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A preview of the Packers week 1 opponent.

And somewhere in Floriduh Blair is tapping that black box... Oh, I mean this one:

Bummed by missing games, Brett Hundley doesn't expect bum ankle to linger

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Brett Hundley's preseason is likely over, but the Green Bay Packers' No. 2 quarterback expects his sprained left ankle to be fully healed in time for the team’s regular-season opener at Jacksonville on Sept. 11.

Not that Hundley anticipates playing in that game -- which is why he’s so bummed that his in-game work this summer will likely be just the 20 snaps he played against Oakland on Aug. 18. He did not play this past Friday night at San Francisco and probably won't play in Thursday night's preseason finale at Kansas City.

“I wanted the reps, man. I just wanted to get back out there,” Hundley said Sunday, adding that there’s “no question” he’ll be healthy for the regular-season opener. “As an athlete, as a player, yeah, I get to practice, and that’s awesome. But I wanted to play. That’s all I wanted to do. Just play. And these past two years, I haven’t gotten many opportunities to do that, besides last preseason. This preseason, I was hoping to play a lot, and unfortunately I wasn’t able to. But that’s really the only thing that bugs me at this point. I just wanted to play.

Good news on that front. That may affect how GB places Callahan as cuts down happen. He's a lock for the PS. But I wonder if Ted will get any calls on Callahan for a potential trade. He's likely to again see a lot of action against KC.

McCarthy's plan, personality part of play-calling 

by Tom Silverstein on 08/28/16

“I look at play-calling as No. 1, your plan,” McCarthy said. “No. 2,  your personality, it has to be reflected on how you want your offense to play. And the end of that is the performance...

After two days of practice, McCarthy retreats to his office and starts calling the game in his head, watching film of the opposition to see how it might react to some of the plays he’s calling. He has extensive notes on nearly every defensive coordinator in the NFL and he not only knows their tendencies, he knows their tendencies in breaking tendency...

“Away games are great because I’ll just sit in my hotel room and just get my workout in, watch the games and call the game,” McCarthy said from a planning room adjacent to his office. “When I’m at home, I’ll do it from here."

On game day, McCarthy isolates himself and rarely breaks away from thinking about the game.

On a typical play sheet, McCarthy has many of the plays highlighted, some indicating run plays, third downs, red zone, “shot” plays or short yardage. He has a spot for 4-minute offense and a whole column devoted to 2-minute offense. Several of the columns are for when the Packers are in no-huddle, and they are broken down into personnel groupings.

There are reminders of what defense the opposition likes against his personnel.

“Anytime I call a play, I have two plays (ready),” McCarthy said. “If I call a shot play, I have the play called after the shot and I have got the second-down play (if it’s incomplete). Every time you call a play you have to have two plays that will react to the outcome of that play.”

McCarthy is dialed in on three plays, the one he’s calling and the next two and he has to relay to Rodgers as quickly as possible, especially when the team is in no-huddle. Rodgers said the two have been together so long, he often can predict the play that’s going to be read off.

 “Life in competition is still about behavioral patterns, being in touch with behavioral patterns,” McCarthy said. “If you’re going to focus on their behavioral pattern or your behavioral pattern, if it comes push and shove, make sure you’re focused on your own." continue

Past the click there are quotes from Rodgers about how they communicate on game days.  This season should go much smoother without having to shake up the structure of the coaching staff and in game mechanics 3/4 of the way through the season.  

Packers seek perfect matchups at cornerback

by Michael Cohen on SA/08/27/16

The mistake surfaced roughly 10 days before when quarterback Philip Rivers of the San Diego Chargers... 

... the veritable slashing by Rivers felt like a sucker punch for Whitt, who had wanted to pull the trigger on a bold lineup change. After studying the Chargers on film, Whitt believed undrafted rookie LaDarius Gunter might make the best foil.

“I was scared to do it,” Whitt said at the time. “I knew he would probably match up well against those receivers, and I didn't do it. So that's on me, because I have to do what I think is right. I didn't do it. I get paid pretty good money to make those decisions, but I didn't get it done. I kick myself for that.”

The Packers, dripping with young, athletic corners, have the depth and variety of talent to play matchups on a week-to-week basis. Lineups, positions and playing time are all subject to variation depending on the skill sets of opposing receivers, and Whitt will make his decisions based on film study and practice evaluations.

 Now, the majority of players flow through all four positions — both perimeter spots, nickel back and dime back — like pieces of equipment along an assembly line, and the ultimate goal is seamless interchangeability.... continue


Lot's more past the click. Worth the read and reminds me of MM's comments at the combine this year.  

