Game Thoughts Packers/Jaguars

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  • Before I dive in – let me just say we won the game and beat a team that I think could be a very good team this year. We played hard and importantly, finished the game with a win. The defense made a huge stand at the end of the game – and I think that may be a harbinger of things to come this year. I think this defense could end up being pretty good as long as we can figure out covering the middle of the field.
  • Until the last 5 minutes the Packers looked like a composed, prepared team. They never panicked and they just looked really solid all day. It was refreshing to see. They played with the confidence of a team that should definitely win. And then, we had a play calling issue when trying to get a TD late in the game and had to settle for a FG. And then we had a play calling issue late when we had to burn a timeout and take an inexcusable delay of game penalty immediately after taking a timeout. This happened a bunch last year and it’s very frustrating to watch. It really seems like a problem in the process of getting the play out to Rodgers in a timely way – and perhaps some of it may be a lack of awareness issue on Rodgers part (though I would find this hard to believe considering how generally aware he is out there). McCarthy has to fix this and fix it now. It is a costly problem that has dogged this team now for the last few years really. More broadly speaking, this meltdown in the last 5 minutes of the game, seems to happen over and over to Mike McCarthy-led teams. We let teams hang around to make it scary in the end. And the really good teams usually make us pay. When it was 24-20, we should have run once and let Rodgers throw twice at least. We needed to put the game away right there and we didn’t.
  • Now let me back up a bit and say, that if the Packers put in a TD when it was 24-20 after a decent play call, I would have felt very differently about this game. I would have been 100% excited about the team. Because, prior to the last quarter, there were lots of very good play calls and a reasonably solid sense of game flow in today’s game. In fact, McCarthy twice made key play calls that got two key players more involved. First, in the first half when he called a play just to get Jordy the ball as he’d been quiet until then. Two plays later Jordy caught a TD pass. I think in football in particular, it really helps for players to just get their first touch. Even if it’s a throwaway play that doesn’t yield much yardage. It gets them involved. Later in the game he did the same thing with Jared Cook. And while it didn’t lead to a bunch more catches for Cook, I think it opened things up for other WRs and Richard Rodgers as well.
  • But again, we just kind of meltdown late and let teams stick around. We (mostly McCarthy/staff) HAVE to learn how to close out teams we’re beating more convincingly.
  • Quinten Rollins had a rough game early, but came back and made a few decent plays toward the end. I’m not worried about this as I think he’s really good. But even I had to admit he looks like a weak spot early.
  • I think Joe Thomas should be starting over both Martinez or Ryan. He played a fair amount and he seems to have that Desmond Bishop-like quality of being near every big play – as evidenced by his interception.
  • The Packers D played reasonably well considering Jax has a really good offense, but I think they missed Jayrone Elliott today. I expect a huge season from him this year and I think he could have help be a bit more disruptive in a game like today’s game.
  • Did Peppers do anything today? He didn’t register a tackle. He forced the pocket to close once I remember but I’m not sure if he did anything else.
  • I didn’t notice too many 2 TE sets (maybe 2-3?). If the Packers want to make the Jared Cook pick up worthwhile, they need to do this. This would be really difficult for defenses to defend and importantly, I think it could really help Richard Rodgers contribute. He’s lost weight and has amazing hands. I did like the pass play where we tried to send Cook up the seam and I think we got a pass interference call. Chmura used to be really good at that as was Finley. We need someone who can do that to teams as that can open things up for the short middle of the field as well.
  • Rodgers completed passes to 8 different receivers, but to 5 of them, he only completed 1 pass each. While Jordy’s return has clearly opened things back up for Adams and Cobb both, I want to see us getting the ball to a bunch of guys. Rodgers is at his best when defenses have absolutely no idea where the next pass is going.
  • The O Line did a decent job today given the departure of Sitton so close to the season. Lane Taylor had a nice block on that key 4th down that Lacy got.
  • Overall, because I expected a close game, I have to say I’m happy to have won and feel generally pleased with the team. I am particularly happy that we came out strong and then never panicked even when Jax kept coming back in the game. I am thinking, though, that we are at the point with McCarthy where it should be his singular goal in the next 5 games, to score as many points as possible in the 4th quarters of those games, no matter how far ahead we may be. He needs to develop a completely different mentally late in games – go for the jugular and close teams out.
  • So let’s all move on and focus on ruining the Vikings’ big opening event next week.
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2 Responses to “Game Thoughts Packers/Jaguars”

  1. Doc Steve Says:

    It is interesting to me that no one is commenting on the role that the “sun in the eyes” had on field position in the first quarter. If you have ever been to that stadium, the sun can be brutal when trying to field a punt at that time of the day. It had a significant impact on our field position at the beginning of the game, and may have reflected a larger margin of victory at the end had not our coaches taken that into consideration, and not elected to defer at the toss. Poor decision on our part. Sun behind the upper decks in later quarters, something, even such a small thing, should have been scouted beforehand. No coincidence that Jacksonville chose the end that they did. We need to be sharper on every aspect of the game!

  2. Dave In Tucson Says:

    Late to the post, but here are my thoughts.

    * I kinda wanted this to be a blow out win to start the season with a bang, and I’m still a little disappointed it wasn’t.

    * Some of the same old bugaboos from last season showing up again: settling for field goals after having goal-to-go, pass defense at times looking really bad (honestly, I’m not sure why the Jags ran at all in the second half).

    * I find it troubling how easy the Jags seemed to convert on 4th down in this game. And yeah, the defense held the one time they really needed to, but it also took one of the Jags most questionable play calls to do it.

    * The Packers do have some excuses in this game, though. Rodgers barely played at all in the preseason (and was Jordy Nelson out there at all?) So there’s some reason for them to be a little rusty. Also, the Florida heat and humidity is no joke, they could’ve been pretty gassed by the end of the game.

    * Other good stuff: Eddie Lacy was a force, Randall Cobb was a difference maker, Jordy Nelson scored a touchdown.

    Looking around the other results in the NFL, I think the Packers could be one of the two best teams in the NFC (along with the Panthers). A win Sunday night over the Vikings will go a long way toward securing that.

    All in all, an encouraging start to the season, I think.

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