Packers XLV

Episode 1: The Train Wreck

Posted September 10th, 2012 @ 12:09am

Can't really imagine how the opener could have gone any worse for the Packers, who were lackluster on offense and absolutely brutal on defense in a 30-22 home loss to the 49ers.

Let's start with the defense, which looked suspiciously like last year's defense, except for the 'forcing turnovers' part. No pass rush, missed tackles, soft coverage in the secondary. Granted, Alex Smith has come into his own, but the Pack made it way too easy for him, giving him time to get comfortable in the pocket and find open receivers all day long.

The run defense was no better, unable to slow the combination of Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter. They gained 163 yards between them, averaging nearly seven yards per carry. Unacceptable.

Offensively, Aaron Rodgers never found a rhythym. When the Packers were gifted six points on the Randall Cobb punt return, which should have been negated by a block in the back penalty, it looked like they were being given new life. But after stopping the 49ers after three plays, Rodgers threw a pick on the first play of the next series. The Gore touchdown on the next play was an embarrassment of missed tackles.

Cobb was the lone bright spot for the offense, catching eight balls. Clearly Mike McCarthy has designed a number of plays to take advantage of his unique talents. But there was far too little playmaking by Jennings and Nelson. Finley had a few moments, but also dropped a key third down pass early in the second half to kill a drive.

Let's pause for a moment to reflect on the officiating. It was absolutely brutal--for both sides. Flags dropped late all day. They missed a number of defensive holding calls both ways. The Cobb TD went the Pack's way, but the Niners got more of their share of bad calls. The locked out officials should gain leverage if they make the league sit down and watch this game from start to finish.

The fact that the Packers got the ball back with 3 1/2 minutes left in a one possession game with a chance to tie was remarkable. But the drive fizzled when Rodgers, under duress most of the day, got sacked and couldn't convert on 4th and 10.

Too many penalties. Lousy run defense and zero pass rush. San Francisco looked the part of a championship team on this day and the Packers looked anything but.

It's tempting to overreact to the first game of the year, but it is just one game. Still, the Packers were dominated on both sides of the ball by another NFC team on their home turf. There's a lot of work to do and not much time to reflect and think about this one.

The Bears come to town on Thursday night, with a high flying offense that put up 40 against the Colts. The Pack needs to figure things out quickly because they absolutely must win this one. Guys like Forte, Cutler and Marshall will be licking their chops to face this defense. The defense must rise to the occasion.

It suddenly feels like a must win.


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Comments (13):

We can't be too "proud" to dink and dunk our way down. Rodgers gets too greedy sometimes. Frustrate the D by going the length of the field. Stop throwing bombs on 3rd and short. I don't mind not running, but how about a quick slant or a TE curl route for 3 yards instead of a 70 yard bomb into double coverage. Terribly outcoached. -- It is a long season. The defense will take some lumps but will hopefully get better as the season moves forward. Anyone thinking it was going to be solved by game 1 was kidding themself. -- If Hayward doesn't play more against Bears I will be surprised. Bush was his usual self. Disappointed the coaches don't know that by now. GoPack!

on September 10th, 2012 at 06:53am

And one other thing - Capers has months to prepare this defense and that's the scheme we get? I want to believe that San Fran isn't as good as they looked and GB isn't as bad as they looked, but did anyone see what the Bears did yesterday and is anyone concerned their going to hang 40 on our defensive unit come Thursday night. Capers has three days to prepare, not the three months he had for SF. Okay, I'll say it, I'm in official "panic mode." :)

on September 10th, 2012 at 07:00am

well boys, u all get mad when i say this, but i saw this coming and and called it on previous post. u all have made great points, but no one has talked about the offense either. Saturday got pushed back all day, and 12 didn't have much time. no one will run on sf. but we had to try more screens, where was green? finley still has the drops. when your 15-1 and then u bring in 10 rookies. we really miss collins. i don't get it, why they play so much zone. . losing bishop i knew would really hurt, I wished like I've said 5 times now. capers should just play man to man with the corners and let woody float. he would be all over the ball. how many times when they play zone, do u see a guy pointing at the other wondering where they were. just match up and play. I said 11-5 and my buddies thought i was nuts. they all thought 13- or 14 wins. no way. this is a must win, don't be afraid to say it against the bears. i will say this though, saints didn't look great,philly, lions, and carolina either. long way to go, but we need win thursday.

