Just like you, Coach needed a week off to go through the standard 7 stages of depression: Denial (That did NOT just happen!), Isolation (I’m turning the TV off and leaving now – I don’t feel like watching football anymore, but I might look up the AFC score tomorrow just so I know who’s playing.), Anger (Fire Capers!), Bargaining (Wait, you can keep Dum Capers if you fire Ted because he doesn’t give Capers any talent to work with.), Regret (If we’d have made that chip shot field goal, and if Ripkowski didn’t fumble on his way into the end zone, the score would have been 14-10 instead of 21-0, and then we would have not dropped passes over and over again to start the 3rd quarter, and the game might have turned out completely different!), Preparation (I guess I could use some extra time this Sunday to pick through baits in the Clearance bin at Gander Mountain and Fleet Farm.), Acceptance (At least we’re not the Lions, Vikings or Bears.).
Create a seam here - X's & O's about the game or a scheme
Hey kids, it’s time for the last game of the 2016 NFL Season. Normally in this section of the report we’d be reviewing the Packers last game… …but the penultimate weekend of the season was so totally disastrous for the Pack that we don’t need to rub your nose in it here. Suffice it to say that we played well, except for offense, defense and special teams. Total, mindbogglingly complete collapse is a good way of saying it, but here's what it boils down to:
What the Falcons did well:
WTF – The Coach’s take on a bad ref call or a bad play call or the like
Why do they still have a Probowl? If you’re like Coach, you ignored the AFC-NFC Probowl played in Orlando on Sunday. An interesting twist to this year’s event was the “skills competition” played in the days leading up to the game, highlighting the incredible talents of the biggest names in football. Matches included Dodgeball, a Best Hands catching skills obstacle course, the Power Play feats of strength relay race, and – Coach’s personal favorite, a Pass the Concussion Protocols round robin.
This year’s winner was Carolina Panthers quarterback, Cam Newton, after being subjected to blunt force trauma to the crown of the skull with a Wile E. Coyote style anvil in front of a team of medical professionals measuring which players could most accurately recite the months of the year in reverse order while suppressing nausea and any visible signs of disorientation. Good on you, Cam!
Commissioner Roger Goodell was exuberant after the event stating, “Over the course of the season, these athletes have showcased their amazing ability to score sufficiently on reflex and balance tests in order to be cleared to return to the playing field, and today, fans had the opportunity to finally watch them compete head to head. This truly pit the best against the best.” Goodell added that the concussion protocol challenge will be included as a halftime ditty in the preseason Hall of Fame Game this coming August in Canton, Ohio with a special NFL alumni matchup between former All-Pro quarterbacks Troy Aikman and Steve Young.
Bears Still Suck - the Coach has proof
John Fox Says Voices In Headset Keep Calling Him Idiot
CHICAGO - Harried, flinch-prone Bears head coach John Fox said last Thursday before the Probowl that his biggest concern going into the 2016 NFL season was the constant presence of the cruel, derisive voices in his headset that keep calling him an idiot.
"I had hoped the voices would go away after last year, but they were there again all preseason," a visibly shaken Fox told Orlando reporters, saying the voices could be frustrated, angry, exasperated, or "even just sad, sometimes," and confirming he hears them whenever his headset is on. "Our first practice of the year, the first thing I heard when I put my headphones on was 'Welcome back, idiot.' I hadn't even done anything yet."
“I can’t stop them,” he added. “And if the 2017 season will be anything like it was this year, the voices will only get louder and meaner. It starts with idiot, but the voices in my headset inevitably get angrier as the season goes on. They call me all sorts of things: moron, dumbass, stupid piece of shit—you name it. Sometimes all of them yell at once: ‘We could do this job far better than you without even trying, you freaking idiot.’”
Team sources confirmed Fox has been plagued by the voices in his headset throughout his tenure as the Bears' head coach, most notably but not exclusively during crucial game situations involving clock management, replay challenges, fourth-down play-calls, and decisions regarding which quarterback should be playing.