“We need to be a championship defense,” McCarthy said last week at the NFL scouting combine, essentially repeating what he’d said in a press conference the week before. “So we took a step toward that last year, but we need to take another step.”

McCarthy said he’s in the second year of a three-year plan with the defense, though he shared no details on what that actually means. continue


Welcome to another edition of Fedya's “Movies to Tivo” Thread, for the week of August 29-September 4, 2016. We're not quite to the football season yet, unless you're talking about the sort of football they play in the Bundesliga. So while you're waiting for the Packers' real games to start, why not watch some good movies? This week sees the beginning of a new month, so we're going to get some post-Summer Under the Stars themes back on TCM after a month's hiatus. As always, all times are in Eastern unless otherwise mentioned.


We'll start off this week with something over on FXM Retro: Café Metropole, at 8:40 AM Monday. Adolphe Menjou plays Monsieur Victor, who owns the titular Paris restaurant. Unfortunately, he's been embezzling, and has to get the books right in a few weeks or it's off to jail when the auditor comes. So he goes to the casino and beats a young American (Tyrone Power) at baccarat to get the money. The only problem is, the American is broke, and his check would bounce. So Victor gets an idea: have the American pose as Alexis, a Russian émigré nobleman, and woo the daughter Laura (Loretta Young) of a rich American Ridgeway (Charles Winninger) who will be coming to Paris. Our stranded American goes along with it, but Laura figures out the ruse pretty quickly. Not that she's letting on, since she's falling in love with whatever is behind the ruse. It's a bunch of piffle, but Tyrone Power was surprisingly good at this sort of comedy he got to do before all the swashbuckling. Menjou is as charming as ever.


Over on TCM, the star for Monday is Charles Boyer. One of his movies that doesn't show up all that often is Hold Back the Dawn, which will be on at 9:45 PM. The movie begins in Hollywood, with Boyer's character, Romanian refugee George Iscovescu, offering to sell his story to director Mitchell Leisen (playing himself) for a needed $500; Iscovescu is actually in the country illegally. He was a dancer with Anita (Paulette Goddard) in Europe; when the war came, the two intended to become refugees in the US. But because of the USA's quota system, they couldn't get in, instead being stuck in Mexico in a border town. And then one day, George meets Emmy (Olivia de Havilland), an American teacher taking her students on a day trip to Mexico. He seduces her, with the intention of marrying her to get US citizenship that way, and then dumping her so he can bring Anita in. But there's a catch, which is that he begins to fall in love with Emmy. And Emmy is such a good person who has never had true love before that it would be a shame to hurt her like that. Billy Wilder co-wrote the script, just before he got the chance to start directing.


On Tuesday, TCM is giving us a full day of the movies of Jean Simmons. One of her movies that I don't think I've recommended before is Affair With a Stranger, which you can catch at 12:15 PM. In this one, Simmons plays Carolyn, the wife of Bill (Victor Mature), a successful Broadway playwright. However, it seems their marriage may be on the rocks. At least, that's what one of the gossip columnists is reporting. (Ah, the days when everybody knew and cared about Broadway playwrights.) And so, we get a series of flashbacks about how Bill and Carolyn met, and what it is that may be driving the two to break up. Specifically, it's that Bill as a playwright winds up around a bunch of good-looking young actresses playing the leads in his various plays, and the possibility that he may be having an affair with one of them. It's very much a movie of its times, but a change of pace for Mature.


The StarzEncore family of channels has been running quite a few of the James Bond movies. One that doesn't get as much love as it should is On Her Majesty's Secret Service, which you can find on StarzEncore at 8:00 PM Tuesday, with a repeat three hours later if you have the west coast feed too. This is the only movie in the series in which George Lazenby plays Bond. In this one, Bond saves Tracy Draco (Diana Rigg) from drowning herself, only for him to learn that Tracy is the daughter of a notorious gangster (Gabriele Ferzetti). Dad offers information on the whereabouts of Blofeld, but with a catch: Bond has to marry Tracy. It turns out that Blofeld has set up a perfumery in Switzerland which isn't really a perfumery, but a front for a biological warfare lab that's developing an aerosol-driven virus. Bond has to stop the perfumery's models from delivering that virus. Stay for the surprising finale, as well as the Louis Armstrong theme song. Lazenby doesn't get the credit he deserves for his portrayal of Bond.


