Gameday Notebook: Talking Lambeau Leaps

Packer Report publisher Bill Huber empties his tape recorder and notebook in time for today's game. Today's story leads with the Redskins' Fred Smoot telling us exclusively about his Lambeau Leap after a pick-six with Minnesota in 2006. Plus, the Packers' 3-4 advantage disappears against the Bengals, and much, much more!

Bengals receiver Chad Ochocinco made headlines this week by telling reporters that he planned on doing a Lambeau Leap if he scored a touchdown against the Packers on Sunday.

Only one visiting player has done a Lambeau Leap, former Vikings cornerback Fred Smoot, who ran back an interception for a touchdown against the Packers in 2006.

"Think about a dream where you're drowning in beer, and that's what happened to me," Smoot, now with the Washington Redskins, told our reporter in Washington this week. "I jumped in and it was like 3 or 4 below and I probably took like three or four Milwaukee's Bests to the face. While I was jumping, I caught it in slow-mo. As I was trying to jump up the wall, I seen one dude stick out his hand to stiff-arm that actually caught me in the helmet, but I grabbed onto the wall. It was a fight, it was a struggle, but it was worth it. The defense, we had already said that — at the time we had gotten on a roll getting turnovers — we said whoever gets the turnover today and takes it to the house, you got a Lambeau Leap. I felt like it was good. I really enjoyed it."

Ochocinco's plan ruffled few feathers in the Packers' locker room.

"It's all meant in fun and games," Packers receiver Greg Jennings said. "He has a great personality. You can't do anything but laugh at him because of his personality. I wouldn't do it myself, but he makes a lot of people laugh."

Said Donald Driver: "That's Chad. Chad's going to talk. We know that won't happen. Our fans aren't going to allow it."

Linebacker Brady Poppinga called the former Chad Johnson a "fun dude" after watching the Bengals' training camp documented by HBO's "Hard Knocks."

"I thought he was pretty funny and I liked his personality," Poppinga said. "At any rate, the fact is, he's got a Cincinnati Bengals jersey on, so if you can get a shot at anybody with an opposing jersey on, you're going to take it, regardless of who they are and what they represent."

Packers coach Mike McCarthy coached someone similar to Ochocinco while an offensive coordinator in New Orleans. Who will forget Saints receiver Joe Horn grabbing a cell phone to celebrate a touchdown against the Giants during a Sunday night game in 2003?

"I had a great time coaching in New Orleans, but when people pull out cell phones and things like that, it is challenging," McCarthy said. "Joe Horn was probably one of my favorite players to coach, but you do spend a lot of time talking about a lot of different things. I don't really know about Marvin (Lewis, the Bengals' coach) and, what is it, Ocho? I want to make sure I call him the right name. They bring a lot to the table. He's an exciting player. Chad Johnson is an exciting player. He's a dynamic football player. You watch him run routes, you watch him play with the ball in his hands, he's a big-time football player, and that's really what our focus is on. All that other stuff, it's great for TV and that's why we're talking about it. But we watch the film, and he's a heck of a football player."

No 3-4 advantage

Dom Capers cut to the chase.

"We know we aren't going to fool them, no matter what we do," Capers said of facing the Bengals' offense.

Cincinnati gets a steady diet of 3-4 defenses in the AFC North, where division rivals Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Cleveland run the scheme. The Bengals also faced Denver, a 3-4 team, in Week 1.

"We spent quite a bit of time this year in training camp because of that," Lewis told Packers beat writers in a conference call on Wednesday. "We play 11 3-4 defenses, and I think our first eight weeks are about like that."

So, while Capers' bag of tricks seemingly has no bottom, he's likely not going to trick the Bengals.

"We're not going to show them anything that they haven't seen before," Capers said. "I think it comes down to, we've got to be very efficient in our execution. That's what game normally comes down to: Who executes the best on a Sunday."

Wynn-ing performance

DeShawn Wynn
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
With Brandon Jackson out again, DeShawn Wynn will be the Packers' backup halfback.

Wynn is a native of Cincinnati and was a consensus All-American after rushing for 2,283 yards and 30 touchdowns as a high school senior. However, he says this game doesn't mean anything extra. His parents live in Cincinnati but they'll be coming to the game.

"Of course, it's my hometown. I guess the one thing would be the people back home getting to see the game. Other than that, it's just another game. I really don't have any ties," said Wynn, who spends his offseasons in Florida, where he played collegiately.

What a staff

McCarthy and Lewis were assistant coaches at the University of Pittsburgh in 1990 and 1991, as was Packers special teams coordinator Shawn Slocum. After that, Lewis joined Capers' staff with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1992 while McCarthy moved on to the Kansas City Chiefs in 1993.

Back then, neither coach could have imagined they'd be squaring off as NFL head coaches.

"I was just trying to keep my head above water, to be honest with you," McCarthy said. "Being a graduate assistant in the old days was a little different than probably it is today. It was a great experience. I look at that staff that we were on, Marvin Lewis, Jon Gruden and Scott O'Brien (New England's special teams coordinator), I think practically the whole staff coached at one time or is still in the NFL. It was just a great group of people to be around, especially as a first-year coach. You could tell right away though that Marvin was unique. He had a certain way with his players, a very good communicator. It is no surprise to me that he is an NFL head coach."

