Archive for the ‘Game Thoughts’ Category

Game Thoughts Packers/Lions

September 21, 2014
  • The Packers aren’t very good. Like a company that just a few years ago dominated its competitors, it’s like the Packers simply didn’t invest in R&D and figure out ways to grow. It’s like we just assumed we could walk onto the field this year and our offense would dominate. It seems very little work was put into drawing up new plays, being more creative/unpredictable, and finding new ways to play to the strengths of our players. It’s not happening and that is squarely on McCarthy. He got tons of credit when the offense was clicking and dominating and creative and there was much talk of the thickness of his playbook. What happened to all of that? Were we spoiled there for a bit? Was a guy like Philbin more involved in the offense than we realized? Whatever is going on, the Packers need to go back to the drawing board and come up with a bunch of new plays that PLAY TO THE STRENGTHS OF THE PERSONNEL WE HAVE. Or, trade for Andre Johnson and stop worrying about stuff.
  • The Packers defense played reasonably tough today for 3 quarters. They caused some good turnovers and had some rare moments of seriously sure tackling. It was nice to see. But the defense crashed in the 4th quarter in particular. The defense on that Bush TD was horrid. I think it will be the kind of defense that will occasionally have decent games but when under constant pressure to get the ball back like today, it is not the kind of defense the team can rely on.
  • Rodgers started off OK but faded fast – in part because McCarthy wasn’t calling the kinds of plays that make him so effective. But Rodgers is also not making good decisions out there and it’s disconcerting at the least. One of the reasons many regard him as the NFL’s best QB (I don’t, I think Drew Brees is), is because he had built a strong body of evidence to support the argument that he’s a fantastic decision-maker out there. Not this year. He had several questionable decisions Week 1 and several more today. He was awesome for most of the Jets game and I am hoping like crazy he can get back to that level but I’m really doubtful right now. I don’t like how he’s playing and I’m not keen on his attitude frankly (though that was definitely Adams fault on that one play…and it was costly). While the O-Line’s issues certainly contributed to Rodgers having to make quicker/tougher decisions, there were several plays where he had tons of time (or even bought himself some time) and then just puked it. Not like him.
  • I think the Packers running game really needs to be worked on. The offensive line has been very bad blocking and the RBs (with the exception of Starks – who mysteriously barely plays) are either not reading the right cuts or not having any openings to run through. I think McCarthy came into this season thinking Lacy would run over people. Not happening…at all. Starks is definitely the better runner this year.
  • The Packers offensive line hasn’t looked this bad for a long time. They look out of sync and it seems at times they aren’t really even sure what play has been called. It’s not pretty to watch.
