Packers XLV

For Pack, More Questions Than Answers

Posted October 10th, 2012 @ 04:10pm

What to make of the Packers' puzzling 2-3 start? OK, they should be 3-2, but that embarrassing meltdown in Indy has rendered the Seattle loss moot. Suddenly the team that was most folks' #1 ranked team entering the season, is at a crossroads: going 4-5 in its last nine games, with a lot of questions to be answered:

1. What's with the penalties? The team leads the NFL in penalty yardage, thanks to an over-abundance of pass interference penalties. Granted, it seems Sam Shields gets one terrible call against him each game, but Woodson and company have been way too grabby. And the front seven has been hit with some personal fouls that smart teams avoid.

2. What happened to stopping teams on third down? The team did a decent job the first few weeks, but Drew Brees converted 52% of them and rookie Andrew Luck hit on 40%. The frustrating thing is they're giving up too many third and long plays and not getting off the field. Combine this with...

3. Remember when the defense got turnovers? They've let a number of picks slip away and for a defense that has been "bend but don't break" the last few years, the lack of takeaways is causing the unit to break at the most inopportune times.

4. What to do with the running game? With Benson possibly lost for the season, we're back to the trio we went into camp with. James Starks will return this week from his turf toe, but he looked shaky and tentative before his injury in the preseason. Alex Green will probably get the start, but if he can't help in pass protection, he won't last long. Mike McCarthy has shown a penchant for abandoning the run at times this season, to disastrous consequences. If the team can't move the ball on the ground, the passing game will never take off.

5. Speaking of the passing game, what's with the drops? No one is immune from this one, but Jermichael Finley has been the biggest culprit. If he can't blow up in the game Sunday night, with the Texans' having lost outstanding linebacker and tight end coverer Brian Cushing, then it might be hard to expect much from him the rest of the year. Jordy Nelson has also regressed this season and hasn't grabbed the #1 receiver role in Greg Jennings' absence. As for Donald Driver, he's not getting many chances, but he's dropped a couple himself and looks like a guy who's over the hill. Randall Cobb needs to be featured more in this offense. It needs to start Sunday night.

6. What's up with Rodgers? He's not playing to 2011 standards, but that was a historically great level and we may not see that this year. Clearly he misses Scott Wells and Chad Clifton, along with a healthy Jennings. He is still playing like an elite QB, but he's made some uncharacteristic mistakes and his confidence seems shaky at times.

7. What's going on with the coaching? Dom Capers doesn't seem to have a real handle on his young defense. His inability to remove Reggie Wayne from the equation last Sunday was ridiculous. For McCarthy to blow a 21-3 halftime lead speaks to a communication problem in the locker room and a play calling problem. Despite the lead, he abandoned the run, allowing the Colts' pass rush to tee off on #12. Now an unnamed player says 'the refs are out to get us.' Coaches can't allow players to believe this.

There are more questions to be answered. Feel free to add yours in the comments section. The bottom line is the Packers need to find some answers quickly, beginning Sunday night in Houston where they are four point underdogs to the unbeaten Texans. A surprising road victory would be the right start, but stopping Arian Foster, Matt Schaub and JJ Watt will be incredibly difficult.

 

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Comments (18):

So far the coaching staff and front office haven't been reaching for the panic button, unlike the majority of the fan base. I prefer to belong to the non-panic minority (hey...that's just me), so I'll try to put a non-panic spin on this. One of the elements that hurt the Packers Sunday was the loss of Benson, possibly for the rest of the season. Green has talent - we saw that with his 40+ yard scamper - but until he proves he can hang onto the ball, that'll be an issue (sort of like another running back named Green a few years ago). IMHO, that's a fixable issue. Then Starks needs to get it together and show at least flashes of what he did two seasons ago. We know he can do it. Then there's the issue of Jennings. The receivers all need to step it up. So far, the only one who has is Jones (and wasn't there some rumblings that he should have been traded? How would that have looked now?!?). Remember when everyone's expectations for Rodgers was to be "the next Favre"? I never wanted that from him - I wanted him to be the best Aaron Rodgers that he could be, and even with the abysmal start thus far, he's still in the top ten, and if the rest of the offense all do their collective jobs, things will fall into place. Same goes for Cobb - show us what Cobb can do, and not try to be Percy Harvin, because that's what he's not. In the long run, he has the potential to be better than Harvin (gnaw on that one, Cane!). On the D, Raji's injury threw a wrench into the works, and if he can't return right away, a solution needs to be found quickly. Sunday night is just the sort of game this team thrives on, and I'm envisioning this as the turning point of the season, but not necessarily the breaking point. There should be a marked difference in what we'll see against Houston thatn what we've seen thus far. In the middle of the season, there's only so much you can do with what you have, and I'm of the belief that the Packers have what they need already on the roster - I know others will disagree, but they are entiled to, so have at it. My prediction for Larry will come later this week. And as far as Dave's power rankings, that's exactly what they are..."his" rankings. Personally I think he has the Pack too high at this point in time, but who am I to be critical? If you don't like his rankings, start your own damn blog. :-) GO PACK!

