Tag Archives: Green Bay Packers

Thoughts on the NFL Divisional Round Playoffs

We’re now down to the last four teams in the NFL playoffs. Baltimore, San Francisco, Atlanta and New England. It was an entertaining weekend of games. The Ravens-Broncos overtime thriller was an instant classic and a game that Denver fans, and Peyton Manning, will likely want to forget quickly. The Broncos, huge favorites, really blew that game. Green Bay-San Francisco was close, at least until the fourth quarter, but nonetheless a much more competitive game than their first encounter in week one. This game didn’t turn out at all the way I wanted and I now have to live with it. I may never write another Packers preview as a result. Seattle-Atlanta looked like it would be a rout early, but the Seahawks, as they’ve done all season, refused to give up and made it quite an ending, though they ultimately blew their chance to steal a win. That game may have ended even more exciting than the Baltimore-Denver game. And finally, New England showed how strong, and deep, they really are by winning a game with Houston that never really appeared competitive after the Pats scored their first touchdown.

We’ll have previews of the AFC and NFC Championship games later this week, but here are my initial thoughts after watching the four playoff games this weekend:

— Peyton Manning could be the best regular season quarterback ever, but man, that guy has a tendency to come up short in the playoffs. It just feels like a really high number of times that he’s been the higher seed and lost. He’s such a good player and an all around good guy that I feel sorry for him.

— Speaking of him being a good guy, I appreciated hearing that Manning waited around for an hour and a half after the game to privately congratulate Ray Lewis. That’s a class act.

— The Ray Lewis story is having quite the final chapter. I can’t believe how much he’s inspired this Ravens team. It sounds ridiculous, but his presence on the field does wonders for improving Baltimore’s chances of winning a game.

— Enough criticism of Joe Flacco. He’s shown over the past two post seasons that he really is one of the best quarterbacks in the game. I’d take him in a playoff game. Last year he outplayed Tom Brady, this year he outplayed Peyton Manning. You can’t ask for much more than that.

— Baltimore still has a good defense. They don’t quite have the same pass rush they’ve had in the past, with Paul Kruger being the only really consistent pass rushing threat, but it’s still a solid unit. They may not have ranked that way this year, but remember, they had a ton of injuries and those injuries were to main contributors (Lewis, Terrell Suggs, Ed Reed). Everyone’s healthy now.

— The San Francisco 49er offense may have become the team’s strong suit. With the difficult to defend new read option dimension that Colin Kaepernick has added, I really think this might the case. While the defense is still solid, I don’t feel like they shut down the Packers defense as much as they did in their week one meeting. In fact, the Pack did more to shoot themselves in the foot. Their turnovers were more a result of their own mistakes than any forcing the San Francisco defense did. And it was the Niner offense that capitalized on those Green Bay mistakes.

— Frank Gore quietly continues to be a huge contributor to the 49ers offense. He’s not the most vocal or showy player, so doesn’t command the same mainstream media attention as others on their offense, but he is the rock of that unit. Would you be surprised to know he gained 119 rushing yards against the Packers? I watched the entire game and was surprised by it. He quietly just gets his job done.

— Michael Crabtree has emerged as a top receiver in the game. Going into that game, Green Bay knew that he was one of Kaepernick’s go to guys, and they still couldn’t defend him, knowing it was coming.

— Green Bay didn’t appear to have much of a competitive game plan on either side of the ball. They apparently didn’t read my analysis post from last week because they didn’t appear prepared for many of things I called out. They ran very few screen passes (and I don’t remember any outside screens) on offense and on defense, they didn’t look prepared for Kaepernick’s outside running, which is especially odd since they put together a game plan exactly a week ago to shut down Adrian Peterson’s outside running (and were effective).

— I wouldn’t be surprised to see a new defensive coordinator in Green Bay next year. Dom Capers’ unit has not performed well for the second season in a row now. It’s the achilles heel of an otherwise pretty good team. Sure, personnel is some of it, but I think scheme is part of it too.

— Seattle had quite the year, but came up just short. That’s still a great team and one that I think over the next couple years will become the team to beat in the NFC West. They’re younger than San Francisco and won’t face some of the free agent questions that the Niners will in the offseason.

