Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Ryan Grant for Pro Bowl

I’m loving Ryan Grant and his 4.4 YPC (5.0 in December) right now and his 1200+ rushing yards and 10 TDs. And when I saw Adrian Peterson fumble away another ball (six now on the season) Monday night, I delighted in the fact that Ryan Grant has only one fumble all year. That was back in week two, btw.

Through the first couple games of the year, there were stories suggesting Grant was a talentless meathead and others saying that Thompson was irate about the contract he handed him. At the time, those knocks seemed borderline legit even though Grant's short career suggested he might be a second-half player and even though our line was more chaotic than a police riot.

At this point in the season, #25 looks to be emanating with confidence and rightfully so. He’s third in the NFC in rushing yards and second in TDs. Hell, the man is even a top ten RB in most fantasy leagues. But the thing I admire most is his attitude. He seems to have a desire to reach his potential and the work ethic, competitive spirit and humbleness to match. In other words, Ryan Grant is Packer people.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s a travesty if Grant doesn’t get in because we all know it’s a popularity contest and maybe he came on a little too late this season. But there is no question that #25 deserves the honor. Because of his numbers. Because of his attitude. Because Ryan Grant is one of the best running backs in the NFC. Period.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Bookends Make a Great Gift

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Spending my days in a library has made me realize the value of a good set of bookends. Their versatility is rarely noticed, but I have found many uses. They obviously are designed to hold up books, but they can be used as doorstops, DVD and video game holders for the less literary, and even aquariums. Flip them upside down, attach to a wall, set a piece of 1x6 between the two and you’ve got a shelf…of course then you’d need another set of bookends to keep your books on it. I’ve decided what better Christmas gift than a good set of bookends?

For Uncle Larry. He's kind of nerdy... then again, so am I.

For Grandma Beatrice.

For Robert Greenfield.

The nice thing for all Packer fans is that they have all gotten a nice set of bookends this Christmas. Brand new, strong, and versatile, plus, these bookends will only get better with age. One was a little banged up at after UPS dropped it off, and the set wasn’t sent complete at first, but they are now together and look to be an excellent set. Clay Matthews and Brad Jones look to be an excellent set of bookends for the Packers linebacking corps, one is already a star and should be a Pro Bowler. The other is contributing in his first year despite being a 7th round pick of the 2009 draft class, which is like finding this bookend set in a thrift store for $0.50. Kevin Greene will keep these bookends in top working order, as he knows a little about being a bookend himself.

I hope everyone enjoys their Christmas, regardless if you get a set of sweet bookends from a friend or loved one, take comfort in knowing that Ted Thompson already got you a pair for Christmas.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Pretty Sure I Could Do That

In my youth, I dreamed of being the next Jerry Rice or Walter Payton with some Lawrence Taylor thrown in (hey, it was the 80s and we sucked). It’s hard to say since I was unstoppable on both sides of the ball during recess. But as the playground got bigger, I got weeded out for guys that were bigger/stronger/faster and had the early puberty and the whatnot. Before I knew it, that dream was gone and I was selling crapperware in Oshkosh to make the rent.

Now, as a beer-guzzling, couch-potato blogger, I don’t even joke about playing the NFL (I could get hurt really bad!) but do still enjoy the comical image of me ceding the last toilet stall in the locker room to a demanding nose tackle even though I may have to go much much worse. I just know I couldn’t make it – the league is too gifted and talented. These guys might as well be another planet as far as I’m concerned.

Then Mason Crosby came along and gave me hope.

I generally do not like ripping on players, but ol’ Colorado Thunder Thighs has been sucking more than a litter of kittens off a twenty-teat Tabby cat lately. I don’t care what McCarthy says, he is *this* close to bagging groceries at Piggly Wiggly. And if that happens, who’s going to take his place? You? You, Lieutenant Weinberg? Well, what about me, Robert Greenfield.

I’m completely serious.

I played competitive soccer for years (anyone who says soccer is for wussies never played beyond 5th grade) and was the go-to guy for penalty kicks. That means that A) I know how to kick and 2) I am clutch. Sure, it may take a few days to get my leg back into shape, but I can guarantee right now that I would be cash-money from inside 35 yards. Give me a little practice and one of those kicking tees, and in a couple of weeks I believe I could start booting them – with consistency – from 45+. Now that’s not the best in the league but it’s better than you got right now and you’ve got nowhere else to turn.