  • Friend and Packergeeks co-founder just emailed to say the team really misses Dietrich-Smith, James Jones and Finley. I very much agree. I am trouble by TT’s lack of interest in keeping some consistency with at Center. But the guy I think we really miss is James Jones. Jones made it that much tougher for opposing secondaries because they couldn’t just focus on Jordy and Cobb – they had to deal with Jones and if Jones was matched up with #3 CB he was going to win that most of the time.
  • Josh Sitton was awful today. I don’t often notice what he does in good part because I think he does his job. But he had 3 very evident errors today and generally didn’t seem to push plays the way he normally can. Hope that’s not a sign of things and that it’s just an isolated bad game.
  • I liked watching Lattimore. I’m guessing he was out of position more than once and has a few things to learn, but why is it that in his few minutes of play today, it is ALREADY obvious how much more effective he is than Hawk? I’ll tell you why – because Hawk sucks. It seemed like Hawk was in there on quite a few more plays than Lattimore but Lattimore ended up with 9 total tackles vs Hawk’s 7. I would much rather see Nick Perry and Lattimore in the middle right now. It couldn’t hurt to try (though someone will now likely have to step in for Matthews on the outside due to another apparent injury).
  • It was nice to see Peppers make a huge play. I think that is what we can expect of the guy. Great play there.
  • Nice to see Ha Ha get a pick.
  • I liked seeing Quarless (or any TE for that matter) get involved. He was often wide open today I think because defenses are so busy playing the edges of the field against us because that’s where Jordy and Cobb often do damage and that’s where, for whatever reason, Eddie Lacy often heads right when he gets the ball. When we’re throwing to TEs, especially when Finley was there, there was a constant threat in the middle of the field. We lose that when we don’t incorporate TEs, or screens, or FB dump off plays.
  • Clay Matthews isn’t reliable and it hurts the team. We build the defense, in part, around guys like Matthews. And when the guy can’t stay on the field, it then upsets the order and dynamic of the defense. It’s a problem and it was a problem again today.
  • It’s super tough to cover Calvin Johnson. What a professional. Honestly I don’t know if there is another player who can just get the job done week in and week out, injured, with 3 guys hanging on him or even having not-so-great passes thrown to him. He is just an incredible player to watch.
  • The Packers have a lot of work to do. I’d say at this moment, it’s more than fair to be pessimistic. This team isn’t very good right now. They have a lot of things to work out to get things back on track. I won’t rule out the possibility that they turn it around but it doesn’t look good right now. The thing I seem to forget is that this team was 8-7-1 last year, barely sneaking into the playoffs. Doesn’t seem like they have made a ton of progress after last year’s iffy season.

