Monday, November 24, 2008

Down at the Bayou

This evening the Green & Gold match up against the Gold & Black while I’ll be helping myself to mass quantities of Black & Tans on my Green & Orange couch handed down from my uncle Red. Should be a colorful game, if nothing else.

The Saints are making their first actual home appearance at the Superdome since Katrina hit. You can bet the home crowd will start the game as jazzed up as a French Quarter quartet on Mardi Gras; however this same crowd will quickly fall silent after we punch it in on the first drive.

The good news for New Orleans is that Reggie Bush is likely out for the game. I say this is good for the Saints because the Packers defense, now led by the White Warrior, takes full advantage of blood in the water like sharks do a wounded seal. Save your Bush. The bad news for Green Bay is that former Packers CB and me-first complainer, Mike McKenzie, is on injured reserve. Franklin and I were really looking forward to picking him apart like we did in ‘05. Have fun watching from the sidelines.

McCarthy, former offensive coordinator for the Saints, should have the Packers well prepared for this one. Points will be put up – though about 2/3 in Green Bay’s favor. For every TD Brees throws, there’ll also be an INT. I expect Rodgers to throw for 2 TDs, while Grant and Crosby do the rest of the damage.

Packers 30, Saints 17

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Dragon's Breath

Let me just start off by saying it's an honor to have been contacted by The RANT and asked to contribute to this soon-to-be award-winning site. I feel that in under three years the RANT will be up for G-Force fan of the year ..... enough fellatio let's RANT!

The Green Bay Packers are the greatest franchise in NFL history, period. This is not a debatable topic such as turkey jerky v. beef jerky; it is, in fact, science. Monday evening the Pack begins their march to secure the NFC North Division title with a trip down to the bayou. What stands in our way? Five juiced-up Saints players who still have not been reprimanded for their failed drug tests.

This can only mean one thing, the NFL has turned against its greatest franchise in order to give hope to other divisional "rivals" and boost revenues.

Obviously the Pack will overcome, but as I Rant on I can't help but feel sick to my stomach, not from the 12-pack of High Life I consumed last night, but from this shoddy and classless move by the NFL front office. I have a sneaking suspicion that Rodger Goodell is a Bears fan and hopes that the Saints can in some way use their juiced up players to defeat the Packers much like the Vikings did with Pat and Kevin Williams. We've heard it before, parity is good for the NFL; but do you really need to create parity with non-suspensions and injuries to the Green and Gold?

Shame on you Mr. Goodell, with your obsessive use of gaudy fines and non-suspensions - maybe you need an oversight committee.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

AJ Hawk: The White Warrior

I like many things (road trips and the art of jerky among them) and Packers trivia definitely ranks near the top. Every time I take Research Road down to Packer Playerville, it’s always an interesting trip and definitely a box of chocolates as my main man FG once said.

When looking up our newest middle linebacker, I found some gems that needed to be shared with the Ranter readers. Yeah, most people know he’s hitched to Brady Quinn’s sister, but did you know that he was named after Indy car man AJ Foyt? Or that Top Gun is his favorite movie? Both true. And while you can bet your last Leinie’s he was a Top Gun linebacker for the Centerville Elks, would you have guessed he also played running back? And quarterback. And placekicker. And punter (averaged 40+/per, nice). Even lettered as a point guard for the b-ball team. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

Hawk also might be the most humble Packer since the original Mr. Nice Guy, Samkon Gado. In fact, while in high school, AJ apparently went out of his way not to be the center of attention. He forbid – and I’m not making this up – his parents to cheer for him during games (although the disclaimer noted they could cheer when a team TD was scored – yipee!). That may have been especially difficult during the game he recorded 30 tackles. Maybe not though, seeing as how people generally avoid making AJ Hawk angry for fear of being formed into a human pretzel…even if you are his parents.

Yes sir, Aaron James Hawk is an interesting dude, and only one thing bothers me – his nickname. AJ is fun and sporty an all, but it just doesn’t quite encapsulate all that he is or what he brings to the Packers. I’m thinking either Mr. Nibbler or The White Warrior – not because he’s white, but because of the sweet getup pictured. Thoughts?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Lambeau Leap 101

Memorial services will be held Thursday, November 20th, for Debra Schlobinski, 48, who passed away this Sunday at Lambeau Field during the 4th quarter of the Packers-Bears game. Schlobinski, season ticket holder since 2003, died after Jason Hunter Lambeau Leaped directly into her chin with a full head a of steam. Authorities were unable to determine the exact cause of death, but it is believed she died of absolute joy at having a Lambeau Leap done directly into her arms....and ultimately her face. Bernice Fraustein, Schlobinski's friend of 38 years, said of the leap, "Well...I'm not really sure what happened, I got three full beers splashed in my face after Hunter picked up the fumble. When I could finally see again, he was two rows deep in the stands, and I couldn't see Debra anymore." When the crowd and Hunter cleared, Debra was found sprawled over two rows of bleachers not breathing, but with a grin on her face spread from ear-to-ear.

