After watching the Packers play the Falcons in Lambeau on Monday night (December 8, 2014), it reminded me of the battle of Bunker Hill where the commander remarked. It was a glorious victory for the Packers however a few more of these type victories ... and we'd be through.
So what did you see last night? In the first half, great fun. Jordy Nelson repeating his weekly down the center of the field. Then that was followed by a whole lot of not so fun for that Packer defense. You might call it an imbalance. For the defense, it's not going to get any easier. Happy times!
When you see the exact same five (5) lineman, Rodgers, Cobb, Nelson, Starks, Kuhn and Lacy ... week in ... week out, you see a team that hasn't faced much adversity in 2014. Those five offensive lineman, for the most part, are playing as well or better than any line in the NFL. What I see in that pocket is a weasel, with all kinds of time, surrounded by all of his offensive threats. Now the question ... Do you see this as a battle tested offense? If you answered yes then you are blind to a fact. The playoffs are about battling adversity and the Packers along with their weasel leader have has none of that.
Regardless of where the game is played, Seattle matches up favorably versus that Packer defense and the way the Seahawks defense is now playing, what that means is adversity for Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers, like every other quarterback, does not like contact in that pocket but he reacts quite a bit differently to that violent contact than most. Most quarterbacks are expecting that contact, as they don't have that line to protect them but the weasel tanks with repeated contact. And it's more than not being used to that 2014 contact, it's that he hasn't faced any sort of playoff level adversity. He's about to when he faces Buffalo and then Detroit as the gloves will most certainly be off.
Buffalo needs to take the Falcons script and then explode it right in Rodgers face. The Packers are going to run up the score early on Buffalo, even on a short week, but what they need to do is dish up that defense in large doses with one primary objective. The Bills are going to take a chunk out of Rodger's ass up in Orchard Park. For the Packers, it's clearly not about the cold ... it's about the contact. If they focus their efforts, the Bill's will be presented with an opportunity of winning it at the end just as it was presented to the Falcons. It wasn't Matty Ice's hot hand, it was a suspect defense that is used to teams giving up early. Keep your foot on Rodgers throat.
Looking back over Viking history, the coach didn't matter, but when players exited our line-up due to injury, the team started to tank. Under Denny Green, all you needed to do was take out one of his key players, and it was over. Adversity and Denny Green were much like his clock management skills ... the two didn't coexist. Even under the stone face stare without Tarkenton in 1977 we didn't stand a chance. Matt Cassel was our starter in 2014, just like Brad Johnson in 1998, but this season is truly remarkable for the resilience to all that adversity.
Now let's take a closer look at this team. According to Pro Football focus, the Vikings are sporting the worst left tackle in the entire league. Sure Matt has had glaring mistakes. Many have sunk this teams early opportunities which put us behind early which eventually led to losses (See Jared Allen versus Chicago). For whatever reason, in time Matt would settle down as the games progressed where it's not clear if he can be relied upon in the future. Maybe he just wanted out of Minnesota as we clearly didn't have a franchise quarterback to rally around and if you're from USC ... under Pete Carroll, if you don't have access to the best players to dominate everyone ... then you might as well move on. Maybe after watching Teddy, Matt might have changed his mind as lately he's certainly sharpened his play. Unfortunately, Pete Carroll's methodology is going to hit Matt directly in his wallet.
In one play this year, we lost both our starting center John Sullivan and right guard Brandon Fusco. Of course we lost that game due in part to a very wise statement by one of Bud Grants closest friends where he said your team has little chance as success without your center as that position controls the pits. Now we've lost our right guard Fusco and right tackle Loadholt to injured reserve. Versus the Jets, a name not heard much this year Charlie Johnson went down with an ankle injury. People that's four out of five offensive lineman which begs the question. Is John Sullivan this teams MVP as he's somehow patched together an impossible set of circumstances which have somehow resulted in victories. Let's not belittle the fact that these players, called off the bench, not only played well but they themselves just might be quite talented future starters. The key here is that the resulting play is almost beyond belief.
