Quick Thoughts on Cowboy Loss


“The Dallas Cowboys are farther ahead than we are right now.  And that’s the facts.”  Mike McCarthy.

That gets it pretty much right.  The Cowboys were better last night and are a better team.  We’ll have more throughout the day — including Andy’s report from the game.  But here are a few quick thoughts.

*Cullen Jenkins was a monster.  If the Packers can get that from him every game, it’ll go a long way toward easing my mind about our defensive line.

*That said, the defensive line was pushed around a lot in the run game and the linebackers were absent for large stretches of the game.

*Aaron Rouse was a decent replacement for Atari Bigby.

*I like Brandon Chillar.  He made several plays yesterday, particularly in coverage.  (McGinn says he wasn’t as good against the run — I didn’t see it, but I wasn’t looking.)  Chillar himself seems to think he did well — he was way too happy in his interview with Packers.com after the game.  We lost.

*But I want Bigby back as soon as possible.  His thumping hits set the tone for the defense and scare receivers.

*Contrary to Bob McGinn, who writes today that Aaron Rodgers had a “mistake-punctuated night,” I thought Rodgers played well, given the relentless pressure he faced.  It’s true that Rodgers held the ball too long a couple of times, but he also avoided several sacked by scrambling and made a couple of truly exceptional throws — the one he threw jumping off of his right leg to Greg Jennings should make Rodgers’ career highlight reel.  Amazing.  Rodgers wasn’t flawless, but if you would have told me before the seasons that he’s play this well against the Cowboys — and that it would be his worst game of the season by far — I would have cracked a PBR to celebrate.

*Jordy Nelson alligator-armed a pass badly in the second-half yesterday.  He made some nice catches, but the one he wussed out on was the most memorable.

*Ryan Grant looks like he’s getting back to form.  He didn’t have any explosive plays, but he was pretty solid.

*Brandon Jackson looked good.  I’ve been skeptical of Jackson pretty consistently since the Packers picked him in the second round last year.  I don’t think he’s special and I think there were plenty of more talented players available when we took him.  But he did seem to run strong yesterday and consistently found holes — big and small.

*The offensive line was mediocre, bordering on very bad.  They opened some holes for the running backs, but were beaten badly in the passing game.  The injury to Scott Wells has demonstrated just how valuable he is.  It’s in part because of Wells and his play but also because it allows Spitz to play in his regular slot.  What we can know is that all of the shuffling on the O-line is problematic and needs to end as soon as possible.


6 Responses to “Quick Thoughts on Cowboy Loss”

  1. bucky Says:

    I don’t know what game McGinn was watching last night if he thinks Rodgers had a “mistake-punctuated night.” He was far from perfect, but his performance wasn’t the difference in the game last night. I thought he played pretty well, taking what he was given and not turning the ball over. The real problem is that the offensive line wasn’t able to give him any time whatsoever against a four-man rush, and so the Cowboys were able to drop all their LBs into coverage to take away the short passing game while using their secondary to keep anyone from getting deep. And yeah, the inside of the line bears a good deal of responsibility for this, although I am getting kinda tired of Tauscher and Clifton escaping criticism. They played pretty crappy too.

    The LBs also played lousy, for the most part. I thought Chillars, however, did relatively well in coverage (certainly better than Poppinga could have), but the only time Nick Barnett was mentioned is when he briefly went off with an injury. I couldn’t see on TV exactly what the Cowboys were doing, but whatever it was the LB reads were always off. Barnett in particular (and also Hawk on several runs, including Felix Jones’ TD) continually took themselves right out of the play. Contrary to Madden’s comments, it was not necessarily great blocking, but was great misdirection. I think the Cowboys’ coaching staff caught the Packers’ brain trust unprepared with their playbook.

    The real defensive weakness exposed by the Packers last night was the susceptibility to the big play. They were able to play with the Cowboys for significant portions of the game, but kept giving up big plays. Part of that was bad reads, and part of it was a lack of serious pressure on Romo. Hard to forgive the secondary giving up big plays to whodat wideout Miles Austin, though. What did he have, 2 catches for 12 yards coming in?

    Still, all bitching aside, I really don’t feel all that bad about last night’s game. I think most of the problems I saw (inadequate gameplanning, poor o-line and lb play) are fixable. No one was expecting to go 16-0 (and the Packers looked a hell of a lot better than the last 16-0 team yesterday), and I think most people would have been very happy to be 2-1 at this point in the season. I would say there were some “teachable moments” that came out of last night’s game, and I think I’ve seen enough of McCarthy to gather that he will use these in a positive way.

  2. PackerBelle Says:

    I think the difference in the game was that the Cowboys have hit their peak. The pass game is doing well, the running game is doing well and their defense is doing well. But I don’t think they are going to get much better.

    On the other hand, the Packers are definitely a work in progress. The running game still needs work, the offensive line hasn’t been great and the defense has shown some major issues. And despite that they managed to make it a game. They were hurt by injuries – Bigby, Harris going out, Chillar getting hurt, etc. Even Ryan Grant isn’t back to where he was last season. There are still too many penalties and the big plays are killing us. So lots of room to improve.

    But I saw a lot of positives. Rodgers looked good. Yes, he wasn’t perfect but he was still pretty darn good. He threw fro 290 yards, ran for a touchdown and most importantly no interceptions. He’s still learning, but he avoided a lot of major mistakes. And had James Jones not dropped a couple of key passes, things might have been different. Secondly, Ryan Grant is improving and Brandon Jackson is also starting to show some promise. Add in Lumpkin and we could have a very dangerous running game for awhile. Finally, we managed to control Owens. That is a huge thing.

    So there is a lot of work to be done, but if this is what happens when the Pack is improving and the Cowboys are at their best, I’d say our chances are pretty good in the playoffs if we can get rid of some of these problems.

  3. goodeggblogger Says:

    The Cowboys ARE beatable. I am thrilled that this type of game was played early in the season, so now the Pack can learn from their weaknesses and be even stronger going forward.

  4. PackerBelle Says:

    And maybe history will repeat itself and the Cowboys will self destruct like they did after playing the Packers last year.

  5. Ron La Canne Says:

    The Packers are back to their pre-season problems. In reality they have not been very good through the first three games. The O-line and the D-Line are not very good.

    The rush by Dallas up the middle went on all night. Rodgers was forced out of the pocket and the Dallas defensive ends then put the fimishers on. MM’s insistance on running inside the tackles was a loser strategy with the poor guard and center play by the Packers.

    The D-line especially Jolly, Picket and Montgomery were awful. Their butts were welded to the Dallas O-line and they couldn’t seperate all night. Jenkins, Hawk and Chillar played well. Might be time to sit Poppinga. Williams cannot cover one on one.

    Jenkins, Woodson, Hawk, and Chillar played well on D. Rodgers, Jennings, and Driver showed up on Offense. Four times in the Red Zone and three field goals is unacceptable.

    Remember, TB plays a pressure defense too. This issue needs a resolution now.

  6. alphacat Says:

    There is a lot of work to be done. But a big part of it is a problem with our inability to handle the rush. Rodgers is a very accurate quarterback who for the most part has good judgement. But all of that goes down the tubes if he is running for his life, and not being able to hold on to the ball for more than a few seconds.

    The Tampa Bay DL is not as good as Dallas, I predict a big rebound next week. At least 2 or 3 TD passes, along with a 300+ yard game. I love Brett, but AR is a great replacement.

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