— Good for Matt Ryan. He’s a good guy and it’s nice to see him get this playoff monkey off his back. Same with Falcons head coach Mike Smith and tight end Tony Gonzalez. Those are three of the classiest guys in the league.

— Pete Carroll’s got to be wishing he had not taken the time out to try and ice Atlanta kicker Matt Bryant at the end of the game. Bryant ended up missing the attempt (which then didn’t count) and Carroll proceeded to complain to the officials about being awarded the time out. Not sure what you were complaining about Pete. FOX clearly had you on tape calling the timeout.

— The Georgia Dome is LOUD.

— Most people think the Packers (Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, James Jones, Jermichael Finley) or Patriots (Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, Brandon Lloyd, Julian Edelman, Danny Woodhead, and now Shane Vereen) have the best group of receivers in the league. Top to bottom, they probably do, but does anyone have a better 1-2-3 combination than the Falcons have in Julio Jones, Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez? Throw in Harry Douglas and that’s a pretty good receiving corps. They’re vastly underrated.

— San Francisco should have a more difficult time preparing for Atlanta’s offense than they did preparing for Green Bay’s last week. In the passing game they’re similar, but Atlanta has the running game that Green Bay doesn’t with the combination of Michael Turner and Jacquizz Rodgers (as long as they don’t forget about it, which for some unknown reason they’re prone to do at times…).

— New England is the deepest team in the league. They’ve faced quite a few injuries to key contributors this year, yet their play doesn’t drop off. Danny Woodhead gets hurt on his first play of the game and New England turns to Shane Vereen to fill Woodhead’s role. He looked awesome and we’re now left wondering, where was this guy all year?

— New England’s running game has really developed this season. Ridley and Vereen looked good against a Houston defense that was supposed to be one of the best in the league.

— Speaking of Houston’s defense, what happened to them? They looked horrible. They couldn’t stop New England at all.

— Tom Brady now has the most playoff wins of any quarterback in NFL history as he surpassed Joe Montana on Sunday. In the Brady-Montana debate about who’s the best quarterback ever, I think Brady keeps doing his part to provide us with a definitive answer. The guy’s money and the case is closed in my book.

Preview and Analysis: Packers vs. 49ers, Round 2

By Kevin York

<The introduction to this preview was published on January 8, 2013. To read it, you can visit this link.>

Here it is. I said yesterday that I would break one of my own sports superstitions to write this analysis and I’ll keep my word. You’ll see that there actually isn’t much trash talk in this post, but as I mentioned, my superstition is even weirder since it includes any criticism of the opposing team as part of it. I’ve just always preferred to do my talking after the Packers win a game instead of during the lead up.

So without further discussion of my odd Packer support preferences, here’s my preview and analysis to this weekend’s Packers vs. 49ers divisional playoff game.

Packers offense
Overview: Green Bay has struggled with consistency all year on offense, partially due to injuries. They finally seem to have everyone healthy (Jordy Nelson has said he will play this weekend), which is very important for them. The offense is lethal with all its weapons and can be extremely difficult to defend.

— In week one, Green Bay seemed to go against its bread and butter, the passing game, in favor of establishing the run. In this second game, they shouldn’t even attempt to establish the run early on. This year has shown that the 49ers secondary is pretty suspect. That unit received a lot of credit last year and I said the entire year that it was overrated. People are finally listening to me now. Rodgers and company need to attack the secondary hard. Carlos Rogers isn’t capable of man coverage against speedy receivers like Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson and James Jones. Green Bay needs to try and put him on an island. Conversely, the San Francisco corner opposite Rogers, Tarell Brown, isn’t any better. I was watching the Niners-Pats game with Ryan, a big time Niners fan. It was a Sunday Night NBC game so in introducing the defense they let the player introduce himself with the talking headshot. Ryan didn’t even know Brown, who was representing the Niners in classy fashion wearing a beanie pulled low over his eyes. “Who is that? Did they pick this guy up on the way to the game?”

