Our defense is as clutch as Scott Hoch or Greg Norman at the Masters or the Buffalo Bills in Super Bowls, or Andy Roddich in any tennis major, etc, etc.
Ryan Grant has had a sub-par season. I still don’t think he’s terrible, but he just has not been that good. It is interesting that whenever Jackson gets the ball on 2nd downs or is in for a full series that he does better. Jackson does of course get most of his work on easy-yardage downs like 3rd downs. But the curious thing to me is that when he’s in on other downs, he does get more yardage than Grant.
I have been watching other games frequently due to fantasy stuff (and I hate to admit this, but due to the Packers predictable games being somewhat dull) and I have noticed that we are really one of the only NFL teams I have watched who seems incapable of opening up a giant hole for our RB at least a couple times a game. I watched Thomas Jones scoot through 3-4 enormous holes yesterday, Willie Parker, LeRon McClain and even Derrick Ward against a solid Dallas D. I feel like I could count on 2 hands the number of times there has been a gaping hole created by our O-Line. My point here is that I think our O-Line is nowhere close to mediocre right now – it’s piss poor and I suspect it’s both a talent issue and a scheme issue.
Grant has had a few nice screens lately. I like that they are using him this way and I hope it continues in the future. He is their lead back and prior to the last couple weeks, he’s had very few receptions. He has decent hands and the screens they ran yesterday worked really really well – actually, really good blocking even by our poor O-Line helped too.
Oh – Poppinga still sucks. Doesn’t do anything at all. Why Bishop didn’t get a chance after the previous week I’ll never know. I know Bishop made a couple mistakes against Houston, but I would start the guy based on his 2 forced fumbles alone – even if he’d made 50 other mistakes.
Charles Woodson continues to make incredible plays. I can’t pretend to know exactly how well he’s helping with coverage etc and doing other safety-like things, but I’ve noticed this year in particular that he is a very tough tackler. He had a high tackle on Jones-Drew at one point that would have resulted in 4 extra yards against anyone else, but Woodson stood him straight up and threw him down. Never thought strength was one of his qualities, but maybe it is. Anyway, he is fantastic.
We’re seeing pretty quickly how the absence of James Jones may have hurt this team. He has unreal hands and if we could ever get into a good game flow, he could help us create huge match-up problems all over the field.
Kapinos is good. It is really true that return guys struggle to adjust to the different spin from a lefty- it looked like a couple of those fair catches yesterday were almost lucky because the guy looked unsure of how it would come to him.
There seems to be this sense of resignation about this team. Not only has the defense made huge errors to essentially end games, but there seems to be almost a mental fatigue that sets in with everyone. One criticism I did have of Favre, especially the 2 seasons before last year’s 13-3, was that he’d get this loser face look sometimes, even in close games – a look of resignation like “I know we’re going to lose, what’s the use?” I feel like this team kind of gets this look – sometimes even when we’re ahead! It’s hard to describe and obviously quite a subjective thought, but it’s something I’ve seen. Last year, I actually had some confidence that if we fell behind, we’d figure out a way to get back in the lead. Now, I have zero confidence that will happen. I sort of feel like once we fall behind, the game is over. That’s not good. Of course, the only way to reverse this is to reverse the end result, and pull out one of these close games.
Tramon Williams has fallen off some since playing so well for Harris earlier. He still can blanket receivers mostly because of his unreal closing speed, but I wonder sometimes if he’s just too small to contend with some of th bigger stronger receivers – can’t seem to get around them so well. Still, he hasn’t been terrible and I still am excited by his potential.
This team doesn’t seem to have a leader. I think the coach was seriously distracted this off-season (Favre, having a baby, getting married recently , etc – not really stuff I blame him for), I think Rodgers is too new to be a great leader (more on this in a coming post), and the defense doesn’t seem to be a cohesive unit perhaps because of questions re its coordinator and ongoing defensive scheme-communications problems.
I agree with most of what’s inyour article. But I am wondering about Rodgers as a leader. I look at what Matt Ryan is doing in Atlanta. The rookie comes in and becomes team leader. Why is Rodgers not coming in and taking over? Is it his personality? Is he being hampered by management? Would a come-from-behind victory “make” him a leader? I would be interested to hear your take on this.
Don’t know about you guys but I’m really getting frustrated with Rodgers over throwing wide open receivers on long plays when they are two steps ahead of the defenders. Happened at least twice yesterday.
Also, why are we not using a true two back system. Jackson seems to me to be a much more determined runner than Grant. Look at the Panthers. 2 Very good running backs basically getting equal time. Always keeps one with fresh legs.
I see real coaching problems here.
And puhleeze–do something about our our O + D lines & Banish Poppinga to Siberia. I saw a play yesterday where the ball was one hopped to the receiver for Jacksonville but it was close. Instead of going ahead and touching the receiver to down him (just in case he did catch it or the refs missed the one hop) Poppinga’s standing there giving the incomplete signal. Come on-just reach down & touch him
Oh & by the way–my predictions for the rest of the season– Another MOonday night embarassment against CHicago & Detroit goes 1-15–winning theior last game of the year. I certaly hope not but I agree with Andy–these guys seem resigned to losing.