Author Archive

Spitz to IR

November 7, 2009

The season is over for C/G Jason Spitz.  See here from the Packers.

This isn’t good news.  Spitz was somewhat uneven in his play, but he had earned the starting center position — beating out veteran Scott Wells — and on a line with the issues that the Packers have he was better than average.  The cliche that NFL writers use to describe raw and often technique-poor offensive lineman certainly applied to Spitz.  He has a “nasty streak.”  (No, I’m not saying his technique is poor.)

On Johnny Jolly and Coaching

November 2, 2009

When Johnny Jolly committed his foolish personal foul penalty in the first quarter, I thought Mike McCarthy should bench him for the game. Indeed, I thought he should be sent to the locker room, told to shower and instructed to finish watching the game there.

Harsh? Yes. And it’s entirely possible that with an injury up front or building fatigue, we would have really needed Jolly. But the Packers are an undisciplined team — a very undisciplined team. And though McCarthy pays lip service to eliminating stupid penalties, it’s hard to point to anything he’s actually done to accomplish this. (Indeed, sometimes when he’s answering questions he downplays the consequences of stupid penalties, which sends the opposite message.) So Jolly’s idiocy was actually an opportunity for McCarthy to make an important point about penalties.

It was a missed opportunity.

Read this from Bob McGinn’s piece today on Jolly’s reaction to the penalty. (Warning: If you are prone to cursing uncontrollably when you’re angry, you might want to close your office door or read this at home.)

Once again, Green Bay didn’t play smart football. The worst example occurred in the first quarter when the Packers had the Vikings stopped in the red zone, but defensive end Johnny Jolly head-butted running back Chester Taylor after the play.

That handed Minnesota a first down and led to a touchdown by Adrian Peterson, giving the Vikings a lead they never would relinquish.

Afterward, Jolly showed little or no remorse, in effect saying that was the way he played and would continue to play.

“Hey, I play on the edge,” said Jolly. “I play like that every game. Me playing like I play.”

That rings in your ears, doesn’t it? “I play like that every game.” And he does. On occasion, he makes spectacular, almost balletic interceptions that would make even the most coordinated defensive back proud. But he also commits dumb penalties that suggest he’s either not paying attention to the game or he doesn’t care about the consequences of his actions. Could it be that there are no consequences?

It seems to me there are two possibilities here — and both should give great concern about the coaching. Either McCarthy (or Dom Capers) did no get in Jolly’s face after the penalty or they did and he doesn’t care. I’m not sure which is worse. If the coaches did not get after him for commiting a penalty that cost the Packers four points, they’re not doing their job. And if they did chew him out and he still said what he said to McGinn, they’re doing their job but not doing it effectively. Either way, there is a discipline problem.

As Jolly says, he plays like that every game.

UPDATE: More here from Jason Wilde.

On the Lions Game

October 18, 2009

I know what people mean by a “moral victory.”  Is there such thing as a “moral loss?”

I’m not sure there has ever been a less satisfying shutout.  The Packer offense score 26 points.  It should have been, what, 50?  The Packer defense held the Lions scoreless.  And there were some good plays.  But they were playing a team missing its only two quality players — in Calvin Johnson and Matthew Stafford.

Aaron Rodgers was sacked five times.  Detroit, a team that came in ranked 27th in pass defense, had 10 on the season before today.  The running game was poor.  Ryan Grant averaged just 3,8 yards/carry against a team that came in ranked 21st against the run — giving up an average of 4.6 yards per carry.

The Packers were called for 13 penalties.  For the most part, I’ve been a defender of Mike McCarthy over the years — on Ryan Grant, on zone blocking, on Aaron Rodgers, etc.  But the number of penalties every game is inexcusable.  And it’s almost entirely on the coaching.  Several Packer beat writers have harped on the penalties with McCarthy and he seems to be almost dismissive.  There is certainly no indication that the players take seriously the need to eliminate penalties — some of them very, very stupid.  (I’m thinking here of the hold on Jordy Nelson’s touchdown return on the opening kickoff and Desmond Bishop’s face mask on another kickoff).

It’s great that the Packers won.  And that, of course, is what counts.  But does anyone think that the Packers would have even been competitive if they’d been playing the Vikings today?

More on Desmond Bishop

October 17, 2009

More love for Desmond Bishop, this time from a pro personnel director.

Earlier in the week, a personnel director for another team became the latest scout to praise Bishop based on his extreme productivity in exhibition games.

“How does he not get on the field?” the scout said. “If you watched (Nick) Barnett the first four games you’d say Bishop is a better football player. He makes more plays than Hawk. Maybe there’s something I don’t know but I know this: That guy was making like nine, 10 tackles a game in preseason.”

Bishop had 24 tackles, two interceptions, one sack, one forced fumble and one recovered fumble in exhibition games. Of the seven fumbles forced by the entire linebacking corps in the last 20 games, three were by Bishop in a mere 142 snaps.

