prepwork, playcalling or adjustments this season. Here's hoping Bates is around in the offseason and willing to come back to fix this mess. I do not like this matchup against the J-E-T-S jetsjetsjets, no sir I don't. Remember, the J-E-T-S jetsjetsjets beat the same NE team that kicked the holy hell out of us.

Kinda hard to win games when your starting #4 and #3 are out for over a month. Redd has been fantastic and is apparently immune to Stotts' horrendous coaching. Anyone else think Stotts looks like a guy you just would just want to give a wedgie to? No leadership comes forth from this man.

The B-Ball team is looking very good. Some fans got all riled up after the Missouri State game and claiming it was unfathomable for Bucky to lose to them. Get over it, it's college hoops and most teams will lose at least 6-7 games/year and it's not like State was a 1-6 team or something like that. The Badgers are an elite team in the country and will likely be around for the Sweet 16 this spring, barring injuries or the academic issues from last year.

The football team is still awaiting it's opponent for the Capitol One Bowl. My belief is that it will not be Auburn as the COB folks say they do not really want a rematch. On this note, Arkansas is looking like the choice. Although, should ND be shut out of the BCS, the Capitol One folks would love to get them as between thier fans and the Badger fans, the game would be sold out in about 30 minutes after the matchup was announced. As much as I don't care for ND, they have great fans.

Jack Ikegwuonu is a moron! Here is a guy who has loads of talent, is starting on one of the better defenses in the country , reportedly is from a family that is rather well off and he and his twin brother are out stealing a friggin' XBox! Likely he is gone for the Bowl game as Barry will have none of this crap. Plus, it's a XBox! Doesn't he know that the PS3 is a much better system? Sheesh.

Just to continue on the college football kick. I am completely against an OSU/MI rematch for the national title. The game was not as close as the final score indicated. MI scored with 2 minutes left to bring it under 10 points. They were manhandled and had to play a perfect game while OSU played sloppy and being down by double digits for most of the game was their reward. Obviously if USC loses to UCLA, then MI likely will get the nod and that's that. MI would still lose the rematch anyway. OSU is clearly the best team in the country.

I just started a 6v6 football league on Wednesday. It's 2 hand touch above the waist on a 40 yard field with only a half width field. It's not co-ed though, my wife threatened me with severe bodily harm if I joined that one. Too bad, Hooters sponsors a team in that league... mmmmm Hoooooterrrrsss... Anyway, it's the first football I've played since high school and it's amazing how some abilities just never go away. I have no problem catching the ball and playing defense. The route timing and running needs some work, but that will come with more games. We lost our first game 18-26 to our opponents who had just won the fall league 3 weeks ago. It was a good showing and yours truly had 3 catches, one for a TD.