September 26, 2010

Packers, A-Rod Have Statement to Make

Statistically speaking, the Packers battle with Chicago on Monday Night Football doesn't mean a whole lot. It's week three and both teams still have much to prove whomever comes out on top. But there's more pressure on Green Bay and Aaron Rodgers. With less-than-stellar showings in the first two weeks, the Packers need to play to their potential and it's up to Aaron Rodgers to set the tone.

Rodgers will face pressure from the Bears defense and his pocket presence will be tested on every possession. Rodgers is skilled at feeling pressure and escaping the defense, but his decision making must be decisive and smart.

Rodgers hasn't been given many opportunities to throw deep this season, but expect Rodgers to have open receivers down field against the Bears secondary. Rodgers must hit these receivers and force the Bears' defense to honor the long ball.

It's games like this that will begin to define Aaron Rodgers and his legacy as an NFL QB. How does he respond in clutch games? Does he rise to the occasion and raise his level of play? Putting up big stats is one thing - but winning clutch games is the true measure of a great QB.

No doubt Rodgers will have many other clutch opportunities throughout the season, but MNF in one of the most storied rivalries in sports, is a perfect chance for Rodgers to make a statement for his Packers.

September 20, 2010

Packers Battle Bears for Bragging Rights, Division

Devin Aromashodu Charles Woodson #21 of the Green Bay Packers breaks up a pass intended for Devin Aromashodu #19 of the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on December 13, 2009 in Chicago, Illinois.
It's going to be a good game. Yes, any Packers or Bears fan understands that every such match up usually produces an entertaining 60 minutes of clock-cleaning, head-smacking and overwhelming emotion.

This Monday night will be no different. As a "resident" of Chicago it's interesting to peruse the Tribune and other local media outlets to gauge the conversation as the Bears have flashed a glimmer of hope to begin the season. But as the lights glimmer Monday night - witty Chicago writers will struggle to find words in describing what transpired in their backyard.

Mike McCarthy hasn't even flipped past the first page in the Packers play book. McCarthy hasn't been calling plays to win, but rather calling plays to not lose. Expect McCarthy and the Packers to shows some guts on Monday night. Five wide receiver sets, slants and go-routes will characterize the passing attack forcing the Bears to run, run and run.

In opening up the play book, Julius Peppers' will be strategically minimized in every way imaginable. Here's how you can expect the Packers to limit Peppers' presence:

  • Double set (possibly even triple set) back field with Kuhn and Finley to block Rodgers' back
  • Lots of quick slant plays and 3-step drops to get the ball out quick
  • Delayed inside hand-offs and screens to Brandon Jackson
  • Shifting/roll outs for Rodgers intentionally away from Peppers
The Bears have strengths, but because they're so few and because McCarthy is a more experienced and effective play-caller, the Packers will neutralize them leaving the Bears exposed. Here's a few examples:
  • Cutler will be pressured on a consistent basis and make painful mistakes that kill scoring opportunities.
  • Rodgers will rhythmically and methodically work the pocket and find open targets leading to BIG plays.
  • Forte will show flashes of life and score 2 TDs; but Lovie will abandon the run game much to early, leaving the game in Cutler's hands. And that won't work out for him.
  • Julius Peppers won't get a chance to interrupt Rodgers' rhythm enough to make a measurable difference.
  • Bears offensive line won't block effectively enough for Forte to get into a running rhythm.
I'm predicting a close game that'll be decided by turnovers and coaching. Chicago loses both battles and the game:

Packers: 30 
Bears: 20

A. Rodgers: 27/41, 322 yards, 3 TDs
B. Jackson: 12 carries, 68 yards; 4 catches 44 yards, TD
G. Jennings: 4 catches, 119 yards, TD
J. Finley: 6 catches, 72 yards, TD

J. Cutler: 22/38, 203 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs
M. Forte: 14 carries, 59 cards, TD; 5 catches, 40 yards, TD
D. Hester: 4 catches, 38 yards
G. Olsen: 6 catches, 70 yards

September 12, 2010

Week One Pre-Game Prediction: Packers vs. Eagles

Another Enemy #4
The Packers road test in Philadelphia marks the start of a 2010 campaign filled with high expectations. McCarthy will have this team ready and execute an aggressive game plan. Expect the Packers to spread the Eagles defense out, take deep shots early and create match up problems with Jermichael Finley.