Game Thoughts Packers/Jets

September 14, 2014
  • Our coaches were once again, not prepared. This keeps happening. It happened last year several times and it’s happened this year now twice. Fortunately some adjustments were made and things worked out today. But that doesn’t excuse McCarthy and Capers from the fact that as coaches they are charged with making sure our guys are ready to play. They looked totally disorganized out there and completed surprised by whatever the Jets were doing. It wasn’t good at all – for the offense or defense.
  • Rodgers was awful in the 1st quarter – concerning for a bit – but then fantastic the last 3 quarters. I was very relieved to see him scramble and run for a few first downs. That was just huge. It showed me that he wanted to win and was ready to open up his skillset to make sure that we did. He was very, very good after the 1st quarter – it seemed as the team leader he was taking responsibility for the deficit the team faced. Rodgers really played a great game today.
  • Jordy Nelson is really good. It has been really fun to watch him develop the last few years to the point where he can make positively ridiculous catches right over DBs playing him super tight. Throw in a football sense – just an awareness for where he is and where he needs to be – and you have one of the top 5 WRs in the NFL. Seriously.
  • I don’t know why McCarthy doesn’t just keep his foot on the gas pedal when the offense kicks into gear. I know the no huddle can be tiring and difficult to manage logistically because it happens so fast. But when things are going well and Rodgers is picking the other team apart, it seems McCarthy is content drifting back to a slower offensive speed. He did this toward the beginning of the third quarter. Almost, it seems, to let the defense catch up. That happened last week and again today – fortunately Rodgers and Jordy made a few plays to keep drives alive in the second half today. But I want McCarthy to just be aggressive and not let up.
  • The middle of our defense still sucks. Even in the second half when the team played at a much higher level overall, the middle of our defense was exposed time and time again. I just don’t understand why the coaches don’t see that. Hawk does nothing out there. I don’t care if he’s the “defensive QB” and “assignment sure” and all that other nonsense. He just doesn’t make plays. Lattimore didn’t offer much, though I noticed on what seemed like a huge number of plays the Packers were only playing 1 ILB and bringing DBs in there.
  • TT needs to address our ILB situation. Brad Jones is terrible and Hawk is no good. If he doesn’t do that, teams will continue to run up the middle or, like the Jets did today on a key 3rd down play, make easy passes to TEs right over the middle. Other teams know there is nobody there.
  • The defense really stepped up in the second half and did in fact make some huge plays. But we have to remember – our defense got completely used by a weak Jets offense in that first half. Last week we played a fairly bland (though quality in its execution) Seattle offense and got hammered. I am really concerned about playing teams with serious offensive firepower – could just get blown out.
  • I was happy to see Davante Adams get involved. He was a real factor today. We need at least one more viable target out there as defenses really just focus on Cobb and Jordy. I did notice one issue with Adams though. On one play in the second half in the red zone Rodgers was out of the pocket running around and Adams stood there like we all used to in 3rd grade on the playground waiving his arms and probably screaming “I’m wide…I’m wide!!!” – only he wasn’t. Meanwhile Cobb was running all over the end zone trying to slip into a hole. It was an interesting play if for no other reason than that it highlighted the difference between a rookie and a guy who has been in the league a few years.
  • I was happy to see Crosby nail that 55 yarder. That was a huge kick and he made it easily. He had a good game today.
  • Masthay was a bit up and down but had a huge punt at a huge moment in the game.
  • I thought Mike Daniels had a good game today. He was active and came up with a few huge plays – including the sack that led to a pick.
  • Peppers had a great play in coverage. Even though he should have had a pick there, just the fact that he recognized the need to drop into coverage and be there was big. If he didn’t make that play that would have been a costly play.
  • The Packers have to work with the O-Line and Lacy on getting him going up field sooner. Last week and again today, Lacy was turning parallel to the line of scrimmage for too long a period of time, which seems to slow him down/allow the defense to catch him. And it usually results in 0 or 1 yard gains. He need to either head sideways immediately and then make one cut heading up field, or head up field immediately and only cut after getting past the first level.
  • I don’t know what the tape will reveal, but it looked to me like Sherrod was getting beaten with regularity. I’m just not sure he’s the answer over there. Still hard to believe he was a first round pick.
  • Still, the team won and I’m hoping we’ll even take a bit of momentum from that second half with us to Detroit next week. The Lions are off to a weird start – watched some of that game today and then tuned out for a while and was really surprised to see how badly they were beaten. It seemed like a lot closer game when I had been watching. Calvin is still a major problem and Bush is still trouble in the open field. But I definitely came away unimpressed by the Lions D and their other offensive players. If I’m the Lions, I come into the Packers game with 1 playcall – Calvin Johnson over the middle.

