Tonight I took some time with Ted Glover of the SBNation blog The Daily Norseman, and we swapped a series of questions about the teams in this weekend's Sunday night game between the Packers and Vikings.
APC: I've seen You-know-who take some big-time hits so far this season. What is the consensus on how the offensive line has performed so far this year?
Ted: Anecdotally, they seem better. The running game is a lot more effective so far this season, and while there have been breakdowns in pass protection, Favre has had time. The big loss for passing has been Chester Taylor. He was phenomenal as a pass blocker, and his ability to pick up a blitz has been notably absent so far this year. As to public opinion, I think it's close to a 50-50 split on whether or not they've improved. I think they're better, but that's just me.
APC: Randy Moss' numbers through two games with the Vikings are almost identical to four games with New England (9 catches, 136 yards in MIN vs. 9 catches, 139 yards in NE). What are your expectations for him the rest of the season?
Ted: If he scores a TD Sunday and we don't see a 'Moon over Lambeau: The Sequel', I'll be crushed. Seriously, I expect him to open up the field for Percy Harvin and whoever else lines up opposite Moss until Sidney Rice comes back, and I expect him to be a difference maker. And he's already doing that. Harvin's production has gone up dramatically in the two games since Moss came home, and I think we'll see him integrate more into the offense as the season progresses.
APC: The Packers will likely get Clay Matthews back on the field this Sunday. How can the Vikings minimize his impact?
Ted: Hmmm, maybe sneak into his house and turn off his alarm clock so he misses the game? Huh? It's a night game? Rats. Well, the Vikings have been using more two tight end sets lately, so using Jim Kleinsasser to chip or double team would be a good start. Favre has been effective rolling out with a mobile pocket, and as long as they do it in the opposite direction of Matthews, they could have a lot of success. But the best way to neutralize Matthews is to be able to run the ball effectively, early, and often.
APC: Pat Williams is almost as old as Favre and looks like he ate a manatee. How can he possibly still be so effective?
Ted: Little known fact: Manatee blubber contains massive amounts of resveratrol, which reverses the aging process. Pat Williams is now 28 years old. Seriously, all he's asked to do is plug the middle, and when you weigh 340 pounds he has an advantage even before the ball is snapped. Williams' ability to take the attention of two inside guys frees up the rest of the line and MLB EJ Henderson, who is having a helluva comeback season. Pat's just a beast, and although he's lost some physical ability, he's more savvy and still highly effective.
My thanks to Ted for being a good sport, and hopefully we get an entertaining game and a Packers win this weekend. Also, check out some of Ted's other work as an contributor to Off Tackle Empire (SBNation's Big Ten Blog).