The Packers, as a team, need to go to the Corner Bistro in New York, have multiple cheeseburgers and many beers and forget this game ever happened. While there are plenty of things to be concerned about (and I’ll get to some of those), I see this game as that occasional aberration game that just happens sometimes. The Bears had one last week (though I think their loss to San Fran was a truer reflection of who they are than this loss by the Pack tonight). San Fran even had one at home against the Rams a few weeks ago.
Our offensive line is horrible at both run blocking and pass blocking. Once again, Rodgers leads the NFL in getting sacked. No, he’s not the easiest QB to pass block for as he tries to do too much back there at times. And he definitely holds onto the ball too long (I’ll get to this next). But the cold hard truth is that this O-Line is below average at the 2 things it can’t afford to be bad at – creating holes for RBs and protecting the QB. TT has to be thinking of investing a lot more into the O-Line in the coming years if he wants to protect his franchise QB. Rodgers is one awkward landing from being hurt/out – and the season would end promptly if that happened.
Rodgers holds onto the ball too long. He did it early in his career and he’s been a regular among the most sacked QBs in the league. He and guys like Cutler just hang onto it at times when giving up on making a play is just the better decision. Now, I can’t get too worked up about this though – because I know where this comes from for Rodgers. Psychologically, as we’ve seen many a time on the positive side, Rodgers is absolutely, totally driven to succeed – especially when the odds are stacked against him. So, when the play breaks down and 3 D-Linemen are grabbing at him and he’s falling down – he wants more than anything to make a play at that precise moment because the odds of succeeding then are slim. Again, he’s made a number of unreal plays under huge pressure just like this, but he’s also taken a number of sacks. His predecessor would throw picks instead of taking sacks. Neither of these results are good (though I’d take sacks if I had the choice). But again, because Rodgers wants to succeed so badly, I think he tries to do too much sometimes to make something happen. And it hurts us.
Our running game is laughable, mostly because our RBs have nowhere to go and because they are slow to get to the small holes that there are. Not a good combo.
Don’t let Brad Jones’ stats fool you (he ends up usually with a fair number of tackles). He is not a rangy guy at all. He just doesn’t cover much territory so when he’s next to AJ Hawk, who has cooled off after a good start to the season, there is a lot of open space out there for runners, WRs and TEs. When Clay returns, I think MM should start working Dezman Moses into an ILB position because that guy has to be on the field and have the opportunity to make more plays. He is Desmond Bishop Jr – and he will causes lots of turnovers if given the chance.
Our secondary had an off night tonight. It didn’t help that the Giants immediately established a nice rushing attack. Nor did it help that we got zero pass rush and that they got zero help from the LBs in coverage.
Crosby has to go. I like the guy – and I know he’s a popular teammate. And I know McCarthy loves the guy. But stats for kickers don’t lie and his stats suck – and they’ve never really been good compared to guys who are available today.
The coaching job was awful tonight. Unprepared. No mid-game adjustments. Just terrible.
Again, at the risk of sounding not concerned enough, I”m not very concerned about this loss. It was an absolutely terrible game. We couldn’t have played worse and we got crushed. We do have a number of injuries that are really starting to affect us (the one to Bulaga perhaps as much as any). Hopefully as our guys get healthy we’ll bounce back quickly.
The next game is huge for this team and for the coaching staff. We need to pull it together and destroy a really weak Vikings team.
MM really needs to watch Leroy Butler’s weekly “Xs and Os” video commentary (on MJS). This past week, Leroy opined (and diagrammed out) how the Pack should use lots of two TE formations and why. Simply put, the two TE formation offers AR more time. The TEs can stay in and block, or they can go down field. If the latter, on their way down field they “chip” the DEs. Either way gives AR more time.
MM likes to “spread the field” with multiple WR sets. But against first class defenses who can apply pressure with four rushers, MM needs to adopt a different approach, one using more two TE sets and one that does not depend of WRs getting open long. MM needs to become more adaptable in his approach to game planning. Spreading the field won’t work if AR does not get time.
AZ – great point. Leroy makes a lot of sense most of the time. I think part of MM’s thinking was with Kuhn back to help protect, things would be fine. While Kuhn helps, it was clearly not enough last night and MM never adjusted to this. No huddle? rollout? TEs to help block? screens? Short slants? There are lots of ways to counter an overly aggressive pass rush but it seemed none were tried (or tried once and given up).
I can’t really agree that this game was an aberration.
* The o-line has had some pretty bad games even before we lost Bulaga. Up until now we mostly haven’t faced teams with a quality pass rush like the Giants. If this isn’t fixed, it’s going to be another unhappy January for the Pack.