Lewis recalls McCarthy as "just an extremely hard worker, very thorough, everything that he was asked to do was done at the utmost. And was just spotless, sparkling. And just worked his tail off and Shawn was the same way, basically, and that's probably why they have the same bond today."

Agony of defeat

While the Packers earned a thrilling victory in Week 1, the Bengals suffered a gut-wrenching defeat when Brandon Stokley caught a broken-up pass in stride and ran untouched for an 87-yard touchdown in the final seconds to give Denver a 12-7 win.

"Yeah, that's the toughest way I've lost in real live and on a video game," Ochocinco said in a conference call. "I've never seen anything like that before. That was ridiculous. Lucky play, lucky bounce. We've just got to come back strong. It's really on us. We put ourselves in that situation for the game to be that close. If we played a little better offensively, I think we wouldn't have been in that situation."

Cornerback Leon Hall went for the interception — which Lewis said was the right play, because it was second down and there was still time on the clock. Instead, the ball was deflected in the air and Stokley made the play.

"We have some other guys on the field that have to go over and knock the ball down and get over the top," Lewis said. "Brandon Stokley outworked some of our other guys, and ‘Stoke' made a good play and just the kind of football player that he is. Unfortunately, we had some guys who kind of thought the game was over obviously on the backside and didn't get over the top. But Leon Hall did everything he could the right way, our front seven guys did a great job, but there's a lot of guys out there on a football field so you have to make sure everybody gets there and does it right."

Some offense would have helped

Of course, the Bengals wouldn't have been in that situation had they scored more than seven points. Quarterback Carson Palmer sat out the final three preseason games after injuring an ankle in the preseason opener. So, while his stats looked fine (63.6 percent, 247 yards), he threw two interceptions and never really got into a rhythm.

"He thought he did a lot of good things, and some things he really has grown and matured in, in the football game," Lewis said. "Just have to keep growing on those. He probably had one or two inaccurate throws that were unlike him, that you never really see him do, but that, I would expect to go away."

Line problems

Neither team's offensive line played up to expectations last week. For Green Bay, Aaron Rodgers was sacked four times. Palmer was sacked three times, with Lewis calling his group — which is without first-round pick Andre Smith (foot) and starting left guard Nate Livings (knee) — a "work in progress."

"I'm confident. I think they were just a little nervous," Rodgers said, noting he wasn't looking over his shoulder against the Bears. "But I don't want to blame it on one person, I think as a whole we need to improve. Personally, I missed a couple of protection adjustments I should have done, things we'd seen on film. I thought they did a nice job of disguising some of their blitzes. We just need to trust our fundamentals and trust the fundamentals of the pass protections we have. I don't want to blame it on one person. I think as a unit, myself included, running backs included, we can all do a better job."

Grand theft football

Call security!
Tom Uhlman/AP Images
The last time the Packers played the Bengals was in Cincinnati in 2005. The Packers lost 21-14, but were driving in the final minutes when a fan ran onto the field and took the ball from Brett Favre. A lengthy delay seemingly killed the Packers' momentum.

"What I remember was, it was so loud on that drive," Rodgers recalled. "We'd struggled on offense, were only down by seven, got a pass interference call coming out of our own end. We had the ball, we were driving to maybe the 35, needing a touchdown. And it was so loud, though. I saw the guy out of the corner of my eye running on the field, what do you do? You don't run out there and grab him. There's no point in yelling because nobody can hear you. It's kind of like me and Craig Nall were pointing, ‘Hey, look at this guy here,' and wondering, is he going to sack Brett? Is he going to tackle him? What's he going to do? It was weird though, it was crazy. Took the ball and was running around. Actually had some good moves. Finally got drilled."

Ochocinco didn't remember the game until reminded about the fan.

"Oh, yeah, he took the ball from Brett," Ochocinco said. "I remember that. That was funny. That was funny. (laughs) I do remember that. That was funny."

Four-point stance

— Jennings, on doing a Lambeau Leap: "That's the thing that's kind of mind-boggling. We jump in the stands and they grab you and latch on, and it's like, you can't play the game anymore because they want you to stay with them. It's like, ‘Let me go.' I jump in, let you guys get high-fives and everything, but I've got to go back and play. It's a fun deal."

Daryn Colledge, on the offensive line bouncing back: "Extremely hungry. We're ready to go out and prove ourselves. We didn't have a great game, across the board, all five of us. There were plays that every one of us wants back. It wasn't all about Allen (Barbre)'s mistakes. Everybody had something. We all watch tape and we all want to try to have an edge this week and start a lot faster. We know what type of talent we have behind us and on our edges. If we can do our jobs, we've got something special."

Brandon Chillar, on hurdling Garrett Wolfe and sacking Jay Cutler last week: "I did it once in college. The things you just watch in film and seeing that they cut for the legs every time on that certain play, so it was kind of predetermined. I saw the formation and just said, it's Sunday night, let's try to make a play for, and went for it and it all worked out."

— Jennings' winning touchdown wasn't anything unusual for him. Since 2007, he has 15 catches of at least 40 yards. New England's Randy Moss and Buffalo's Terrell Owens are a distant second with 12.

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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at and Facebook under Bill Huber.

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