Category Archives: Andy Tisdel

8

February

Green Bay Packers 2010 Season Ends – What Happens Next?

The Packers will have a busy offseason.

We’ve seen how Super Bowl winners and losers both get plundered for spare parts after they win their championships.

Jonathan Vilma and Jammal Brown were lured away from the ’09 Saints. Bryant McFadden and Larry Foote left the ’08 Steelers. Anquan Boldin, Antrel Rolle and Karlos Dansby all eventually departed Arizona. The Packers will have to deal with eager suitors for Cullen Jenkins and James Jones, among many others.

Re-signing Jenkins should be the priority for this club in the offseason, depending on how effective they think Johnny Jolly can be. It’ll be interesting to see how much money they’re willing to give Jones, as well as how much he’ll be offered by clubs that saw his big plays against Atlanta and his big drops against Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.

There’s no indication that Donald Driver will hang up his cleats, but if he does (or his $5 million salary is deemed too high for a No. 3 WR) and Jones leaves, the Packers will be forced to take a receiver high in the draft.

Also on draft day, the Packers will have decisions to make on their offensive line. Chad Clifton coming back for another year would help, but the Packers will have to figure out if Bryan Bulaga can be their long-term LT. We also need to find a permanent fixture at RT if that’s the case. A dedicated return specialist might be in the mix, along with competition at kicker.

Daryn Colledge, long regarded as the weak link on the offensive line, should face fierce competition in training camp from a T.J. Lang fully recovered from wrist surgery last offseason.

The Packers will have an abundance of players in training camp, including a barbershop quartet of OLBs (Walden, Zombo, Poppinga, Jones) and a bouquet of strong safeties (Bigby, Peprah, Burnett, Smith). I’m excited to see what Frank Zombo looks like in his second season of transitioning from defensive end to OLB. Additionally, this might be the year that Thompson spends a high pick on a complement to CMIII (Casey Matthews, anyone?)

A.J. Hawk’s $10 million-for-this-year contract will need to be restructured. If a salary cap is reinstated, the Packers will be spending a ton of their money at ILB (Chillar, Barnett and Bishop all have fairly recent new contracts) and may consider trading one of them away.

---- Get AddToAny
5

February

3 Things The Packers Need to do to Win the Super Bowl

Hooooooly Crap….. We’re Almost Here

Whew. It’s Friday afternoon-journey-into-night as I’m typing this, and we are almost at kickoff. Or close enough, anyway. Maurkice Pouncey is out, Aaron Smith is out, Erik Walden is questionable and Frank Zombo is probable. I’m going nuts over here. (Before I forget, here’s two good links for information.)

THREE THINGS THE PACKERS HAVE TO DO TO WIN THIS GAME

1. Protect Aaron Rodgers. Pick up the blitzes, account for Troy Polamalu, give him time to find the Packers’ receivers downfield against the Steelers’ average corners. The Packers will run just enough for the play-action fake to have some credibility, so use it when it’s there. The Steelers have three men on defense that can make the game-changing play on any given snap: Polamalu, James Harrison and LaMar Woodley. Shutting down two of them is damn near impossible, but if the Packers can minimize their impact, they have a solid chance here. Rodgers will have to be as elusive as he was against Atlanta or New York, and more so.

2. Get Roethlisberger on the ground. We all know that Roethlisberger is one of the hardest quarterbacks in the league to sack; 6’5″, 241 and incredibly strong, he can throw the ball with defenders draped all over him. Much has been made this week of the Packers sacking Big Ben five times in 2009, but missing five others. Cullen Jenkins, this year, has missed more sacks then anyone I’ve ever seen. The Packers will get pressure against the Steelers’ offensive line; that’s a given. But “pressures” won’t win this game. Sacks will, and forcing Roethlisberger into terrible throws. A few turnovers would help the Packers immeasurably.

3. Be the toughest mother-effers on the field.

The Steelers will hit you. They will go out and act like the toughest team on the field, and usually, they are. Everyone saw Hines Ward break Keith Rivers’ jaw. Everyone saw the hits James Harrison leveled this season. That’s part of the Steelers’ personality. That’s what they’re known for. They’re brutal and they’re confident. The Packers aren’t going to break the Steelers’ resolve, particularly not with experience.

30

January

Super Bowl XLV: Packers vs. Steelers – Getting Defensive

Despite the records of the Packers’ and Steelers’ defenses and how spectacularly stingy they’ve been in giving up points (Pittsburgh was best in the NFL, allowing just 14.5 PPG; Green Bay trailed them by half a point), this could be closer to a shootout than everyone is predicting.

The Packers have been the best team in the playoffs at just 17 points/game, while Pittsburgh allows 21.5, but these two defenses are built in the same mold. Pittsburgh has better safeties and a better ROLB, Green Bay has better corners and ILBs, but both these teams are built in the Pittsburgh style.