on October 10th, 2012 at 01:04pm

Bill the Voice of the Short Bus---Cobb couldn't beat Harvin's meat on his best day, bro. You're even more delusional than the guy who runs this dump of a site. And next time you wanna shoot on me personally in a rant like that--grow a pair and do it in person. I'll watch a whole Pack game (i.e. loss) with you at any beer hall you want--then I'll have the pleasure of kicking 7 different kinds of dog crap out of you. See I met THC last year at BWW in Apple Valley--and if he'd have tried anything with me--I'd have fought him too. You see Bill, the Packers suck and so do you. You can cry in your beer after you're 2-5 and I'll be riding the Purple 4-life....come at me bro!

on October 10th, 2012 at 08:47pm

My buddy Bill...the Voice of Reason....we have been around the Pack a long time....I remember watching Super Bowl 1 with the Pack in it as a college freshman. We have had great times and long stretches of bad teams. I disagree with some of your conclusions but more on that later. Here is my list to add to Davy's excellent assesments: 1- We keep hearing about "Communication Issues". What does that mean? Is it communication in the locker room that could lead to team dissent or is it a lack of understanding individual roles on the field. If it is the first we need some veteran leaders to step up in the room and call people out. If...it is the second we need all the coaches to do a better job of players knowing their roles 2- I think its becoming apparent some key players are in decline....Woodson, Tramon Williams, Driver , Saturday and some just don't have the ability we think they have....Newhouse, DJ Smith, any D lineman except Ragi and most of our D backs. 3- MM's ability to quickly adapt to game situations.....think first half Seattle and second half Indy. He seems to be hesitant to change his game plan. 4- Too many "errors" on offense and defense. I define an "error as a dropped pass. Yes...the offensive drops have been well documented but the defensive drops( I counted 5 by our defense in the Indy game) lead to turnovers. Last year we converted these errors into turnovers...this year our guys look like Trevor Plouffee playing third base for the Twins. 4- This is where the Voice and I have our biggest disagreement...I believe TT boasting every year about building thru the draft( which is important..but not the only way) and being one of the leagues youngest teams is finally catching up to us. We all knew we needed help on defense from last year and TT's response was to ue our first 6 choices in the draft on defense and hope this was the cure all. While some of those players may develop in time we needed some key veteran free agents to help. If you look at some of the top teams in the league most of them made key veteran free agent additions. TT stands pat....and it is catching up to us. 5- Please....I know this year is too late but find a speed running back....we have not had one since Elijah Pitts( Voice and Davy you remember him ) I know some people think it is Cobb....but I am talking about more of an every down back. Finally....lets not give up hope...it's still a long season. GO PACK GO !!

on October 10th, 2012 at 08:47pm

Voice.....do not get pulled into this nonsense with Cane( is he the same Cane from WWE RAW?) He's about as real!! He's a disciple of PA and certainly he's "A COMMON MAN "

on October 10th, 2012 at 08:54pm

With all these issues, how the hell do you still consider them a 'top 10' team??

on October 10th, 2012 at 11:14am

We are in for one close game after another this season, no mater what. I say start Kuhn, smatter in Saine and use Green as change of pace. Other than the one long run, all I say out of him was a guy who dances too much. If we're going to loose 8/9 games this season, that the breaks, but I don't want to be dancing in the backfield and T'd off on by every defensive front on the schedule.

on October 10th, 2012 at 12:42pm

My only comment on what happened here, and which will be the final word on the topic, is that to be called more delusional than THC is, actually, quite high praise indeed! Wouldn't the rest of you agree? So on that note, my friend, thanks for the compliment, and you be sure to have a good day.

on October 11th, 2012 at 02:22pm

viqueen rubes, win a superbowl, become relevant, then come talk to us. Its hard to read your posts when the buzz of 13 NFL championships clouds our view...GoPack!

on October 11th, 2012 at 06:35am

Cane - thanks for trolling. Loser

on October 11th, 2012 at 09:22am

Keeley---this site used to be cool before it went all-out homer. Cane is just calling a spade a spade, dude.

on October 11th, 2012 at 09:52am

Hey Cane, take it down a notch or two. It's football, man. It's a game we love, but it's just a game.

on October 11th, 2012 at 10:32am

Hey THC-- (in my best Mike Tice voice) "Okay, I'll calm down." LOL

on October 11th, 2012 at 10:55am

Voice of reason, just wondering what you see in cobb to think that he will possibly be better than harvin, I like cobb and would like him to be better than harvin, but i just dont see it.