You don’t believe me, Packers scouting guy reading this post!? Try me. I will come to Lambeau this week at my own expense (I live near the Walmart). I would only ask you give me a day’s notice so I could get another driver to take my shift. As a bonus, I will bring you some delicious homemade curds and schnitzel for letting my tryout (again, a day’s notice to prepare these items is appreciated).

In all honesty, when I was just a little guy, my all-time favorite wish – the only I always replayed in my head – was me winning the Super Bowl for the Packers. I know you want to win the Super Bowl too. Let’s help each other. So, ah… we feeling pretty good about this dealio?

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sly, Bush, and "I Told You So"

There are two things people love: underdogs and being first.

There’s an inherent inclination for humans to root for the underdog. Something in our wiring creates a need to witness people conquer overwhelming odds and stand on the field of battle victorious. This is true in life, and it particularly manifests itself in sport. Sylvester Stallone is a perfect example of both of these cases; we need the Vietnam Vet-loner and Philly nobody to succeed. For us to sleep soundly at night, Stallone must evade an egomaniacal, small-town sherriff and rescue P.O.W.s from hordes of Viet Cong. It is imperative that he escape his life as a low-rent thug/mob enforcer to become the Heavyweight Champion of the World…and defeat Communism. Actually, Stallone defeats Communism twice, once in Moscow on Christmas and again in the mountains of Afghanistan. Sly is the ultimate underdog. Watch Rocky or Rambo, all nine of them, and try not to root for him. It is impossible, your synapses are wired to scream at the TV “Get ‘im, ROCK!” I call this the Sly Stallone Underdog Phenomenon. If you want further evidence of the Sly Stallone Underdog Phenomenon check out: Over the Top (third greatest arm-wrestling movie of all time) and Victory (the greatest movie about Allied P.O.W.s playing soccer against Nazis ever made). You cannot help but root for him!

Being first is pretty self-explanatory. If you get picked first in gym, you’re probably good at sports. If you’re first in your class, you’re probably smart. If you’re first in line, you usually get what you’re waiting for before everyone else. If you discover something first, you have the satisfaction of knowing that you were on the ground floor of something. Just look at any comment space or message board and you will likely find three people whose post only reads “First”…actually, that’s not self-explanatory, that’s just stupid. But in most other instances, it’s good to be first, and people want to be recognized as first.

This brings me to Jarrett Bush. Some…maybe most, readers just clicked away. To them I say, good riddance! But if you’ve stuck around to see how these two things relate, you may be rewarded. There is no player on the Packers roster that draws more ire than Bush, and not without some merit. However, since Al Harris’ injury, Bush has stepped into the nickel role and played solidly, not great, but not terrible. Aaron over at CheeseheadTV even recognized this.

I am on record as saying I’m leading the Jarrett Bush Bandwagon as far back as here and also here. The reasoning for this is outlined above. 1) There is no bigger underdog than Jarrett Bush. For him to escape his rep as mistake-prone, it will take a Rambo/Rocky-like effort over the course of these next few games, an effort that I think he can give (The nice thing? The bar is set pretty low for success). 2) As tweeted, and to the best of my knowledge, I’m very much the first on board this bandwagon, I just looked in the rearview mirror, and I can’t even see anyone for miles. It’s a little lonely, but I firmly believe that it will slowly fill up. Just remember I was here first, and you should never underestimate my desire to say, “I told you so!”

There is a final reason that I’m wishing for #24’s success. It’s just easier and more enjoyable to root for someone to succeed than it is to root against them and hope they fail, unless of course they’re this guy. Once I committed myself to rooting for Bush on Sunday, I got incredibly excited for Sunday to arrive. It’s a different feeling to not root for the star, but rather the goofy, yep…underdog. It’s difficult to explain, but putting faith in someone who is not recognized for much other than failure, is an exciting feeling.

…and this is why am I rooting for Jarrett Bush this weekend, I may the only one, but that makes me first and you can’t fight the Sly Stallone Underdog Phenomenon. Climb on the bandwagon.

“Get ‘im, BUSH!”

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Real Men Don't Drink Zima

First there was the Minister of Defense, and now there’s the Jolly Rancher.