With two rookies starting in the secondary (Burnett and Shields), Dom Capers needs bring timely pressure and avoid giving up huge plays to the Eagles' play makers. As the Kolb era begins the Packers will create at least two turnovers and make Kolb uncomfortable in the pocket. Philadelphia can make this a game if Kolb shows poise in the pocket and can find his speedsters down field.

Ultimately, Kolb and crew won't keep with with the Packers high powered offense which is why I pick Green Bay in a shootout.

Green Bay: 35
Philadelphia: 24

Packers Offensive Leaders:
Aaron Rodgers: 29/37, 327 yards, 3 TDs, 1 Int.
Greg Jennings: 6 receptions, 118 yards, 1 TD
Ryan Grant: 13 carries, 79 yards, 1 TD
Jermichael Finley: 5 receptions, 73 yards, 1 TD

September 11, 2010

Predicting the Packers Offense

Here are the Packers 2009 offensive statistics and my predictions for 2010:

Aaron Rodgers (2009)
Passing Yards: 4434
Passing TDs: 30
Interceptions: 7
Rushing Yards: 316
Rushing TDs: 5
Completion Percentage: 64.7

Aaron Rodgers (2010)
Passing Yards: 4712
Passing TDs: 36
Interceptions: 9
Rushing Yards: 279
Rushing TDs: 4
Completion Percentage: 67.8

Greg Jennings (2009)
Receptions: 68
TDs: 6

Greg Jennings (2010)
Receptions: 75
Yards: 1187
TDs: 11

Ryan Grant (2009)
Attempts: 282
Rushing Yards: 1253
TDs: 11

Ryan Grant (2010)
Attempts: 265
Rushing Yards: 1195
TDs: 10

Jermichael Finley (2009)
Receptions: 55
Yards: 676
TDs: 5

Jermichael Finley (2010)
Receptions: 71
Yards: 1078
TDs: 10

September 4, 2010

Potent Packers Offense: Three Reasons Why it’s Better in 2010

After Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense lit up the Colts in the week three preseason beating of the defending AFC Champions, my best friend (who happens to be a Chicago Bears fan) said something like , “I don’t know why everyone is so high on the Packers being so good this year – it’s not like their offense can get any better than last year.”

On the surface, perhaps it was a valid question.  The Packers offense posted impressive team and individual stats in 2009-2010. Below is a snapshot of the Packers offense in 2009.

Green Bay Packers Offensive Stat Snapshot (2009)*

NFL Ranks - 2009
Total Points Scored: 3rd (461)
Points Per Game: 3rd (28.8)
Passing Yards: 7th (4,180)
Passing TDs: 4th (30)
QB Rating: A. Rodgers 4th (103.2)
Interceptions: A. Rodgers, T-2nd fewest (7)
TE Receptions: J. Finley, 12th (55)

But if you understand the Packers and what’s changed this year, it’d be clear why the Packers’ offense will improve. It’s scary to think the Packers can be more dangerous on offense; brace yourself NFC North and rest of the NFL. Here are three reasons why the Packers offense will be better in 2010.

1. Solidified Offensive Line Will Plow and Protect
Any great offense needs protection for its QB, lanes plowed for its RBs and depth. This years’ O-Line is aligned to provide all three.  Green Bay has a healthy (knock on wood) mix of veterans and young potential to facilitate learning, drive internal competition and allow the offense to optimally operate. 
(Stay tuned for a player-by-player breakdown of the Packers OL in a near-future post)

2. Dynamic Talent Will Emerge in Key Positions
Jermichel Finley is a matchup nightmare and is poised for a breakout year. His combination of speed, athleticism and height make him un-coverable (including you Revis). Every and I MEAN every Packer wide receiver is a threat. From #1 Jennings to #5 Swain, they all have big play capability and experience. 