When Dom Capers was remaking the defense in summer 2009, the popular term for his efforts was that the Pack became Pittsburgh West. Capers served as the Steelers’ defensive coordinator in 1992-1994, when Dick LeBeau was first coming up with his fire-zone blitzes.

The bottom line is that, for all of Capers’ creative blitzing and zone drops, the odds are that Ben Roethlisberger has seen most of the material. There aren’t many secrets here. Expect Big Ben and Rodgers to have an easier time with the defenses then they had last week.

The performance of Rashard Mendenhall against the heralded Jets defense last week-27 carries, 121 yards and a TD-would seem to be worrisome against the Packers’ middling ground game.

However, the Packers’ run defense has actually improved in the playoffs, holding LeSean McCoy (Eagles), Michael Turner (Falcons) and Matt Forte (Bears) to a combined 155 yards on 39 carries, or 3.97 YPC. This represents a vast improvement over their per-carry average of 4.5 in the regular season.



Two more rushing items of note:

-In the case of Turner, the Packers (who were able to contain his inside rushes in both meetings) built a big lead on Atlanta and forced the Falcons to abandon the run. This may not be the greatest strategy against Roethlisberger, but Mendenhall typically rushes on inside zone plays of the type the Packers run all the time.

Anchored by B.J. Raji and Ryan Pickett, the Packers’ run defense inside has been relatively stout all season. Against a relatively weak Pittsburgh interior that might lack Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey, there’s no reason to think that the Packers will have serious trouble with Mendenhall inside.

8

January

Collected Insights from the Packers vs. Eagles Week One Film:

I know a lot has changed from Week 1 till now, but there’s still stuff to glean from watching the Packers vs. Eagles film from that time and seeing some of the general tendencies of the teams. Here’s what I saw.
I hope the people who study film at 1265 Lombardi Ave. are seeing some of these things (certainly they’re massively more qualified to say if they are ‘things’ or not) and acting on them.

-Clay Matthews was unstoppable, as we know, but matched up against Brent Celek he was pretty much transcendent. Whether the Eagles’ No. 1 tight end was chipping him or assigned to block Matthews one-on-one, he trashed him nearly every time, including on the game-ending sack of Vick on fourth and one. If Capers can get Matthews matched up on Celek, look for him to make plays.

-Mark Tauscher and Chad Clifton were awful against Trent Cole and Juqua Parker. Both Parker and Brandon Graham (since placed on IR) were able to blow past Tauscher with speed, or bull-rush him with power, or chop his hands down at will. Bulaga will have to be much better then Tauscher was in pass protection.

As for Clifton, Cole did a good job of getting his hands inside of Clifton’s, and partially as a result, Cole was able to power him back to Rodgers multiple times (two sacks). The Packers also had awful production running the football on the offense’s left side; both Colledge and Clifton were repeatedly stacked up and either Grant or Jackson would get creamed. The few times Jackson made any hay off the left side, late in the fourth quarter, were by ploughing through would-be tacklers on his own. When the Packers run left, don’t expect much. A called rollout to the left was also blown up.

They were able to run decently behind Josh Sitton. The inside handoff to Kuhn worked as a surprise play twice, although after a season of running it, the Eagles will be prepared this time for it.

Rodgers’ two interceptions were more of bad decisions-forcing it into triple coverage for Finley, an inexplicable wild throw-then any particular ability of the Eagles’ secondary. Asante Samuel jumped a run-pass option slant to Donald Driver and should’ve picked that off as well, but most of the time, Rodgers did a fine job of making the Eagles’ secondary look bad. In particular, when Greg Jennings matched up against Ellis Hobbs (since placed on IR), Rodgers beat him all over the field. The Eagles still haven’t named a cornerback to start opposite Samuel, from what I can tell.

14

December

Green Bay Packers: Receivers Fumble, Team Stumbles

Forget for a minute the Detroit Lions abusing the Green Bay Packers’ front four for 190 yards rushing on 41 carries, if you can. Forget the four sacks, the dominance over the running game, and the utter havoc wreaked on the offensive line by the Lions’ front four.

Forget the 73-yard-oh-wait-how-is-that-not-a-touchdown perpetuated by Greg Jennings, the failed fourth-and-one pass, and everything else but Andrew Quarless’s fumble.

How in the hell have the Packers been fumbling so often this season? And I don’t mean quarterbacks or running backs, either. Our vaunted corps of WRs has been coughing up the football at an astonishing rate this season.

I am absolutely thrilled to be putting up this sort of an image.

Let’s take a look at the numbers:

Eagles: None.

Bills: James Jones, John Kuhn. Both are recovered by Packers.

Bears: Jones’ infamous fumble on the final drive leads to a Bears victory.

Lions: Jordy Nelson loses two fumbles, both on kickoff returns.

Redskin: Donald Lee coughs it up on the second play from scrimmage.

Dolphins: None.

