Pack’s Offense: Offensive to the End

My mantra when the season started was this: give us a healthy #12 in January and we’ll take our chances. Yeah. So much for that.

What we learned after 16 games is that the Packers’ offense was a house of cards, listing terribly when it lost its only deep threat and collapsing in a heap without its left tackle. Super Bowl contenders are supposed to be able to withstand crippling injuries. Last year’s participants, the Patriots and Seahawks, were both hit by the injury bug much harder than the Pack this season, but it would surprise no one if they met again in the big game.

Ironically, the Packers’ defense has been up to the challenge this season. No one is calling for Dom Capers’ head this time around, because that unit has pretty much kept the team afloat over these last 10 weeks, as the Pack limped to a 4-6 record, including losses to all three division teams at home.

Turnovers decided this NFC North division title clash as expected: the game turned moments after Micah Hyde’s highlight reel one-handed interception. When Everson Griffen shot past “left tackle” Josh Sitton and stripped Rodgers, allowing Captain Munerlyn to take it to the house, the 10 point lead was suddenly 17 and the game was, for all intents and purposes, over.

How does a team with a roster that most teams in the league would trade for (yes, it’s true Vikings fans) not have a suitable backup left tackle? Granted, David Bakhtiati started his first 50 games, but everyone gets hurt eventually and the Pack were ill-prepared to deal with it when it happened. Moving Sitton from guard to tackle, a position he hadn’t played since high school, was desperation of the highest measure. It weakened the line at two positions, making things ever more difficult for a sluggish offense.

McCarthy came into the game knowing he had to stay committed to running the ball, which worked so effectively in the first matchup. But the Vikes were ready for it this time around and controlled the line of scrimmage after the Pack’s first drive, which ate up more than half of the first quarter, but resulted in only three points. Stop me if you’ve heard this before.

Trailing 20-3 in the fourth quarter, McCarthy finally opened things up and Rodgers and the offense found some success. But as you know, it was too little too late and the Vikings had wrestled the NFC North crown away and will get to host a playoff game next Sunday.

For the Packers, the season isn’t over; it just feels that way. I can’t ever remember entering the post-season with less optimism, less hope. Yes, there’s a chance the Pack will get back Bakhtiari and Sam Shields for the wildcard matchup in Washington. With or without them, they have a good chance of winning. The game is listed as a toss up. The ‘Skins didn’t beat a team with a winning record this season (their best win came against Buffalo). A win would likely set up a rematch with the Cardinals. Anybody excited to watch that?

Bottom line: it’s not easy to win five straight division titles, but the Pack was poised to accomplish it. Kudos to the Vikings for making enough plays to get the job done. I would’ve thought that if the Pack had held AD to 67 yards rushing and Teddy Bridgewater to 91 yards passing that the Pack would have taken care of their business at Lambeau. But such was not the case.

The offense could not deliver, despite the defense’s solid play. That’s been the unusual story line of this bizarre season. It will likely end soon and Thompson and McCarthy will regroup. This will be an offseason with more questions than usual, with priority #1 being fortifying an offensive unit that has taken a back seat in recent drafts.

There’s no doubt we’ve been spoiled watching Rodgers ply his craft over the years. What we learned this season is that his supporting cast is really much more than that.


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25 Responses to Pack’s Offense: Offensive to the End

  1. Voice says:

    The tipping point last night was Rodgers’ fumble that was returned for a TD. Until then, both teams did enough to win it, but the breaks went the Vikings way. The Patterson fumble on the kick return should have been the equalizer (and sealed Patterson’s fate for future employment…what a putz that guy is), but this is the reason why the games are played. Good luck Vikings – you’re going to need it.

  2. West Allis Guy says:

    As much success as TT has had in the past, we are seeing the result of a failed focus on defense in the draft over the last several years. I say “failed” because there are many busts (relative to their draft position) that are having a profound effect on the offense. You can’t use so many high picks on guys who have little to no impact year after year on one side of the ball. If losing a 30+ year old receiver implodes your offense, you have big problems.

  3. Rick from Reno says:

    Hey Dave, Just heard you on KFAN and I gotta to tell you I appreciated your view of the game and the future of this division despite being bated by Paul Allen. The Pack will be Back next year and the still have the best QB in the game. And this is coming from a huge Vikings fan. It would be great to play outdoor football in the NFC Championship Game in a few weeks with GB and the Vikes squaring off where football was made to be played. Bring back the Old Met!!!

  4. Voice says:

    West Allis Guy – I’m not sure which team you’ve been watching this season, but the Packers defense is not the failure you claim it to be. Last night, the defense gave up 13 points, which should have been enough for this offense to overcome. Over the last half of the season, what’s killed this team are the turnovers the offense has committed. But to call the Packers defense a failure is a grossly inaccurate statement.


