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From the Press Box: Morale Enchancing Edition

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From the Press Box: Morale Enchancing Edition

I just want to assure Packers fans reading this that there is a chance—a CHANCE I TELL YOU—of beating the Giants.

Don't give up hope yet?

/sarcasm

Listening to Nagler and Behnke on Packers Transplants, I can feel their pain. There is a large contingent of 'Fire Tom Coughlin' folk who suddenly have totally forgotten about it now. I'm not even talking about the few fans who are saying 'Gee, perhaps I was a bit hasty'.

There is definitely a segment who just hopped back on the bandwagon with ankle-breaking speed when the Giants beat the Cowboys.

As for the Jets fans Aaron alluded to who are suddenly on the Giants bandwagon, I have two potential explanations. First, they're in denial. The Jets are imploding in spectacular fashion (yeah you can bet we'll touch on that in a minute) and they are trying not to watch it. So they focus on the Giants.

The second is they're a bunch of bloody front-runners. These may be the same people who were Yankee fans, then hopped onto the Mets bandwagon for a week in July when the Mets won three in a row and the Yanks dropped three, only to hop back when it turned out the Mets were... the Mets.

Sure there are a few 'New York' fans mixed in but I know a ton of Jets fans actually rooting against the Giants.

I'm on the Packers bandwagon for the NFC because, well, there are too many Giants fans at work and they will be insufferable if the Giants win.

Plus I like Rodgers' use of the 'Discount Double Check' for touchdowns.

THE FIRINGS WILL CONTINUE UNTIL MORALE IMPROVES

Morale never really does improve though, does it? Unless you count the Chiefs when Haley left. What you say? He may go to the Jets?

Dammit.

Anyway, we saw Jets OC Brian Schottenheimer and Raiders HC Hue Jackson head he list of fall guys this week. I don't disagree with either firing, though Mike Silver feels differently.

Props to Silver for not only multiple Tommy Boy references but cramming in one from Gladiator as well. I may disagree with him but I know film referencing talent when I see it.

I will add that I'm not as connected as Silver, so I can't dispute what he says, but it sounds a lot like someone with an axe to grind (his sources, not Silver).

I think Jackson did an OK job, but the team spun out of control on the field, they never dealt with the fact that Darren McFadden was clearly hurt much worse than they let on and the Carson Palmer trade—which Jackson reportedly pushed for—was unsuccessful and left the cupboard bare of Draft picks.

Maybe another year was deserved but I can't fault moving on.

Nor can I fault moving on from Schottenheimer who long time readers will recall I am no fan of. Yes, Sanchez has more issues than a newsstand (remember those?) but Schotty hadn't been successful with one quarterback in his time with the Jets. The only time a QB did well was when Favre was there and he largely ignored Schotty.

Lots of quarterbacks (Brees, Pennington) did well after him though. His playcalling was either vanilla and predictable or too cute and overly complex to little effect.

Again, some of it is on Sanchez but a lot of it is on Schottenheimer. Heck, he wasn't even HC Rex Ryan's choice to be offensive coordinator. How the Jets convinced Ryan to keep him on—much less WHY—is beyond me, but it became clear over the last three years that they weren't even in the same book, forget on the same page.

Speaking of Jets DRAMA...

JERSEY SHORE AIN'T GOT NOTHING ON FLORHAM PARK

Sanchez gets another year in New York and will probably see some competition for his job this summer. As it should be.

While statistically Sanchez had a better year, overall he continues to be a mess. You've heard my complaints before—no field vision, an inability to read defenses, really, REALLY stupid decisions.

I wouldn't be shocked if the locker room was a little disgruntled. However I WAS shocked (and disappointed) that some teammates are apparently happy to tear into him publicly.... as long as it's anonymous.

New York Daily News Jets beat writer Manish Mehta had a piece this week which did exactly that.

I'm not going to debate the veracity of the article nor guess at who it was *COUGH*HOLMES*COUGH*SCHOTTENHEIMER*COUGH*. I will point out that numerous current and former Jets came to Sanchez's defense.

Like Jets Blog founder Brian Bassett said in one of the linked articles, I'd like to see Sanchez stand up for himself. It says a lot that his teammates will, but in some ways it says more than he won't.

The Jets have, in my opinion, slowly chipped away at the character of the roster. Too many Tony Richardsons and Jerricho Cotcherys are out for too many Santonio Holmes and Antonio Cromarties.

You could ignore it when they were winning but all it took was an 8-8 season—not even a losing one—for the wheels to come off, the car to skid off the road and into the East River. On fire. While being pelted by meteors. Which are also on fire.

At least it isn't boring!

OBLIGATORY TEBOW POST AND PLAYOFF NONSENSE

This past weekend I was in Las Vegas with the staff from Footballguys.com (thanks Joe and David!) and got to watch the Wild Card round with a bunch of passionate and knowledgeable fans.

I spend far too many Sundays watching games on my own, so it's always a treat to watch games with others.

The reaction to Tebow's overtime touchdown was telling. Figure that this group of guys is probably among the more cynical or realistic (take your pick) of football fans and writers and it was hard to find one guy who wasn't swept up in that game.

A few of us even bet 15—Tebow's number—at the roulette table and made some money.

It was interesting to see the Broncos throw as much as they did and Tebow to do it as well as he did. More incredible? That the Steelers and Hall of Fame DC Dick Lebeau—you know, the guy who created a little thing called the zone blitz defense—didn't adjust. At all.