Schlobinski's brother, Teddy Schlobinski stated in a Monday press conference: "We mourn the passing of Debra who was a great daughter, sister, mother, and friend, but most of all she was a great Packer fan. There is no other way she would have wanted to go out. Go, Pack. Go!"

At his post-game press conference, Mike McCarthy stated that all full-time offensive and defensive players get a 20 minute training in how to do a Lambeau Leap, but since Hunter was fairly new to the team and no one ever expected him to score a TD, he hadn't received the training. McCarthy continued by saying that players are instructed to slow up, plant, and jump straight up, resting their rears on the edge or have fans hold them up. "Jason, in his excitement, did not slow up, and propelled himself three rows into the bleachers, unfortunately striking Ms. Schlobinski on the chin. Our condolences are with her family," McCarthy said.

Lambeau security staff believe Hunter's Lambeau Leap was the single highest Leap ever done since LeRoy Butler invented the touchdown celebration in 1993.

Bears 3, Packers 37. Bears Embarrassed!

As Ice Cube once said, today was a good day.

In this chapter of the storied rivalry, the Packers imposed their superior wills in a dominating win over the Bears at Lambeau today. It was evident from the beginning of the game that Ryan Grant and the offensive line decided this week they were really going to do it. Some great space was created and RG definitely took advantage, treating the Bears defense like the tackling dummies they are. With 200 yards on the ground total (145 from Grant), it was by far the best running game of the season.

And when things are working that well with the running game, you can expect some tasty opportunites through the air. Rodgers was very effective, finishing really only with one mistake onto another 100+ rating. He and others will probably have to ice their faces tonight – there was an awful lot of smiling near the end of the game. It's good to be on top. Trust me, I work for the Ranter.

As if things couldn’t get any better, I even saw the lights of the Goodyear Blimp: Minnesota 13, Tampa 19. I got to say it was a good day.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Brandt Rant

Andrew Brandt is trying my patience.

Having spent nine years in the head offices of the Green Bay Packers, he now relies on his experiences with the team to fill space in his mundane blog, “The Busine$$ of Football”. Yes, that’s how he spells it. Brandt has written about the Favre situation (extensively), opening game against the Vikings, Rodgers, Rodgers’ contract, Najeh Davenport, The Millen/Favre issue, and Koren Robinson to name a few, most recently, the Packers’ failure to land LaVarr Arrington. Needless to say, there are a ton of times he has pulled the curtains back on the inner workings of the greatest organization in sports. I find this irritating, unprofessional, and borderline unethical. Do you have the connections to do this with other teams? Judging by your posts, I would say not.

Look, I understand using your recent experiences when starting up your blog and website, “The National Football Post”, which isn’t bad, but at some point you need to branch out and make new connections, find new stories. Being a blogger really isn’t that hard, any ego-maniac with a computer and an earnest belief that people REALLY need to hear what he or she has to say can do it (see Bill Simmons or to a slightly lesser extent Franklin Hillside). Judging by your bio you are a relatively smart guy, and should have no problem finding other things to write about other than the Packers inner-workings. I realize that most fans of the NFL are closet Packer fans and may find this interesting, but until there’s another A. Brandt out there for each team looking to live the tiresome and grueling life of a blogger and letting us see the Great and Powerful Oz of their teams, please stop writing about the Packers’ dealings and find another topic.

PS – All that being said, Andrew, if you are interested in being a guest Ranter at The Packer Ranter, we would be happy to have you. We pay in PBR tall-boys and beef or turkey jerky.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

2006 Draft – How’s that working out for you?

Three years. That’s the length of time it took me to get through 5th grade (stupid reading, math!) and generally how long it takes a player to man up or punk out in the NFL. With that in mind, I thought it’d be nice to look at the Packers ’06 draft to sort the men from the boys. It may not look pretty at times, but this is possibly the best Packer draft in the last decade. Don’t believe me, look it up.

