Archive for December, 2007

UGLY

December 24, 2007

Well, that was heinous.

The Packers yesterday were outcoached and outplayed. From the first TV shot of Brett Favre, the Packers looked like they wanted to be warm inside. Whether that has anything to do with the decision to practice them inside all week, I’m not sure. But it seemed obvious even on television.

The biggest problem was the playcalling. (Scroll down for more details.) It simply made no sense to be throwing the ball again and again and again in those conditions. It’s true that the Bears run defense was often holding the Packers to short gains or even no gain. But Ryan Grant had a couple of big runs and, as evidence by his 66 yard touchdown run, all he needs is a good cutback lane and he can score.

The worst series (and there are several good nominees) was the one shortly before the two-minute warning in the first half, after Mike McCarthy called two timeouts to make sure we got the ball back. The Packers then threw three consecutive passes and gave the ball back to the Bears, who promptly marched down the field and scored. McCarthy said in his postgame press conference that the first play of the Packer drive was a run-pass option, which suggests to me that Favre audibled to pass based on what the defense was showing him. Fair enough. That’s on him. But the next two plays were both passes, too, something we hadn’t done successfully throughout the first half. Very stupid.

The second half wasn’t much better. I’m working from memory, but I believe there were at least two series in the second half in which the Packers did not attempt a run — and that is before we were down three touchdowns. (I would argue that give our difficulties passing we should have been running even with that kind of deficit.)

It’s easy to overreact to a game like this one. It was a disaster, and the Packers have not played well over the past several games. But Mike McCarthy’s playcalling has generally been sound and they’re still a good team.

My biggest concern: Greg Jennings’ ankle. Let’s hope he is back to full health after a rest next week and the playoff bye.

Bench Starters?

December 23, 2007

It’s 28-7. The Packers look like they just want to stay warm. If the Bears score again — even a field goal — the Packers should cut their losses and bench the starters. We won’t be able to throw to catch up, though McCarthy will no doubt try. Let’s avoid injuries and get ready for the first round of the playoffs.

If the Packers don’t play better than this homefield advantage will be meaningless.

McCarthy Playcalling, cont’d

December 23, 2007

McCarthy called three consecutive pass plays. Again.

Don’t Punt (cont’d)

December 23, 2007

Another block, this one for a touchdown.

Don’t Punt

December 23, 2007

Brother Andy makes a good suggestion: Don’t punt for the rest of the game. I don’t agree with that, but I the Packers are near midfield or beyond it and have less than, say, 6 yards to go, there’s no reason to send Jon Ryan on the field again. He has dropped a snap, had a punt blocked and shanked a third. We’re better off going for it on fourth down.

McCarthy Playcalling?

December 23, 2007

Light blogging today, but I have to point out Mike McCarthy’s pre-halftime playcalling. It was awful. He correctly called two timeouts to get the Packers the ball back with (I believe) 2:35 left. Then, despite the fact that Favre has said the conditions are worse today then he’s every played in, McCarthy chose to throw three consecutive times before the two minute warning. The Bears got the ball back and promptly scored. They lead at halftime 13-7.

Perhaps the Packers can recover, but that was horrible playcalling. McCarthy had some questionable play calls in the first matchup against the Bears that certainly contributed to the loss. Let’s hope we’re not watching a repeat.

NFL Officiating – question…

December 21, 2007

Question for readers – seeking an answer: do we know for sure that each of the officials calling a particular game does not have any particular allegiance to one of the 2 teams on the field. I don’t have time to look this up, but I wonder if the NFL has a system in place to avoid this potential issue. Do they have some sort of jury-selection-like process to try to weed out any potential bias? For example, I didn’t feel it was necessarily fair that Mike Ditka was allowed to ref the last Packers/Bears game. Further, I wonder how it would work if I went into NFL officiating. Right now anyway, I would be unable to objectively ref the Packers or Buffalo (due to positive bias) or the Bears, Vikings, Eagles, Cowboys, New England, NYG or Seattle (due to their collective lameness). Seriously.

Anyone have any thoughts on this?

The Bears Still Suck

December 21, 2007

It just had to be said.

Is Cullen Jenkins Back?

December 21, 2007

“It’s kind of frustrating and you wonder, ‘what has happened.’” It’s good to see that Cullen Jenkins was asking the same questions so many of us were asking over the course of the season.

The Rams game Sunday was another breakthrough for a guy who at the end of last season became the Green Bay Packers’ starting right defensive end and performed so well he earned a four-year, $16 million contract. After a good start to the season against Philadelphia (five tackles, four quarterback hits, one tackle for loss, one pass defensed), Jenkins has not been right physically, suffering from wrist, rib, knee and ankle ailments.

None of them have been serious enough to cause him to miss a game, but they have been nagging enough to rob him of his best tool: an explosive first step. The worst were ankle and knee injuries he suffered against Washington when he got “high-lowed” by a pair of blockers and twisted up his right leg.

The ankle hasn’t been the same since. His defensive line coaches, Carl Hairston and Robert Nunn, have pushed him to play through the pain and to understand that he can be a productive player, even if he’s not 100%. Jenkins, who has one sack this year and 16 quarterback hits, has had trouble getting through it, in part because he’s never been hurt before.

The T.O. Non-Story

December 21, 2007

Come on. I just saw a report on CNN noting that Terrell Owens actually apologized yesterday for suggesting that Jessica Simpson’s presence at the Cowboys-Eagles game may have distracted QB Tony Romo. A couple points. 1) Did the people demanding an apology — or that he say anything at all — listen to the audio from the radio show on which he made his remarks? I’m the last person ever to be a T.O. defender but the guy was clearly joking. And it was very funny. 2) There are, apparently, some people who really think she was a distraction. That might be worth considering if she hadn’t also been at a couple games earlier this year when Romo played well.

It’s hard to believe things like this make news.


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