Monday, October 30, 2017

Packers Should Draft Rodgers' Replacement Now | Ticket King Inc.

Aaron Rodgers Injury
The Green Bay Packers were 4-1 entering the NFC North showdown in Minnesota against the Vikings. With the way the rest of the NFC is, or was playing at that moment, the Packers appeared to be taking control of the NFC as they got healthier. And then one play changed everything.

When Aaron Rodgers broke his collarbone, the football world was stunned. The anger vented by many Packers fans in the following moments was understandable. Rodgers himself had expressed his frustration regarding the matter. Every “expert” on the planet was quick to pronounce the Packers season as “over” which could be true, depending on how Brett Hundley plays. The general consensus right now is that this is the worst thing in the world that has ever happened to the Packers. However, now that the dust has settled, our in-house analyst T.J. Bryce doesn’t see it that way. The following is his take on the Packers’ future.

Pain. Anger. Rage. Resentment. Frustration. Sadness. Sorrow. Depression. These are some of the many emotions that were flying around in the moments following the devastating diagnosis that Aaron Rodgers had a broken collarbone, and would in all likelihood miss the rest of the season. As my emotions began to settle down in the coming days, I was able to fully process what had happened. Then I examined the full scope of the situation, and it hit me, this is not going to be the worst thing to happen to the Packers in the long haul. In fact, in its own unique way, it may be a good thing.

At this point, let me clear up some possible confusion. How can Aaron Rodgers breaking his collarbone not be the worst thing to happen to the Packers? And for that matter, how can it be a good thing?

Aaron Rodgers has said he would like to play until he is 40, just like Peyton Manning did, just like Tom Brady has. I have always questioned that. Playing until you are 40 is more about your style of play than it is about your skill to begin with. Both Brady and Manning have been able to do this because of their style of play. Neither one of them relied on natural athletic ability like Rodgers does to be successful. Neither one of them has taken the pounding that Rodgers has. In fact, Peyton Manning was the master of the “self sack,” meaning that if he realized a sack was inevitable, he would take a slide and once he does the play is over, he can’t be touched, rather than take an unnecessary hit. In comparison, Rodgers could have six pass rushers coming at him and he would still be thinking “How can in the world can I get out of this and still make a play?”

For 10 years we have raved about Aaron Rodgers’ skill set, and his great ability to make miraculous escapes and still make plays. His ability to combine incredible arm strength with lethal precision. How well he takes care of the football, despite putting up absurd numbers. At the same time, for as great as this is, it also comes with a price, and this style of play exposes him to many a potential injury. Let’s face it, because after all, it’s pretty much a fact, Aaron Rodgers is not exactly the most durable quarterback ever. This is now his third major injury, his second broken collarbone, he has had two concussions, and has a history of hamstring issues. Oh yeah, he is going to be 34-years-old in December and is not getting any younger.

What am I getting at? It is time for the Packers to face reality. As I stated before, I have never believed for a moment Rodgers would play until he is 40. All of these injuries have probably taken a year off of his career. This latest collarbone injury, because of its severity and the fact that it is on his throwing shoulder, probably took another year off of his career. So where does that leave us? I say he’s got just three to four years left on his career. The math lines up perfectly.

It’s time for the Packers to pick Aaron Rodgers successor. We’ve been down this road before with this franchise. Don’t pretend like you don’t know what I’m talking about. We all remember the Favre retirement debacle and it still gives fans headaches to this day, just thinking about it. But that was then, and this is now. To be honest, I think we have all learned from that experience. This time around, it should be far more formal, more civilized, and much more peaceful for everybody involved. Also, think about this. Like a shining light from the sky, the Packers now get to pick Aaron Rodgers successor, with the deepest quarterback draft class in history at their disposal.

You thought the 1983 NFL draft was loaded with quarterbacks. You thought the 1998 draft was loaded as well. We haven’t seen anything like this, ever. Depending on which draft board you look at, there could are as many as 14 (count them,) quarterbacks worthy of being selected in the first two rounds. Who are these top draft picks? Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, Josh Allen, Mason Rudolph, Lamar Jackson, Luke Falk, Baker Mayfield, Jake Browning, Ryan Finley, Jarrett Stidham, Quinton Flowers, J.T. Barrett, Riley Ferguson, and Clayton Thorson. That many QB’s up for grabs is absurd. This could change, depending on who declares himself eligible for the draft, and who doesn’t. It also comes down to which players continue to impress and who the scouts like/don’t like, but right now, this is how the next draft class looks. If the Packers contend with Hundley, okay. But I don’t see that happening. So, this is going to allow them to be in a high enough position to begin the draft that they can make sure they get the guy they want to replace Rodgers. The Packers are also expected to receive four compensation selections for the 2018 draft, and they also could trade Randall Cobb for a pair of draft choices. That would give them 13 selections at the start of the draft, which means if they wanted to go up to get the guy they want, they could do so with ease. They are not getting Sam Darnold from USC. He will go first overall. But every other quarterback is on the table. So which ones could fit?

