The Ol’ Bag of Donuts crew was nice enough to once again share their Packer knowledge with The Viking Age. We began this week’s Q&A with a question about the quarterbacks:
TVA: Brett Favre faces down his former back-up Aaron Rodgers for (presumably) the final time this weekend. Who has the better game?
Ol’ Bag Of Donuts: Unless you are looking at this game through green-tinted glasses, Packer fans should know that Favre will give it everything he has left to win this game, even if it costs him the rest of the season. Fortunately for the Packers, that may be a good thing. Favre is banged up and making a lot of costly mistakes this season and it is hard to imagine he can play much better than he did in Green Bay a month ago. If he tries to force things and take more chances, it will cost him.
On the flip side, you have a man who has yet to win in the dome. Rodgers hasn’t been bad this year, but he certainly has not lived up to the preseason hype so far this year. He has uncharacteristically made some poor throwing decisions that have resulted in interceptions. However, he is coming coming off arguably his best game of the season (granted it was against the lowly Cowboys) and also a bye week. He will have two weeks to prepare for the Vikings and I think that will help greatly since he hasn’t played his best in Minnesota. I think with the extra week preparation and the fact he is healthy I will give the edge to Rodgers of having a better game. I think he will take fewer chances and in turn make less mistakes than Favre on Sunday. You would be foolish to think that is an absolute that Favre will fall apart on Sunday since it may be his last meaningful football game of his career, but Rodgers is still the safer bet.
TVA: In the first game, Rodgers and his receivers seemed to have several bizarre episodes of miscommunication. How is that possible with a veteran quarterback and veteran receivers who’ve now been together for a couple of years?
OBOD: Great question and I don’t have that great of an answer. All of us at our site we wondering the exact same thing during and after the game, just seemed very un-Rodgers like. Rodgers has seem to be out-of-sync a lot this year and it may very well have to do that Ryan Grant is out, but more likely that he doesn’t have his big play safety net in Jermichael Finley. He was such a matchup nightmare for almost every opponent and left a very big void in the offense. That being said, that shouldn’t have be an excuse for Rodgers’ play against the Vikings since he was missing Finley for a couple games before that. In the first game, Rodgers relied heavily on James Jones and Jordy Nelson with Donald Driver not 100%, so that could have been the main reason because it seemed it was with them that the communication was off. Driver still isn’t fully healthy, so Rodgers has had plenty of time to build additional chemistry since that initial game. Like I mentioned before, Rodgers is coming off his best game of the season, so it could have been just one game with bad communication.
TVA: Devin Hester has burned both of this year in a loss. What are your thoughts on the Packers’ special teams?
OBOD: They are getting better, but still not where they need to be. On the coverage side they are widely inconsistent. They can be great at times like they were against Dallas forcing a couple turnovers and then absolutely dreadful the next game. A lot of that has to do with all of the injuries they have suffered. Not so much with backups being out, but starters as players who normally start on special teams are moved out of those roles because they are being pressed into starting roles on the offense and defense. Special Teams coach Shawn Slocum has been on the hot seat since last year, but in his fairness he has worked with a revolving door of players all season and that can’t be easy.
In the return game the only concern is the players that are being used. Both Tramon Williams and Sam Shields returning punts and kicks and that is a little worrisome with the extended chance of injury. They have performed fine to have the jobs, but there is little depth in the secondary, especially at cornerback that I am not sure the risk is worth the potential award.
TVA: The Packers are 20-16 on the road under Mike McCarthy. Why are they such a good team away from Lambeau?
OBOD: I think a lot has had to do with Rodgers. He is a very calm conductor and his demeanor barely changes where he plays. Even with his struggles this year, he is not normally a guy who will give the defense many chances to make a big play. That goes along way on the road because it helps instill confidence on both sides of the ball. McCarthy’s balanced attack the last couple years has also helped with Ryan Grant posting back-to-back 1,200 yard campaigns. Not being able to run the ball consistently has hurt the Packers at times this year and is a must to win on the road, where the team is only 2-2 this year. So to answer the question, having a quarterback who minimizes mistakes and not to mention a pretty opportunistic defense with playmakers like Clay Matthews, Charles Woodson, Tramon Williams and Nick Collins gives the team a chance to win more road games than not.
TVA: Clay Matthews is looking at getting his hair insured. Does this bother you at all?
OBOD: Hahaha, I would if I were him, that hair is like Samson’s! The Packers have had a few players with long dreads like Al Harris and Atari Bigby and I have always wondered why someone wouldn’t just grab a hold of big chunk and yank it down. I think it would help if Matthews would grow some facial hair to go with his flowing locks. I really hope he doesn’t read this because he does scare me in my sleep sometimes, but by being clean-shaven he looks like some just big surfer dude that pumps a lot of iron on Venice Beach. He needs some kind of goatee, beard, whatever.
A quick story is that apparently he inspired linebackers coach Kevin Greene to grow his back out like he had in his playing days. Watching Greene on the sideline with his flowing hair brings back memories of the 90′s and I honestly think he could give the team a few snaps if need be with that mane. The only thing that make me nervous with Matthews’ hair is if he cuts it. We all have seen what happens when sack-artists cut their hair….(I kid, I kid!)