With so many personnel people having spoken highly of Bishop, it stands to reason that at least one team might try to acquire him before the trading deadline, which is 3 p.m. Tuesday.

Don’t trade him.  Play him.

Steven Jackson?

October 14, 2009

Mike Florio of profootballtalk.com reviews ten trades that should — but probably won’t — happen before the trade deadline.  #2 on his list is Steven Jackson to the Packers (or the Patriots).  The upside is obvious and whether such a trade makes sense depends entirely on how much the Packers would have to give up.

Regular Packergeeks readers know that I’ve long been an advocate for Ryan Grant.  I think he runs hard and has a burst that could make a consistent Top 10 running back in the NFL.  He’s struggled this year, plainly.  Is it Grant?  Is it the offensive line?  Probably a little bit of both.  There haven’t been as many holes for him as there were two years ago — and even last year.  But he hasn’t hit the holes that there have been.

I wouldn’t give up on him.  I still think he could be good.  But in terms of raw talent Steven Jackson is behind only Adrian Peterson.  He’s proving again this season that he can be effective running behind mediocre offensive lines.  And with our passing offense — or potential passing offense — he could be a beast.

Won’t happen.  And I’m sure the Rams would want a Herschel Walker-type set of picks in exchange.  But fun to imagine.

Tauscher Signed

October 12, 2009

This is good news.  I don’t think he’ll be the savior but I do think he’ll help.

Thoughts

September 27, 2009

*A win is a win.  But I do not feel any better about the Packers than I did before the game.  Not worse, either, but definitely not better.

*AJ Hawk is very slow. On the screen to the outside to Steve Jackson, Hawk stood flat-footed after Jackson caught the ball and when he pursued it looked like he was running in mud. He took a terrible angle, too.

*Brady Poppinga is absolutely awful.  I don’t think he even jumped on as many piles as usual today.

*The offensive line is very bad. One ranking had it at 23rd before this week. That seems very generous.

*The Rams didn’t generate as much pressure as the Bears or the Bengals. But they’re the Rams.  The fact that they put on as much pressure as they did is worrisome.

*Steve Jackson is the second best running back in the NFL. Can you imagine if

*Donald Driver is amazing. He is a waterbug.

*Aaron Rodgers holds the ball too long. His arm is strong, he is very accurate (Jordy Nelson throw comes to mind, Driver overthrow is the exception). He is surprisingly fast when he runs. But he hangs on to the ball far beyond the point at which he should get rid of it. That tendency, along with the sieve-like offensive line, will get him hurt.

*The Packers defense gave up 17 points to a team that had averaged 3.5 in its first two games. The Rams offense lost its quarterback in the first quarter, its #1 wide receiver in the second quarter. It played behind a no-name offensive line and 2nd string QB Kyle Boller — who wasn’t good enough to play quarterback in Baltimore. (Yes, Baltimore.)

*I’m increasingly concerned about Mike McCarthy. I’ve liked him. I think he understands football — in theory and practice. And I think the players like him.

But he never — and I mean never — makes decisive halftime adjustments. When Mike Holmgren was head coach, the Packers were going to win the game anytime it was close at halftime. He was smarter than just about every other coach in the game.

More worrisome, and we’ll develop this in a separate post, he is stubborn to the point where it hurts the team. Think Bob Sanders. Think Mike Stock. And now he is killing us with his unwillingness to fix the offensive line. Last week I heard McCarthy interview on Sirius NFL Radio. He was asked whether he had considered changing personnel on the offensive line. McCarthy said:” That’s not something I’ve considered.”

Really? It seems to me there are two possibilities here. McCarthy lied, and he has, in fact, considered a change. Or he’s telling the truth. And that would be much, much worse. I understand wanting to give the current players confidence by saying nothing in public that would indicate he’s going to bail on them. But he needs to be thinking about personnel changes. Actually, he needs to be making personnel changes. And soon.

*Speaking of stubborn, it was nice to see Desmond Bishop get some playing time today.  It’s too bad he didn’t play when it mattered.

*Brett Favre annoys me more than just about anyone alive these days, but that was a sweet-ass throw to win the game Sunday.  That win will matter in December.

Awful

September 27, 2009

The Packer offensive line is horrendous.  Really, really bad.  The Packers have been inside the red zone three times and have been unable to score a touchdown.  Ryan Grant cannot get more than three yards — there simply are no holes.  Although our receivers have had trouble getting open on at least two plays, the offensive line is once again leaky, giving Aaron Rodgers very little time to throw.  Allen Barbre has been beaten badly three or four times.  All that said, Rodgers is holding the ball too long.  Way too long.

Nice

June 18, 2009

Deadspin features a new Brett Favre t-shirt.

Packers Sign a New Starter?

March 26, 2009

Duke Preston, free agent from the Bills.

Tom Silverstein has the scoop.


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