Big game for Tony Moll (assuming he’ll take over for Tauscher at right tackle). He needs to do a bang-up job in these last two games if he wants a shot at playing much next year.
Our O-Line as a whole must open up more holes than they have all year to win tonight and that could be a tall order. I expect Grant to be fired up and running hard. As always he owns some of the responsibility for hitting the holes when they’re there. But I’ll say it again – I keep watching other teams and their O-Lines and am struck by how many chances other RBs have to run through big holes. Grant rarely has the chance though it does seem whenever he has even a tiny hole, he doesn’t do his part to hit it. Even if the line can open up 2-3 lines in the whole game, that just might spring the big gainer that has been sorely missing from Grant all year.
Grant Grant Grant. Throw him screens, let him throw the ball, let him run – whatever it takes, involve him and make sure the Bears can’t just drop back into easy pass coverage.
Turnovers. Has anyone else noticed the sharp decline in forced turnovers during this losing streak? At one point, between picks and fumbles etc, we were one of the better teams in the league. Now we totally suck at it. Orton is the kind of guy who struggles once he makes a mistake. Make him fumble, pick it off. Also, punch at the ball when Forte is carrying it. It will be freezing cold and he’ll be thinking just a bit about his toe – just punch at it. I don’t care if our defense gives up an extra 10 yards on a run as long as we’re punching at the ball. If we don’t force a turnover tonight, I don’t see how we can win unless Rodgers throws for 400 or Grant runs for 200.
Do something in the first 5 minutes to shut up annoying Bears’ fans. They are going to be pumped because they have an outside shot at the playoffs (though I don’t see MN losing to the NYG’s 3rd stringers next week). But these are annoying fans as we all know, so it’s best to just silence them with greatness immediately.
Block a punt. Not sure when the last time the Packers blocked a punt was but I’m guessing it was probably leRoy Butler or someone like that. We never put pressure on the punter so punters probably love punting against us.
Let Jennings or someone else pass the ball. If we were all back in grade school, we’d say “Aaron, you’re hogging it – let someone else throw it for once”. Run the Wildcat maybe – anything to just mix it up. (As ridiculous as this may sound, I have a feeling McCarthy has a trick play up his sleeve tonight – and for some reason, I can see Jennings throwing a pass on a reverse of some kind. If this happens, it will be similar to my friend predicting a triple play once at a Brewer game – it happened on the very next play and goes down for me as one of the greatest sports predictions ever.
McCarthy needs to quickly re-examine his own approach to these final 2 games. He said something the other day like “this won’t be a tryout for anyone – we’re playing to win these games”. This strongly implies that he plans to stick with the starting units that have been playing like crap for weeks now. He needs to think about getting other players in there because there is no substitute for live game action – it is the best time to evaluate what a player may be able to bring. You’re out of playoff contention and we have some players who need serious observation before the off-season so we can evaluate what our needs are. Don’t try to lose obviously and fine, stick with a general game plan. But mix in some guys who otherwise wouldn’t get a chance like Josh Sitton, Bishop and Lansanah, Wynn – throw it to Humphrey more, try Will Blackmon at safety? let Kampman or Jeremy Thompson play off the line/in space like Wash did so effectively yesterday with Jason Taylor…anything…
At least we’re going back to Woodson at corner. The experiment with him playing safety did not work out as planned, so I’m relieved to see the staff acknowledge this mistake and make the requisite change.