"Those account for about half the times the voices call me idiot on my headphones, and those are the worst," said Fox, adding that while he would like to ignore the voices, circumstances have made it difficult to do so. "It's tough, because usually when they're calling me that, something really bad has happened and I'm trying to figure out what to do next, and being called an idiot doesn't help at all, especially when it happens like 10 or 12 times a game."
“Sometimes I wonder what I have to do to make them go away,” he continued.
According to Fox, the accusing voices do not always confine themselves to headphones but can be heard coming from all manner of electronic communications devices and sometimes even through ambient noise.
"Often when I’m at home I’ll hear them on the radio,” Fox said. "On the TV, too, if I pay attention. And now and then, if I listen closely, I hear them on my phone, especially when I’m talking to [Chicago Bears GM] Ryan Pace. They’re also there when I eat in restaurants or go grocery shopping—even when I’m at church and it seems that no one's talking but the pastor. They’re sort of taking over my life."
"Last season I even started hearing them in the shower, and that’s really scary, because it sounded like my voice when that happened," Fox added. “So I went to a psychiatrist, a real nice guy and a Bears fan. He said that maybe I should really listen to the voices, especially when they tell me to get off the football field.”
Although the instances of hearing voices call him an idiot did taper off to just a few times a day when the 2015 season ended and ceased almost entirely when he was asleep, Fox said the frequency of the insults redoubled shortly after the 2016 training camp began. The cries of idiot also began increasing in volume to the point that Fox reported hearing, during preseason games, roughly 60,000 people screaming "What are you doing, you idiot?" in unison. "They came back in full force a couple days before our first game, right after we signed Josh Sitton.” Fox added. "In fact, that time the voices came from behind me where the offensive linemen were hanging out. But when I turned around, they weren’t talking at all.”
"There it is again," the 3-team NFL Head Coach and idiot said when reached by phone for an interview. "Did you hear that?"
Udder stuff – commentary from the Badger Underground
Looking at college programs that have players in this year’s Super Bowl, two universities stand out with a whopping 5 players in the game, each. It might not surprise you to learn that 1 of those schools is Alabama, but can you guess the other team? Here’s a hint: Big Ten school (golf clap). No, it’s not Wisconsin. THE Ohio State (THE obvious choice)?...nope. Michigan? Uh-uh. Michigan State? No. Penn State, Iowa, Nebraska? No, no, no. It’s freakin Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights. I shit you not. What does that mean? Well, nothing really, but I bet you didn’t know that. Now you do, and I’m 83.9% sure you are inclined to mention it at your wife’s boss’ Super Bowl party to impress him after you suspect he’s onto you for having 1 too many of his Grey Goose martinis. Try not to slur. You’re welcome.
You heard it here first, despite losing some top talent to the NFL (like Ram Jack and Junior Watt) and despite the usual underwhelming recruiting class (ranked 132nd by ESPN), we predict Bucky will be vying for an NCAA football playoff spot in 2017 after being a shoo in for the Big Ten Championship. Why do we say this?
1st - The rest of the Big Ten West sucks. Get real. Nebraska can’t fight its way out of a wet paper sack even though they seemingly always get some decent recruits. We play the Hogeyes at home. Sure, they are decent and cannot be overlooked, kind of like the Packers Nort Division foes.
2nd - We have a pretty easy schedule, especially after the gauntlet we faced this year (and went 10-2, spank you very much!). The non-conference highlight is the Kane Liffen led FAU Owls and then BYU. Our toughest games are at home, the Weasels opening day of gun season and the aforementioned Hogeyes.
3rd - Our coaches always seem to get the most out of minimal recruited talent. (See also, our 10th ranked basketball Badgers!)
4th - The toughest game will be the Weasels and they lost their star bowl game leaker, Jabril “Jailbreak” Peppers to the draft. His crocodile tears in the locker room after the Orange Bowl loss fooled no one, except maybe yours truly for a couple two tree minutes.
