Regrettably I am an optimistic fella by nature. This means, of course, that all my predictions and criticisms have to be met with a certain amount of skepticism. That skepticism sets me off and I become even more optimistic and generally by the end of the day I seem like I'm typing while holding Green and Gold pompoms and praying that my cheerleader skirt isn't too revealing. It's a burden.
I'm just throwing it out there because after several reviews and guesses and hopes and whatnots I realize that I think this team has a legit shot at winning 9 games. I know, I know, I can't believe me either. I've discussed this with myself,at great personal risk, and I'm still willing to say that this team may not be terrible. I have my reasons. I've even gone to the trouble of listing them below. I'm thoughtful like that.
1. The Defense. I don't know how good Woodson will be. I don't know if Hawk will be a great linebacker or if I'm just confused because he happens to look exactly like a linebacker should. I don't know if Pickett and the overachieving Kampman can do anything on the line. Even with all those questions I think the D has a chance to be something special. It's faster, the players have a much better collective resume and last year's D was solid. If they can somehow keep that solid effort going but add in some turnovers the Packers could have a shutdown defense for the first time since announcers were casually discussing Reggie White's humping maneuver on Sunday afternoons.
2. The Coaching Staff. I know. Trust me, I know. Here's the thing though, what we the fanbase fear is the unknown. We have little to go on. I'd rather have an unproven coach than a proven mediocrity. I'll take the risk. True you'd like to see a better set of career highlights than Mike III's (I'm no Engloscientist so I'm just gonna' assume you can add the apostrophe to a roman numberal like that, it's a whole new way of writing people) abomination of an offense in San Francisco last year. But I couldn't take another season of Mike II. Sherman had to go. A warm boot can manage the clock better than he could. Plus we all know how handy warm boots can be in Green Bay late in the year.
3. The Division. In every other city in the NFC North they are saying some variation of the following: "well jeez we get to play the packers/vikings/lions twice, and the bears are nothing special on offense". But why do we have to look up at these guys? The Bears have an excellent defense but I trust their offense about as much as I'd trust a young Sean Connery with my sister. Which is to say, not a whole lot. The Lions and Vikings are in the exact same boat (well okay, the Vikings may have some extra crewmembers on their boat) as we are. Inexperienced coaching staff, a weak division and all sorts of infighting.
The Lions are just a couple Mike Martz comments from having a rookie head coach go up in flames. Nice work again Matt Millen. You bring in an inexperienced coach that everyone collectively thought was a reach and then you hand him Martz as his O-Coordinator? Do you hate Marinelli? Mike Martz is the T.O. of coaches. He'll sacrifice a win for a pretty 25 yard slant. He's subversive and he works for an idiot GM and a rookie coach, the only question now is whether he's already poured gasoline in the locker room and is waiting to light the match or if he'll just firebomb the place in one fell swoop. Is this just part of Millen's grand scheme to show that he is indeed the worst GM in all of sports? Isiah Thomas needs to know.
The Vikings have a coach that has never coached. Andy Reid wouldn't let him call the plays in Philly. For what it's worth I will ALWAYS go with the coach (Mike III) that has actual experience in the job over someone who has only accrued experience watching someone else do his job. What's less impressive? Calling the plays for a terrible and extremely young team in San Fran* or not being allowed to do much at all for the best team in the NFC?
Chicago is the chalk thanks to that defense and, well, not much else. They can be had. Also, apropos of nothing, I wish to fistfight Lovie Smith. I know I'll probably lose that fight, but it'll be in that Cool Hand Luke way where I reveal my true character so it's all to the good.
4. The Schedule. Last place sched. Weak division. A young team that can and will get more fired up than some more experienced teams and therefore win some games they probably don't deserve to thanks to their naivety. I believe they say "dumb enough to win". Oh, and I still think Favre has what it takes. He's not what he once was but I mean, c'mon, the division is chock full of never done nothin's like Kitna (who I like but don't love) and Brad Johnson (and they say Favre is old?) and Rex and Griese down in Chicago. Seriously? When you have a QB controversy because of Griese you no longer have a controversy, you have a travesty.
So this is my justification for this overlong and underthought post. I see 9-7 in our future. I'll be back on Sunday with a live (or at least live thoughts posted later in the evening) blog of the game. Enjoy it people. This is the one weekend where we can dream a bit without having to support out theories.
* I realize most, if not all, residents of San Francisco hate it when outsiders call their town the following: San Fran, Frisco, Sanny Franny, The City by the Bay or whatever. That's why I will be doing it repeatedly.