Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Kid Sure Doesn't Suck!

Sorry it’s taken me a while to write this up. It’s been busy. But what a night! I am so stoked! We beat the Vikings, despite all the hoopla. And most importantly for our future, Aaron Rodgers had a great night—178 yards, 18 completions out of 22 attempts, one passing TD and one rushing TD. He was a busy boy.

Before serious discussion, just as a bit of trivia, it may interest you to know that our acting center, Jason Spitz (C, #72) can actually leg press 1100 pounds thirty times! At least this is what Lori Nickel of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports. Fuckin’ amazing. There are no photos of his legs on the web. I’d really like to see legs muscular enough to leg press half a ton thirty times.

First quarter was a little dodgy and I’ve got to say that the offensive line had problems. Chad Clifton (LT, #76) and Tony Moll (RG, #75) racked up three penalties each. Darryn Colledge (LG, #73) and Mark Tauscher (RT, #65) racked up one each. Of the total, five of these penalties were levied in the first period. The most heartbreaking penalty nullified Rodgers’ 68-yard touchdown throw to Donald Driver. I thought that Tony Moll would undoubtedly be answering for that one Monday morning, but according to Jason Wilde of the Wisconsin State Journal, apparently there was a communication problem that led to the penalty:

Neither McCarthy nor offensive coordinator Joe Philbin were excusing the penalties as a first-game issue — “We were just a little bit out of sync,” Philbin said — but the coaches also weren't coming down hard on Tony Moll and Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila for two penalties that proved costly.

The second of Moll's two ineligible man downfield penalties wiped out a 68-yard Rodgers-to-Donald Driver touchdown pass, which came on a run-pass check made by Rodgers at the line of scrimmage.

As a result, Moll was unaware of the play change and was run-blocking, so he got upfield about 5.5 yards, just beyond the allowable distance.

So the O-line is rough around the edges, but they held up against the Vikings alleged “doomsday defense” and Rodgers wasn’t sacked the whole evening long. While watching, I felt that this absence of sacks was at least partially due to Rodgers’ own mobility. My initial response was to say, “I’m glad the Kid can dance, but he really shouldn’t have to.” But I just pulled up this interesting interview with LeRoy Butler, who claims

Q. How much can you see them getting out of his running ability? Can they incorporate that into their offense?

A. They do a lot of play-action and bootlegs and a lot of sprint options to get him out of the pocket anyway. They can use that. You have to give McCarthy a lot of credit for moving his quarterback around. He can be a scrambling quarterback, he can be a pocket passer, he can do it all. He can make all the throws. A lot of veterans can't make all the throws. He can throw the ball 56 yards with a tight spiral, he can throw a 25-yard comeback, he can dump it over the middle. But he also knows he's not going to complete 18 of 22 every time. That's why I like him. He's mentally tough.

So, according to Butler at least, this highly mobile quarterback stuff is actually part of the plan. That blows my mind. The Kid is definitely not Favre. Butler couldn’t help selling Rodgers up:

Q. Overall, what did you think of the performance of quarterback Aaron Rodgers?

A. I thought he went through his progressions really well. I wasn't surprised that the offense started slow. I think it was good play-calling by (Mike) McCarthy to get him out of the pocket. People probably didn't know he was that fast. The pass he threw to (Greg) Jennings - the long pass - the pass he hit (Donald) Driver on that was called back and another pass he threw over the middle to Driver, he showed that he can throw with velocity. I was very happy with his overall performance. I think everybody in the stadium was shocked; I wasn't. Aaron has the mind of a golfer. You can hit a bad shot or you can hit a 50-foot birdie putt and it's the same to him. He doesn't get rattled, you can't intimidate him, he's a cool, calm guy. It didn't bother him all those comments the Vikings made during the week. He doesn't care that there are 40 Jets jerseys in the stands. It doesn't bother him. It doesn't bother him if he looks in the stands and see's a sign about Brett. This is one of the mentally toughest guys for someone in his age group I've seen in a long time. You have to be mentally tough to fill Brett Favre's shoes.

There were none of those suspicious drops that plagued our receiver corps during the preseason. That was exciting. They did a great deal to cork the great Adrian Peterson. He was damned fast, that’s for sure.

The defense had two glorious moments. The most important was an Atari Bigby interception at the end of the game that effectively ended the Vikings final drive and clinched the victory. And Aaron Kampman had a sack in the first quarter.

Oh! Let's not forget: Will Blackmon returned a kick-off for a touchdown! All in all, I had a happy Week 1!


Lynn said...

Thanks for writing this.

Cuphound said...

My pleasure!