Game Thoughts Packers/Falcons

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  • Horrible game. That was the worst Packers game I’ve ever seen considering what was at stake. Just didn’t show up to play at all. Very little intensity from the team (except for Jordy – wow…tough dude), especially the defense. And a shockingly bad game plan.
  • The Crosby miss, the Ripkowski fumble, the Jake Ryan miss of an easy fumble recovery – yes those plays affected things negatively for sure. And yes, the players need to execute and own a good chunk of this too as they didn’t really show up. Again they lacked intensity and just didn’t execute. But to me, this is more of a coaching issue. Coaches need to set their teams up to win by game planning effectively and then making adjustments during the game. Our coaches clearly didn’t game plan well at all and clearly didn’t make any substantive adjustment during the game. I suppose it’s not surprising that our defense wasn’t ready – they often haven’t been under Capers in the playoffs. Even if Ripkowski scores on that run, Matt Ryan faced zero pressure while averaging 10 yards per pass. He’s playing way too well to give him minutes in the pocket like we did. How in the world can the defensive coach not shake things up and start blitzing like crazy – or do ANYTHING different to try to disrupt their momentum. Just inexcusable. It was just way too easy for Atlanta – really, the game was never close. This has happened many times during Dom Capers time as D Coordinator. There is no question in my mind that he has to go. We need to overhaul the entire defensive staff and drop a number of players on that defense – Clay Matthews, Peppers, the entire secondary except Ha Ha. And we need to simply start over at LB. Ted Thompson and Capers are both the world’s worst judges of LB talent – even on the rare occasion that TT gets it right with guys like Bishop and Jayrone Elliott – Capers mysteriously relegates them to the bench for no reason. Blake Martinez showed very little this year and I’m nearly done with Jake Ryan. Both are slow and are not disruptive. They are both AJ Hawk all over again – and that’s not a good thing. We need more Desmond Bishops at LB – guys who make plays and disrupt things. Jake Ryan had 82 tackles this season and wasn’t a part of any turnover plays. That’s really bad.
  • But it wasn’t all on the defense as horrendous as they were – the offense also didn’t do anything until the 2nd half. Not a single thing. Yes, the players need to execute and they own a good piece of this too – but how can we excuse McCarthy from calling a horrendous game? This is the single most important game of the year and once again, he came up WAY short. I don’t think it’s unfair for me to still think McCarthy should at least be on the hot seat because he can’t get us to the Super Bowl. Offensively, with a QB playing at a level virtually never seen before in the game, we had ZERO points in the 1st half. Not acceptable. But he is also the head coach – and at some point he simply has to overrule his other coaches like Capers when they are completely blowing games like today. He should know enough about football to see that the defensive play calls are giving us zero chance. I’ve often been frustrated by what seems to be his total lack of involvement with our defense. Yes, defensive coordinators should know most about how to handle various situations – but just like any company with a president, there are times when he/she needs to adjust things that the underlings are doing because the underlings are making mistakes. I don’t think McCarthy has ever done that. (Though ultimately, letting Capers linger for this long is more on Ted Thompson and Mark Murphy.)
  • Ted Thompson deserves a fair bit of flack for this too. All year we’ve been short players at key positions – but most concerning, the guys we DID draft like Randall and Rollins and Jake Ryan and Datone Jones – they simply aren’t getting the job done. We wasted big picks on most of these guys. I don’t care if they’re injured – they’ve been shaky from the moment they set foot on the field. I think it’s really time to go with a different approach. Yes, we’ve gotten to the playoffs 8 years in a row but we’ve only PERFORMED in the playoffs once – back in 2010. We need players that make plays out there and we just don’t have enough of them…especially on defense.
  • This was a difficult season. But what is intensely frustrating is that after the great 8 game winning streak, we just didn’t show up and very suddenly looked exactly like the team that got pummeled by the Redskins. What this says to me very clearly is that the foundation the team was built on this year was not a strong one – or an empty one. We needed the extraordinary play of Rodgers to pull off the 8 game winning streak only for the team to just not show up in a huge game. Incredibly frustrating. Also bears mentioning – but if Rodgers “only” has a 100 QB rating during that streak, how many games would we have won? 4? 5?  How long are we going to just rely on a QB playing at an outrageous level to get to the big game? Earlier in the year and most of last year, we saw what life was like when our Hall of Fame QB played mediocre. We weren’t competitive. If McCarthy and TT and Capers were decent, then the team would occasionally be able to bail Rodgers out after a weaker effort – but that has rarely happened over the course of his time as a starter.
  • In fact, in a way, this season characterizes the time under McCarthy/Ted Thompson. Flashes of occasional brilliance driven mostly by a once-in-a-generation QB talent, only to be massively let down by a defense with limited talent, coached by a defensive coach who has really only had 1 good year while in Green Bay, and a head coach that once again couldn’t get the job done in a huge game.
  • I’m going to need some time to cool down from this one. I thought if the defense could come out and at least not totally and completely suck, we’d have a chance. But we couldn’t even do that. And our high-powered, super confident offense couldn’t score a point. And on top of it we came out flat which is totally inexcusable. 44 flippin’ points. Yes Atlanta is good but 44 points is so ridiculous in a such an important game. I would love to see the Packers turn to a defensive mind as head coach. That would serve Rodgers and his talent better than having McCarthy and a below average D Coordinator in Dom Capers. Or, perhaps another offensive mind like Josh McDaniels – someone who could help freshen things up for Rodgers in his last few years. Our window is closing with one of the greatest QBs of all time – I would be in favor of taking some aggressive action.
  • And while I’m at it, I think it is time for a new GM. (I should say, I’ve been thinking about these things for a while now – so this isn’t all just an out of control reaction to a tough loss!) I was reading an article this morning about Indy firing Ryan Grigson. It talked about just how often he has made poor draft picks, especially for their defense – and how he’s missed on some free agents too. And I thought for a few minutes about TT’s draft picks (I didn’t think about his free agent acquisitions…because there have been virtually none). And I realized that really, while he nailed it with Rodgers and Jordy, maybe a few O-Linemen too, he’s missed it on defense almost completely (except Ha Ha and sort of Nick Perry). And if Rodgers hadn’t pulled off a Hall of Fame career with absurd stats, how bad would our picks look then? It’s tough because like assessing MM, TT’s teams keep going to the playoffs – so it feels over-the-top to claim he should go. But the goal is the win the Super Bowl, not get to the playoffs and I just don’t see us getting back to the Super Bowl with MM/TT in charge. Our lack of depth was seriously exposed in this playoff run as it has in recent years as well. It’s time for Eliot Wolf to take over – and I’m starting to think that may happen. I wouldn’t be surprised if TT steps down.
  • All that said, of course I still enjoy supporting this team. It’s a great franchise with an incredible tradition and even though we find the most frustrating ways to bow out of the playoffs each season, it’s fun getting to the playoffs I suppose. I hope we make a bunch of super smart moves in the off-season and do everything we can do to take advantage of the time Aaron Rodgers has left. With Jordy, Cobb, Davante, Cook and Montgomery, we still have talent that could do some damage going forward. But we should add to that (maybe sign Le’Veon Bell…right!) – and more important than anything, shore up the defense through both the draft AND free agency.
  • And lastly, thanks to all of you for another great season. As always I read every single comment and I love the insight and perspectives that you all share. Your comments on this site are smart and thoughtful – and often help to keep me in check when I start getting carried away! I sure hope next years ends on a better note!
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3 Responses to “Game Thoughts Packers/Falcons”