Dashon Goldson, the San Francisco free safety, plays more like a hard hitting linebacker, not a guy capable of independent pass coverage against a spread look. Pure and simple, I think he’s a headhunter. The strong safety, Donte Whitner, was shunned by Buffalo before San Francisco picked him up. There’s probably a reason for that. In Buffalo you need to defend the high powered pass attack from Tom Brady and company to compete in that division. He didn’t help, so they let him walk. Last year, when Whitner got a lot of credit for his improved play, he was playing against weak quarterbacks in the NFC West. This year, he’s had to contend with Russell Wilson and a healthy Sam Bradford. What teams did San Francisco struggle with this year? That would be Seattle and St. Louis along with New England and the New York Giants (Eli Manning)… Spreading the field and forcing the Niners into man coverage against four, or even five, receivers will make for a difficult night for their secondary.

— Once the passing game is established, THEN Green Bay can use its newfound running attack. The pass will open up the run. I really like Green Bay’s new running back, DaJuan Harris. As Cris Collinsworth stated over and over and over in the playoff game against Minnesota, he likes the energy Harris brings. I do too, but more importantly, I like the decisiveness. Too many backs in the league want to dance left and right and even backwards indecisively waiting for a hole to open. It’s like watching a kid in a candy store not sure which one candy bar to pick. Harris makes a decision and proceeds with a full head of steam.

— Screen passes have worked well for Green Bay over the past few weeks and will be needed against a hard charging pass rushing team like San Francisco. Aldon Smith is a pass rushing specialist and this is a way to use that against him, especially with how well the Packer receivers have been blocking.

49ers Offense
Overview: San Francisco’s offense has evolved quite a bit this year, especially after making the move to Colin Kaepernick (a move that I think will still come back to haunt them…). He brings a different element to their offense. Everyone seems to think it’s downfield passing. [It’s not, it’s bad decisions, as he showed against Seattle. Ok, this isn’t really part of the analysis. Sorry, but I had to squeeze that in…] That’s certainly part of it, but I think the more appealing aspect (not for me, but for San Francisco fans) is his running ability, which can put a lot of stress on a defense.

— Green Bay showed against Minnesota that it can stop the run, but that was against a running back. I think they will contain Frank Gore on traditional run plays, but containing Kaepernick on read options and non-traditional run plays is another thing. A quarterback like Kaepernick or Robert Griffin III makes it difficult for a defense to contain the pocket. The read option play makes it even more difficult because you essentially need two defenders focused on containment – one on the quarterback and one on the running back. That takes away two pass rushers, so when San Francisco runs the option with a pass as one of the options, it sees success and also forces the defense to stay honest with the pass rush. Run some planned quarterback run plays so that Kaepernick can get comfortable. Don’t forget, he’s young and this is his first playoff game. Although it’s at home, it’s still a different feel and a different kind of pressure than he’s faced yet.

— San Francisco should move the pocket on Green Bay. Kaepernick has a lot of scrambling ability and Green Bay’s interior defensive lineman aren’t particularly fast. Moving the pocket away from Clay Matthews and forcing him to try and chase Kaepernick down from behind scares me.

Packers Defense
Overview: Green Bay shocked me by showing against Minnesota that defensive coordinator Dom Capers can actually develop a game plan to stop a team. He hasn’t shown it all season long. Of course it helped that Joe Webb was playing instead of Christian Ponder. I’m sure Mark never thought he’d be wishing Ponder was under center. The Packers looked good, but let’s remember that Minnesota was forced to be one dimensional on offense. Joe Webb looked astonishingly awful and the Vikings never even ran any plays that catered to his strengths after the first drive. They may have been better picking someone out of the stands to play quarterback.

— As with their defense of Peterson, they’ll need to be patient in defending Kaepernick and stick to the plan. I think using the same pocket containment they used against Peterson could work with San Francisco. Kaepernick likes to take off on outside runs, force him to stay inside and run into the beef of Green Bay’s defense – B.J. Raji and Ryan Pickett. Try and move the pocket with San Francisco as it moves it (and Niners will definitely do that, they’ve done it all year). Kaepernick looked utterly confused when Seattle forced him into staying in the pocket more and he made some mistakes. Look at Seattle’s game plan and copy it. Kaepernick is young and inexperienced. He can be forced into mental mistakes.

