Thursday, September 15, 2011

Pack Fan Bears Fan Week 1 - The RETURN

Loogit ol' Willie...he knows it's gonna be another great year!
Yes, we're back and there's no time for yada, yada, yada.  If you're new around here, these are just some "pawsitives" and some "not-so-pawsitives" from the past-week's game.  I missed my deadline so let's go!

Pack Fan
  • Solid Offensive Start - If you recall the beginning of last year, everyone was questioning the offense's sluggishness.  The timing was off on the back-shoulder passes, the receivers were dropping balls and at times the whole unit seemed out of sync.  We can't say that this year.  These guys came out on fire and lit up the Saints secondary right off  the bat and all the recievers looked to be in mid-season form.
  • Randall Cobb - While he wasn't in the game much, he made the most of his time accounting for two touchdowns including a record-tying 108 yard kick-off return.  Rodgers alluded to the fact that Cobb ran the wrong route (or possibly didn't run a route at all) but he was able to read where he was going and the rookie made the rest happen.  Coach McCarthy wasn't necessarily happy with the return but it was wild, it was fun and it showed fans that the Packers finally have a solution to the drought in the return game.
  • Defense when it counts - The Packers opponent was the Saints, one of the most explosive offenses in the league over the last few seasons.  Fans who expected this team to just roll-over once the Packers got the lead were sorely mis-informed.  While the Packers struggled with Darren Sproles, they made two crucial stops.  The third-and-one where they nearly sacked Brees to force a field goal and the final play of the game where they just dominated the line and knocked running back Mark Ingram into the backfield to secure the win.
Bears Fan
  • Tramon Williams - While we'll ignore the touchdown he allowed (he was expecting safety help over the top plus, touchdowns get scored, it happens), the injury to his shoulder is concerning.  Coach McCarthy said at his Wednesday press conference that he'll "have a chance" to play this coming Sunday against the Carolina Panthers.  It's fortunate for the team that they had 10 days off between games but losing Williams would be a huge blow.
  • Sluggish second-half offense - This is minor so it'll be brief but it seemed like after the kick-off return for a touchdown by Cobb, the offense hit a rough patch and they weren't as hot.  They were sitting on the sidelines for quite awhile watching the defense slug it out with the Saints offense and the momentum they had developed was knocked off-track a bit.  It's doubtful that this is a real issue but it's something to keep in mind if the defense needs rest at crucial times late in games.
  • Special Teams - Holy hell, wasn't this a running theme last season?  Granted, the punting was much better last year than years past but it is still concerning when there's a punt returned for a touchdown.  On top of that, Randall Cobb's return really shouldn't have happened...everyone's glad it did...but it still shouldn't have happened.  I'm sure he got an earful this week but these guys have got to stay disciplined especially against a team so so similar to the Packers in terms of offensive explosiveness.
One additional note not pertaining to the Saints game: Mike Neal, who did not play against the Saints, had a "surgical procedure" on his left knee this week and will miss a "significant period of time" according to Coach McCarthy.  For those of you who haven't been following his plight, Neal was, reportedly, the main reason why the team let Cullen Jenkins walk.  The staff expected big things of him after sitting out most of last year with shoulder issues.  Many of you remember the bust that Justin Harrell turned out to be due to injuries and while it's WAY too early to make the comparison, the team has been burned by this situation before and the hope it that Jarius Wynn, who's been fantastic when called upon, can keep it up and allow Neal to get healthy before being called into service.

The Packers head to Carolina this week to take on Cam Newton and his band of misfits.  The kid looked good last week, throwing for over 400 yards against a porous Cardinals secondary but still came away with a loss.  The Packers should be able to build off the great win against the Saints and put another W in the books.  I'm going to miss this one as the wife is due very soon but that may not be a bad thing as the last game I went to was a nasty loss to the Redskins last year.


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