Vikings: None by receivers, but Brandon Jackson does recover his own fumble.

Jets: None. Hey, we’re on a roll!

Cowboys: Jones fumbles for the third time, but it was a rout, right? Who cares.

Vikings: None. Wait, is this all just smoke and mirrors?

Falcons: Holy sheet, I guess not. Jennings fumbles twice and Rodgers fumbles twice, losing one.

49ers: None.

Lions: Quarless.

How in the devil does a receiving group fumble that often? Counting Jordy Nelson’s malfeasance against the Lions in Week 4, the receivers have collectively tossed the ball away nine times. Five of those times, the other side fell on it.

Running backs and quarterbacks account for another four fumbles, with one (Rodgers against Atlanta) lost. Maybe we need Edgar Bennett to jump over into Jimmy Robinson’s turf and start cracking heads, because I for one think that there is no excuse for that level of fumblitis.

There’s no excuse for any of the problems listed up top, but this one stands out to me as particularly awful. Only six of 13 games in which someone did not cough up the ball?! Gentlemen (and ladies), this is messed up.

3

November

Please Folks, A Moment of Silence for Brett Favre…

Dear Packer fans everywhere,

Sometime between today, two days after our once-great quarterback was crushed by a Patriots defensive tackle and sent to the locker room to get stitches, and next week when Favre trudges back onto the field one more time, take at least a minute to feel sorry for the man.

(Pause for outraged exclamation and protest.)

I know. I was there for each one of his unretirements. I argued during the summer of 2008 that he was making himself bigger than the team, when half of Packer Nation was burning Ted Thompson in effigy for daring to trade him away. I cheered as loudly as anyone when he threw the fatal pick at the end of the NFC Championship game, and I took a great deal of satisfaction from watching him lose the game for the Vikings two weeks ago. I’ve defended him before in this space against Deadspin’s charges, which are inching closer and closer towards being substantiated, but I do not consider myself a Favre apologist. I’ve castigated him enough over the past few years for that to be an untruth.

And I know that he brought all this on himself. I know that he took a fat contract from the Vikings to come back for another year, how it took three Vikings flying down to Mississippi to beg him to return, and how Favre alone is the reason why he’s still on the football field, taking these massive hits and losing game after game.

But he doesn’t deserve this.

The image of Favre lying on his side, wincing and huddling in pain as a Vikings tagalong held a towel up to his bleeding chin as the motorized cart sped towards the locker room, was one of the saddest things I’ve seen in professional football.

Regardless of what you believe Favre did or didn’t do for the Packers–and forget the revisionist history, he was the biggest reason why we’ve been as successful as we have over 16 of the last 20 years–he will go down in football history as one of the all-time great quarterbacks, if not the all-time great players. What endeared him to us Packers fans and to all of America, his exuberance, his play, his heart and guts and courage on the field, make him so. Such a player, who we have been privileged to see as fans for almost as long as I’ve been alive, should not go out like this, battered and broken and still coming back for more.

9

October

DeadSpin, Brett Favre and Jenn Sterger: Is Real Journalism Dead?

It’s hard to know where to begin to criticize deadspin.com’s slanted, gossipy, uncorroborated reporting of Brett Favre’s alleged messages to Jenn Sterger. Let’s just get this out of the way right now: However distasteful it may be to see one of the most well-known athletes in all of sports at the center of a sex scandal, there are plenty of indications that that’s the case. But the story hardly ends there. Deadspin asks the reader at the start of its first post to “please suspend your disbelief for a moment”**, and apparently you’re never supposed to take it back.

If you, the reader, take two things away from this note, I would like them to be the following:

1) The knowledge that nothing has been proven against Favre to this point, that there is no conclusive evidence that Favre was the man in the voicemails, and none of the parties involved–Favre, Sterger, the Jets, the Vikings, anyone–have provided any supporting evidence for this conjecture, or even acknowledged it.

2) Full and complete understanding that whatever Deadspin’s pretensions in their various posts, they are nothing more than a sketchy, low-end, openly biased media outlet who broke a story and are now trying to milk it for everything they possibly can.

This is a cash cow story.

Let’s deal with the first point first. The Jets have told deadspin the following: “The Jets are working closely with the NFL on investigating this matter”* and Greg Aiello of the NFL has said only “We are reviewing the matter”^. And Favre said “I’m not getting into that. I’ve got my hands full with the Jets and am trying to get some timing down with our guys, so that’s all I’m going to discuss.”* And according to that last link, Jenn Sterger’s manager said “Jenn did not provide Deadspin with any information”. The messages, voicemails and pictures all came from an unnamed third party, not Sterger herself. So there’s little in the way of corroboration to be found here.

Now, Deadspin has two posts that contain most of the relevant facts, which are Links D and E down at the bottom. The first deals with the Myspace messages that Deadspin paid the third party for. Here are the three images from that post.