Packers/Browns Game Thoughts

October 21, 2013
  • Impressive victory by the Packers. The final score did not represent too well how close this game was.
  • The Browns are a decent team. I am impressed by the fight they had in them after some things didn’t go their way. I am not really surprised though because I thought head coach Rob C would be a good head coach in the NFL.
  • There are very few QBs in the NFL who can effectively lead such an inexperienced offense to a much-needed win like Rodgers did. Manning maybe, Brees and sort of Brady (though they are winning for other reasons too). Rodgers was very solid yesterday with 3 TDs and completing nearly 70% of his passes.
  • It was great to see Boykin step in and produce like that. A lot of it is just having a phenomenal QB throwing him the ball – but he made a couple extra moves and had some nice YAC on his own. He could develop into another good player.
  • Eddie Lacy once again demonstrated that the Packers’ offense has truly developed another dimension with a strong ground game (82 yards on 22 carries and a TD).
  • McCarthy (and Rodgers?) however, called what seemed to me to be a very conservative game yesterday. There were few genuinely threatening down-field pass attempts and I think this allowed Cleveland’s defense to condense the field – crowding the line and jamming the passing lanes over the middle of the field in particular. We’re a very good offense and found enough holes to exploit to win the game, but my concern is that the playcalling seemed quite tentative. I think there were a few moments when the offense could have been more aggressive and busted the game open sooner. While again, things obviously ended up working out fine because we won, the concern would be that a better team might counter better/faster leaving us in a bind.
  • Our defense was very good again. It’s as though Capers has a much better read this year on opponents and what they are likely going to do. While Hawk, Micah Hyde, House, Lattimore, Burnett and some others are definitely playing well, I think the main reason for our defensive turnaround this year is that Capers is putting a better gameplan in place for each game (and calling a better game during the game). Yes, Weeden was shockingly bad early on – and that helped us establish momentum. But the defense was strong throughout and a lot of that has to do with the way Capers is calling these games. Nicely done Dom.
  • While Hyde and Boykin would be close seconds, I thought Davon House should get the game ball. His pick was nice but his defensive and special teams play overall was top notch.
  • Micah Hyde is really fun to watch. As reader Raymidge stated, he does have a “natural athlete” aura about him. He just moves like a very natural athlete. During the game yesterday I wrote a post saying that he may be one of the best athletes that TT has drafted. Football movement comes easily to him – kind of like watching Freddie Couples swing a golf club. Even on the passes that were completed to the WR or TE he was defending against, Hyde was all over the guy. Refreshing to see this. But it was his save of that sure return TD that was most impressive. He ran that guy down and swiped at his legs – just a heck of a play.
  • Speaking of athletic – Sam Shields had a few more really nice plays, one of which was a break-up of a sure TD catch. He’s been very solid this year.
  • I was also pleased to see Tramon get more involved and get that timely sack. And despite what I thought was a poor call for unsportsmanlike conduct, I was glad to see Tramon throw a WR down like that. He is better when he plays with a bit of a nasty streak in him.
  • Chris Banjo is coming along as a player. He was active on special teams and had a big hit on defense.
  • Lattimore seems to me to be a very sure tackler. In that regard, he reminds me of Desmond Bishop. Weeden had a play where he was about to leak out of the pocket and had room to run and Lattimore made a rangy, sure tackle that ended up going for a sack. It was impressive.
  • Overall, another very solid effort. This team is really exciting right now and despite some misgivings about the playcalling yesterday, I think the coaches (and Rodgers) deserve a lot of credit for taking a bunch of inexperienced young guys and coaching them up to the point where they are contributing big-time. Nicely done.
  • I hope Finley is OK. Sounds like the hospital ICU visit was mostly precautionary. I hope that’s the case and that he’s OK. He’s been a strong contributor this year and I know that just by being on the field, he creates significant and annoying match-up problems for opposing defenses. Get well Jermichael.

