Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Well that sucked…

tuesday, june 14OK.  First off, I must acknowledge the unfortunate timing of my previous post – heralding Rodgers’ two-interception season on the very morning that he tosses three picks.  Pretty much took the wind right out of my argument.

I have to say, I’m pretty shocked the Packers lost that game.  It goes without saying that they should have beaten a winless team with a rookie quarterback getting his first NFL start.  You simply can’t lose that game.  And against a team wearing uniforms that can only be described as… flamboyant.  C’mon – the knife clenched between the teeth?  The dude is winking for Christ's sake!  I half expected their coach to come out in a puffy pirate shirt.

The entire premise of this blog was three observations, good or bad, from each week’s game.  That premise is rapidly getting tired, since the three things almost always are pass protection, pass protection and pass protection.  So I’ll start there.

1) Pass protection.  Six sacks!!!  I’ll accept the point of the Rodgers bashers that he’s holding on to the ball too long at times.  But that is, at most, costing us a sack or two – not six.  Not against the Buccaneers.  Green Bay has become the game opposing defensive linemen put circles and stars around on the schedule.  They should start tracking player's sack counts with an asterisk indicating if they’ve played the Packers or not, since it provides such a generous boost to their stats.

At this point, it’s obvious that this isn’t going to get solved this season.  We just don’t have the personnel.  Spitz is on IR.  Clifton appears to be done.  Lang and Barbre aren’t ready.  Tauscher, even if you believed he would make a difference, sprained his surgically-repaired knee.  And it’s not just the O-line.  Grant can’t pick up blitzes.  Finley is out.  Rodgers is holding on to the ball too long.  McCarthy needs to accept that the offense he wants to run just isn’t going to work with this personnel group.  They need to change the play calling to more runs, more screens, faster releases.  That was, incidentally, one glimmer of hope in that game is the establishment of some rushing and the presence of Ahman Green filling that 3rd-down back role.

I'm so damn sick of talking about the pass protection though, that it came as a bit of a relief that there were some new things to complain about this week.

2) Three interceptions.  If Rodgers ever wants to put the Favre demons to rest, he can’t crap the bed like that one week after losing to the Vikings.  Every QB will have some bad days, but you can’t have it against an 0-7 team wearing tangerine uniforms and waving pirate flags from Disney-esque fake ships.  I won’t harp on this, because it hasn’t been a problem at all this year, and I believe Rodgers will bounce back.  But the picks kept the Bucs in the game.

3) Special teams.  Coming off a week in which Percy Harvin shredded our kick coverage team, you’d think they would have worked on that in practice a bit.  Special teams is where the youth and mistake-prone nature of this team is most visible.  It’s not even guys getting physically beat.  It’s just stupid mental errors.  Like on the blocked punt.  Ya kinda gotta block the guy coming right up the middle!

The bottom line of this loss is it put us into a position in which we have a bunch of must-win games against good teams – particularly this week against Dallas and the following week against San Francisco.  I have always felt that a 9-7 or 10-6 season with a wildcard berth was a realistic expectation for this year.  My confidence in that prediction was shaken by that loss.  Let’s hope they can right the ship and get things back on track in the second half of the season.

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