* I said this before, but with all the rookies and free agents, our defense is going to have bad games. Especially when guys like Woodson and Matthews are on the sideline
* The good news is the rest of the regular season games are all very winnable, and the division is still well within reach.
Each year, we play teams that have similar defenses.. or specifically, we have played the Giants several times, and a lot of the times, lost the same way.
Our success is limited by the fact these teams like the Giants with good defenses and a solid pass rush can’t apply a ton of pressure with very few people.
If they have a good pash rush, with only 4 people.. And we either have the normal O line getting totally beat and leaving hardly any time for Arod to even complete his drop back.. How do you have success?
If we bring guys to help block.. leaving only a couple downfield, against their 7 defenders? How do you have success.
It’s a winning formula against a team built like the Packers. There is very little room down field. They are playing the pass, so if things are tight down field, and you need to make a decision in a split second.. What are you options? Force it, turnover. Hold onto it, Sack, loss of yards, turnover etc.
It’s not just the Giants who have used this method and been successful. The 49ers have a good pash rush, and a solid defense. They do the same thing. The bears have had success as well.
We all know, and have witnessed the Packers struggle against teams who can get good pressure from their D line without sending extra men, allowing the defense to sit more guys in the passing lanes making it hard to find someone open especially when you must do so with very little time.
So the point I’m trying to make is simple. It’s clear this has plagued the Packers for years, and it’s the same issue each year when we play teams like this. And the reality is, you will always see teams built this way (Giants, 49ers, Bears etc) throughout the playoffs and the superbowl. You don’t get the luxury of playing an “easy” team in the playoffs or the superbowl. The fact we have winning records isn’t all that important if the high calibre teams give you such issues.
There are more than just the offense sputtering. But you surely can’t win games when this is what your dealing with.
And the point I want to make is, it is absolutely time we make a real attempt at a legitimate running back. I know it’s not a running back league anymore. I know it’s not the same, it’s often a dual RB system and the lifespan on them is beyond short. But take Adrian Peterson for example. He’s a workhorse. He is going to churn out yards. You give it to him on first down, he might make a huge play, or he might fight for a solid 5 yards. Sure Alex Green or Starks or anybody we have back there might pick up 5 here, 10 there. But those are the bright spots.
Zero yards on first down, -1, 1 yard. That crap, makes it really tough. Now we got a long second down.. We can run it again, and we have.. and gain very little and make third and long.. GREAT! Or we can pass, and the defense makes a good play and or we miss one and now we are stuck in a jam.
I’m not saying we need to go find An AP. That’s not something you can just set out to do. (But It would be great). But we need somebody we can give the ball and the defense has to say, hey.. we have to account for him.
The Giants didn’t care about Green. They didn’t care about Starks. Their only focus? Rodgers. He’s going to drop back and throw the ball. If he doesn’t, we should limit the RB to a very few yards.
I know people understand that with no running game, defenses don’t have to worry about the run and can focus on the pass. But that is whats absolutely killing us against teams like this. We have no time to pass, and no room to find anybody open. No time, and no room.. how do you move the ball? You can only run. They’re daring you to run. They’re basically letting you run. If you can’t, you won’t move the ball. And we haven’t and we won’t, until we finally address the RB situation.
It’s not to say TT hasn’t tried. I’m particularly not all the big for RB’s either. But I have a ton of respect for a guy like AP and for what the guy can do. He’s an amazing player. And I’m just not convinced that any time we play a team that’s constructed like the Giants have been, it makes it hard to feel confident the Packers can put up a fight.
And I think we need more recognition of the issue that forcing the run isn’t the answer. We need to actually find somebody who can be the answer. Running the ball 50% of the time for 1-2 yards each time isn’t going to make the defense play the run. The only thing that will change how these defenses line up is by having an RB who can gain yards, and the Packers haven’t seen that in years.
Nevermind finding any players beyond our starters on Oline that can fill in and do a decent job. It’s been an issue for years, and it’s going to continue to be an issue. Every year, we might have a good starting line. But somebody will get hurt. It’s almost a guarantee for every team. It may not be significant injuries, but even if you need a guy to fill in for a game or two.. he needs to be able to hold his own. And we are always left with shuffling around the Oline and putting in players who are constantly getting beat. We need depth.
We’ve added the young talent to our secondary. The defense needs work, but its young and should grow. I don’t know what we should do in terms of Running back and where we should look. Whether its the draft, FA or a trade I don’t know but we need to find somebody, somewhere that will get the job done. We’ve brought in players, through FA, draft etc.. they haven’t worked. It’s always going to be crucial until we get it.