They just kept stacking the line, sometimes with nine guys. 'Beat us with your arm Tebow,' they said. And he did. Again and again. And they never adjusted.

It killed them in the end. I'm still stunned.

My playoff thoughts for the weekend:

Broncos at Patriots—I really, REALLY want to pick the Broncos. I know people think they don't have a chance but they hung around last time for quite a while. If the defense stays sharp and Tebow protects the ball, they have a shot. Josh McDaniels being in New England doesn't mean a damned thing either.

Still, I can't pull the trigger. I'll be cheering for the Broncos but expect New England to win (though not cover the 13 1/2 points I saw in Vegas this weekend).

Texans at Ravens—Speaking of surprising quarterbacks, TJ Yates? Yeah that kid's OK. I do think the Ravens' defense will be too much for him though. The question is, can Baltimore QB Joe Flacco overcome the Texans' defense?

The answer is yes, though not by much. I think they'll have one more big play than the Texans will and that is the difference.

Giants at Packers—It's not that I don't think the Giants CAN win—they have talent on both sides of the ball. A solid defensive front, great wide receivers, solid running backs and a quarterback on fire.

What they don't have is a healthy or good secondary. The Packers have their own issues, sure, but I buy them stopping the Giants more than the reverse.

Again, this could go either way but ultimately the Giants' secondary just won't be up to the task and more than likely Eli pulls a 'Bad Eli' when they need a 'Good Eli' and that's all she wrote.

Saints at 49ers—As with the Fighting Tebows, the Niners winning would be the better story but I don't see it happening. Ultimately, as good a team as the 49ers are defensively, offensively they have too many weak spots.

Alex Smith is playing well, but isn't going to be able to keep up with Drew Brees and the Saints offense. I see the Saints being slowed by the 49ers' defense, which is tremendous this season. I don't see them stopped though and that is a huge difference.

Also would you rather throw to Meachem, Colston, Henderson and Graham or Crabtree, Davis, Ginn and Williams?

Frank Gore is the best overall running back in the game but he can't do everything and Pierre Thomas and Darren Sproles will equal his output anyway.

I don't think the Niners will win this one even at home. They've built a great foundation to build on though.

That will do it for this week. The Hard Count will be back next week (maybe twice!) and I do apologize for missing several weeks in a row. Travel has been much harder to deal with and schedule around than I have experienced before.

We'll make it work though. If I don't talk into a mic for more than three weeks I get very cranky.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (10) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

PackersRS's picture

Hmn. Nothing like the pain of a complete team meltdown to bring out the best of a cynical writer. Even the tags were killers. Really nice piece man.

Regarding LeBeau, it's true that he couldn't adjust, but the Steelers secondary is awful beyond 10 yards. There's one guy in that unit that can cover deep, Ryan Clark (the best safety on their team, yes I said it), and he was out.

Seeing the Broncos exploit Polamalu's aggressiveness reminded me so much of what we did on SB XLV. He is unnatural, the best athlete on the field and so instinctual, but against smart OCs he is a liability.

And though break on the Jets. Like I said before, if Rex Ryan doesn't change his method, it's never going to improve. Either way, it's a sad day. KSK's Sexy Rex is going to disappear one way or another...

Andrew Garda's picture

Thanks for the props - I try to have a little hashtag fun sometimes...

Re: Lebeau- I don't mean to put that all on Lebeau. And they had secondary issues (Ike Taylor is normally very solid). I just can't fathom continuing to stack the box and not shifting to your normal defense which probably wpuld have caused all sorts of issues.

PackersRS's picture

Not to mention the absurd call on the first play of OT. How the hell after being gashed for 4 long pass plays do you call a single coverage with both safeties so close to the LOS (can't say that the other safety didn't just gamble, but he was 15 yards deep to start with, at least), and with your best CB being beaten like a drum the whole game in historical fashion?

andrewgarda's picture

EXACTLY my point. How do you watch that all and NOT do something different. There's sticking to the plan and fiddling while Rome burns.

Patton: No plan survives first contact with the enemy.

Instead of opening the OT in run defense BECAUSE IT'S WHAT THEY PLANNED FOR ALL WEEK they needed to be in a more versatile defensive scheme BECAUSE DENVER WAS NOT RUN HEAVY AND PASSED A LOT.

It was a brain fart of massive proportions. Unbelievable.

joshywoshybigfatposhy's picture

wow. check out the picture of mark davis in that link to silver's article.

i have to admit, i'd have trouble handing the keys to ANYTHING to someone with a haircut like that. anyone ever see "about a boy"?

joshywoshybigfatposhy's picture

found a 'story' devoted almost entirely to this cut -- the comments are priceless. my favorite calls it the 'vulcan mullet'

andrewgarda's picture

Davis is all 'business up front, party in the back'.

Or he's the Dutchboy.

YIPES. I had some bad haircuts like that... when I was 8!

PackersRS's picture

That's why I say Jackson was full of shit saying it was Mark Davis' responsibility for the trade.

That man can't tie his own shoes, let alone figure out the nuances of reasonable value short-long term in an NFL trade.

andrewgarda's picture

That's harsh. Maybe true though.

TundraBoy's picture

Awesome just awesome, As a Packer Fan since Birth in CT and considering my Brother is a Jets fan going back to Bway Joe ,( poor sap I knew he was adopted) The wheels falling off bit was priceless and so true. The Bandwagon stuff about the Giants,Jets and Mets is beyond dead on. Great stuff. Wish I could share a link. For now I will just copy to FB and torment him

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