    Voice and others ….lets look at the big picture. Something I have brought up numerous times in the past and you regulars on here will understand. This is 2016 football and all professional sports for that matter. This is not the Bart Starr, Mickey Mantle, Bill Russell, Gordy Howe era of sports where a team is composed of players that were only totally developed by their system. Sure….you have to draft well and develop your core in any pro sport.BUT….and this is a big “BUT” you have to add to your core thru key free agent signings to complement and fill your team. TT’s insitence on building thru the draft and free agents from the draft to keep us as one of the youngest teams is nice but has shown that our lack of quality backups is hurting at key times. I am not saying it is time to replace TT, MM, or any coach but a philosophical change in assembling a roster is needed. We have no quality veteran backups at key positions when injuries have forced out key starters. There are many on this site who believe draft and develop is the way to develop a roster but in the era of free agency this aint your Bart Starr, Mickey Mantle era anymore. GO PACK GO !!

  6. Voice says:

    OSSG…we’ll agree to disagree for now, and save this discussion for the offseason.

  7. Cane says:

    Pretty sad state when the Vikings can play one of their worst games of the season and still beat you guys. And you’ll actually be worse next season. Peppers, Raji, Hayward, Starks, etc. will all be gone.

  8. larry says:

    Admit guys, anyone who read my pre game post, where I said they would tie 20-20 was getting scared weren’t you? 12 yards from maybe happening. Voice has been right all year, this defense has played well all year for the most part, Denver and Carolina moved it well, other then that not much. S.D thru for 50o yds. but only got 20 points. I still say there is something wrong with 12 and MM. they are butting heads on play calling. and 12 Has No Confidence. You can see it in his eyes and displays of emotions on the field. he is not playing as he usually has, we all know that.he has called himself out for not playing well. But, if you went back, and NO ONE# is ever open, then u have to run to wait for them to get open 3 out of 4 times, you would have none either. he is trying not to throw anyone under the bus, but he wants too. MM needs to come up with , for the 10th time now, crossing routes, and rub routes, slants. I was the 1st one to tell you when they were 6-0 and played the rams, they are not right on offense. I said the rams would beat them, almost did. kicker missed 3 field goals.It hasn’t changed. if they can’t run, they will not win, sounds like vikings doesn’t it? well, vikes you got your wish home playoff game, you will lose 31-10 and . mark my words, all year long on kfan and other minny media, at least we beat the Packers and won division. nothing about getting killed in playoffs though. that is how minny rolls. Go Packers.

  9. Clay Matthews says:

    I’ve gotta be the most overrated player in the NFL. Did you see the way I threw a girly punch at Joe Berger when he pushed me around and put me to the ground like he was playing against a 12 year old girl? I should’ve been ejected; instead, I got more camera time so I could shake my hair around while being completely man-handled for another week. I blow.

  10. Lisa says:

    Hi Dave. Just heard your segment on KFAN this morning with PA. You always make me feel better about the Pack. You hit the nail on the head with this team and are realistic yet hopeful. Not a good season, but one more week to see if they can improve, then on to the offseason where we hope Ted and company can find ways to improve the team for next year. Like you I feel we are still at the top and will battle for the division every year as long as Rodgers is playing for the Packers and healthy. As always, Go Pack!

  11. Dave From Maple Grove says:

    My life revolves around the Packers. My life has no meaning now that we’re not division champions. I realize this team is terrible and so is my life.

    When Washington hands us a thumping next Sunday I just may end my existing.

    I’m so sad ;-(

  12. Screech says:

    I was at Lambeau and the sounds of Packer fans booing their team was almost lovely as listening to all the juvenile whining and excuse making. The pain was so delicious.

  13. XXXXXAVIER says:

    The vikings are on the rise. The packers are on the decline. What am I missing?

  14. ted bridgewater says:

    boy were we lucky to win, 52 was all over me all nite, what a great player Mathews is.what a stupid pass that was left handed even. i played like crap, but we got lucky and got the win, now we will probably get killed sunday, but at least we can say we beat the Packers for once.

  15. ted bridgewater says:

    boy were we lucky to win, 52 was all over me all nite, what a great player Mathews is.what a stupid pass that was left handed even. i played like crap, but we got lucky and got the win, now we will probably get killed sunday, but at least we can say we beat the Packers for once.

  16. cecil says:

    Even the Vikings coach wasn’t happy with the win. They won doing what everyone else has done with the Packers for the last 10 weeks. It’s not really fun to beat a team that limps to the line of scrimmage, can barely get the play off in time, and just block the box, without worry of a pass long or short. I think Zimmer wished the game could have been more competitive, to build on the next game. I was able to relax for the first time in 20 years knowing we needed to lose. We wouldn’t have beat them 3 times anyway. Zimmers problem with the win was how poorly they played against a far inferior team. It might cause them to be blown out next weekend. This collapse was much more than losing Jordy. We may need a new coach because our current one doesn’t know how to modify an offense to compensate for a bad offensive line, and very slow TE’s and WR’S. Too bad because we seemed to having it going for us not long ago. Now we can’t beat anyone in our division at home. It’s really bad news for our future.