We say 11-1 and a trip to the Rose Bowl if not the real playoffs! Worst case, we will achieve the Mark Murphy level of a successful season, with some entertaining games to cheer for.
And now, girls jumping on trampolines (Click on Link)…
We’re gonna kick you’re a$$ - predictions for the next game
Normally in this section of the report we’d be reviewing the Packers approach to dominating the opponent in the forthcoming game… …but Coach is forced to remind you that scoring more points than the other team is a necessary thing in the playoffs, and we didn’t do that. Coach also would like to point out, again, that the teams who enjoy sustained success through the season usually show up in the playoffs. While “getting hot at the end” is discussed a lot by pundits everywhere, Coach politely responds “bull shit” to that argument. Usually the better team prevails. The chart below shows the 2016 Super Bowl tournament. The green shaded cells are the playoff game winners who had a better regular season point differential than their opponents (offensive points scored less defensive points allowed). This year was completely consistent with previous years in that 75% of the playoff game winners had a greater regular season point differential than the team they beat. Coach has looked at several years of data and the 75% is a pretty consistent average. The exceptions this year are the Raiders (who lost 2 starting QB’s in weeks 16 & 17) and the Packers beating Dallas (which was divine providence recognizing Bart Starr’s birthday and because God ordained His Team to win).
Obviously, the regular season statistics don’t mean a thing during the actual game, but they do indicate which team has consistently been better. If the trend holds, Tom Brady will be accepting the Lombardi Trophy from Roger the Dodger this weekend.
More importantly, “what the hell is going on out there” with the Packers? In the words of Vince Lombardi, “winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.”
Despite everyone at 1265 Lombardi Avenue post-rationalizing how 2016 was a “good season, we just ran out of gas” and “2015 was pretty good” (MM 2016 post season press conference, and MM 2015 year-end summary in March of 2016…you figure out which MM I am referring to in each case, as they both spout the same loser mantra), Coach knows that loyal readers of this space are committed to one thing and one thing only…extending our league leading number of Championships to 14 by collecting another Lombardi Trophy. Coach also knows that you are impressed with the length of the non-run-on sentence above. You’re welcome.
Coach regularly bemoans our lack of Defense under the MM/TT/MM/Legume regime, but does that matter? We have Mr. Rodgers don’t we, isn’t that enough, Coach? Is Coach just whining about trivial stuff?
Well let’s just take a stroll down Super Bowl History Lane and look at all the Lombardi Championship teams since 1989, 27 teams in all. What does the tape tell us about the importance of Offense and Defense?
You can see in the chart below that Offense is indeed important. In fact, the average regular season ranking for offensive points scored of the SB winner was No. 7. But you can also see some scatter and some lower ranking offenses (they all had outstanding defense, more on that in a second). Nevertheless, it’s obvious that on average you must be a pretty darn good team on offense to win the Super Bowl; 2/3rd’s of the winning teams had an offensive ranking of No. 9 or better.
What’s more interesting to Coach is the Regular Season defensive-points-allowed ranking. The chart below shows several things, first, not only is the defensive average higher than offensive average (5 vs 7), but the median of 3 is higher too. Think about that for a tenth of a millisecond. The median of 3 means that 50% of the Super Bowl winners had a number 3 or better defense…and 2/3rd’s of the winners had a top 5 defense. Coach is apoplectic that the Pack doesn’t have a Top 10 Defense, maybe Coach needs to set the bar higher.
The data is clear; defense does in fact win championships. Sure, there are no guarantees, and there are many exceptions, but 2/3rd’s of the Super Bowl Championship Teams had “Top 5” regular season defenses…as measured by points allowed, not the silly yards allowed that the main stream, freedom-hating liberal media always uses.