Game Thoughts – Packers/49ers

September 8, 2013
  • Starting with the obvious – yes, the poor call by officials on that Matthews play essentially cost us 4 points. McCarthy’s decision right before that to give SF another crack at it on 3rd and 6 didn’t help either there – but the ref’s call was really bad and just plain cost us 4 points.
  • But that wasn’t why we lost. We lost because we gave up 412 passing yards – and 502 yards overall. You will almost NEVER win when your defense gives up 502 yards.
  • It was as though the defense game-planned 100% to stop the run and forgot that the rules allow for passing too. They didn’t do badly against the run (though they gave up nearly 100 yards) but sucked against the pass.
  • Yes, the defense tried hard and I liked to see that. But like Mike Sherman, who spent 18-20 hours a day working on coaching stuff – sometimes the amount of effort just doesn’t matter if the job is not getting done. Bottom line – our defense was really bad.
  • I’ll be the first to admit that Kaepernick looked good, Boldin looked 25 years old and Vernon Davis had the kind of game San Fran fans have been waiting for for years. But when this was the last team we lost to and this was the team we had an entire off-season to plan for – it’s inexcusable to give up 502 yards of offense.
  • And it’s also really concerning that no apparent in-game adjustment was made to account for Anquan Boldin. That guy had to get about half of the targets today for San Fran’s passing game and it just didn’t look like we did a thing to try to disrupt that momentum. I think Boldin is still good definitely, but he’s not 13 catches, 208 yards good. Calvin Johnson probably would have had a 400 yard game against this same defense!
  • TT did virtually nothing in the off-season to address our defensive weaknesses. And there were some weaknesses that he (and everyone else) knew about before the season started: seriously weak LBs (aside from Matthews) and having a young/leaderless secondary. The big concern for me though that we just don’t have anyone, aside from Matthews, that seems capable of making a disruptive, game-changing play. With Bishop, you had someone who could cause turnovers, make the big play or have the big hit. With Woodson (though I understand letting him go), you had a constant turnover threat. But right now, we don’t have anyone who seems to disrupt another team’s momentum. I hope someone emerges.
  • It’s worth noting here that MM/TT/Capers actually haven’t put together a quality defense except during the Super Bowl year. And I can’t shake the response TT gave in an interview a few weeks back when Green Bay Press Gazette’s Mike V asked him about the last 3 playoff losses and our evident defensive weakness. TT essentially dismissed the question saying he wanted to focus forward or something – but it was a totally legit question. Our last 3 playoff losses have been caused largely by horrendous defensive performances.
  • Rodgers had some classic Rodgers plays and some unreal throws (that throw and catch to Jordy near the end was a thing of beauty) – but overall Rodgers did not have a good game by his standards. Mostly because he missed on 16 passes. I’m not sure how many drops we had but 16 misses out of just 37 passes thrown is Donovan McNabb completion % territory – not Aaron Rodgers.
  • The O-line was OK but whiffed at a few key moments. I think they were essentially responsible for a few of those incomplete passes. Run blocking was awful until the second half when Lacy had a couple nice holes.
  • Why did we call only 1 screen? It worked like magic yet from what I remember we only did it once. It is such an effective tool against aggressive pass rushers like Smith and Smith. On the one that worked they were totally busted in their hurry to get up the field.
  • I liked that Lacy came back after the fumble and contributed. He had some nice runs and a nice TD. I’ll chalk up the fumble to a rookie error. I see some potential in the guy – though I don’t see much in the way of speed.
  • Jordy answered the question I had before the game of which WR would emerge between he and Jones. Jordy was absolutely fantastic.
  • Finley and Cobb were also awesome today. I expect to see a lot more of these 2 playing at a high level. It’s the right time for them to shine.
  • Masthay is becoming even more valuable. He’s a very good punter and his kickoffs were excellent. But he had a massive tackle early in the game that was very un-punter-like. Great game by Masthay.
  • Not sure Jeremy Ross will keep his return job. Just not good today.
  • Overall I am not surprised we lost as I predicted a 34-27 loss. Before the game my primary worry was our defense – and after the game my primary worry is the defense. The 49ers are definitely a good team and I don’t think it would be quite right to be devastated by this loss as a Packer fan. No loss is fun but the 49ers are a quality team. And I do like that we didn’t play ourselves out of the game at any point – like we did in last year’s playoff game. We kept going and kept coming back and really hung in there until the very end. Our collective mental resilience did impress me.
  • Oh – and Jim Harbaugh is a tool. I just can’t stand that guy. He is so intense he doesn’t seem human. He is nonstop screaming at someone. What an awful way to exist.

