Season's greetings to all ... had a logistical snafu getting started ... little little here ... let's roll with MtnMan: Hey, Mr. Cutler defeated the Packers in his last start (11-26-15) against them ... but you are right, Cutler generally was interception-prone and awful against Dom Capers' defenses. Of Matt Barkley's three picks Sunday, only one was his fault. He played far, far better than could have been expected. For now, he looks to be a better option for the Bears than Cutler.
Ryan: Perceptions change on every player that plays in the game every week. Injuries, fumbles, lousy reads, great runs, poor blitz pickup, breaking tackles: you just never know what might happen. Case in point, Ty Montgomery. I still think Lacy will return on a cheap 1-year deal.
PF: I would doubt that this is Dom Capers' final season in GB. I agree with you, McCarthy has always fancied himself as a 3-4 guy.
Josh: Rush the passer a whole lot better and hope Randall comes out of his funk. There are no easy solutions. Shields is on IR for the year. Nick Perry would be a major addition to the rush if and when he returns, but how effective can he be with a club on that hand?
JK: McCarthy's ability to manage a football game is light years ahead of Starr's ability. Even after nine years, Starr couldn't see that calling timeouts were the only way to go. That, as well as Starr's comment afterward, "That's our business," still boggles the mind. Experts say McCarthy has become is a solid clock guy over time. Another thing to point out is that the head-coaching gig is so much easier now. A modern-day head man has about 20 assistant coaches plus analytics people floating around the sideline and in the coaching booth upstairs. A guy like Starr maybe had eight assistants and that was about it.
Dig: I asked one personnel man yesterday who was the Vikings' best player on defense. He called it a tie among Everson Griffen, Linval Joseph and Harrison Smith. When I'd see Minnesota, the sight of Smith running back and forth from deep to the line of scrimmage or then veering to the flat was jarring. He meant the world to Mike Zimmer, whose unconventional A-gap scheme needs just such a confident, talented player. Personally, I don't think Smith has played that well against the Packers over the years. Too many missed tackles and completions in his area. The problem is, Anthony Harris isn't a very good backup.
James: The answer is no. In the sixth paragraph of my Oct. 16 column, I wrote: "Rodgers might be great again, and from someone who picked the Packers for a 13-3 record and Super Bowl berth this season it's fully expected that he will. It could happen Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys at Lambeau Field. The Packers have the pieces to turn it around on offense, and in dramatic fashion." A large part of the reason why the Packers were 4-6 was the disappointing play at the quarterback position. If they finish 10-6, it'll be three games beneath where I expected them to be. When I wrote that column in mid-October, his passer rating was 83.6 in the previous 16 games and his completion percentage was 56.8%. All these broadcasters who parachute in to call GB games forget what went on the first half of the season. He has turned it around now and is playing like the quarterback he was for years before his falloff. There's no physical or schematic reason why he wouldn't have turned it around. An MVP should play extraordinarily well for the entire season, or close to it. He hasn't. As for other MVP candidates, I haven't thought it through. As for HOF, I wrote then: "Rodgers is close to securing a bust in Canton, but to clinch a berth he must get out of this tailspin and reach at least another Super Bowl." Knowing what I knew then, I wouldn't change anything in that column.
Brian: Awful. If the Packers' rushers can't do business against this protection unit something is terribly wrong.
Bobbert: Year after year some fans like to rant and rave about missed tackles by the Packers. I have been charting the Packers' missed tackles since 1999. Now I haven't added it all up since midseason, but after eight games GB's defense had 43 missed tackles compared to 57 at midyear 2015, 70 in 2014 and 59 in 2013. In 2012, after McCarthy threatened to chop heads after the terrible tackling season of 2011, the Packers had just 35 after eight games. Granted, Damarious Randall has tackled poorly since returning from groin surgery. My guess is the Packers' tackling has been at an adequate NFL level for 14 games.
Tommy: You know Mike Zimmer will be all over his defensive players this week after their shameful showing against a Colt defense that had three rookies starting for O-line coach Joe Philbin. I would think that the Vikings D will be playing like crazed animals, at least early on. But their best interior rusher, DT Tom Johnson, suffered a torn hamstring Sunday and is done, and the best guess as I write this midday Wed is FS Harrison Smith will not play. If the Packers keep getting takeaways and short fields, this game could be a routine victory.
Islander: No, sad to say I never watch the CFL. Henry Burris ... that is outstanding. He was a terrific guy to deal with waaaay back when in GB. I have known CFL scouts and assistant coaches over the years. They look for more multi-positional players because of reduced roster size. Thanks for this. Interesting.
Curt: I gave Nelson one drop. I described the ball that LeBlanc raked out but never said it was a drop. I am very conservative assigning dropped passes. Some of these TV announcers immediately say a ball was dropped when it seems more than half the time it was broken up.
RR: Hand size is critical for an OL. Line play is all about getting one's hands inside the other guy's chest. When hands are small, you're punching at a disadvantage. Your ability to grab and latch is minimized. Mike Sherman, an old OL coach, used to consider hand size paramount in evaluating O-linemen. Arm length is more important but hand size probably is more vital than say vertical jump.
Dawg: That's not coaching. That's playing. Many times cornerbacks have the freedom to line up in press coverage or off coverage. In that case, I bet the cornerback (Randall) just decided to play off.
Cam: I'm happy for TJ Lang and his Pro Bowl selection. He'll be former Pro Bowler TJ Lang forever now. However, GMs are smarter than to base their offseason free agent evaluations on Pro Bowl results. The key for Lang will be how he ends the season and then the condition of his hip, which he said last week would require surgery. I do not see Bulaga moving anywhere after his fine season.
Mike: Montgomery has the sickle cell trait. Earlier in the year it was a factor why he wasn't used more. We'll have to see if that impacts future playing time ... thanks to one and all for a good session. Thanks for reading us at JS, and Merry Christmas to one and all.//BOB McGINN