Today’s guest for the Thursday Q & A really needs no introduction, but I have to fill this space with something, is Aaron Nagler from Cheesehead TV.  With partner & Thur Q & A veteran Corey Behnke, Aaron runs what is one of the most popular Packers blogs out there and also co-hosts their live webcast Packers Transplants. One of the most active and knowledgeable Packers fans out there, we’ll get Aaron’s thoughts on the place of blogs in the media landscape, what it’s like to work with Corey and opinions on the 2010 Packers & what will happen this coming Sunday. 

Your rise to prominence in the Packers Blogosphere is well documented in so many other places I won’t bother asking about how you got to where you are today.  What I will ask though is with the notoriety you have achieved, do you feel you have a heightened responsibility to continue to break the stereotype that blogs in general have of not being considered legitimate ‘news’ sources?

Its something I struggle with all the time, to be honest with you. It’s a never ending battle to be “taken seriously” but at the same time being proud of the fact that I’m a blogger. This isn’t my job. There are certainly times I catch myself thinking “Oh, I can’t do that. A ‘real’ person covering the NFL wouldn’t do that’. Then I remind myself – wait, you do whatever the hell you want. That’s why people have gravitated to what Cheesehead TV does, I think. We find people like Brian, Alex, Holly, etc, who are really good in their respective areas and then say – do what you want. Because I trust their talent will produce something of quality and it almost always does. I’ve had two separate members of the traditional media tell me how jealous they are of that setup. The tradeoff, of course, is that there isn’t a paycheck waiting for us. Hopefully that will begin to change in the next few years.

That’s a really long way of saying – yes. I feel a responsibility, but its more to the people who have chosen to be associated with Cheesehead TV.

Do you think there will be a time when blogs (or at least respected, well run blogs) can get the access and credentials that main stream media reporters do?

Yes. It’s just a matter of time.

Anyone who reads your material or follows you on Twitter knows you are not one to suffer fools gladly.  What are some of your “hot button” topics, those things that drive you to distraction when it comes to fan commentary.

In regards to the play on the field, people instantly killing McCarthy for a playcall when its pretty obvious Rodgers either changed the play or went to a secondary read. Also, know-it-alls trying to correct the beat guys, like Tom Silverstein or Jason Wilde. Fans have zero clue when it comes to the commitment level those guys have to their job, how deep their involvement goes in trying to keep up to date to bring us, the fans, the information we so desperately want. The worst is when Tom or Jason or whoever might Tweet a stat or something, and maybe they get a date wrong, or are off by one number of something. There are fans that feel the need to jump all over them and are really condescending about it. I mean, really? Show some respect.

On a personal level, people telling me what I can or cannot post about or can or cannot Tweet about. That pisses me off to no end.

My very first Thursday Q & A was with your partner at CHTV, Corey Behnke.  I asked him what were the best & worst parts about working with you.  I’ll turn the question around now and ask you, What are the best and worst things about working with Corey?

The best part, and I think Corey said the same thing, is that we speak the same language. And that’s in regards to everything, whether its the Packers or performance or computers or whatever. The fact we both studied acting in the same program at North Carolina School of the Arts coupled with the fact that we both independently got involved with technology in some form or another after school really shaped our sensibilities in a similar manner. His passion for the Packers and for Cheesehead TV is unparalleled and it is insanely infectious. All of that and he just makes me laugh. The guy is freaking hysterical in an incredibly abrasive manner. Even when we get in arguments, he can have me rolling on the floor in laughter in two seconds flat.

The worst part about working with Corey is that he hates to admit when he’s wrong. HATES it. But that actually serves us well because we get into some of our best arguments that way. ;)

Beyond the ‘written word’ aspect of CHTV, you and Corey also do your live Packers Transplants show every week. What’s harder, coming up for content for your blog posts or preparation for a show?

I think people would be shocked at the lack of preparation I do for the show. I always mean to do more. But when you’re dealing with work, family, the blog, etc all day every day, Tuesday’s tend to sneak up on you. I’ll usually write the script on my way out the door, print out some relevant info on the evening’s guests to read on the train and hope I absorb some interesting nuggets I can ask them about. (That’s how I came to ask Brett Goode about his guitar playing, for example)

Sometimes I feel guilty that I don’t carve out the time to do more preparation, then I remember that this is supposed to be fun. As anyone who has seen the show can tell you, we try not to take ourselves too seriously. 

The Bears game gave a lot of fans some anxiety due to the Packers poor offensive performance.  Do you place the blame for the low offensive output on the Bears defense playing very well or the Packers offense just being out of sync?

It’s just Lovie Smith’s defense and Mike McCarthy’s offense and that matchup will always favor Lovie. Always. McCarthy, and by extension Rodgers, wants to push the ball down the field in the passing game. Its his lifeblood. Smith, on the other hand, has a defense that is completely designed around taking away that very thing. Its as simple as that. When Mike sets his mind to it, like he did at Lambeau in 2008, and just starts pounding the football on the ground, everything else opens up. But for whatever reason, he doesn’t seem to have the patience to do that every time they face each other. They’re just divisional foes that know each other real well.

What is the most aggravating thing about this 2010 Packers team in your view?

They lost too many games they should have won. The Unholy Trinity of the Washington, Miami and second Detroit games should eat away at Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy for a long, long time.

Who or what has been the most pleasant surprise about the 2010 Packers?

Well, Erik Walden was certainly a pleasant surprise last week, but I have to say overall its been Charlie Peprah. Anyone who’s read or listened to me over the years knows I had a very low opinion of the guy when it came to his play on the football field. He has made me eat my words and then some.

One thing that has caused Packers to groan is James Jones and his inconsistency. Some people seem to believe he could be a 2-3 WR on most other team’s rosters. With his recent epidemic of dropped passes, what does Jones’ Packer future look like?

Depending on what the new CBA looks like, my hunch is they don’t resign him and let him explore the market. If he looks around and doesn’t like anything he’s being offered, I’m sure the Packers would welcome him back at a Packer-friendly rate. The kid has talent, he’s just maddeningly inconsistent. But because of that talent, I bet some team makes him an offer that is too rich for the Packers’ blood.

In Week 1 of the season the Packers faced the Eagles & Michael Vick and came out with a win.  Obviously, a lot has changed since then for both teams.  What’s your take on this upcoming game and will the Packers be advancing in the play-offs?

Everyone is picking the Packers in this game, which means they will most likely lose. But I have to admit, I don’t see them losing this game. The one big potential stumbling block will be how Chad Clifton handles Trent Cole. Cole absolutely dominated Clifton the last time out. Clifton has played much better since then but Cole simply overpowered him at times.

I know everyone is worried about Michael Vick, and for good reason. But I just have a feeling that Dom Capers will be able to control him . Maybe that’s just wishful  thinking. But the defense has been the one consistent part of this team all season long. I don’t think they’ll let the team down now.

…and now for the lighting round.

Your all-time favorite Packers player is:

Bart Starr

Your favorite Packers blog to read that is not named Cheesehead TV is:

No question, Jersey Al’s place:  www.allgreenbaypackers.com

If there were no Packers, you would have a blog about:

Music

If you were a pro football player, your position would be:

Quarterback

Should I ever run into you at a bar, I should buy you a _____________ for taking the time to answer these questions.

A pint of Newcastle Brown Ale and a shot of Rumple Minze.

Thank you Aaron and while I can’t believe most people reading this wouldn’t already be, make sure to follow Aaron on Twitter at @Aaron_Nagler & of course bookmark CheeseheadTV.com right now.

Would you like to be the guest for a PocketDoppler.com Thursday Q & A? Let us know!

 

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