Well I know everyone is Wisconsin is feeling much better this week now that 'The Drama' involving He Who Shall Not Be Named is over and the Brewers and Pack showed that their not dead yet. Shall we . . .
Packers. C+ For their first pre-season game. Pack won the battle against the Bengals first team in the first quarter, but after the starters came out the defense go notably softer except for a few bright spots like the play of Abdul Hodge. This could probably mostly be chalked up to a current rash of injuries among defensive personnel, especially along the line, but still for the last 2 or 3 quarters it seemed like Cincinnati ran up the middle at will with whoever. But I, as most fans were, was really looking to use this game to get a gauge on the progress on AR (Aaron Rodgers). In my opinion he did not disappoint. He managed the game well, made mostly the correct decisions at the right times, and limited his mistakes (hell his one pick and half of his IC's were the receivers fault). I think this what we'll see a lot of with AR: nothing particularly spectacular, but solid game management. And I see us going back to the days when the stars of the team were the receivers ala Sterling Sharpe and James Lofton, only now it will be Jennings, Jones, and Driver. Some more random observations/thoughts:
I see some of the improvement in Brandon Jackson that has been talked about this summer. AR took his one sack thanks to Jackson's blown blocking assignment, but he made up for that with several nice runs. Showed some ability to keep his legs moving.
I was almost verklempt over the outstanding class fans showed by giving AR a standing ovation as he came under center. Maybe the national media will get the picture now that the vast majority of Packer fans are solidly behind our team no matter what.
Woodson and Harris may be getting old, but they are still the best corners on the roster.
Nick Barnett might just jump to 'elite linebacker' status this season.
If Brian Brohm had come out last year and been thrown into a starting role, I think he would be labeled a bust by now (not saying he will be, just in that situation).
And the latest training camp notes.
Brewers. B+ Crew are still in 2nd place in the division 3 games back, 8-2 in the last 10 and leading the wild card standings. Brewers have done a good job bouncing back from the Cubs sweep, though it was expected considering who they've played since then (Braves, Reds, Nats). The biggest dustup lately has been the little spat between Fielder and Parra caught on national tv. Although I'm way late to the comment party on this I must say I was a little disturbed by the level of bashing Prince took in the media and blogosphere for this incident. Personally I like Fielder and the dynamic that he brings to the clubhouse. He's obviously a passionate guy who cares about winning (the kind of player that in my opinion has been missing from the roster for about 15 years before he came along). His personality might be polarizing to fans, but I think he's the kind of spark the Brewers need to be real contenders (not certain but I think they've lost like one game since the incident) and for all the talk of his diminished production this year it doesn't look like he's doing that bad. I can do without the public complaints about his contract, but isn't that typical of a lot of pro athletes? I think this quote from the Tom Hardicourt's JS blog sums it up best: Fielder has admitted many times in the past that he has a temper but he also is considered a central part of the club, on and off the field. Players often talk about the chemistry within the clubhouse and veteran infielder Craig Counsell said he didn't expect that to be altered by the incident. "You never want stuff like that to happen," said Counsell. "But who cares? We lost tonight. That's the worst thing that happened.
The latest reason for worry warts like me to panic is Ryan Braun's injury troubles. Needless to say the Brewers will need his bat if they want to go deep into the playoffs.
CC Sabaithia leads the league in complete games and Sheets just tossed a complete shutout so he's trying to keep pace, however Between the Green Pillars raises the question are we depending too much on our aces? I say that since it seems like the fan and media consensus is that it's a fat chance that either will be here after this season, smoke 'em while you got 'em.
Mike Rivera doesn't get much playing time behind Jason Kendall, but always seems to make the best of his chances. Even to a casual fan like me it seems like Kendall is in the downslide of his career so playing Rivera more couldn't hurt.
BrewerFan.net has an interesting retro comparison between the '92 Crew (last to seriously contend with Yount and Molitor) and this year's edition.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel pleasantly surprised me the other day by dropping some knowledge on the little known fact that Milwaukee had a Negro League team.
Didn't Dick Weeks 4 hit game make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside?
Bucks. Holy cow I was just about to write that there wasn't much going on in Buck's land this week besides commentary on how Redd and Bogut are doing in the Olympics when I saw the latest post over at BrewHoop. Seems Hammond is once again making some changes to the roster, shipping out Mo Williams and Dez Mason to Cleveland and Oklahoma City respectively for Luke Ridnour, Damon Jones, and Adrian Griffin in return. I should mention that this is not official yet but I would tend to trust BrewHoops sources. Kind of makes sense, there's really not enough balls to go around to satisfy Mo's shooting jones and Adrian Griffin fills the need at the small forward position. Damon coming back to Milwaukee, I'm not so high on. It's obvious from the way he bolted after his one previous season here that he thinks he's too good a player to be here (not) and in my opinion he's not the best team guy. Hopefully he'll be used as trade bait. The Bob Boozer Jinx takes a deeper look at the trade. And the Bucks may soon have another new addition, big man Francisco Elson.
Speaking of trades have you paid attention to Yi Jianlin's performance in the Olympics so far? No doubt we got the best end of that trade.
University of Wisconsin football. More preseason poll hype for those who get into that, blah blah blah. I'm ready for them to strap it up.