Thursday, November 19, 2015

5 Questions with Vikings Territory

Adam Warwas over at VikingsTerritory reached out to us to answer a few questions (in bold) and I gladly answered. While we've had some fun trash-talking with these guys in the past, I was *a little* more straightforward this time. Please let us know what you think in the comments.

1. The obvious elephant in the room is that the Packers are on a three game slide and playing some pretty ugly, relatively speaking, football. Can you talk a little bit about what factors have been involved with these three losses and what solutions the team might try to employ in Minnesota?

It’s as though they went on a two-week bender and were still hungover last week. A good night’s sleep and a strong cup of coffee should sufficiently wake them up. Rodgers has always been a master of improvisation and there’s a chance he’s been boxed in by some vanilla play calling. Giving him more freelance ability with the secondary playmakers will keep defenses guessing and frustrated before #12 drops the hammer.

2. Prior to the season, I'm on record saying that Eddie Lacy being on that Packers roster is just plain unfair. As it turns out, Lacy's year is going pretty poorly and Green Bay is looking fairly one-dimensional on offense these days. Is that a fair assessment and how is that impacting Aaron Rodgers?

While it’s not ideal, Lacy’s short history has indicated he may be a slow starter. Couple that with an injury and the numbers speak for themselves. Starks is a very capable backup but brings a different set of skills to the scheme, probably resulting in more week-to-week adjustments on offense than preferred. That being said, I don’t know it impacts Rodgers that much. I mean, he won the MVP in 2011 when the team was 28th in rushing. He hasn’t played his greatest, but his receivers outside of Cobb and James Jones are relatively young and inexperienced as well. Some struggles are to be expected. As they mature and gain Rodgers’ trust, the offense will get exponentially better sooner than later.

3. Can you tell Vikings fans a bit about Green Bay's 2015 rookie class? I'd like to get your perspective on which rookies are contributing to the success of the team and which have been underwhelming.

In typical draft-and-develop fashion, we picked up some supporting cast members in Rounds 1-3 and depth the rest of the way. You’ll want to pay attention to our first pick especially, Damarious Randall, who has already save our behinds more than once in the secondary. Ty Montgomery, our return guy and WR, appears to be healthy enough to contribute in a variety of ways. Quinten Rollins is real intriguing ball hawk with upside in the secondary. He’s actually a former college basketball player who was his conference’s defensive player of the year his senior year – the only year he played college football. There’s a chance you might see John Kuhn’s potential successor and fellow redhead, Aaron Ripowski, aka “The Ripper.” Jack Ryan of “Sixteen Candles” fame is also an intriguing middle linebacker to watch – if not this season, then the next.

4. The Vikings have really had a hard time getting Adrian Peterson and Teddy Bridgewater both into rhythm at the same time. By that, I mean that the offense has yet to fire on all cylinders in 2015. This Dom Capers defense has had ups and downs this season, and I'm wondering if you think the Vikings are most likely to find success through the air or on the ground?

Ha! I mean, what do you think? Despite his decent weapons, if Teddy has above-average success through the air it would probably be a surprise to everyone. #5 is still growing but you have to wonder if there’s much ceiling left to reach? Of course it’s the ground game that’s the concern. Even though we’ve won the majority of the matchups, Peterson has almost single-handedly kept you in the game. If he’s semi-contained, I don’t see you winning through the air.

5. Look, I understand that divisional games are always hard-fought, and they can be as unpredictable as they are difficult to win. Still, the Green Bay fans seem to be taking last week's loss to the Lions particularly hard. To those fans that seem to think the sky is falling in Wisconsin, what message would you like to relay?

At 6-3, many other teams would gladly trade to be in our shoes. That said, we’ve set the bar high and expect more. Fans should know the upside of this team by now and that if we get into the playoffs, there’s a helluva a good chance we can make this season special. Go troll your boat somewhere else.

BONUS: Have a prediction for the outcome of Sunday's game?
Hard-fought 27-20 Packers victory.

Our question for Vikings Territory: If the Vikings were sitting at .500 or below at this point, what would be the initial offer to Ragnar to come back and save the Vikings’ season?

Vikings Territory: Unlike the Packers, the Vikings are not that dependent on any individual, nor do we live in “What If” Land and dwell on the past. The fact is that we currently sit atop the NFC North and the Minnesota Vikings, not the Green Bay Packers, are the present and motivated to place Green Bay firmly in the past.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Packers' Defensive Mystery Has Been Solved

At some point, someone decided that a team's defense should be judged on yards given up. That's cool. I mean, offenses get bonus points for yardage milestones during NFL games, so if you don't give up yards you limit these opponents' bonus points. What? That's just fantasy football? Oh. So total defense is just yards? Huh. Seems like scoring usually determines the victor of any given football contest. Am I right on that? I am? Okay, good.

Hello, what have we here? The Packers have the best scoring defense in the NFL? Interesting. Sometimes it's hard to hear over the "Fire Capers" chants, so I'll repeat, the Packers have the number one scoring defense in the NFL. This got me wondering, "How is the defense this good?" Being the inquisitive type, I started asking around hoping to find some clues as to the defense's emergence. I got nothing but dead ends. No one was talking. 

Finally, I followed up on one last lead. It was a long shot. I contacted a security guard at the Hutson Center whom I had helped recover a Travis Jervey autographed cheesehead for a few years ago. We'll call him "Tommy". Unfortunately for Tommy, his dog had eaten it, so the recovery operation was suboptimal. Anyway, Tommy owed me a favor. I texted him over the bye week to see if he had noticed anything different during his time around the practice facilities. His reply was brief. All his text said was, "Follow the Clay."

Following the Packers' best defensive player seemed like a good, and fairly obvious, place to start to get to the bottom of this excellent defensive start for the team. So during the bye week, I tailed Clay Matthews to see if I could find his secret. While he did his best to conceal his activities, he was no match for my superior sleuthing skills. What I found was shocking. 

Clay Matthews was training actual bronco. Amazing. His ability to physically outmatch and mentally destroy his enemies was the product of training against his LITERAL opponents. This explained so much. It was all becoming apparent. The mystery of Packers stingy defense has been solved.

As you can see from the photo above, Matthews seems more than ready to take on the Broncos tonight. It's going to be a bloodbath. Packers 34, Broncos -15.

***Disclaimer: Neither The Packer Ranter nor Clay Matthews will accept liability for your health or safety if you decide to take on a similar training regimen. 
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