It’s easy to miss things during a Green Bay Packers game. After all, there’s beer to drink, cheese and sausage to eat, various bathroom breaks to utilize, and spirited conversation amongst your fellow fans. It’s nearly impossible to NOT miss something… but fear not! In his new column ‘Packer Pixels’ Andrew Chitko will focus on the Packers television broadcast and hopefully fill you in on the little details you might have missed. Enjoy!
1. Pregame Interview Nails It
Sideline reporter Michele Tafoya’s opening interview with Jordy Nelson turned out to be prescient of the events about to unfold. Nelson gave a relaxed, insightful interview and projected a quiet confidence we would see translate to an All-Pro performance.
When asked how he and Rodgers had become the NFL’s most prolific passing combination of the last 5 years, Nelson said, “A lot of work, a lot of talking and a lot of meetings, and just trusting one another. He trusts me and obviously I trust him. He knows I’ll be in the right spot at the right time and he can get me the ball.” Nelson finished with seven catches for 123 yards and two touchdowns.
2. Record tying kick return a blessing in disguise?
After the Packers deferred, Cordarrelle Patterson’s 109-yard return was a shock to the system for Packers fans. However it failed to accomplish what was likely the Vikings primary objective heading into this game: Keep Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense off the field. The electrifying return gave the Vikings their only lead of the game, but in exchange sacrificed Minnesota’s opening offensive possession and put Rodgers and company on the field. If Green Bay faltered right then and there down 7-0, this might have been a very different game. Instead the Packers responded in the face of a wound up and hostile crowd with a 14 play 90 yard drive that took 7:24 off the clock and put the pressure right back on Ponder. As a result, at halftime the time of possession would read 17:23 to 12:37 in favor of the Packers. Then Green Bay came out in the second half and used up 8:10 more in the opening drive to go up by 14 points. Game over.
3. Where’d that truck come from?
Adrian Peterson’s first carry of the night was also indicative of future events. He buried his helmet and shoulder into the chest of the Morgan Burnett and sent him flying backwards. The same thing would occur on AP’s impressive touchdown run to close out the first half. Burnett didn’t learn the lesson the first time, hit AP up high again, and looked like he took a nasty helmet to helmet shot. It wouldn’t surprise me one bit if we learn he had a concussion.
4. Lowly Leslie
Several early sideline shots of Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier gave him the look of a grizzled detective on a case that had long since gone cold. He projects an image of a man who’s lost all hope. His head permanently tilted downward, he speaks to no one and no one speaks to him. It’s as if he knows the executioner’s axe is about to fall at any moment but he’s too scared or disinterested to look up and see if it’s coming. Poor Leslie looked so downtrodden in the first quarter alone he almost warranted pity. Almost.
5. Kids Should Watch And Do It This Way… But Not This Way
From the first time he got on the field in the regular season versus Baltimore, Jamari Lattimore has demonstrated excellent wrap-up tackling technique. Remember his first tackle of the year at linebacker when he took down Ray Rice on a swing pass out in space? He’s demonstrated that same technique time and time again including Sunday night wrapping up Adrian Peterson. That’s the way you tackle. However it did look like he talked some smack to AP on one play. Lattimore should probably consider removing that from his repertoire, but otherwise he’s been outstanding.
6. Invisible In More Ways Than One
The only major dropped ball from a broadcast perspective was NBC not capturing and/or showing a replay of Datone Jones 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty that kept a Vikings second quarter drive alive that eventually led to a Vikings field goal. The audience was never shown or told what really happened but Al Michaels commented, “That was a couple seconds AT LEAST after the play was completely over.” What Al meant by “that” remains a mystery.
It’s understandable that NBC couldn’t find Jones on the play because it’s been impossible to pick him out all year long. Jones thus far has been a ghost and has contributed little. The Packers drafted him. Let’s hope they can develop him.
7. Hines’ Ward
I used to think Hines Ward was absolutely dreadful in his halftime appearances with Bob Costas. So much so that I couldn’t tell you the last time I paid attention to anything he said or witnessed his incessant mugging for the camera. But maybe ole Hines has improved over time as he seemed quite at ease in his short bit with Costas. With one obvious grammatical error aside, Hines cut to the chase in his analysis of Greg Jennings departing Wisconsin for the purple team on the other side of the Mississippi. “That’s why you don’t leave an elite quarterback for money.”
2013 Salary Sidenote:
Greg Jennings: $9,000,000
Cordarrelle Patterson: $405,000
8. Perception is Reality
Myles White caught five balls, showed some nice hands and some toughness, but he needs to work on his body language and on-field demeanor. Every time the camera found him singled up he looked like he was pained, whining about something, and/or taking his sweet time getting back to the huddle. He’s a rookie free agent off the practice squad who thus far has proved little. He needs to remember that and start carrying himself like a guy still trying to make the team, because in essence he is.
9. Jarrett’s Jitters
The opposite can be said about Jarrett Boykin who looks like a veteran not only in the way he carries himself but the product he puts on the field. Late in the game the broadcast offered up a funny anecdote as Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth relayed a story via Aaron Rodgers about Boykin being kind of a “nervous guy”. If he drops a ball in practice he’ll comment seriously along the lines that he’s about to be cut. Pretty funny stuff but at the same time that fear has served many great players before him. Hopefully Boykin continues with the intensity of a rookie free agent trying to make the grade for years to come.
10. A Big Production
Leave it to Greg Jennings to NOT handle his business like a man but rather like a PR guy. A real man would have taken care of his rift with Aaron Rodgers in a one on one environment long before the Packers humiliated Jennings and the Vikings, but that’s never been Greggy’s style now has it?
Jennings took the coward’s way out by making his bold move while the whole world was watching and in a situation where he knew Rodgers would behave exactly how he did…like a man. It sure looked like Rodgers wanted out of Jennings death-grip bro-hug though.
You didn’t fool anyone Greggy. You’re exactly who we thought you are…a Viking.