— The Green Bay secondary is pretty good against the pass. Tramon Williams and Casey Hayward are solid in coverage, but the defensive front needs to apply enough ‘smart’ pressure to not put the secondary in situations where they’re stuck in coverage too long. I say smart pressure because Kaepernick wants to feel a pass rush because it makes it ok for him to leave the pocket and scramble. He wants a reason to run. The Packers will need to rush him differently than they do a Jay Cutler or Matt Stafford. Kaepernick has an ability to extend plays and that would put the Packers corners, good as they are, in a difficult situation.

49ers Defense
Overview: We saw some weaknesses from this defense this year. Everyone raved about them last year and I questioned their depth. This year we discovered they aren’t really that deep. They should be back to near full strength for this game, but even a healthy squad could have the deficits they’ve shown this year exploited by a powerful Green Bay offense.

— The key is Justin Smith. All the accolades went to Aldon Smith this year since he started the season hot and appeared on his way to breaking the single season sack record. He didn’t end up breaking the record, but still received plenty of talk about being a defensive player of the year candidate. I didn’t think it was warranted and he didn’t receive my vote. In fact, he didn’t even receive a second or third place vote from me. Why? Because he wasn’t even the best defender on his own team. In the last three games of the season, when Justin Smith was hurt, Aldon recorded exactly zero sacks. The key to his success is his teammate, Justin. Aldon is a pass rusher, that’s it. He’s not very astute against the run and it makes him an incomplete defensive player. Now that he has Justin back, he should be back to applying more pressure, which could give Green Bay issues. The Niners just need to hope that Justin is healthy enough to help.

Green Bay’s offensive line has gotten a lot of criticism for the sacks its given up, but I don’t think they’re as bad of a unit as people have painted them. Since benching Jeff Saturday at center in favor of Evan Dietrich-Smith, the unit has played at a much improved level. They did an adequate job against Minnesota, a solid defensive front, but the Vikings don’t have the same firepower as San Francisco. The Niners will have to test rookie tackle Don Barclay and his counterpart on the other side of the line, Marshall Newhouse. The outside rush will be key for them because it will force Green Bay to keep a running back, probably fullback John Kuhn, in the backfield to help block instead of using that position outside to line up as another receiver. The interior of the Packers line – Dietrich-Smith and guards T.J. Lang and Josh Sitton are pretty strong, so focus on the outside rush. The pass rush will help the Niner secondary that may struggle with Green Bay’s fast receivers.

— Given Green Bay’s passing strength, San Francisco will be forced to be timely and picky with when it blitzes inside linebackers Patrick Willis and Navarro Bowman. Those two could be forced to stay home and help in pass defense. They’re much more needed there than helping with pass rushing by blitzing. Aaron Rodgers is very good at picking apart blitzes. Leaving Bowman and Willis home will also help the Niner secondary by allowing them to play zone pass coverage instead of leaving their corners and safeties on islands defending in man coverage. I think San Francisco would be better off playing zone coverage against the Packers. They did this in week one.

— San Francisco takes a lot of pride in stopping the run. I think they need to come in with a game plan to stop the pass against Green Bay though, even if it means allowing rushing yards. The Packers won’t beat the Niners by rushing the ball, but they could take them apart by throwing the ball. San Francisco loves to play one safety up, the other back, meaning one safety in the box to stop the run, the other back in pass coverage. I don’t think they can do that against the Green Bay receivers, they’ll need to leave both back, which is exactly what they did in week one. That worked then, but keep in mind that Aaron Rodgers was playing extremely stubborn in that first meeting, insisting on trying to beat the San Francisco coverage deep. He’s proven over the season that he’s not as headstrong in his approach by checking down to receivers and letting the long ball open up itself. Nonetheless, the best way to defend him is with that two back safety approach. You don’t want to get beat deep by Rodgers and his fast receivers.

