Here it is again on a semi-consistent basis, what I was thinking as I eavesdropped on The Great One's phone calls to Mike McCarthy. . .
Packers are 4-5 with only lowly Detroit separating us from the bottom of the North. This is why I often blog while drinking, but seriously the Pack did enough last Sunday to win the game against the Vikings and then again they didn't. They were able to put points on the board mostly thru special teams and defense, but once again in the end the run defense couldn't hold up against Adrian Peterson and a game winning drive. I like this breakdown of the game best. The offensive line continues to play inconsistently. Chad Clifton was like an open door for Jared Allen but no one else on the line played particularly well either. This translated into another so so day for AR, who has been getting pummeled by opposing linemen more and more often in recent games. The shoulder injury from earlier this season still has not fully healed (partly because he continues to play and take big hits) and limits him in practice which does nothing to help maintain his rythm, mechanics, and timing with recievers. And no I'm not an Aaron Rodgers apologist, I'm just saying these are legitimate factors.
I'm afraid I feel like the author of the post linked to above regarding the defensive line. The main problem with the D line is personnel and that can't be fixed this season. And now there is word that DT Justin Harrell is injured. . . again, so we're even more shorthanded (although it's not like he was making a big difference for two games). But of course even with the dearth of talent there are things a good defensive coordinator can do with his scheme to compensate for that. So we'll see what Bob Sanders can do.
LB Nick Barnett is out for the year with a torn ACL. Earlier in the year I had predicted a breakout into star linebacker status for Nick and he promptly preceded to prove me wrong with his less than mediocre play this season. Does he still have his club? Maybe he needs a hobby or a woman or something, anything to improve his attitude and effort on the field. I hope him and A.J. Hawk aren't about to start fizzling out already. Speaking of Hawk with Barnett out for the year it seems like he is the main candidate to fill the middle linbacker spot. This makes good sense to me. Some have suggested Desmond Bishop and I agree that his instincts might be best suited for that position, but he is just too slow. Let Bishop stick to special teams and keep Chillar on the field. He's an average run defender but he's by far the best coverage backer and the Pack has been getting burned underneath lately especially by running backs releasing in the middle of the field and the flat.
There were a couple of blown calls in the Vikings game that even the head of officials agrees were wrong. One on the game winning drive when AP took his helmet off after he scored and then the second safety where AR was called for an illegal forward pass. My feeling is that the calls were effed up and I'm glad that that's being acknowledged but it wasn't those two plays that lost the Pack the game.
Next up are the despised Bears and this one is going to be a battle. Hopefully 'ol Rex will toss us some ducks, although I hear Kyle Orton will definitely be available and might possibly start. Whoever, just throw like a girl and stay nice and still in the pocket until one of our linemen reaches you.
The Bucks are an even 5-5 good for next to last in the Central right above Chicago (??) but they were 2-1 this week losing to the division leading Cavs but managing to best the hobbled Spurs and win in Memphis Friday. Rookie Luc Mbah a Moute continues to impress getting two starts in a row and producing. I don't know who Hollinger's top rookies are at the moment but Moute has to be one of them. In Memphis he had 19 pts and 17 boards. The Bucks haven't seen consistent productivity like this since maybe Vin Baker's first seasons. But let's remember Mr. Wolf's advice it's only ten games into the season, let's see how the rook is doing in say February.
An interesting trade scenario with the Suns was brought up the other day on the excellent Bob Boozer Jinx blog, Boris Diaw and Barbosa for Redd. According to ESPN's Trade Machine the salaries match up so it would be a go from that standpoint. Realisticly though my gut says it sounds to good for it to actually happen.
Redd is still sitting out games with the ankle injury which is sparking a little discussion. Which is actually nothing new. It's clear that the Bucks are a different team without Redd on the floor, more defensive minded moving the ball more on offense. But on the other hand having a scorer like Redd is the difference between hanging in and having a chance against teams like the Cavs and getting blown out. Redd's not getting any younger and is probably at the career height of his trade value so now would be the ideal time to ship him in a trade if Hammond is so inclined. But if he isn't perhaps Skiles can find some way to make those 20 points a game contribute to more wins.