Game Thoughts Packers/Bears

December 25, 2011
  • Nice halftime turnaround by McCarthy and staff. Sounds like he lit into the guys a bit and it may have sparked the sharper play, especially from the offense, in the second half. Chicago at this point anyway, had no business being on the field with this Packer team. They have become horrible and this game shouldn’t have been as close as it was in the first half. So I’m glad things evolved the way they should have.
  • Our defense continues to be a concern. Yes, Josh McCown playing shockingly well for a guy off the street – but overall, we simply aren’t getting it done on defense. Again, just to clarify – my main concern about our defense is for the playoffs. We have been giving up huge yards and easy drives to crappy offenses lately. Every team in the playoffs (both NFC and AFC) will have a good offense – probably San Fran being the weakest. And every team will likely may our D pay if we just let them march down the field.
  • We gave up 199 yards rushing to a 3rd string RB, 4th string RB and a just-picked-up-off-the-street QB. Not good.
  • While the D is certainly troublesome, I do have to say that the forced turnovers ease my mind some. The D is really good at forcing turnovers and this really helps swing the momentum of games.
  • Rodgers is fantastic. I figured last week was an aberration.
  • Game ball goes to the O-Line. They looked really good both in the pass game and run game. That is coaching right there. To prepare a bunch of guys to play different than normal positions against a quality 4 man pass rush says a lot about the coaching on the Packers. The players themselves obviously did well too to execute – but they were well prepared.
  • So’oto had some disruptive play tonight and I liked seeing that. Seemed he came in at ROLB before McCarthy yanked the rest of the starters so I wonder if Walden got pulled again. Should have. He just doesn’t do much.
  • Nice to see James Jones with a couple big catches and 2 TDs. It’s important that more peripheral guys like Jones finish well and have momentum going into the playoffs because I think these are the guys who might really end up being the difference makers (think Jordy last year). Driver has been making noise recently too and that should also help.
  • Overall, I’m just very pleased we turned things around in the second half. I was worked up after the lackluster showing in the first half – as I just didn’t see the sense of urgency the team will be needing on all units come playoff time. So I was really pleased to see that adjustments were made. The Packers have had a phenomenal season this year and should be proud. They should definitely rest the starters for most of the game next week and not risk anything.

Game Thoughts Packers/Vikings

November 14, 2011
  • Not much to say except that was total dominance. The Packers are really good and the Vikings are not.
  • One note of caution as hype will build over 16-0 possibilities etc – is that the Packers have not played a very difficult schedule this year. Yes they are blowing folks out – but they are often blowing out teams they should blow out (reminds me a bit of ’96.). These next 7 games should be interesting as we play some better teams.
  • I sort of thought the D would come out worked up. They did and they played really well. If we can do that in the coming games, we should be in good shape – even against better opponents.
  • I really like how James Starks runs. I’ve said this a few times now. But today, perhaps because of the opponent, Starks really reminded me of Adrian Peterson. Both run with that kind of jerky back and forth motion, they both often make good choices re cuts and they can run over tacklers who have taken a bad angle. AP is a bit smoother and probably faster, but I do think this comparison isn’t this far off. (Meanwhile, Ryan Grant is looking more and more like Phil Loadholt out there running the ball. He seems like he’s in slow-motion!)
  • Rodgers is ridiculous. Nothing more needs to be said.
  • Jordy Nelson is really good. He has a knack for the game. A few years ago, I read a few articles about how TT loves drafting “football guys” – or guys who seem to have some natural instincts for the game. Guys like Rodgers, Jennings, Woodson, Bishop – they all come to mind. I think this is also especially true for Jordy Nelson. He is the kind of WR who never stops – and in fact he knows full well there is a very good chance of catching a pass if he keeps going with Rodgers scrambling abilities. But it’s happened too often for it to be coincidence that Nelson is so often on the receiving end of busted up plays. He just knows what to do. He’s really good.
  • I’m OK with an occasional error by Randall Cobb – as long as he keeps having huge returns. Today, despite his costly fumble, he still was a net positive because he had his own TD and he also had a couple long returns. He’s a good player and he’s only a rookie – so I’m not expecting fumbling to be an ongoing issue here. And tonight, he flashed as a WR too – I think Rodgers trusts him already. Could be a dangerous duo going forward.
  • I’ll say it again – Mike McCarthy has really grown as a coach. His command of the offense at times is scary. Tonight it was a clinic out there. Yes Rodgers has a lot to do with that but for those of you still watching when Flynn went in – so often the plays are simply so well-conceived that even back-up QBs can have success with them.