Green Bay Special Teams
Green Bay is ok with returning punts and kicks, with Randall Cobb and Jeremy Ross performing well, but it’s been an adventure with Mason Crosby kicking field goals this season. He’s been better over the past three games, but they haven’t put him in a situation where he could fail very big. It’s a very “kid gloves” approach and they’ll have to continue this tentative strategy against San Francisco.

San Francisco Special Teams
If there’s a kicker that struggled more than Mason Crosby this year, it was San Francisco’s David Akers. He’s looked atrocious at times, so much so that the 49ers signed free agent kicker Billy Cundiff last week. Of course, Cundiff was cut by the Ravens in favor of a rookie, so is he going to be better? Who knows, but at this point it can’t hurt to look. San Francisco’s returners, namely Ted Ginn and Kyle Williams, have made some mental mistakes, at times extremely large ones, in the return game over the past two years. I think their best bet is using LaMichael James to return punts and kicks. They started doing this more and more toward the end of the year and the rookie showed he can handle the responsibility.

So, that’s my analysis. I don’t think I even included too much trash talk in there, although I was sure to fit in several slights (Colin Kaepernick, Aldon Smith, the entire San Francisco secondary). I just couldn’t help myself once I got going. I’m sure this week will include plenty of trash talk between me and San Francisco fans, especially here at The Couchletes. Poor Mark will feel all left out. Better luck next year, buddy.

Now that I’ve got this analysis published, and I broke my superstition of not trash talking or criticizing my friend’s teams before they play Green Bay, I can spend the rest of the week debating my other sports superstitions I mentioned yesterday, my ban on wearing Packer jerseys on big game days. Do I tempt fate? On Saturday night I actually didn’t even wear a Packers shirt while watching the Minnesota game. Laundry kind of piled up on us and I realized all eight of the non-jersey Packers shirts I own were dirty. So I wore a Packers ballcap and a regular, non-Packer sweater. My Packers shirts all got washed on Sunday, but so did that sweater. Maybe I just wear that and my Green Bay cap again…

By Kevin York
Follow Kevin on Twitter at @kevin_york

Yes, I Will Write a Packers-Niners Preview (A Preview to my Preview)

By Kevin York

<You can read the second part of this post, the actual preview, here.>

Packers against Niners. The sequel. This time in San Francisco. I remember the first matchup in week one very well. It took place at Lambeau in a game that San Francisco won 30-22, a score that wasn’t at all indicative of how the two teams performed. The Packers looked absolutely horrible while the Niners looked much like they hadn’t lost a step from where they ended the season last year, a narrow loss to the Giants in the NFC Championship game. Going into that first game I was skeptical, yet optimistic. I thought the Packers offense would still be the great machine that it was in 2011 when it rolled over teams on the way to a 15-1 record. The defense on the other hand, that’s where the skepticism came in. That unit was nothing special in 2011, in fact it was actually downright bad. Like worst in the NFL bad. The Packers used their 2012 draft to address it though, adding young talents like Nick Perry, Jerel Worthy and Casey Hayward. I mean, they couldn’t be worse than they were in 2011, could they?

I came away from week one thinking that they may indeed be worse than the previous year. I didn’t expect the San Francisco offense to be anything special. It was the weak aspect of that solid San Francisco team in 2011, yet against Green Bay, the Alex Smith-led unit seemed to be able to do whatever it wanted. The game left me wondering if this Green Bay team would even be able to win the NFC North and if I’d have to endure endless narrative over the next five months here in San Francisco not only about the Niners beating the Packers, but about how they’re historic, unstoppable and Super Bowl bound. Yes, I was already hearing comments along those lines the day after the game and not just from regular fans, but from the meatballs on local sports radio around here. Yes, they really are that bad.

I also remember that week one matchup well because I watched the game with Hoa and Rahul, who are both, of course, 49er fans. They weren’t shy about rubbing the final score in, especially Rahul, who decided to take it a step further by writing a special post to me that scratched even deeper at my fresh wound. I tend to fly off the hook a bit when it comes to the Packers and retaliated almost immediately with a response.