I just learned that the drink/drank/lean/sizzurp that Johnny Jolly is being indicted for (again) has a very simple recipe that starts with cough syrup and soda and ends with… wait for it… a Jolly Rancher.

Because of the last ingredient, this is dangerously close to falling into a category of drinks that should never be ordered by men. These are, in no particular order, the Appletini, the Wine Spritzer, the Cosmo, and oh yeah, the (classic) Zima with a Jolly Rancher at the bottom. Long-known to be enjoyed by women who don’t like the taste of beer, these fruity beverages actually come with a copy of the latest edition of O in some states (or so I heard). Among other things, it just reminds me of that sweet book back in the 80s, “Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche.” Seriously, if I ever saw a group of guys tailgating with a case of Zima and a bag of Jolly Ranchers, I’d immediate start snapping photos because that’s about as rare as Sasquatch living in suburbia.

Now, I did say this concoction is “close” to being a girly, but it actually resides next to it. That is because I have seen Johnny Jolly play football and he is CLEARLY one bad mother – shut your mouth! However, does he deserve a little lighthearted flack for being associated with an illegal candy-coated drink? Yes. Thus, in the great tradition of Packer monikers, I submit for your consideration “the Jolly Rancher,” (supplanting my previous “Mother Untucker”) as the new nickname for Johnny Jolly. It is perhaps the most obvious and perfect nickname of all time, easily topping “Dookie Davenport” or “Chewy” and will be the name I use from #97 from here on out. I hope you agree.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Views from the Hillside

You’ve waited, and now it’s here, another installment of “Views from the Hillside". You haven’t been waiting? Oh well, maybe you didn’t know you were waiting, but your subconscious most definitely was. I usually throw one of these out when I can’t think of anything genius like this. The root cause often being a wicked hangover, but not this time. I’ve just had too many random thoughts and needed to get them all out.

  • How blind are football prognosticators? Remember this past summer after the great Jay Cutler was brought to Chicago, and that moved them up to the elite of the NFC? Peter King picked them to go to the Super Bowl and Kevin Seifert picked them to win the NFC North. How this happened, I really have no clue. I took an objective glance at their roster before the season…well, as objectively as anyone can look at a junk roster, and said no way they even finish 8-8. I’m waiting for the Sports Illustrated and ESPN job offers to come in…my email must be down.
  • Dom Capers is craaaazy!
  • I think Iwas involved in/overheard/ignored 23 different Tiger Woods’ conversations this past weekend. Those are parts of my life I will never get back. How does Tiger measure himself to other golfers? I think we know it’s not by height.
  • Soldier Field looks worse than East Dillon High’s. That is an embarrassment for a pro football franchise.
  • And the sign said "Long-haired freaky people need not apply". So he tucked his hair up under his hat and he went in to ask him why. He said "You look like fine a upstanding young man, I think you'll do. So he took off his hat, and said, “Imagine that. Huh! Me workin' for you!"
  • Avatar. Avatar. Avatar. Nerd-herd, mount up!
  • Corey Willams blew up the Shittsburgh Steelers. Yeah, that Corey Williams. Jolly, Pickett, Jenkins, and Raji are going to be eating Rothlis Burgers for dinner on Sunday.
  • Jermichael Finley needs a nickname. Thoughts? How about: “Don’t Even Try And Cover Me With Anything Other Than A Cornerback Because You Will Fail”? That has a nice ring to it.
  • Yesterday, I spilled a beer. That was my first spill in 107 attempts. Pretty good streak.
Okay, maybe I'm a tad hungover.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Uncle Dale: Traveling Man

I’ve known my uncle Dale for a good 10 years now. He was MIA from the family following his divorce to the “she-beast” in the early 80s. He only communicated to Grandma a few times during that period and his letters all had different return addresses. Turns out Dale was felt he got married too early and wanted to find – and possibly reinvent – himself somewhere nobody knew him. There were unverified rumors ranging from him as a stage actor in Canada to searching for the elusive skunk ape in the Everglades.