Game Thoughts Packers/Chargers

November 6, 2011
  • Rodgers is the best player in the NFL. He’s not just the best QB – he is the best football player in the NFL. Period.
  • Rodgers’ 21/26 passing day was stellar as were his 4 TDs. But many of his 52 yards rushing came at critical moments in the game. There is practically nothing more demoralizing for a defense than to cover the pass options super tight for a good 5-7 seconds only to have the QB squeeze out of the collapsing pocket and pick up a needed first down. Defenses are left asking “what more can we do?” The answer: nothing.
  • I really like how James Starks runs. He runs with a certain abandon that makes him a fairly scary guy to try to tackle. He will earn his yards and he will make defenders pay for tackling him.
  • Our WRs are very talented. All of them. Rodgers often puts it right on the money making their jobs relatively easy – but even Rodgers has some off throws that they often manage to pull down. Rodgers has some really top notch targets to throw to.
  • Finley was good today. He had some big catches – though in the end he was outplayed by his counterpart Gates.
  • Rodgers was under more pressure today than normal. He escaped a fair number of times, but he was sacked 4 times and under serious pressure a bunch of other times. As good as he was today, there were a few of those odd moments that he’d have his first year where he made odd choices in the pocket and essentially invited the sacks. Still, hard to blame the guy much for stuff today – he was very good.
  • If our defense didn’t cause turnovers, we would be absolutely awful. We allowed nearly 500 yards of offense to San Diego (actually 470). We will now be close to the bottom of the NFL in defensive yards allowed. I am the first to acknowledge that teams with super powerful, quick-scoring offenses have a more difficult task defensively. It’s just plain tougher often because they don’t have time to take a rest. But that’s no excuse here – our defense is weak. There were plays for San Diego when 2-3 guys were absolutely wide open – including 2 of the TD passes. Absolutely terrible coverage.
  • While we gave up 85 yards on the ground – which isn’t horrendous – we gave up 385 yards threw the air (to a QB whose right elbow appears to be attached to his pelvis). And again – many of those plays were super, super easy. Capers has some serious work to do.
  • The reason I keep saying “if we didn’t cause turnovers” the defense would be the worst in the NFL – is because I’m very concerned about playing a team with even a decent offense that doesn’t commit lots of turnovers. Teams that take care of the ball should have a decent shot at beating us – because one of the assumptions lots of us make is that Rodgers and co will just continue to play at the level they’re playing at. I sure hope so – but frankly, if Rodgers in particular keeps this up, we’re looking at the greatest season an NFL QB has ever had. I don’t want to have to bank on that – and unless defense can get its act together, we may have to.
  • Something is wrong with Tramon Williams. His pick 6 was absolutely fantastic – no doubt. But his coverage today was terrible. Just awful. Jackson ate him up. He was burned by Crayton and even Vincent Brown at different times today. He was really bad.
  • I’m really wondering if we’re missing Nick Collins back there. Peprah had a good game tonight with 2 picks for sure – but I just don’t think he and Burnett are doing it back there. It’s just way too easy for opposing offenses.
  • One odd thing about our defense is that it often has the look of a 4-2 front (instead of the 3-4 we’re apparently playing). So many times throughout a game Bishop and Hawk look like they’re left to cover the entire 2nd level. Woodson helps sometimes, but mostly it’s just those two. And neither of them are good in coverage and neither of them have great lateral movement to cover to the sidelines. Something needs to be tweaked by Capers if we’re going to take down some of the better teams out there.
  • Our special teams play has been really good. Crosby is very good this year – best in the NFL. But Masthay was also quite good at least tonight – his last punt there at the end of the game. was huge as it gave SD a huge field to cover to score a TD to tie. Nicely done (and good punt coverage too).
  • Peprah should have NEVER run that last interception back. He must have had the Packers’ D in fantasy football or something trying to get that TD like that. Just not smart.