After the Packers jumped to a big lead on the Vikings Saturday night and it slowly became more and more inevitable that the following weekend would produce a rematch of that week one confrontation, I began to consider writing a post analyzing the matchup. I was already forming tons of opinions in my head about the various strengths and weaknesses of the 49ers and where Green Bay could exploit its advantages and hide its weaknesses. I initially dismissed the idea though. See, I have this sort of rule that I follow. A weird one… I try not to talk trash in the week leading up to a game where my Packers are playing a team that friends support. I take it so far that I shy away from even making comments about their opponent, even simple things like, “Your offensive line is a mess of injuries right now, you’re going to have a real hard time defending Clay Matthews.” It sounds ridiculous, I know. After all, that’s what friends do to each other. They talk trash about their sports teams. I’ve done it before. That instance was not leading up to a Green Bay showdown though and that’s exactly why I try not to do it before a big game. As you may have sensed from my retaliation to Rahul’s Dear Kevin post, I have a hard time dealing with the reciprocating trash talk that comes my way afterward, if the Packers happen to lose one of these games. Directly after a loss I have nothing left to combat the jabs with other than stupid responses like, “If they had done what I said, we wouldn’t have lost! They didn’t have a good game plan!” So you know better than the coaching staff, huh, Kevin?

Is a game preview involving my team really trash talk though? This is a professional sports site, isn’t it? I just give my perspective and analyze both teams. Right? Actually, no. First, this isn’t a professional sports site. It’s five guys who like sports giving their opinions, three of whom are Niner fans and one who cheers for the just disposed-of-by-my-Packers Vikings. We give each other crap, a lot of it at times. With me writing this preview, it would end up containing some jabs, especially since it’s a preview involving my team playing the team that I absolutely hate, the San Francisco 49ers. So you see, professional is something we probably can’t be considered. After all, there’s not much in our backgrounds that prove we actually know what we’re talking about. We just like sports and like to give our opinions. We’re regular guys with no sports experience, just like Skip Bayless, Mike Greenberg, Tony Reali, Jemelle Hill, Israel Gutierrez, Dan Le Batard… Hey wait, those people actually are professionals who are paid for their bad opinions, so maybe…

Weird sports superstitions are hard to let go of. I have a green home AJ Hawk Packers jersey (yes, it’s an odd selection of a jersey for a big Packers fan. I bought it his rookie year. I liked his Big Ten pedigree and his toughness. I thought that he was going to be a really good player. Truth be told, I also liked his hair. When he cut it this past offseason, part of me died, although he has played better this year with short hair. Oh well, I’ve still got Clay Matthews…) and a white Aaron Rodgers roadie. I love both of them, but I can’t wear either one for a big game. The team doesn’t play well when I wear one. Actually, that’s an understatement. They lose, plain and simple. The lone exception is when I tempted fate and wore the Hawk jersey for Super Bowl XLV and the Packers beat the Steelers. When I wore it the next year it had lost its luck and still hasn’t regained it. In fact, I wore that exact jersey in week one.

After some thought, I decided that it’s ok to write this preview. It’s time for me to outgrow my weird superstition. So tomorrow, watch for my preview and analysis of the Packers – 49ers divisional round game. To use the words of Mark, you can consider this a preview to my preview. Who knows, if this goes well maybe I’ll even break out of my jersey superstition.

By Kevin York
Follow Kevin on Twitter at @kevin_york

RE: Dear Kevin

Dear Rahul,

Thanks for your little “letter” to me. I have quite a bit to say in response, so thought it would be best to reply in a blog post rather than a lengthy comment.

Yes, the 49ers won the game. Yes, they looked good, better than the Packers. And yes, I did say the Packers would win.

To say San Francisco “ran all over” the Packers defense isn’t saying much though. You do realize that Green Bay had the worst defense in the league last year, right? Although there was a lot of pre-season hype about this year’s version of that defense being much improved, there wasn’t much evidence of that on Sunday. In fact, the defense actually looked worse. After a lot of thought put into it Sunday night, I came to the conclusion that the Green Bay defensive personnel may not actually fit the 3-4 scheme its playing. The defensive line isn’t taking up the space they’re supposed to and is making the two middle linebackers defend much more rushing territory than they should be.