Round 1, 5th overall: LB AJ Hawk. Really a mixed bag. Sometimes you get the M&Ms/pretzels (tackling) and other times you get the rabbit turds/twigs (coverage) your nephew dumped in there.
Round 2, 47th overall: T/G Daryn Colledge. I’ll take “Things that are Inconsistent, Alex”. The Alaskan native has started over 30 games. Big rip.
Round 2, 52nd overall: WR Greg Jennings. #85 was drafted to help fill the void of poopy pants Javon Walker. He’s been amazing – a budding superstar, Packer favorite and one of the best draft picks in recent memory.
Round 3, 67th overall: LB Abdul Hodge. “College’s version of Ray Lewis” has been mostly injured and with only 9 career tackles, AH was released earlier this year and now rides pine in Cincy.
Round 3, 75th overall: G/C Jason Spitz. I don’t distinguish between Spitz and Colledge. Spitz has less hair but same notes.
Round 4, 104th overall: WR/KR Cory Rodgers. Cut a month after signing; now in CFL.
Round 4, 115th overall: CB Will Blackmon. Is he finally living up to the flashes we’ve seen between injuries? It’s gotta be the mohawk.
Round 5, 148th overall: QB Ingle Martin. As a first-team quarterback and punter in college, I think the Packers were hoping for the next Randall Cunningham. Currently listed as the #2 in Kansas City.
Round 5, 165th overall: T/G Tony Moll. I guess we figured one of these O-line draft picks would pan out. Not this one.
Round 6, 183rd overall: DT Johnny Jolly. The two-time member of Texas A&M’s Leadership Council (really? yes) is a good player but has some off the field concerns.
Round 6, 185th overall: S Tyrone Culver. Getting occasional PT with the Dolphins now.
Round 7, 253rd overall: DE Dave Tollefson. Interesting note about Tollefson – his last name would make for a good restaurant. “Tollefson’s!” Sounds friendly enough. Think about it.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Views from the Hillside.

  • Aaron Rodgers, are all your limbs still attached? Yes? Check again.
  • It’s hard to win a football game when only four guys show up to play. Thank you for the outstanding effort, Charles Woodson, Nick Collins, Atari Bigby, and Al Harris. You gave us a chance to win, even though we didn’t deserve it.
  • 10 more penalties is unacceptable.
  • Was AJ Hawk a fifth pick or a fifth round pick?
  • Sign Brad Childress is not long for the league: Letting a player talk you out of punting on 4 and 1 only down by 3 in the 4th quarter is not a show of decisiveness. Player then fumbles. Man up, mustache-man.
  • Ryan Grant had another good day with a yards per carry average over 4, yet McCarthy wouldn’t commit to the run.
  • Week 10 BASTOW: I had three players in line to receive a BASTOW this week, but all of them had another play that counterbalanced their bad-assness. Desmond Bishop completely planted some nameless Viking special teamer on the opening kickoff, but later in the game, he got a 15-yard personal foul penalty for hitting Aundre Ellison when he was out of bounds on a punt. Mason Crosby hit a 47-yard field goal to put the Packers up by 6 with 0:33 left in the third quarter, but later he missed a 52-yarder to win the game. Will Blackmon kept the Packers in the game with his absolutely amazing punt return for a TD. Seriously, you will not ever see a prettier punt return than that, but earlier in the game he fielded a punt a yard deep in his own end-zone. Let me repeat this: A YARD DEEP IN HIS OWN ENDZONE. Totally un-badass, and just plain stupid. You don’t see high school players make that kind of mistake, and therefore, Will, you can’t win a BASTOW.
  • The Ranter holds ALL accountable.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Packer Midseason Grades (3)

