Packers. D+ I don't want to say the Pack are on the ropes but I do feel the urge to slap Mike McCarthy and scream "Look at me, Rock!!" and Rocky's face at the end of the first movie is a good analogy to the physical state of our roster right now. Yes the injury gods, who showed favor on us last year, seem to have forsaken us this season. Al Harris and Cullen Jenkins look to be done for the season. Atari Bigby, Aaron Rouse, A. J. Hawk, Woodson, and Ryan Grant are all still banged up to varying degrees (although Woodson has turned in a Pro Bowl season so far being named NFC defensive player of the month), and of course Aaron Rodgers sprained his throwing shoulder in the loss to Tampa and will be a game time decision against the Falcons Sunday.
Rodgers going down is really the key to the whole rest of the season. Without good QB play we will be automatically handicapped going into games like bringing a knife to a gunfight. Flynn has some talent and is capable (remember he did start for the college national champions last year), but right now he's in over his head. And unfortunately it would not be possible to facilitate on-the-job learning for Flynn for however many weeks while still trying to fufill the expectations for this team coming into the season (playoffs at least). Meaning with Rodgers this is probably a playoff team, with Flynn probably not. But don't forget Rodgers' injury is a sprain so he will eventually be back, Flynn just needs to hold it down until he is. This would also be a good time for the offensive line to get their shit together and pick the running game up. Ryan Grant, stop massaging the back of your thighs in whirlpools and start earning the contract you held out for this summer, your team needs you to play like it's week 10. Everybody at every position on both sides of the ball needs to pick it up a notch. To this end McCarthy is trying to turn up the intensity of the practices and concentrate more on the fundamentals.
On the injury bright side Acme Packing Company has a point. The Pack had the youngest team in the leauge last year, a good team (even without The Great One). This plauge of injury is giving the roster a chance to get deeper in terms of game experience. The secondary so far is holding steady in the abscence of Harris and Bigby with guys like Trammon Williams stepping up. And it looks like things have finally clicked for Nick Collins whose play is beginning to approach the Butler/Sharper level.
On to other things, the Pack has signed a new defensive lineman who just happens to be the guy who was in the car with Richard Collier when he was shot, Kenny Pettway. Pettway was part of the last cut in Jacksonville, a former seventh round draft pick. He's kind of light for an end so he definitely won't be rotating inside. Seems like a reach but hey we will try any guy who is breathing over 250lbs.
Speaking of guys over 250 Tony Mandarich recently admitted that he was taking steroids most of his college and NFL career, which is a no brainer in retrospect. What a supreme waste of talent and a draft pick. By the way Barry Sanders, Derrick Thomas, and Deion Sanders were the next players chosen in that draft just to rub that salt a little deeper.
And have all you trill cats out there heard that Lil Wayne is a serious cheesehead? Check his blog on ESPN out. They do have some excellent taste down there in the Dirty.
Brewers, C-. Well I can't say that I was a believer all the way, but the Crew managed to hang on and play just well enough to claim the NL wildcard berth. After which they promptly reverted back to their crappy ways with even CC being affected getting tagged for a grand slam in Game 2. But facing elimination tonight in Milwaukee against a team they have lost to the last 6 times they've played they somehow turned out a good performance (with Dave Bush pitching no less) and avoided elimination. Now if they can just keep it up for the next 2 games Brewer fans will be in heaven. If it takes being backed into a corner between a rock and a hard place with no paddle situations to motivate this team they couldn't be in a better place. Everything literally and figuratively is on the line with every game now. Prolonging the success of this season, legitimizing the move to acquire Sabaithia (which I say is already done, they got him to make the playoffs mission accomplished), legitimizing the move of dumping Yost (which is kind of a weird afterthought now just a few weeks after happening), and fulfilling many fans rapidly expanding hopes and dreams for this team. If they could by some turn of fate win this series the sky would be the limit.
Ryan Braun blames the first two losses on trying to blog. I agree. You see a lot of athletes doing the blogging during competition thing these days, but it makes sense that they really can't devote a lot of attention to it because well they're competing.
It's really messed up that Sheets has to sit out of the playoffs. He was one of the first good draft picks that came up thru the farm system and turned into really good players, contributing to the team's turnaround. He should have been starting Game 1 just on general principle. But once again his body wouldn't let him, can't help but think that this all traces back to those problems with his throwing motion.
I never understood why everyone was so geeked about Gallardo coming back for Game 1 like it was a Willis Reed type thing. He had a major knee injury and this was really his first game back, I was worried.
Fielder seems to have cooled off a little the last several games.
Sveum seems to have a little of the same stick-to-his-way-of-doing-it thing that Yost did. So far he's used the same lineup all three games.
University of Wisconsin football, C-. The Badgers play has been lacking in fundamentals and suffers from inconsistency, but their two losses have come down to the last plays of the game. That's where the lack of experience and poor decision making have really hurt UW. Last week at Michigan where a player who hadn't practiced all week lined up in an illegal formation that negated a two point conversion that would have sent the game into overtime, and this week where the defense allowed a methodical OSU winning scoring drive with four minutes to play after John Clay and P.J. Hill had pounded OSU's defense back to their goal line to take the lead (capped by the scoring play where the linebackers were clearly confused before the snap). UW is 0-2 in Big Ten play and probably just blew their shot at a conference championship. And they can probably forget about playing on New Year's Day too, more like around Christmas. The defense did do a good job containing Pryor overall though, with the linebacker play being pretty good, until that last OSU scoring drive.
No time to lick wound though with Penn State coming to town next week. Despite not being able to make the play that counted today against the Buckeyes the Badgers showed good resiliancy after a tough loss on the road in an important game. Let's hope that they understand that they have to play on a different level next Saturday.
Congrats to Chris Pressley for being a finalist for the national scholar athelete award. UW is a very good academic institution in addition to being known as one of the biggest party schools in the nation.
Bucks. Training camp opened this week and Skiles is running everybody hard, no big surprise there. Everybody seems to have a good upbeat attitude about the new regime so far. Bucks told Damon Jones to stay at home until they have a trade for him, which is just fine with most Buck fans. No one loves Damon as much as he does, if only his jumper was as consistent as the constant flapping of his lips.