  17. Cecil says:

    Let’s be honest. We either need to have a personnel guy that can bring speed to our team or a coach that can win with slow offensive players. If we can’t do that, it’s time to change up the guard. There are a few good coaches available to do that. There might be a personnel guy available to get speedy WR’s too. Wouldn’t be hard to pick up a good TE, too. A good left tackle would be nice. All of this extra money is going to waste. Too bad we gave 10 mil to Cobb. My 2015 Packer Calendar has Boykin, A J Hawk, and Quarless on it. $20. Glad I didn’t buy those jersey’s.

  18. Voice says:

    Let me say this right now – anyone calling for McCarthy and Thompson to be fired is a damn fool. You don’t take a track record like the two of them have and just casually kick them to the curb over some perceived “failure” of the team. I can guarantee it – if the two of them are gone, the Packers won’t even sniff the playoffs for at least 3 or 4 seasons. They’d be basically handing the division over to the Vikings for that time period. Is that what any of us want? Sure, it stinks having to draft at the bottom year after year, but that’s the price of winning. You want to blame someone for this? Blame Bert Bell. It’s all his fault. He’s the one who came up with this reverse draft thing. And how have the Vikings come up with all these choice draft picks? Because they sucked for repeated seasons. You want to have the Packers suck for 3 or 4 seasons to load up on primo draft picks? Hell…3/4 of the fan base can’t handle sucking for one game, let alone 3 or 4 seasons. If McCarthy and Thompson leave, you can send this franchise down the crapper for 3 or 4 seasons. And if we’re lucky, that’s all it’ll be.

  19. Lynndickeyfan says:

    Voice is right. Quite frankly I question the validity of 3/4 of the post here. I think there’s more tongue in cheek here than at the giraffe exhibit of your local zoo. We aren’t done quite yet, and when we are, I trust TT and MM to add the players to reload for next season. I’m sure the coaching staff will get rearranged some again too. Maybe we could bring Joe philbin back? (probably not) Defense is good, Offense lacks punch. Free agents do need to be part of the blend, but you can’t build a team on them. We need drafted guys to step up (stay healthy) and contribute on rhythm so the team doesn’t miss a beat. This year that did not happen. I go back to back to the loss of Ty Montgomery, but that’s just me.

  20. Mike Egnash says:

    Dave, I think that given Rodgers window of opportunity to win the Super Bowl more times starting to dwindle every year, TT & MM had better start looking for some good quality impact free agents to solidify this team. The draft is a great way to develop players but, TT needs to start thinking like Ron Wolf for a change! We are an offensive team that is simply too slow! We need more team speed on that side of the ball!

  21. OLD SOUTH SIDE GUY says:

    Voice……Speaking for myself as an old time Packer fan all I am saying is that a lot of us old guys( at least in Packer fan age and not just age numbers) change will be needed. It does not mean ousting TT or MM. In fact….when you are a publically owned team who can oust TT….but that’s another story. Change does not have to mean ousting these guys but you have to take a serious look at how MM handled this team. Lets remember he has had two Hall of Fame QB’s in his tenure that a lot of coaches would have loved. That having been said MM cant control losing key players to injury but as a coach you need to adapt. Example is what Andy Reid did after starting 1-5 and losing some key players. May be too late for a fix this year but just because we have had a pretty good run the last few years we can not afford to get complacent as the teams in our division are improving. So… adding key free agents is a must. Not building a roster but tweaking a roster and not having to have the youngest team every year. The draft is still the most important and tweaking the roster is a must going forward. I am not throwing people under the bus, I am not getting off the bus. I am looking to streamline the bus with a more powerfull faster engine. GO PACK GO !!

  22. larry says:

    very well said OSSG

  23. Voice says:

    OSSG – just for clarification, I completely agree on the aspect of changes need to be made. In fact, every team every year needs changes to some degree, because every team has issues that need to be addressed. Who for one minute here back in August thought that WR would be a problematic position ? Anyone? But the changes that need to be made for this team do not need to be made at the top. McCarthy and Thompson are a great team themselves. Stability at the top can never be underestimated. Once the post season comes, each position will be evaluated, and a determination will be made as to which players will go on their draft board, AND what potential free agents should be considered. We’ll get into the meat of this during the offseason, but for now, we still have a post season game coming up. At this time next week, let’s hope we have another one. GO PACK!!!

  24. OLD SOUTH SIDE GUY says:

    Larry….Thank You !!

  25. Packerlifer says:

    This is as good as it gets for Minisota. They don’t have and won’t get any Super Bowls so beating Green Bay for the division for one year is their high point. I’m surprised they didn’t have a parade down Hennepin Ave. and invent the Bud Grant Trophy to award themselves in lieu of a Lombardi.

    They should enjoy it. Next year they probably won’t make the playoffs. Two years from now they’ll be calling for a coaching change, just as in the cases of Leslie Frasier and Brad Childress and Mike Tice.

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