 An improved O-Line means a more consistent running game and more breakout plays for Ryan Grant. And, dare I say I’d be excited to see Brandon Jackson get more touches? I’ve become a big Jackson fan and hope his talent pushes the coaching staff to consider a RB by committee system. He’s a nice change of pace, great blocker and formidable receiving threat. A 70/30 split between Grant/Jackson would force defenses to honor the run game more than in 2009. Look for Jackson to shine IF he’s given the opportunity.
(Stay tuned for specific statistical predications on emerging Packers in a near-future post)

3. Aaron Rodgers Will Take the Next Step
Rodgers’ talent doesn’t have a ceiling and as I predicted – he’ll win the NFL MVP in 2010. He has all the tools including the most important attribute a QB can have—instinct.With this intangible comes pocket presence, game management skills and success under pressure, among others.

The next measuring stick for Mr. Rodgers is real, proven success under pressure. While Rodgers has valiantly kept Green Bay in games, executed last minute drives and steered his team clear of catastrophic turnovers – he MUST show he can single-handedly win the Packers an important game (preferably in the playoffs – i.e., Superbowl?). NFL greatness is centered around winning—consistently, dramatically and impressively. A-Rod will prove that in 2010.
(Stay tuned for more in-depth analysis on #12 in a near-future post)


September 2, 2010

Bringing Titletown to Chitown: Arman's Titletown Talk is Born

Wisconsin Native Launches Fanatical Green Bay Packers Blog, Pledging Allegiance to the so-called '2011 Superbowl Champions'
Arman Will Chronicle and Analyze Everything Green and Gold, Offer Insight, Analysis, Predictions and Welcome Foreign Fan Banter

CHICAGO, Ill., GREEN BAY, Wis. (Sept. 2, 2010) - Lifetime Green Bay Packers fan and Wisconsin native Shane Arman officially launched Arman's Titletown Talk, a blog dedicated to passionate Packer conversation, tonight after separation anxiety from Wisconsin and his fellow Packers fans pierced his soul to near death.

"Now that I live in enemy territory (Chicago) it's imperative I continue to make my voice heard in support of the greatest team in sports - the Green Bay Packers," Arman preached at a local Green Bay press conference Thursday night. 

Besides his clearly green-and-gold-biased point of view, Arman expressed excitement in potentially interacting with football fans from other NFL teams as well.

"While Titletown Talk is focused on entertaining and engaging Packer fans, other NFL teams may also have a slight fan presence who may or may not have an opinion," Arman said. "The hope is that other fans at least make an attempt to defend their team from belittlement in comparison to the Packers; but then again Packer fans are of a different breed."

Arman is already making bold predictions, including that of a Packers Superbowl victory in 2011, an NFC north crown and Aaron Rodgers hoisting the NFL's MVP award.

"This is the year for Rodgers, McCarthy and the cheeseheads to re-claim Mr. Lombardi's hardware and bring the symbol of football excellence back home to Green Bay," Arman said.

Those who share the Packer passion with Arman can expect a healthy dose of content from Titletown Talk centered around the Packers schedule, with opportunities for fans to contribute content, engage in debate and offer fan-analysis. 

Readers can expect the following type of content on a weekly basis:

Pre-game predictions (Fridays or Saturdays)

  • Keys to victory
  • Player(s) to watch
  • "Manly" matchup of the week
  • Gametime decision: a game plan strategy for what the coach should do
  • Team matchup analysis
  • Studs to stifle: who the Packers need to shut down
Post-game analysis (Sunday/Monday night)

  • Reasons why the Packers won/loss
  • Inside the playbook: breakdown of the game's most important plays
  • MVP: most valuable packer
  • Filmroom follies: breakdown of what went wrong

Season predictions

  • Player stat predictions
  • Win/loss: game by game
  • Breakouts & Fakeouts: who is poised to dominate, who is ripe to flake 
For more information on becoming a contributor, guest writer or if you have any questions about Arman's Titletown Talk, e-mail