Game Thoughts Packers/Vikings

October 23, 2011
  • Ponder looked good to me even though he threw 2 picks and missed 19 of his 32 passes. He showed poise on a few occasions and delivered some really nice throws on key 3rd downs. Impressive first outing for him. He seems to have the tools to be a decent QB in this league.
  • I still don’t know why the Vikings just didn’t hand it off to Peterson on every play. Even if he’s ridiculously tired, he’d still be unstoppable. He was especially nasty today finishing with 175 yards.
  • I do give some credit to the Vikes for hanging in there and making a game of it at the end. They played hard and made plenty of good plays to keep themselves in the game.
  • I didn’t like some of the antics of Vikings’ players today. I thought they did some pretty cheap things out there. In fact, one of the things I began to worry about toward the end of the game was Rodgers or another really significant player getting hurt because of a Viking cheapshot.
  • James Starks was huge at the end. He knew they were calling his number and he still made quality, hugely important runs. His final run on 3rd down was terrific. And on each of the 3 huge runs, he was very much aware of where the sideline was – as he was avoiding it like the plague. Very nicely done Starks.
  • Like seems to happen a lot with the Packers, we overwhelmed the Vikes at one point in the game, building a nice lead with an impressive display of offense – only to not close the door when we should have. The Packers are kind of like a closer in baseball who comes in and almost always gets the save, but allows a few late runs that make fans nervous.
  • Woodson’s picks were huge. Those really helped us maintain our lead and I think they both rattled Ponder a bit. Just veteran savvy picks – nice to see.
  • Mason Crosby has been outstanding this year. That 58 yarder was something to see – he cleared the post by 7-10 yards it seemed to me. Just a bomb of a kick. We really needed those FGs today and he delivered. It may have taken a few years, but he really seems to be coming into his own (a questionable expression I must say). He was a big part of the victory today.
  • Desmond Bishop may have had the tackle of the year chasing down Peterson in the 2nd half. That was pure effort. It wouldn’t figure to be a close foot race but Bishop didn’t give up and he finally dragged Peterson down. Great tackle (that may have saved a TD…I believe they kicked a FG on that drive).
  • Once again, the playcalling of McCarthy/Rodgers and their overall coordination of offense remains impressive. They have the ability to just take over games and destroy the momentum of other teams. After Ponder’s great first pass and their subsequent TD, it looked like the Pack could be in for trouble. But Rodgers and co marched all the way down the field clearly showing our offense was going to be tough to deal with. Yes, MN held us mostly after that TD (to make it 7-7), but they couldn’t hold in the second half. The offense is just too good.
  • One of the keys to the game was the Pack’s drive at the end of the first half to get us a FG. I can’t remember how much time was left on the clock (1min 25sec?) but it wasn’t much. We got down the field fast and got a much-needed 3 points. Well done – I’m glad we didn’t go into a prevent offense like lots of teams do (think Cowboys last weekend at NE).
  • Tramon Williams played 2 very different halves. He was awful in the first half. As bad as I’ve seen him play in a while. And in the second half, he was aggressive/disruptive breaking up plays. We need him to return to his normal shut-down self. We’re not there yet.
  • Jarrett Bush once again had some nice plays. For a guy who was constantly maligned as a younger player, he has really turned into a decent nickel/dime guy.
  • Though Newhouse allowed Allen to get through for a couple early sacks, he was better in the second half. I noticed he got some help here and there from Quarless and others, but he was better in the second half. That’s a tough assignment at Minnesota against Allen.
  • Brian Robison is an idiot. That kick of Lang to the nuts was something he should have been ejected for. Idiot.
  • And you thought Crosby was the only special teamer who was on today? Tim Masthay kicked 3 times for an AVERAGE of 55.3 yards, a long of 65 yards – with all 3 punts landing inside the Vikes’ 20 yard line. Huge game for him – quietly huge.
  • Speaking of special teams, I like that Cobb redeemed himself after his two initial screw-ups. He was solid back there after that.
  • All in all, a nice victory for the Packers in a hostile place. Yes our defense is going to have to work on some things so that we aren’t so reliant on our offense for victories. But we are 7-0 heading into the bye week and we look very good out there. Again while there are things to work on (the defense, figuring out how to finish games earlier, the running game…though Starks finished the game with authority), I think this team is on the right path and looking really good.

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