Additionally, the outside linebackers, while solid pass rushers, simply can’t cover the flats. This is why Alex Smith looked like a Pro Bowler on Sunday. He was throwing a lot of slants and outs. Clay Matthews and Nick Perry simply aren’t quick enough laterally to adequately defend the flats. The runs and dinks and dumps by San Francisco dominated the clock.

Onto your comparison of the San Francisco running game against the Green Bay running game. Uh, there’s no real comparison there. The Packers really attempted nine runs in that game. The box score shows more attempts, but those additional ones were scrambles and broken plays, not real attempts. Comparing the two teams’ running games is like comparing my hair to yours. One is abundant and flowing. The other, well, is an attempt to be there, but…

Rodgers did throw for a ton of yards, but didn’t really look like himself until the final 8 minutes of the game. In fact, the entire Green Bay offense didn’t look like itself until the very end. Was this due to good defense? Somewhat, but not entirely…more on that later.

What I’m really saying with my responses to you is that you shouldn’t get too cocky. We discovered that the Packers were overrated going into the game. Very overrated. So enjoy it for now, but keep some perspective. Over the past few years, the teams that have been hot at the beginning of the year, were not so hot come playoff time – including my Packers last year.

Since you decided to get arrogant about one win, one win….in the first week of the season…, I’ll bring a few things up that might want to make you think twice about how loud you brag about one win. Most of these are deeper issues that may not be obvious to a lot of people. They stuck out to me. I see things that you may not (During the Washington-New Orleans game I commented to my fiancee that the Redskins seemed to be running a modified version of RGIII’s college offense, helping him feel comfortable and leading to his great showing. On Monday, Trent Dilfer made the same comment, almost verbatim on ESPN).

-The referees. That officiating crew was without a doubt the worst one I’ve ever seen. There were so many missed calls, a number of which I’ll touch on lower down this list. Yes, they made bad calls both ways (indeed, they gave the Packers a free touchdown on that Randall Cobb punt return), but for the first 50 minutes of the game, they made (or didn’t make…) bad calls that greatly benefited the 49ers.

-Joe Staley and the referees part II. How many times was that guy allowed to false start? I counted four times on just one drive. A real officiating crew would’ve called those and put some kinks in those long Niner drives. But think beyond game one because, yes, it’s over and it doesn’t matter now. The strength of your offensive line might have some problems when he visits loud stadiums. Lambeau isn’t that loud compared with some other places. Good luck when you visit CenturyLink Field, the Edward Jones Dome and the Superdome. Those places are LOUD.

-Carlos Rogers and the referees part III. Rogers underperformed for his first six season in the league then suddenly had a pro bowl season in his seventh season. After watching his performance against Green Bay I have to ask, was last year a fluke? Did the rest of the defense make Rogers look much better than what he actually is? I ask because the 31 year old looked like he’s lost a step (or two). The wannabe referees missed countless pass interference calls against San Francisco. I felt like every couple minutes when Green Bay was on offense there was a missed call against San Francisco’s secondary. And if you really watched closely, you would’ve seen that a majority of those calls would’ve gone against Rogers – of course, if the referee crew had been a real one, these would’ve been called. If I were an opposing offensive coordinator, I would target Rogers.

-Alex Smith. You said you’re no Alex Smith fan. You probably don’t want to jump on that bandwagon just yet. As I mentioned earlier, Green Bay’s weak defense opened up the flats and also the middle of the field (one of Green Bay’s starting middle linebackers, Desmond Bishop, is hurt and missed the game) to be vulnerable to short slants and outs. That was where Smith did most of his damage – not on deep routes (still his weak spot). Most 3-4 defenses in the NFL are actually built to defend well against that type of passing attack.

-Injuries. San Francisco had remarkable luck in not facing any major injury issues last year. Their depth was never really tested. That type of luck rarely is seen two years in a row. As we get deeper into the season, let’s see how good the Niner reserves are.

I’m not trying to burst your bubble. Ok, yes I am. Coming from a formerly cocky fan, you may want to be careful how arrogant you get over one win in the first week of the season.

Your angry, bitter neighborhood Packers fan