on October 11th, 2012 at 11:15pm

Yeah start Kuhn, the most overrated piece of crap. The fact people voted him into NFL's top 100 shows what kind of a joke that show is. Per football metrics of full back blocking he isn't even in the top 10. Oh wow! He can be a big running back and gain a yard on first and goal. Big freaking deal. Randall Cobb has the potential to be a good receiver, but Percy Harvin? Doh'k. Let me know when Cobb has as many all purpose yards in one season as Harvin ever has. And the worst part is I am not even as big of a Vikings homer as the others, but you guys are just as big of Packers homers as they are Vikings homers, Thomas the Tank Engine wants you to go catch the Bullet Train Express brah.

on October 11th, 2012 at 12:10am

wow! voice of reason u have been called out. i'm glad to see davey that u mentioned wells, i know u thought we wouldn't miss him. i stick by, he was the most underrated player on the team, saturday is getting pushed back constantly. and still having trouble with some calls. ossg, 21 is going down hill, but tramon? remember the bears game when he shut down marshall? hey, when i said he would get 2 picks and he did. I'm standing behind him. he wasn't guarding wayne that whole game and he is one of the best wr's in the league. and a lot of times it was the dam zone defense again. for some reason i think they will win this game. it reminds me of the jets game in 2010, when they won 9-0. but like i have said 10 times, they need to play tramon on johnson, and shields on walters, and let woody and burnett play who is left. if foster gets 100 yds. on 20 carries that is fine, just no big plays. we have to keep them under 24 points. also, look back at the games, newhouse has not done as bad as a lot of u think. i would love to see them use Deitrick-smith, he can't do any worse the saturday. . owen daniels another badger to watch, woody should be matching up on him a lot. j.j watt the guy i wanted so much and u will never hear me stop saying it. they need to cut him and get him from batting down passes. he is a beast. but when it is done we will win 27-23. for u guys that don't like davey's poll, nfl.com has the packers at 10 . we all know dave is a homer, but it does give him some credibility. go pack.

on October 11th, 2012 at 12:49pm

Running more is fine....but please stop trying to gain yds running outside. Every time it is disastrous, ends up in a 2 yd loss and puts the Pack into a long down situation. As I said running is fine, if you gain yds. 3 yds and a cloud of dust leaves 4th and 1. You can look it up!

on October 12th, 2012 at 08:36am

Jadamsky, that's a fair question. At this point in time, there's no question Harvin is a dynamic player; any team out there would be better with him on the roster, and he has 2 more years experience than Cobb. The difference in their skill sets is very close, but over the next several seasons, I feel Cobb will emerge on top having the benefit of working up through the system behind the likes of Jennings & Driver. Plus, he's got size, and you can't teach that. Only time will tell, since this is a long term projection. Right now, Harvin has the edge (if he decides to stay), but IMHO, Cobb could very well pass him by. If you wish to offer a counter position in a civilized manner, please do.

on October 12th, 2012 at 10:45pm

The Packers are two bad halves in Seattle and Indianapolis and 5 combined points from being 4-1. But the point is they're not. I read two revealing and insightful pices this week about this year's Packers. The first by Mike Lombardi, on several sites, pointed out that the Packers have basically stood pat, especially on offense, from a year ago. Opposing defenses have them figured out. Lombardi contrasted Green Bay with New England, which has reinvented its offense as defenses were catching up with them. They've gone from a passing only spread offense to a ground and pound running team in less than a season and look at how their offense is producing now. Staying with the same old things means the Packers have to win the battle of execution and those misses and drops and sacks and yards tackled for loss can't be as easily made up for on the next play or another series as they used to be. The other was the survey that showed that, since the start of 2010, the Packers are 29-3 in games where at least 30% of their plays in a game are runs. But when they are passing 70% or more they are 2-10. The Packers never even tried to run on the 49ers, waited till the second half to try against Seattle and abandoned the run in the second half versus the Colts. Does Mike McCarthy get that point? It's too early to bail on the season but it may be worth noting that the last time the Packers had a sensational season under Ted Thompson and McCarthy in 2007 they slumped the next year. In '07 the Pack was 13-3 and reached the NFC Championship Game but come 2008 they were a 6-10 non-playoff team. They lost 7 games by 7 pts. or less, two in overtime and at least 4 in the final two minutes of regulation. They had defensive breakdowns and special teams failures as the primary culprits in that season. Much like what we're seeing early this season. Two rookie quarterbacks have made game winning drives in the final minutes on them and they lost last Sunday on 2 missed field goals. I'm not saying we're going to see a season like that again, but there are some eerie similarities here and if it does happen the scrutiny on the way TT and MM handle success is bound to get much more critical.

on October 13th, 2012 at 04:54pm

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