Once again this week a considerable amount of news coming from Miller Park (I guess this is how it is when your baseball team actually starts to be successful). The Brewers have named their new scouting director, promoting from within as was thought they would. No one seems to know much about Bruce Seid but he was hired by Jack Z. so lets hope his talent evaluation skills are of the same quality.
Reliever Salomon Torres has retired. I never realized how long a career Torres has had or about the 5 year gap when he was out of the majors but he sure did contribute to the Brewers making the playoffs this year. Fittingly enough he picked up the save in the only win the Crew could manage against the Phillies. And he stepped up to save the day when it became clear that Gagne would never again be the lights out closer he once was. Here's to wishing for many happy days chilling for Salomon and his family, the fans sure do appreciate your hard work. Wow the bullpen is going to look a lot different next season with Torres, Sabaithia, Sheets, Gagne, and Mota all potentially gone. We're going to quickly see just how good a coach Bill Castro is.
Last week I questioned if Sheets leaving in free agency was the forgone conclusion it seemed to be after the ALDS simply because I haven't heard much buzz from other teams about him and it seems like Melvin is thinking the same way. But if Sheets does end up leaving Kerry Wood is available to replace him in his role as the staff ace who can never pitch more than 200 innings a season.
Ryan Braun has won the NL Silver Slugger award for his position this year. To be honest with you I have barely even heard of this award but hey we'll take it. I was a little surprised though to see all the other Brewers players who have won the award in the past like Molitor, Yount, Cecil Cooper, Ben Ogilvie (who lived next door to me when I was a kid), and Prince Fielder who won it last year. Nice to see some of our players getting some individual accolades for a change, even though CC got ROBBED for the Cy Young (just kidding I know Lincecum deserved it).
Brewers have a new bullpen coach, Stan Kyles, called up from their minor league affiliate Nashville Sounds where he was the pitching coach. He's had good success as a coach in the minors and hopefully that success will follow him up here.
Still no response from CC on the Brewer's offer with word out the the Yankeess have offered him the richest contract for a pitcher ever. Doug Melvin isn't going to wait around on him forever, look to hear something within the next week.
This would not be The Rogue Hour if I did not mention that the Negro League Baseball Museum recently named Doug Melvin their Executive of the Year award named after Andrew 'Rube' Foster a dynamic figure in baseball's history.
University of Wisconsin football, B-.
Well looky here. While everyone has been busy ranting the Badgers have managed to win 3 out of their last 4 games, become bowl eligible, and are a couple of Illini and Minnesota losses away from going to a 2nd tier bowl game. Not a horrible recovery for a season that has fallen way down from expectations.
UW managed to squeak one out against Minnesota Saturday afternoon and retain possession of Paul Bunyan's axe in one of the oldest and hotly contested rivalry games in the country (if you don't believe that check this out). The way the Badgers won this game seemed eerilly similar to the way the Vikings beat the Packers last Sunday with the two safties. Sherer had a little more luck today and was able to complete some critical passes especially in the fourth quarter when everyone was expecting UW to stick heavily to the running game. Once again they had to overcome numerous mistakes early but showed their ability to recover and fight back like in the Illinois game. Badgers lost an important part of the offense though with WR Kyle Jefferson going down in the first half. Hopefully his injury is not serious.
Last game of the season is against Cal Poly which may be a smaller school but are no pushovers. If the Badgers don't keep their heads in the game a boneheaded mistake could result in a loss and make bowl officials looks elsewhere for participants.
On the UW basketball front the new class has come in and most of them look ready to contribute right away to varying degrees. Guards Diamond Taylor and Rob Wilson are probably the most game ready right now, while swingman Ryan Evans has already decided he will be redshirting this year. The media feeling about this team right now seems to be that it's a typical Bo Ryan team. No one player jumps out at you as being dangerous, but we were the Big10 champs last season and there are no obvious reasons why we shouldn't be able to do that again. Hell Joe Lunardi already has UW as a 2 seed in his Bracketology.
Marquette University men's basketball.
Haven't said much about MU since last season but basically the same team is back ready to go (with the new coach of course). James, Matthews, and McNeal still stock the backcourt so we can still run and play defense but there are some guys who should be able to create an inside prescence for the Warriors this season, something that hurt them down the stretch last year. And check out this year's signing class headed by nationally recognized recruit Jeronne Maymon. So far Buzz is delivering on his strong points. More to come when the games start counting.