Wednesday is the day for the films of Dean Martin on TCM. I'll mention one of his final leading roles, that in Mr. Ricco, at 8:00 AM. Martin plays San Francisco defense attorney Joe Ricco, who at the start of the movie defends Frankie Steele (Thalmus Rasulala), a black militant, on a murder charge, and even gets Frankie off it! Good for him! Except that not long after the case ends, a couple of cops get shot, and of course everybody, especially the cops, believe that Frankie is responsible. Ricco, of course, doesn't believe any of this, and starts to do a little digging himself. He really has reason not to believe it when somebody starts trying to bump him off. So who did it and why? Well, you'll have to watch the film for that, although it's a pretty routine 70s crime drama. There are a couple of people here would go on to bigger things on TV, such as Ricco's assistant (Cindy Williams), and a role by Lt. Tubbs (er, Philip Michael Thomas).


A few weeks ago, I mentioned the James Stewart Western Destry Rides Again, from Hollywood annus mirabilis of 1939. It's a remake of an early 1930s movie starring screen cowboy Tom Mix. What people may not know is that the movie was made a third time, as Destry. That version, released in 1954, can be seen at 10:45 AM Wednesday and 12:45 AM Thursday on StarzEncore Westerns. The story is largely the same, Destry (played here by Audie Murphy) is the son of a former sheriff of a wild western town. Dad was killed along with a whole series of sheriffs, as the bad people try to keep the town lawless. So they bring in the most incompetent person they can find in the town drunk (Thomas Mitchell), who in turn hires the pacificst son Destry. Stalwart western baddie Lyle Bettger plays the saloon owner trying to keep the town lawless, while Mari Blanchard is the woman who takes on Marlene Dietrich's role.


That's it for Summer Under the Stars; on Thursday we get back to normal programmers like Love Begins at Twenty, at 10:45 AM on TCM. Hugh Herbert plays Horatio Gillingwater, the meek father in a family where he's being henpecked by his wife Evalina (Dorothy Vaughan); his boss (Clarence Wilson) treats him almost as badly. Meanwhile, elder daughter Lois (Patricia Ellis) wants to get married. She's in love with Jerry (Warren Hull), but Mom doesn't think Jerry is right for Lois, and as long as it's Mom getting her way, she's not going to let the marriage happen. So it's up to Horatio to take charge and make things happen. But all sorts of other things keep happening along the way – what's a car chase doing in a family comedy like this? It's the sort of one-hour comedy that studios expertly made to be the B movie back in the days before TV, and this one shows that B movies don't mean bad movies.


If you want to hear James Stewart sing, you're in luck! StarzEncore Westerns is running Night Passage at 8:35 AM Friday. Stewart plays McLaine, a former railroad worker turned accordionist who has been rehired by the railroad to guard the payroll. It turns out that Whitey's (Dan Duryea) gang has been robbing all the payroll trains, so none of the railroad workers have been paid, and they're mighty pissed about it. Sure enough, the train with McLaine on it also gets held up, at which point McLaine has a shock in store for him. One of Whitey's men is the Utica Kid (Audie Murphy), who just happens to be McLaine's brother! So it's up to McLaine to find Whitey and his gang, and get the money back, as well as save a hostage. Brandon de Wilde plays a boy McLaine befriends, while Stewart gets to sing a couple of songs as he plays that accordion.


Now that we're out of August and into September, there's going to be a Star of the Month on TCM again. In September, that's Gene Hackman, and his films will be showing up every Friday in prime time. One of his movies that doesn't show up so often is The Gypsy Moths, which you can catch at midnight Saturday (ie. 11:00 PM Friday LFT). Gene Hackman plays Joe, who along with Mike (Burt Lancaster) and young Malcolm (Scott Wilson) are skydivers going around the country and doing the county fair thing. Their current stop is in a small Kansas town where Malcolm's aunt Elizabeth (Deborah Kerr) lives, so it's only natural that the three men stay with her. Unfortunately, Elizabeth's marriage to John (William Windom) isn't too happy, so she seems happy enough to engage romantic thoughts with Mike, just like 16 years earlier in From Here to Eternity. Joe, meanwhile, finds a topless dancer and romances her. Things get complicated as the men prepare for the climactic skydive.


With the end of Summer Under the Stars, we get back to other regular features, too. The Bowery Boys movies are returning to the just before noon spot on Saturday. Just before the Bowery Boys there had been an Ace Drummond serial, but that finished at the end of July, and it looks as though TCM has done away with running another entire series of movies in that time slot for the time being. This week, they're running the first of four Brass Bancroft movies, starring Ronald Reagan as a Secret Service agent who deals with the Service's original remit, that of finding counterfeiters. The other three movies don't seem to be showing up on subsequent Saturdays, however.