  1. lynn dickey Says:

    Been saying this for years. Packers fans are very conservative when it comes to this organization; they abhor change. How anyone can continue to claim Capers just gets a raw deal year after year due to injuries or bad talent or lack of effort on the player’s parts….please. This dinosaur’s days are numbered.

    McCarthy is looking more and more like the anti-Bellichek; while the hoodie wearing Bill can plug seemingly anyone into his system and win (INCLUDING HIS HOF QB!) Fat Mike rides the coat tails of a few very talented players on his team (*cough* Rodgers Nelson *cough*).

    Thompson should retire now. This game has passed him by. He can’t judge defensive talent, he has proven this. That’s what we need. Aging QBs who want a shot need a strong run game and D to rely on. We are rapidly approaching that stage of Rodger’s career.

    Matt Ryan deserves that MVP. Routing for the Falcons, go get that SB trophy, this franchise deserves it more than either of these AFC teams that basically sleep walk to the playoffs every year.

  2. Frank G Says:

    Errors to end the first two drives (missed FG/fumble) doomed this team. Why? Because our defense was/is inept and allowed 17 points in 3 soul-crushing drives before the offense had a third crack at it. Another playoff run is terminated because the D collapsed. Same old, same old…

    TT, I believe, deserves most of the blame for the Packers’ inability to reach the SB the last 6 years. High draft picks spent to bolster the D have not panned out for the most part, and his refusal to acquire free agents to help on D borders on GM negligence. Free agency is a means to help bolster weak areas of the team. TT’s excellent record speaks for itself, but his stubbornness in this matter is infuriating.

    Now on to Capers. He has to go. After his first 2 years with GB, his defenses have wavered between mediocre and awful. He was dealt a lousy hand this year (Shields injured/GM let go of 3 solid CBs over the last 2 off seasons/young guys injured…and awful when they were on the field) but his body of work lately cries out for dismissal. It certainly didn’t help his cause that the big ticket guys on defense either underperformed, (Daniels/Peppers) were injured (Shields), or both (Matthews). I think we’ve all seen enough of this show.

    Still, let’s not lose sight of the fact that the Packers rallied from a 4-6 record and made the playoffs for 8 straight years. They took down excellent teams from NY and Dallas to get to the NFC championship. I am old enough to remember the Godawful teams of the ’70s and ’80s and really appreciate what this franchise has become–a consistent winner. If we get the defense straightened out, we’ll hoist another Lombardi Trophy or two before Rodgers hangs up his cleats.

    Thanks for your writing on this blog. I appreciate your passion and insight. “See” you in September! Go Packers!

  3. Dave In Tucson Says:

    A disappointing game, but not really surprising. The two biggest flaws of the 2016 Packers (an offense that sometimes struggles to get started and a defense that can’t stop a quality pass attack) were on full display in this game. This really wasn’t a surprise, we’ve known about these problems for most of the season.

    In fact, given the flaws in this team, it’s impressive they qualified for the playoffs, and nothing short of miraculous they advanced to the championship game. Honestly, they’ve been playing over their heads for a while now.

    Some end-of-season conclusions:

    * McCarthy should get strong consideration for coach of the year for taking this very flawed team as far as he did. People who are calling for him to be fired haven’t been paying attention.

    * Dom Capers has fielded one good defense during his tenure. It’s time for him to go.

    * Looking back at the Packers recent drafts — Randall Cobb is really the only star we’ve drafted in the last 6 seasons. We’ve had some other good picks, but nobody who really stands out to me as a home run guy. That needs to change, especially with the draft-and-develop philosophy that the Packers follow.

    * So yeah, I agree that Ted Thompson should be let go as well. I wonder if he’s on the hot seat at all. It’d be interesting to be a fly on Mark Murphy’s wall this next week.

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