Surviving Sunday: Packers News, Notes and Links for the Football Deprived

Surviving Sundays with no Packers Football
Surviving Sundays with no Packers Football
Surviving Sundays with no Packers football

Packers training camp opened Friday and we now have plenty of Packers storylines to analyze and break down. That means today’s “Surviving Sunday” will be the last until the Packers 2014 season comes to an end, hopefully after Feb. 1 and a victory in Super Bowl XLIX in Arizona.

Now that training camp has started, what Packers storyline would you like to see go the way of “Surviving Sunday ” and disappear for the rest of the season?

I’m sick of talking about the defense. I mean really sick of it.

I’m sick of hearing about how bad Packers’ safeties were last season. I’m sick of being worried about having to watch A.J. Hawk for another season. I’m sick of speculation about B.J. Raji ever being a useful player again. I’m sick of wondering if Nick Perry will ever stay healthy. I’m sick of Clay Matthews’ thumb (and his damn hamstring) and I’m sick of trying to figure out if Dom Capers is a good defensive coordinator or not.

The sooner the Packers defense improves, the happier my life will be. I’m not asking for the Packers D to morph into the second coming of the Purple People Eaters or the Steel Curtain, but show enough promise that fans can have reasonable hope that the defense could catch fire late in the season and ignite a Super Bowl run.

That seems to be the formula for success in today’s NFL: Have a good to great quarterback who goes on a run late in the season and back that up with a good defense that heats up as the weather turns cold.

If I have to put up with #FireCapers hashtags and another season of bumbling play from the middle of the defense, it’s going to be a trying season.

Packers News, Notes and Links

  • Now that I’m done ranting, we can get to some happier news, like the Packers signing Jordy Nelson to a 4-year, $39 million contract extension. I see Nelson as a Cris Carter type of receiver. He has very good physical ability, but stretches those physical tools even further by catching anything he can reach and always thinking a step or two ahead of the defense.
  • The next Packers player due for an extension is Randall Cobb. I’m thinking the Packers might wait a bit before upping their offer to Cobb for two reasons: 1) He’s a smallish guy and the Packers might not be convinced he’s durable enough to warrant a contract like Nelson’s. He missed most of last season and also was hobbled at the end of 2012 with a knee injury. 2) Perhaps the Packers want to see what Jared Abbrederis can do before sinking a bunch of money into Cobb. Can Abbrederis — also a smallish slot WR — do a lot of the same things Cobb can do? The Packers might view Cobb as not worth his asking price if Abbrederis can do many of the same things at a similar level of production.
  • The Ol’ Bag of Donuts boys get you ready for Packers training camp with a new podcast. If you’re not ready for Packers training camp yet, you will be after listening to this.
  • Mike Neal and Nick Perry started camp on the physically unable to perform list. It wouldn’t be Packers training camp without one of these two players injured. This year, they’re both injured, so it’s a double bonus.
  • If you’re looking to join a live discussion during Packers practices, check out the live threads hosted by Acme Packing Co.
  • If you’re a Debbie Downer, be sure to read Zach Kruse’s 10 reasons for concern as the Packers open camp. All are legit concerns, but all can be overcome if Rodgers’ collar bone stays in one piece.

Non Packers links and other nonsense

  • Ravens RB Ray Rice was suspended two games for knocking out his wife in an elevator. In other words, he got less of a suspension than he would have received if he took a performance enhancing drug. Everyone is outraged about this slap on the wrist for a serious offense, but until people stop watching football, stop filling stadiums, quit buying merchandise and disconnect themselves from the NFL, don’t expect anything to change.
  • Cliff Lee ended a recent postgame media session by ripping a loud fart. That’s exactly how Mike McCarthy should start and end his media session if the Packers get manhandled in the opener against the Seahawks.
  • Some people might find Lee’s fart gross and offensive. It was nowhere near as gross and offensive as ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith opining about Ray Rice and domestic violence.
  • While I might agree with a lot of the points made in this Jezebel piece about how the NFL views women, the name-calling and hyperbole used by the author will do nothing to actually address the issue. In fact, overly emotional and sophomoric pieces like this make the issue worse, not better. And it just screams of an egotistical author saying, “Hey, look at me! I’m using big naughty words to show off how angry and clever I can be at the same time! Check me out, Internet! I’m just as mad as you are! Grrrrr!” Annoying.
  • The drummer for Primus — one of the coolest bands of all time — had a heart attack last week. But there’s good news, he had successful open-heart surgery this week and is on the path to recovery.
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Adam Czech is a freelance reporter and a Packers fan living in the Twin Cities. Follow Adam on Twitter. Read more of Adam\\\'s writing on the Packers here.

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  • Ed Schoenfeld

    I think Cobb might be the one delaying a deal there. He’ll have a better chance to get full value for himself after a season where he doesn’t miss over half the games.

  • Two Bears, One Cup

    10 reasons for concern article is very good. No big surprises (well, potential for some Mason Crosby regression not making the list is a medium surprise) but it is fun to see all those concerns stacked up. It would be fun to re-visit those concerns at the end of the year.

    Anyone remember ten concerns from last year?

  • Oppy

    I’m sick to death of hearing how AJ Hawk can’t get off a block to save his life…

    …When AJ Hawk’s job is to get stuck on blocks.

    • marpag

      Maybe I’m not understanding you, but I’m pretty sure that “getting off of blocks” (also called “shedding blocks”) is a pretty well-established fundamental requirement for front-seven defenders. In fact, other than tackling, I’m not sure that there is anything more fundamental to good defense than getting off of blocks.

