I’ve been struggling with this question for the last day after our horrific loss to the Vikes. Painful, painful loss. There is lots of blame to spread around. Here are some thoughts – and let us know your thoughts.
- McCarthy. Abandoned the run when it was working very well (Grant was averaging 4.7ypc and would have had well over 100 yards on 18 carries if the officials hadn’t blown 2 holding calls). Challenge was a waste. Did NOTHING, and I mean NOTHING to counter the brutal pass rush. I’ll bet he over-emphasized run blocking in practice this week and forgot re pass protection. While I’ll admit, I’m a big 4-5 WR set advocate, I would have dropped that idea after the 4th time Rodgers got rocked. Where were the TEs? Every good team in the NFL figures out how to use their TEs – MM hasn’t done that consistently.
- Offensive Line. To be fair, the O-Line did run block really well. Had McCarthy called more running plays, this game may have ended differently. But the pass protection was so bad it was unbelievable. Rodgers had almost no time back there. Clifton was sorry (as I think he has been since the middle of last season). On more than one occasion, it seemed Wells was doubling up someone when his man was running free to explode on Rodgers. Spitz and Tauscher were less obviously bad, but still bad and Colledge is almost always bad.
- D-Line. I would only assign a bit of blame to the D-Line mostly for not getting a few more stops at the line of scrimmage and for not pressuring the immobile Frerotte very well (only 2 sacks). This may surprise some of you, but the D-Line, considering they were on the field for a huge part of the game (36 of the 60 minutes), actually held AP to lots of runs of just a couple yards. Fox showed the very interesting stat in the 3rd quarter re how many 0-3 yard runs AP actually had. But when he got through to the next level on several occasions for 20-40 yard gains, it was the LBs who failed to stop him. (Reader RayMidge also pointed this out).
- LB play. This group, which was supposed to be good, is not good this year. Poppinga is a waste (he was given 6 assisted tackles for the game yesterday – apparently he gets credit for falling on people after someone else tackles them). Hawk does very little but block well after we have an interception. Barnett’s loss may have hurt in leadership ways I’m not privy to, but he wasn’t doing much prior to his injury and I’m not sure he would have done much better than Bishop (who came back with a few nice plays after his 2 screw-ups).
- Derrick Frost. The guy sucks. Jon Ryan has a several more punts over 59 yards this year than Frost (5-2, something that would have helped a lot yesterday), a better overall average and as many punts inside the 20…in one less game. Mistake to cut Ryan.
- Aaron Rodgers. Yes, he really couldn’t do much under that kind of pressure, but the fact is, he didn’t do much. Great players can usually figure something out…anything. Rodgers didn’t figure anything out. Maybe he will figure it out more effectively as he gains experience, but he didn’t do anything yesterday. Lots of that again was due to the pressure and due to McCarthy not calling plays that could counter that mad pass rush. Though it’s not a fair comparison, what happened to Rodgers was really no different than what happened to Peyton Manning against he Vikes in Week 2 – I thought Manning was going to die…and they had zero running game – but he figured something out (check downs, getting TEs involved, FBs, RBs on misdirection screens, a few purposeful bombs).
- Adrian Peterson. He’s really, really, really good. I was counting on a 100+ yard game from him and maybe a TD or two, but what he did was unreal. I don’t look forward to more games against this guy.