So since my last wank the Pack and AR turned in one more good performance at Detroit before getting exposed by Dallas at home, the Crew has pretty much closed the book on this season with their play of late (a season that will not end in a playoff berth), UW rises in the polls but still does not garner much respect, and the Bucks. . . are just hanging out being the Bucks. You know even though it looks like the Brewers will not make it, in a way it is nice that they are even still relevant this late in September. . . ok enough with the mushy.
Packers, C-. For their performance against the Cowboys Sunday night. Pack had been working on a solid A average coming into this game with AR looking real good against our division rivals the previous weeks. This was supposed to be one of those thermometer games where we get to see exactly what these two teams are made of, one was going to walk away a tad less confidant than they were a week ago. Well the Pack were the ones exposed. Everyone's been hoping that our d-line, not the best in the league to begin with and hampered with injuries, could sort of just coast along until the middle of the year depending on our linebackers. But Dallas demonstrated very quickly what a real good team can do to another team that has zero pass rush, a mixture of aging vets and inconsistent young guys in the secondary, and that hasn't learned how to exert any physicality in their play yet. Marion Barber ran like a wild man possessed on speeed and we just could not stop him, AR didn't play badly (no pics) but he was harassed all day, and we just could not stop Jason Witten (7 catches) nor the 'Boys from converting on third down.
The fact that Al Harris might be out for the year is a sobering thought. Teams will really be targeting our already weak pass defense now (though I must give props for the way they ended the game against Detroit with 3 straight picks). Although there might be a chance that he may return before the end of the season, if he's as tough as this report suggests. In the meantime this creates a chance for somebody (anybody) in the secondary to step up their game. Remember Bigby also was out Sunday, so it's not certain when he'll be back.
Pack signed a DT yesterday by the name of Fred Bledsoe out of Arkansas. From looking at some of the notes on his Arkansas profile he doesn't sound too promising, but then again you never know and of course we can use the help if he happens to pan out.
Brewers, D+. If the Brewers don't make the playoffs, of which the probability is very high that they absolutely might not, this season was a total waste on most levels. The only thing that wins is interest in Brewers baseball. The past two seasons we have been relevant right down to the last weeks of the season, something Crew fans have not been able to say in a long time. Sure that in no way outweigh the choke-ery that has been taking place lately, but they do deserve some positive highlights for this season. Now back to the choke-ery. Crew is tied for the wildcard, with no shot at the division (which also means Cub fans get to rub our faces in it again) with the 3 games here against Chicago left. Yost has already paid for his share in this by getting the boot from Attanasio, which in my opinion was really offset by promoting Dale Sveum to interim manager so I guess I'm saying it was the right move but at the wrong time unless he had had Yost's replacement already in mind ready to go (and even then still wrong time). A better time would have been when they were sliding right after the All-Star break. Of course the next logical speculation is about how long Doug Melvin has left. Overall I think he's done a pretty good job building the whole organization up from the farm system on out and that he still deserves a chance to see if his efforts are going to yield the ultimate results.
But I'm talking like the season is over already when the fact is that it's not. Prince ain't givin' up, he's hitting homers in the bottom of the ninth to keep us in the race and being named NL Player of the Week. CC ain't givin' up, he could've stayed in Cleveland for that. Instead he's striking out 11 batters on three day's rest to keep us within sniffing distance of the wild card. Braun's rib injury from a several weeks ago is still bothering him, but he ain't givin' up. He refuses to even admit it's bothering him, even though he takes a lot of heat in a discussion of the Brewer's depleted bats, and instead responds with a walk-off grand slam right when we need it. And for everybody's shared bungling over the past month it doesn't look like any of these other guys are giving up either. So who am I to give up? If we don't make it, oh well what's new right? Like Joe Pesci said in Goodfellas "what I'll dig a hole, it ain't like I ain't never dug a hole before". Go Brewers.
Bucks. Bucks. . .Bucks . . .news about the Bucks . . .hmmmm. You'll have to excuse but it's football season and the Brewers are still in contention, so that is dominating the majoritiy of Wisconsin fan's attention right now. Hell we are just barely getting up for UW v. Michigan Saturday. Anyway in Bucks news they just announced the roster for training camp. What I look for here are guys who just happen to get invited to camp but that have the talent to just maybe make the roster. Well no such promise on the Bucks roster, but a player with an interesting connection to the franchise is T.J. Cummings out of UCLA who is of course the son of former Buck great Terry Cummings (who I believe is a minister now). Now if he could ball like his pops we could trade Villanueava right now, but alas . . .
There's been a Bogut sighting in the Milwaukee area and the good news is he was not limping, so the injury suffered at the Olympics seems to be recuperating nicely. I think this will be the year we can definitely close the book on what kind of player he is. After 3 starting seasons and a run through the Olympics he should be pretty close to utilizing all his potential. If he can be an upper echelon center, he will be this season. Speaking of Villanueava he was all smiles the other week when asked for comments on the Jefferson trade and the upcoming season. I like the comments that he made about addressing his lifestyle and conditioning as an athlete. He's always had talent up to his ears just never the discipline to develop it right. Maybe he's finally getting it.
BucksDiary says we should pick up Carl Landry (restricted free agent I think) if we can. And I say great if we can sneak Gadz out of here.
University of Wisconsin football, B+. I give UW props for beating Fresno State on their own turf even if pollsters won't. Can't really blame them though because every year UW has a bonehead loss just when they are at their highest point in the polls, they are just following the trend. Beyond the running game they are looking shaky on offense and would probably really struggle if they fell behind significantly to a good opponent, which doesn't bode well for the trip to the Bighouse. P.J. Hill though showed me in the Fresno game why he deserves to be talked about as one of the best backs in the country. He is not the quickest in the open field, but has that quickness in small spaces like a Jerome Bettis and he's got really quick feet too. That what seperates him from Clay and Brown and how (to me) you can tell the difference when he's in the game. So we need him to come up big Saturday. Michigan is still a very formidable team, but they should be vunerable with the 0-2 start and the new coach, new QB, new system thing going on. This should be a very winnable game for UW and it is pivotal. Once again we are positioned nicely in the polls to be in the drivers seat come January if we can just keep winning. A loss to Penn State or OSU a few more weeks down the line would not be a costly as a loss to MU right now. While it's true that if a highly ranked team loses once early in the season and then wins out they have a good chance of recovering in the polls, but a UW loss to Michigan right now would probably have voter's thinking "see they're not that good". But a close loss to Penn State or OSU after pasting Michigan would leave voters saying UW is still very good and it was a 'quality loss'. So we'll see which way the outcome goes Saturday, the real season begins now.