You hit the nail on the head about how teams limit the Packer offense. Both safeties back and the LB’s back peddling at the snap dropping into zone coverage. A decent offensive line and an average RB should be consistently gashing this def scheme for 4-5 yards and occasionally breaking a much longer run. And, until this happens teams will continue to play the Packers this way. It’s a shame that we have the best QB in the league playing at an extradinary level who is sort of being wasted because this team can’t make defenses pay the price for putting 7 in coverage play after play.
That all being said….injuries have played a major role in this. Bensen, Bulaga, Sherrod, etc… No team has a truly effective o-line when they are starting their #3 and #4 option at OT and their starting RB is on IR.
I agree injuries have hurt us. But the quality in depth isn’t very good. Sherrod will take a while to get him of any quality, even when he’s healthy. He just hasn’t had the chance, due to depth chart, and injury to play in games.
Bulaga is a big loss no doubt. But the moment we lose him, we are forced to shift guys around on the O line, and play our backups who can’t do a very good job. Plus, we all remember a few years back when we had a game of musical chairs with our O line and it lead to over 50 sacks that season.
I will point out, our O line wasn’t great even with the starting unit. That is concerning.
I think we’ve compiled a pretty decent defense for the future. It’s very young and it is showing improvement and talent. While there are glaring holes, there are also glaring key players missing. Bishop and Matthews are such devastating injuries that when they miss time, you notice their absence.
But when those key players are healthy and the young guns gain experience, the defense should be in good shape. House and Hayward don’t look too bad, and while I don’t consider Tramon a Woodson in his prime type player, he still is valuable. Shields who has been great, and bad at times is still solid and has youth as well.
Safety is a bit of a concern. It’s very unlucky with the loss of Collins. We had a star back there. He was no Ed Reed, but quite frankly, there basically is only 1 Ed Reed.
Linebackers, Defensive line, it will get better. The young guys will improve and I think if you give Perry the chance and time to grow, and learn from Matthews, he’ll be able to benefit from rushing opposite of Clay.
Like I’ve been saying, it’s come down to 2 key areas on this team that must be addressed. If we ignore these 2 areas, we will have the exact same issue again next year, and probably the year after. A team that can generate such a dominate rush with only 4 players is going to win almost every time.
And here’s the key: It probably wouldn’t of mattered if we had our starting O line out there for the Giants game. They still would of had a decent rush.. maybe Rodgers has a little bit more time.. but a little bit more time to look and see nothing down field. It just won’t work.
While I include offensive line as a key area in terms of depth that needs to be addressed, the number one, and most key issue that these type of games hinge on is a quality RB. I’m not saying it has to be a NO. 1 best back in the league.. but quality who can gain the yards more times than not. The moment we have that, our chances of winning these type of games that we just played against the Giants increase by an incredible amount.
It will make that much of a difference.
I’ve always been big into a passing game. I love the packers as a passing team. But, I’ve grown to accept that this will be the only answer. I’ve come to accept that we are going to play games and teams like this each year, and the same results will occur if we the Packers are continued to be built the same way.
If we can have a running back that can move us down the field, the defense has to play to stop the run. If they just let us run down their throat, we’ll be able to march down the field until we are in their endzone. It’s simple. They have to play the run. It will require bringing more guys up, rather then leaving all but 4 back to defend the pass.
And if we can FORCE the defense to use less players to defend the pass, Rodgers will have holes in the defense and carve it up like he does with the average teams.
It’s common knowledge and everybody understands the concept, except all I hear in terms of the running game is we need to establish a running game. You can feed the running back the ball all game, it’s not going to increase your gains. You need to execute. You need a quality RB.
Take AP for example one more time. His production is a mile better than what our RBs can produce. And he’s facing the OPPOSITE defense. He’s dealing with 7 in the box and 4 down field. Sometimes even 8 or 9. It’s absolutely amazing how he’s able to produce at such a high level and run the ball so well against a defense designed to stop only him. We just need somebody whose half as good as AP to really fix our issues.
It’s time for people to start recognizing the real problems. We need to go and get a quality back, and stop forcing carries to “establish” the 1-2 yard running game to our current situation.
And I’ll also add this. Benson was intriguing. He was doing not too bad of a job, especially since the offense was sluggish to start the year. He was doing ok when our offense wasn’t and then he got hurt. I would like to see how he does when the offense is in rhythm.
But even with Benson back there running the ball against the Giants, it still may of not even made a difference.
You can’t have a team thats perfectly rounded in every corner, with no flaws and no problems. You will have weaker points and stronger points. Which is why I see from an overall standpoint, the team looks pretty well built and the 2 key areas that I’ve mentioned are whats giving this team headaches against tough defensive teams like the Giants.
I don’t like the Giants. And I really hope we can start beating their asses for a change. Lets do it, Go Pack!