Josh Rosen/UCLA- He is the second quarterback on most boards. He has great mechanics and a big arm. However, he is not a scrambler by any means. Think Joe Flacco here, with a much better attitude.

Lamar Jackson/Louisville- He may be the most electrifying player in college football, and Jackson has skills that most great quarterbacks dream of. A superb athlete to begin with, Jackson has an arm like few others, with the ability to make throws that nobody else can. However, there are serious questions about his size, and whether or not he is nothing more than the next Michael Vick, which in this era, may not translate to the NFL. He is considered a long-range prospect, which is in the Packers favor, and he could play while he develops.

Baker Mayfield/Oklahoma- This is a tough scrappy competitor who also happens to have some skill. Mayfield can do some of everything. His biggest knock is size and lack of arm strength.

Luke Falk/Washington State- A tall lengthy pocket passer much in the mold of the Manning brothers, Falk has put up big numbers at Washington State. With time, he should translate well to the NFL.

Josh Allen/Wyoming- Allen has everything one could want in a quarterback. Size, big arm, athletic ability. Some have even said he is Aaron Rodgers with three more inches and 10 more pounds. However, if you look at his current play level, he is considered to be a long-range prospect, much like Jackson, but unlike Jackson, sitting or playing could determine the difference between success or failure. (This is the guy I want the Packers to choose.)

Whether the Packers choose one of the quarterbacks listed above, or someone else such as Clayton Thorson, Mason Rudolph, Jake Browning, Riley Ferguson, or somebody else, or even if they decide to wait until the 2019 draft, they need to be careful as they select Rodger’s successor. They need to make sure they don’t go out of their way to go hunting for the next Aaron Rodgers, potentially missing out on a great quarterback in his own right, just because he doesn’t look or play like Aaron Rodgers. When they drafted Aaron Rodgers, they didn’t go hunting for the next Brett Favre. They went hunting for the guy that fit what they wanted for their next quarterback. For as great as Rodgers’s arm is, Rodgers is a mixture of arm strength, precision, and once athletic ability, but it’s not Brett Favre’s arm. Favre’s arm was once in a lifetime special. We will never see an arm that strong again in our lifetimes. What I am getting at is that Aaron Rodgers was a different quarterback than Brett Favre. Doesn’t mean Favre wasn’t special. Just means they are different. Perhaps their next quarterback is a classic, oversized, strong-armed drop back pocket passer, nothing like Aaron Rodgers.

Whoever they decided to get, they need to get him now, or in 2019 at the latest. They have a golden opportunity to follow the same protocol they followed from Favre to Rodgers. Get a guy, sit him down for three years, develop him properly, and then much like Rodgers, give a well seasoned player the keys to the car. When they gave Rodgers the keys to the car in his fourth season, he was nothing like the quarterback that put the Packers hat on the day he was drafted. They completely overhauled his mechanics. He was bigger, he was stronger, he added arm strength, his accuracy was much better, and his football I.Q. was finally up to speed. Because he was able to sit for three years, without worrying about having to play on Sundays, he was able to work on these things, which is why he is the great quarterback he is today.

When the Packers let go of Favre, they let go of a man who apparently had one more run left in him. But in the process, they traded one more year of Favre, of what looks to be 14 years of the greatness of Aaron Rodgers. The Packers may have to let Rodgers go one year before he is truly finished, but I would rather they let go of Rodgers one year too early, than bang their heads against the wall for the next 15 years because they let the young guy go to keep the old guy and hang onto the past.

The Packers need to get their next quarterback now, and they have a lot talent with various styles of play to choose from. Whoever they get, they need to make sure he’s the right one.”

Friday, October 13, 2017

Aaron Rodgers "Perfect" Drive at Dallas Recap | Ticket King Inc.

Aaron Rodgers
There are few words that can properly describe how great the Packers-Cowboys game was last Sunday. The Packers found themselves down 21-6 late in the second half. This team does not have a history of a great comebacks, and usually, when the score reaches that point, Mike McCarthy will “pull the plug sooner” than most coaches. Not this time. The Packers scored a touchdown late in the first half, and just like with their first touchdown, Mason Crosby missed the extra point. Fortunately for the Packers, Crosby was able to work out the issues with his replacement holder in the second half. We will see how this may come into play, long term.

The second half of that game was spectacular. Back and forth they both went. There were five lead changes in the fourth quarter alone. On that final drive, the Cowboys did everything right. They took nine minutes off the clock, methodically moved the ball down the field, and scored the go-ahead touchdown on the drive’s 17th play. There’s just one little problem. They left Aaron Rodgers with 73 seconds and a timeout, going up against rookie corners, and needing just a field goal to tie, or a touchdown to win. With Rodgers having to shield his eyes from the sun during those first few plays, Cowboys fans surely felt confident that a home team victory was in the bag, over, done.
To say Aaron Rodgers was magnificent on that final drive would be a serious understatement. Rodgers was “perfect.” The final 73 seconds of that game shows the vast difference between a team with an elite franchise quarterback, and a team without one. In 73 seconds, Aaron Rodgers took the Packers from what was surely to be a 3-2 record to 4-1. With complete control over the offense, as he has had for almost a decade, Rodgers made one perfect decision after another. This includes a gutsy call to run the ball on second and ten from the 45, which resulted in a 15-yard gain. What about the final two plays Aaron Rodgers made on that drive? Watch the replay and you will call it “The Miracle Escape” that resulted in an 18-yard gain. Watch him take a second shot at the same play that failed on the first try, this time tossing a back shoulder fade “on a frozen rope.” It was a perfect throw to Davante Adams, and it was the game winning touchdown. Could any other quarterback put that combination of plays together, with the game on the line?