The actual MVP however is without question Bill Polian's hypocritical statements which is: "To do what I say ... not what I do". Bill Polian suggested that we keep Teddy Bridgewater on the bench for the 2014 season thereby naming Matt Cassel as our starter. Wasn't it Bill Polian who started Peyton Manning and let's not forget Andrew Luck that started game #1 in his rookie campaign. Of course the safe play for both Mike Zimmer and Norv Turner was to start Matt Cassel even though Teddy played "Lights-Out" in the pre-season making virtual unknowns into hero's of the day. Then it hit. Matt Cassel was named our starter which was followed by a deluge from our Minnesota Press corps, led by my favorite Judd Zulgad, all stating that this was in fact a brilliant move to keep old Teddy on the back burner to allow him to develop his skills slowly. Of course, you don't develop in the NFL sitting on that pine but everyone was certain to follow Bill Polian's solid advise. Mr. Judd ... you were wrong!
Unfortunately there was a problem. The gods have a plan and that plan will not be Trifled with anymore. What welled up within me was a degree of perpetual anger that I've never felt before. In other words, it went well beyond what was felt prior to the collapse of the Metrodome where this franchise found itself playing a home game in Detroit. This feeling of anger was so vial that "The Question" was posed and verbalized. In what way could this organization be harmed, in such a way, that cries throughout the land could no longer be ignored. Teddy must be this teams starter. The preseason ended, and we played game #1, and we are all on top of the world. Then that can of whup-S was opened and what has transpired was nothing short of epic. In short, the gods would not be denied its time line and Teddy is now leading a group of misfits, castoffs, malcontents and prima donnas along of corps of Vikings with hearts of solid gold.
The focus of the gods has now changed its focus upon the omnipotent one and his cohorts, however there is a caveat. It revolves around Adrian Peterson. Within the ranks is your Judas which is ready to serve up AP's head on a silver platter. If this happens, the error will be catastrophic where the organization will literally go down in flames to the tune of Marshal. As for the present course, if left uninterrupted, the wrath has been unleashed upon the league, targeting it's bill fold ... targeting it's sponsors. Maybe you hadn't noticed but last week was the first week that Peyton hadn't thrown a touchdown pass where Denver has become a running team. Could this be the beginning of the end of Peyton Manning. Aaron Rodgers just faced his first Bunker Hill-like battle for which adversity and a reign of hits are about to be unleashed upon him. Romo is playing with a broken back and broken ribs with more to come. Then of course we have the untouchable Tom Brady with three (3) Super Bowl victories and Two (2) Super Bowl losses. Unfortunately for Tom, his exits from the playoffs have been well scripted by the New York Giants, that repeatedly harassed him, imparting vicious hit after vicious hit. Then there's the Arizona Cardinals that have already lost their starting quarterback with hit and miss play from his backup. What could be next? Funny thing ... is that there is absolutely nothing that can stop its motion now.
Now what would happen if all those playoff qualifiers secured their spot in the tournament, where a good portion of those qualifiers had already experienced absolute carnage like the very dangerous Cardinal's franchise that have found themselves with their teeth ripped out. What if more of those qualifiers were about to experience this carnage on the way toward the playoffs. It could get very ugly out there. Sure, most fans will be unable to peer away from the carnage but we all know that it's scoring that people want ... or is it. If the scoring is not there then the product suffers ... and so does the sponsors. Yup, these are the same sponsors that couldn't be apart of Adrian Peterson disciplining his son the way he was taught. Yup, these are the same sponsors that somehow found a way to allow Dallas's #1 pick offensive lineman, that killed his team mate in his automobile accident driving under the influence ... Yeah, it just doesn't make sense to me either. It does if you consider the word tampering.
The Viking Ghost Writer
Date: December 9, 2014