So how have the Packers fared in offensive and defensive ranking during the MM/AR/Legume era? (Note, Coach starts with 2009 as that is the year that the big Legume started as Defensive Coordinator for the Pack.) Are we good enough on Offense to win the Super Bowl? The answer is “you betcha!!” Seven out of the eight years that MM & AR have been together, the offense has been good enough to get to and win the big game. In the chart below the bars represent the ranking of the Offense in points scored (with the rank on the left axis, a low bar is good in this case); and the average points scored per game is the blue line (on the right hand y-axis and up is good).
We won’t go into it today, but Coach does also note that the trend in points scored per game is going down…we’ve dissected the obviousness of MM play calling, stupid game management decisions, difficulty in beating Top 10 Defenses and general predictability of McCarthy in previous editions so we’ll save some of that for next year. Bottom line; the offense is good enough to get us to the promised land.
So Coach, why all the suspense, what about the D? Well Skippy, and this is gonna piss you off… Recall, above Coach showed that 2/3rd’s of Super Bowl winning teams had a Top 5 defense. How often have we done that in GB? Exactly one time in the last 8 years, 2010 when we won the whole damn thing. The chart below is similar to the offensive chart above, the bars represent the rank of the Defense in points allowed (a low bar is good):
Green Bar = Top 10 Ranking
Yellow Bar = 11th - 20th Ranking
Red Bar = 21st – 32nd Ranking
The solid red line represents the Defensive Points allowed (on the right-hand Y axis). You tell coach, is this good enough to win the Super Bowl? In case you don’t know, the answer is “hell no.”
In the event you haven’t gotten the point yet, here is the summary of the Mike McCarthy/Aaron Rodgers/Dom Capers era for the Green Bay Packers. The offense has been consistently good and the defense has been consistently bad. It’s not opinion or hyperbole, it’s fact.
So, please choose one, the problem is:
Let’s tackle these in reverse order:
4. Bad luck? There is no such thing over 8 years, Coach would argue the opposite, maybe 2010 was lucky in our favor and we “didn’t deserve it.”
3. Injuries? Nope, sorry. Certainly, MM infuriates Coach with very poor game management, but he does a fantastic job of organizing the team and activities.
2. TT isn’t giving Dom the players? Well, this is actually part of the answer … just under 50% of it. Coach will have a more detailed analysis of TT at Draft Time, but here’s a quick synopsis of the TT drafts:
1. Dom Capers is a bad coach. This Coach is tired of hearing how smart the Big Legume is; the data doesn’t lie. He has not produced good defenses. The excuses vary by year, but in 8 years he caught magic for one year and all the other years have been terrible. Ted Thompson sure hasn’t helped him, but it doesn’t explain 7 years of less than mediocre performance. Therefore, Capers must go for the Pack to be consistently good on D.
JB – Packer players you forgot about, but stories you’ll remember about them
Dave "Hawg" Hanner, we salute you!
This stud was with the Pack for 42-years for cripessake! He was drafted in the 5th round in 1952, played DL in the hum drum 50’s and was a starter for Vince on the ’61 and ’62 championship teams. Dave played 160 of 164 games in his 13 year career, missing 3 of those 4 games in his rookie year. More than just another pretty face, Hanner was selected for the Probowl in 1953 and 1954.
"Hawg" then coached for 16-years with the Packers after his playing career was over -- for Vince ’65 to ’70 as DL coach and then as Defensive Coordinator under not-so-dandy Dan Devine. He continued coaching through ‘82 when he then became a scout until retiring in ‘96.
Dave may be the most behind the scenes dedicated Packer you may never have heard of. But, Cliff Cristl (nice name) interviewed him a few years back. There are some true gems in these comments about playing in GB in the 50’s and about playing and coaching for Lombardi. Click here and enjoy. Anyway, here are a couple of my faves:
"Coach" is the insightful collective brain and funny bone of a few legendary Packer fans who provide everything you need to know (and what Packers beat writers often plagiarize) about the Green & Gold, plus a weekly guest appearance by The Badger Underground.