Jclombardi highlights Packers headlines.
Guest senior writer jclombardi @ http://lombardiave.com
Wolf prowling Lambeau to visit his son–Ron Wolf was in an office in Lambeau Field Tuesday watching the last two Green Bay Packers games. Later that night he had dinner with his son, Eliot Wolf, the Packers’ assistant director of pro personnel. But it’s not what you might be thinking. The former Packers general manager was watching the games because he had been traveling in Europe and had not seen a snap of NFL football yet this season. And he was asking his son to fill him in on the best players and new talent wearing green and gold. Some folks wondered about that last year when Donald Driver mentioned that he ran into Wolf in Lambeau. Fans wondered (and maybe hoped) that Wolf might be in some kind of consultant position, advising the current GM, Ted Thompson, on personnel decisions.
When it’s time to go ‘Psycho,’ the Packers know just how to do it–Shortly before the Bills’ third play from scrimmage, Edwards broke the huddle and was greeted with chaos as looked over the Packers’ defense. Chaos actually has a name — “Psycho,” a nickel package that includes one defensive lineman, five linebackers and five defensive backs. CBS cameras zoomed in on Edwards, whose eyes were wide open. He looked confused and maybe even a little scared. “You see his eye scanning,” said Brandon Chillar, one of the five linebackers in the package. “He doesn’t know where you are coming from.” The result was predictable. Less than four seconds after the ball was snapped to Edwards, he was on the ground with Clay Matthews on top of him — the first of three sacks for the outside linebacker during the Packers’ 34-7 victory.
Packers vs Bears–three key Packers: Running back Jackson. Even with Rodgers playing well, the Packers will find it difficult to beat a rejuvenated Bears defense on their own field without some sort of complementary rushing game. When they’ve won in the past it’s been using play-action passes after running a bit. Without injured Grant, it’s up to Jackson, who averages only 3.2 yards a carry. Quarterback Rodgers. Against the Bears’ cover-2 system, Rodgers has thrown for more than 225 yards once. Twice he’s been below 200 yards. He has especially made a point of not committing big mistakes, a strength of his against most teams. So far this year he has looked more at tight ends and backs than downfield. The Bears’ secondary can be exploited, though, as Detroit showed at game’s end. But Rodgers will need to buy time with his feet to do it. Linebacker Matthews. The Bears’ re-shuffled and questionable offensive line is susceptible and Matthews is coming off back-to-back three-sack games. Bears offensive linemen had trouble picking up blitzers in 3-4s. If he isn’t getting sacks, Matthews needs to be in Cutler’s face to force mistakes. What Matthews and all Packer linebackers have to be wary of is the screen pass which the Bears put on display in the opener. Bottom line: No one has run on the Bears, but the Packers should get just enough of a rushing attack to keep the Chicago pass defense off balance. Packers coach McCarthy is considered an expert at devising two-minute strategies. The extra time Green Bay has for a Monday night game will allow them to devise some exotic blitz packages to take advantage of the Bears’ tackle situation and let the Packers get Clifton healthier or even to prepare Bulaga to face Peppers instead. Packers 24, Bears 21.
Coach Greene–Packers’ Clay Matthews could be all-time great: Until Clay Matthews went on a season-opening, offense-wrecking tear over the past two Sundays, no Green Bay Packers pass rusher had ever put together back-to-back three-sack games — not even Reggie White. Despite missing most of training camp with a sore left hamstring, Matthews picked up where he left off after a 10-sack rookie season. And he’s earning remarkably high praise from somebody who ought to know; Packers outside linebackers coach Kevin Greene says Matthews has all the tools to become the best all-around 3-4 outside linebacker in NFL history. Not bad for a guy who came to Southern Cal as a walk-on despite his family’s strong football pedigree, but is now embracing the spotlight with every muscle-flexing sack celebration.