      Until now, I have never heard anyone say that a defender’s role is to “get stuck on blocks.”

      ???

      • Oppy

        Marpag, please, read this post in full and read the links as well. Feel free to do your own research, as well..

        There’s two inside LB positions in a 3-4 defense. They’re called different things in different schemes- usually “Mack/Buck” or “Jack/Mike”.

        One LB is supposed to be of brutish strength, because his position is tasked with engaging any offensive linemen or FB’s who are running a lead block for the ball carrier or protecting the QB in a certain gap. They scrape and fill gaps. This LB has to be able to take on the blocker, and tie him up, so….

        The other ILB, who is typically more fleet of foot and athletic, can attack the ball carrier/QB untouched and make the play.

        As I’ve posted numerous times before, “guess which position AJ Hawk plays?”

        So, YES, he IS supposed to get stuck on blocks an awful lot of the time. It’s a sacrificial position/assignment, like many in Dom’s scheme, where certain players do “the dirty work” on a given down to allow another to “grab the glory”. It’s similar to the work 3-4 DE’s are supposed to do to allow the OLB’s to make plays.

        Here’s a quick cut-and-paste on the ILB’s from a basic 3-4 LB assignment breakdown which I’ll also link.

        “Jack Inside Linebacker: His entire job is to keep the Mike ILB clean; by keeping the Mike clean, the Jack’s sole responsibility is to take on the offensive guards and keep them away from his running mate. He needs to be very strong at the point of attack – a downhill thumper if you will. It’s a dirty and underrated ability…”

        from http://www.buffalorumblings.com/2010/5/6/1460598/examining-lb-job-responsibilities

        Here’s another excerpt/link:

        “You will also see middle linebackers labeled as “Mike” and “Ted.” The “Mike” linebacker is a classic middle linebacker, but the “Ted” ‘backer fills a role much like a fullback. His job is to step up first and take on blockers, freeing a path for the “Mike” ‘backer to make tackles.”

        http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1212418-football-101-linebacker-assignments-and-alignment

        There are FAR too many Packers fans who still misunderstand how the 3-4 D (and even how some of Dom’s concepts are applied to other alignments) varies from the 4-3 that the Packers traditionally applied. I assure you, there is great reason why the coaching staff in GB does nothing but sing the praises of AJ Hawk and he maintains his starting role. It’s because he’s doing exactly what they are asking of him, and doing it at a high level. Unfortunately, there are many fans who still don’t understand the sacrificial role he plays- and yes, they ask him to go tangle up guys, and keep them that way.. I’ve posted similar comments with links to various breakdowns of ILB positions in the 3-4 repeatedly. This will be the last. I’ve tried my best to supply informative information. It seems easier for people to say I don’t have a clue what I’m talking about because it’s not a popular sentiment, rather than take the 5 minutes it takes to find dozens of articles about 3-4 LB play that confirm it.

        • marpag

          LOL. Sorry, I didn’t realize that you had such a martyr complex about sharing your “informative information” (as opposed to that other kind of information, I guess). In the future, I’ll try to be more faithful in doing my five minutes of reading, lest you be needlessly burdened by some requirement to educate the masses.

          For the sake of time, let’s ignore all the crap in your post that is patently obvious, self-evident, overly simplistic or pedantic – which is most of it. (I HAVE duly noted, however, and have also written down, that there are not one, but two, inside linebackers in a 3-4 defense. Thanks!)

          There is a difference between “taking on a block” and “getting stuck on a block.” I seriously doubt that any football coach in the history of Earth has ever used the expression “getting stuck on a block” to refer to a good thing. A linebacker who is “stuck on a block” is defeated, engulfed, wiped out, shoved aside or eliminated.

          • Oppy

            I’m not pointing out that there is two ILBs, buddy. I’m pointing out to you that those two ILB positions have completely different assignments- something you clearly didn’t understand, because if the Buck shed those blocks, you know, because it’s fundamental, he wouldn’t be doing his job.

            Let me remind you, I made a comment based on the article- what Packers storyline do you want to go away. It was not directed at anyone in specific. You went out of your way to state, basically, that my statement was ridiculous- it’s the exact opposite of “fundamental” football. Sorry if my response was taken as condescending, it was not intended to be, whatsoever. However, BOTH of your posts were certainly ill-willed and rude.

            It’s pretty rich you’re attempting to paint me out as the jerk in this exchange.

            Have a good day, go pack.

          • Oppy

            P.s.- I’m sorry about the “informative information”, it stuck out like a sore thumb as soon as I hit “enter”, but I don’t log in (I should), and I don’t have the option to edit. Sue me.

  • Sven

    Ray Rice should have gotten a heftier suspension. Two games is a joke.

    I understood what Steven Smith was trying to say, which came across garbelled. People in the media hear what they want so they can make a story out of it. Steven is an idoit, so why not choose to misunderstand his comment and make him seem sexist. The same was done to Tony Dungy this week with Michael Sam. Dungy wouldnt want to take a player that would bring a media distraction to camp, so he must not like gay people. I am glad that I am not a public figure.

    Aside from that I am really happy with the way camp is starting. Lets hope the team can stay injury free! Go Pack.

    • Big T

      Must be that first name “Ray”… Ray Lewis literally got away with murder. So Ray Rice just knocks his wife out and gets a 2 game suspension. If your first name is Ray, the worse the crime the less they will punish you. So the moral of this story is… if you are out an about and run into an NFL player with the first name Ray, run like hell and hope you have your bullet proof vest on… And if Ray would kill you he is a lock for the HOF.