Offense: B+
Aaron Rodgers, he of monster contract, has played well. This is not a surprise. The only thing holding this group back from scoring 30+ a game, is the O-line and the running game. Ryan Grant, he of monster contract, had his best game of the year against the best run defense in the league in the Titans. Look for a huge second half to match the huge dollar signs, he is coming around and so is the line. James Jones has been replaced by versatile Jordy Nelson. Sophomore slump, indeed.
Defense: Secondary A- and Front Seven D+This is like a group project where one part of the group just didn’t show up and decided to let the other group do all the work. Unfortunately for that lazy group, the teacher gives out individual grades. The front seven have been soft, and have been gashed by mediocre running backs all year, they have not maintained their gap control, and have had very limited pressure on QBs. On the flip side, the secondary, despite key injuries, has play admirably and done all the work on the project. The teacher has realized this and has graded accordingly.
Special Teams: DAny team that cuts special teams beast, Tracy White, in mid-season fails. Period. However, the inverted trebuchet-legged, Mason Crosby ups the grade to just above passing. (Keeping Tracy White would have lead to an A+ as Crosby and White could dominate special teams by themselves.)
Overall: CThe Packers are like that smart kid in class who just doesn't care. He could be a 4.0 student, but he'd rather drink PBR tall-boys with the Principal's daughter in the school parking lot. Saying that the Packers have the potential to be a great team is like that smart kid 10 years after graduation working at the townie bar saying he had the potential to go to Princeton. It doesn't matter.
Hit the books, you've got one semester to get your grades up!

Packer Midseason Grades (2)

Offense: C
While the passing game has been as solid as a case of frozen Johnsonvilles, the subpar running game is more like processed hot dogs. And when you discover the Packers are dead last in offensive penalities – 575 against so far – it’s really a Debbie Downer for the offense as a whole. (Believe it or not, the Texans are #1 in that category.)
Defense: B-
Again, there’s good and bad (thankfully no ugly this time). The secondary has produced a motherload of interceptions (13) and points so far, but we’re getting rushed on like a mofo. With 11.5 sacks, Joey Porter almost has as many sacks at the Packers (14). Lot of room for improvement and now that we’re healthy, I think it’s going to be a big 2nd half for these guys.
Special Teams: C+
Mason “Braveleg” Crosby is the best kicker in the history of kickers and I am still quietly irate he wasn’t allowed to attempt the 60-yard game winner against the Titans in overtime. His range is up to 80 yards, McCarthy. WTF!? Tracy White will never be forgotten.
Coaching: B-I love the Michelin Man Mike McCarthy and probably always will. There’s been some outstanding issues all season that should’ve been taken care of by now (penalties, offensive line, Braveleg opportunities, etc.). Oh yeah, do NOT wear that snowmobile suit this winter, MM, or you will be on Franklin’s list. You have been warned.
Overall: C+
The bottom line is that we’re 4-4 yet so much better. Yeah, we were close in the losses to Atlanta and Tampa but those are teams we should beat. Our only great game was against Indy, and the other 3 wins (MIN, DET, SEA) were borderline gimmes. It’s like we’ve got all these cans of Whoop-Ass lined up and ready to open on our (weaker) opponents. Well boys, it’s time to start crackin’ them. Who’s next? The Vikings, you say? Excellent.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Packer Midseason Grades

Offense: B
We have to run the ball in order to win the NFC North. We have not effectively done that.....yet. The offensive line is beginning to gel and Ryan Grant looks as though he is regaining the burst from the second half of last year. The passing game has carried this offense this year. Greg Jennings is an elite WR and Aaron Rodgers has proven to be a legit, franchise QB. DD is DD, a beast to take down. Jordy Nelson is going to press James Jones for all he is worth to be the #3 in this potent passing attack.
Defense: B-
We have be unable to shut down the run. Nick Barnett has not had the kind of year expected preseason. Brandon Chillar has been a pleasant surprise – he can play ball. The defensive backfield may be the best in the league. With Al back and Charles Woodson playing like the best corner in the league, we are going to be tough. Tramon Williams is a legitimate starting press corner that just needs to play more snaps. With the defensive line rotation hopefully set for the rest of the year, look for this D to step up. Harrell will make an impact in an improving interior.
Special Teams: B
Jordy Nelson is a good return man; Will Brackmon is great. He will break at least one more this year. Our coverage on punts has been excellent and it seems as though Frost has worked out some kinks. Brandon Chillar has proven he is a valuable asset on special teams as well. Mason Crosby is one of the best in the league. I like our special teams and expect big plays from that group in the second half of the season.
Coaching: B+
I have to say I love the Green Bay coaching staff. MM is a great play caller and is being recognized around the league for that. He runs a tight ship and I think the players want to play hard for him. The defensive has been able to make adjustments when necessary, without sacrificing the physical, in your face defense Green Bay loves to feature.
Overall: B
This team needs to put together a few good games in a row. Talent is abundant and players are gaining unbelievable experience. The Packers are a young, healthy organization. They need to learn how to close games. At 4-4, the record is dissappointing. They are better than a .500 team and should win the NFC North. It’s a great time to be a Packer fan.
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