Now the team moves onto the Vikings. At this point in time, we have no clue as to who is going to start at quarterback for Minnesota (or even finish the game for that matter.) Sam Bradford’s knee won’t quit flaring up. Casey Keenum has been pulled and reinserted several times over. It is almost that time to make way for the “Teddy Train,” as Bridgewater is about to come off the PUP. Then there is also the un-drafted, free agent rookie Kyle Sloter who spent training camp with the Broncos. All three, Sloter, Keenum, or Bradford, could come into play on Sunday. In future games, Bridgewater will make it four, after he is ready to go. We could preview the game, but nobody really has any clue how this game is going to unfold. For now, Packers fans hope that the spark that turned to flame in Dallas, still burns in Minnesota this Sunday.  

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Milwaukee Bucks Look to Improve Upon Their 2017 Season | Ticket King Inc.

Bucks 2017 Tickets
The NBA season is almost upon us, and here in Wisconsin, that means Bucks basketball. Considering the circumstances, the Bucks had a very good season a year ago, finishing the year with a record of 42-40, and made it as the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Sadly, they lost to the Toronto Raptors in six games. The Bucks accomplished all of this without star forward Jabari Parker, who injured his leg for the second time in his young career. The team better be careful with Parker’s minutes going forward, perhaps even turning him into the team’s 6th man, so he doesn’t turn into the next Derrick Rose.

As far as the rest of the team is concerned, the pecking order has been established. This is Giannis’ team going forward, and the towering forward from Greece has become one of the NBA’s prized young players. Giannis is just 22, and it looks like he will only get better. It would help Giannis significantly if small forward Khris Middleton built upon his play from a year ago, when he averaged nearly 15 points a game. The bucks will also continue to look to get something out of former first round draft choice power forward John Henson, and center Greg Monroe. Both players have fallen short of expectations to this point. Speaking of first round draft choices, the Bucks were 17th overall, and focused on power forward D.J. Wilson from Michigan. He may not start the year with the team, but expect him to be called up sooner rather than later.

Looking at the Bucks early season schedule, right out of the gate, they get the Boston Celtics and the Cleveland Cavaliers, the two teams involved in that mega-swap this off season of all-star point guards. The game against Cleveland is the first of four straight at home, with the next three opponents being Portland, Charlotte, and Boston. After that the Bucks play five of their next six on the road, with the sole home game in between all of that coming against the new look Oklahoma City Thunder on Halloween. If the Bucks want to compete with Cleveland and Boston this season, they need to get off to a fast start.   

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Brewers Impress Throughout the Season | Will They Repeat in 2018? | Ticket King Inc.

Brewers 2017 Season
To say that the Milwaukee Brewers have defied logic in 2017 would be an understatement. Every analyst on the planet has been waiting for the moment this season when the Brewers fall back to earth. While the Brewers missed the playoffs by just a couple games, that “fall back to earth” moment really never came.

The Brewers had indeed been the story in baseball of 2017. On the night of September 19, the Milwaukee Brewers sat at 81-70 which placed them currently 3.5 games behind the first place Chicago Cubs. More importantly, the Brewers were at that moment, one game back of the Colorado Rockies for the second Wild Card spot. The Brewers had won three in a row, and were 8-2 in those last 10 games. There was still a chance the Brewers could have won the division, but it was more more likely they would reach the playoffs via the Wild Card at that point. The Cubs had gotten their act together and won seven in a row. The Rockies and Diamondbacks meanwhile, were both sputtering to the finish line. Can we find a sports writer that declared that the Brewers would have been deciding their fate in the last ten days of the 2017 season? No, we can’t.  

So how exactly had the Brewers defied logic in 2017? Their offense had been up and down all season, but their pitching had been phenomenal. Zach Davies became the Brewers new ace for the time being. Davies was 17-9 with a 3.89 ERA. Closer Corey Knebel has been outstanding. For the season, Knebel had 37 saves at that point, a strikeout-per-9 ratio of 15.3, a WHIP of 1.10, and an ERA of 1.29. For a closer, that was wandering into the “Joe Nathan” zone of the territory of insanity.

On the offensive side, we do have to notice that certain batters got “hot” just as others went cold. The fact that there was always a core of batters that could put up runs, the team was able to stay in the hunt. As of this post, the Brewers announced that their entire staff will be returning in 2017. Can the team keep riding that high in 2018. Chances are good.