After twenty years of soul-searching, Dale finally returned to Green Bay the night of January 26, 1997… the night of the Packers Super Bowl win. I’ll never forget because the whole family was doing the Beer Barrel Polka in Grandma’s living room and yipping like hyenas gone mad in celebration. I was hopped up on Mad Dog 20/20 and Voodoos (Vodka + Mountain Dew) and was showing off my classic breakdance moves like the robot and the worm (aka “the dolphin” aka “the caterpillar") to everyone’s delight. As I was coming back for a second pass across the carpet, I heard Grandma exclaim, “It’s Dale!”. Sure enough in the doorway stood a skinny little weathered man vaguely reminiscent of a picture I had seen somewhere in the house. Dale shrugged off the attention (“yeah, yeah, yeah, it’s Dale”) and tolerated some of the inevitable hugs.

As we fed him a million questions as to his whereabouts and doings as well as many libations, Dale finally admitted that he worked random jobs such as a roofer and vacuum salesman here and there and everywhere. His stories all came back to a diamond-in-the-rough Packer bar he frequented. There was Howie’s Sports Page in Albuquerque, where the owner was originally from Fond du Lac, Town Hall in North Dakota where the bar was literally split down the middle – half watched the Packers, the others the Queens.

Dale’s favorite place of all was Rum Runner’s Tavern in Houston. Apparently it was as close to Green Bay as you can imagine. People dressed up in green and gold, bratwurst was served, and they even performed Lambeau Leaps. I looked it up and this Texas mecca of Packer Pride actually exists – check it out. Turns out the only criteria Dale had in choosing his next place to call home was that it had a Packer bar. Now that’s having your priorities straight. See you Sunday, Dale? Thought so.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Summer in Shawano...Nevermore.

I used to know a Lenore when I was growing up. She lived in Cleveland, and she used to spend her summers in Shawano at her aunt and uncle’s lake house. Lenore was a HUGE Browns fan. Kind of funny, right? I used to tell her that same thing, but she wouldn’t listen. She had three Bernie Kosar jerseys, two Dawg masks, and a Jim Brown autographed football which she slept with at night. She claimed to only sit in the Dawg Pound when she went to games. I never really believed her on that point, but she was very convincing. Some nights she would come and rap on my bedroom door, and we would sit on my grandma’s dock and talk football until her aunt and uncle would stumble home from the nearby resort bar and tell her to go to bed.

When Art Modell moved the Browns to Baltimore, Lenore never showed up in Shawano during summer vacation. I asked her aunt when she was coming, but her aunt said she wasn’t sure. I wrote Lenore a letter asking when she was coming to Shawano and she only responded, “nevermore.” I wrote again and asked why, and she responded, “Art Modell has taken the one thing I adore. The Browns are nevermore.”

I never saw Lenore after that and for this reason I hate the effing Ravens and all they stand for. Tonight, their playoff hopes are nevermore.

Go, Pack.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Nerd Alert

This is a very rare and difficult thing for someone with such Packer pride, but this week I’d actually like to extend my praise to some of the Vikings players, notably the ones named Bernard Berrian, Percy Harvin, Adrian Peterson, Chester Taylor and Sidney Rice. These five purple-toting pigskinners comprise the elite group I have dubbed Penta Lambda.

Let’s say you were playing a fill-in-the-blanks kind of game and you were told that five guys names Bernard, Percy, Adrian, Chester and Sidney were all on the same team – what kind of team would you guess they were on? Maybe chess, sewing or table tennis? Nope. What about math or some sort of church group? NOT EVEN. These are the names of musclebound, tattooed manly men who play professional football for the Vikings of Minnesota.

Not since Revenge of the Nerds has such a powerhouse of dorkville names come together. When R.O.N. was made at the height of Nerd Power, the creators actually concepted the names Bernard, Percy, Adrian, Chester and Sidney as the stars, but studio executives felt that was just too nerdy and thus unbelievable. Instead, they went with the backup names of Louis, Gilbert, Arnold, Harold and Lamar, who we all love to this day. However, if there ever was going to be a backstory film about the original TriLambs (cross your fingers my screenplay gets optioned!), a large part of the Vikings offense would likely have starring roles waiting for them, or at least be able to sell the rights to their Penta Lambda names.

I’m sure no one ever expected a shy, stout young lad called Chester to grow up and play smashmouth football for the Ravens and Vikings. Nor could anyone predict a young Virginian youth named Percy in 1999 to content for Rookie of the Year in 2009. That’s why I say, congratulations guys. You’ve overcome the odds of having some of the most unwanted dorky names for guys in history to become some really impressive beauhunk Stan Gables.
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