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Free Head Exam: Green Bay Packers

After the Green Bay Packers' 24-3 victory over the St. Louis Rams, here are three issues that merit further examination:

  1. Linebacker A.J. Hawk provided a textbook example of how to move on past a stupid mistake, one that a few other people around here might take notice of. Hawk's middle-finger celebration after a sack was caught by FOX's cameras and made instant cyber-news. Hawk apologized, admitted he got caught up in an inside joke with teammates and told reporters: "… It was just a bad joke. I definitely won't do it again." Now, that wasn't so hard, was it? In the video below, ESPN's "First Take" debates whether Hawk should face NFL discipline for the episode. Skip Bayless called for a one-game suspension. Hmmmm.

  2. Last week, we suggested that linebacker Clay Matthews' season would demand further scrutiny if he didn't break through against the Rams, who have the NFL's worst pass protection. Matthews answered the bell with a sack, two batted balls at the line of scrimmage and a near-interception. Matthews also added an element to his post-sack celebration, dusting off his arms "for you guys [in the media]," he said. As we've discussed a number of times, good fortune is a key element in high sack totals. There is every indication that Matthews is playing at a high level this season, regardless of the number of sacks (two) he has through six games.

  3. It's been 13 seasons since the defending Super Bowl champion was the NFL's final unbeaten team the following year. In 1998, the Denver Broncos opened 13-0, finished 14-2 and won the Super Bowl. The Packers sure have the look of a wire-to-wire champion, at least through six games. They have four games remaining, including two against the 1-5 Minnesota Vikings, until their Thanksgiving showdown with the Detroit Lions. If they can win at the San Diego Chargers in two weeks, it's reasonable to think the Packers could be 10-0 when they head to Detroit.

And here is one issue I still don't get:

How in the world is safety Morgan Burnett going to play with that club on his right hand for the next few weeks? Check out this photograph over on ESPNMilwaukee.com. I guess I'm more amazed than skeptical at this point. Burnett made it through Sunday's game fine, totaling nine tackles and a forced fumble. You wonder what will happen if Burnett misses a few interception opportunities. Can he possibly catch a ball thrown with decent velocity? It's one thing to play with a club if you're an offensive or defensive linemen. It's another to play a skill position. For now, Burnett deserves major credit for playing safety in an NFL game with essentially one hand.