on September 10th, 2012 at 10:42am

A couple takeaways from yesterday's game. First off, thank the lord it was only week 1, and the coaching staff will be able to touch on a lot of things the team needs to improve on. I know ARodg and our receiving corps. is the strenght of our team, but we need to start gaining an identity in the running game. I don't even think we ran one designed running play from under center yesterday. Where is the two tight end/mountain formations too put some more beef into our rushing attack. Not only that, but it opens up the play action game which Rodgers has been a wizard at in the past. Without the run there is no respect from opposing defenses. the 4 D linemen just pin their ears back every play and rush the passer. If we could at leasat put a consistent effort into trying to pound the football we would 1.) Take some pressure off of our O-Line 2.) Bring back an effective play-action aspect 3.) Help keep our defense off the field. Not only that, but how confident are you when the Pack has 4th and 1? No way we are running to pick it up and completing a pass is a lower percentage. To the defense. There seemed to be a lack of urgency on the side of the defense referring to both the players and coaches. With all the new faces, it didn't seem that anyone was trying to get fired up and make a play. The first half was as vanilla as it gets. We barely blitzed Alex Smith and we played soft zone coverage all day long. I get you don't want to give up the big plays that torched you last year, but let's be aggressive and make things happen. The D Line got pushed back all day, and Matthews flew up the field every play he rushed with no respect for the run. We also lack a leader in the defensive front 7. We have DJ Smith calling plays so I get he is going to need time to adjust, but where are the people getting the crowd pumped, holding players accountable, celebrating as a team? Look at the sidelines!! Capers is in the box calling soft zones all day with no sideline leadership. I like the idea to keep an even keel, but there needs to be a sense of urgency and aggressiveness. Especially on the d side. What the hell is Jarrett Bush doing on the field? As for the crowd at yesterdays game? They should be ashamed of themselves as Packer fans. Too many times they showed the crowd on a crucial third down in the second half and over half of them were sitting. Thats embarrassing! There are plenty of people out there including myself that would like to make it to every home game to take advantage of those moments. Thursday night better be different!! Like I said earlier, it is the first game so I'm not going to overreact. But we need to get back to more traditional football if we want to be successfull. Go Pack Go!!

on September 10th, 2012 at 11:07am

Can all of us at the very least admit just one thing…the 49ers are very, very good. I’m not offering this as an excuse for the Packer’s dismal performance, but the 49ers controlled the line all day long. Which running back could have been successful against that defense Sunday? Arian Foster? Matt Forte? Chris Johnson? JIM TAYLOR?!? My answer to that is no – that’s how good that defense was. And we should all be thankful that this happened now, and not 10 weeks from now. They still managed to be in position to tie it up, but couldn’t close the deal. As the season moves along this will improve. The performance of the refs pretty much speaks for itself, so I’m not going to even go there. As far as the defense goes, did anyone honestly expect an epiphany to occur in Week 1? There are a lot of new guys on this squad still figuring it out. I’m not stating this to be an apologist; I’m just putting it out there. The necessary steps were taken this offseason to improve the D, and it’s going to take some time. A few of these guys got lesson #1 Sunday – the regular season ain’t nothin’ like the preseason. Sure, the Packers could have signed Mario Williams in free agency, but look how well that worked out for the Bills on Sunday (against the Jets, no less!!!). And no, I’m not suggesting that they should have signed Williams; in fact, I was adamantly against even the idea of it then, and still am now. Last year, when the Packers handed the Giants their collective tails on a platter in their house, that provided a template on what to do to stifle the Packers passing game, and look what happened in the playoffs? Now the Packers have a template on how to stop the 49ers come playoff time – execute and hold at the point of attack and don’t get pushed around. The road to the Super Bowl could very likely run through San Francisco. And you know what? I’m OK with that. The Pack could use a little adversity thrown their way, and they just got a good healthy dose of it. And they need to play with a little desperation…it worked pretty well for them 2 seasons ago, didn’t it? Panic button time? Hardly. God forbid they lose Thursday, would it be panic button time Friday? No…but I’ll want to know where the button is, just in case. This is exactly what the Pack needed – to get kicked in the face (metaphorically) on their home field in the first game by a very good team. Don’t measure how good the Bears are by how they did Sunday – the schedule makers gave them a Big Ten-like cream puff. How do you think they would’ve fared against the 49ers?

on September 11th, 2012 at 03:21pm

10 Things I would like to see....not in any order of importance: 1- Please no more Jared 6 years this guy could not crack the starting lineup....either move Woodson back to corner fulltime or get Devon House healthy 2- More Randall Cobb....yes he was used more against SF....but how about just a few carries out of the backfield. He's a game breaker....use him as will just open up more guys 3- Less of the same talk from Capers....yes he has a lot of youth on defense. But how many times do we have to hear the defensive problems are a lack of communication.....does this mean the players don't talk or that they don't understand their assignments ? 4- MM don't give up on the running game so early....and please let's not have AROD our top rusher every game. 5-Play with some desperate enthusiasm....on both sides of ball. 6- Enough of the replacement refs...they suck on both sides but don't blame poor play on them. 7- Play calling...MM....really...a bomb into double coverage on third and one? 8- Linebackers- Please deflect at least two passess a game and take better angles for tackling. 9- Penalties...Good teams don't beat themselves with penalty mistakes. 10- Fundamentals...This applies to everyone...Take your assignments seriously. Communicate....dont drop an easy pass....block and tackle. Also applies to MMin playcalling and game awareness. Just thoughts!!....GO PACK GO !!

on September 11th, 2012 at 07:06pm

The Packers are now 21-3 in their last 24 and have a recent Super Bowl Championship to show. Sunday's opener makes it hard but we should not forget how good our team has been and can still be. The Super Bowl 45 achievement and the 15-1 season last year raised the bar on what we expect of our team but we may have to revise the standard a little now. The Packers aren't reigning world champions anymore; that was lost to the Giants last January. They're more among the contenders with a lot that will be a work in progress again, much like in 2010. But when it counted most in 2010 they played their best and won the title. Playing from the lead all last year they fizzled at the critical end. Frankly, I'll take the finish to 2010 over the start to 2011 and look at 2012 as more likely to be similar to 2 years ago.

on September 12th, 2012 at 05:49am

on September 12th, 2012 at 09:06pm

This Packers team reminds me of Abraham in the Old Testament, lots of potential but has a defense that can never make a big stop when they need it most. This will be a long year if we keep handing the ball off to Chris Benson on 4th down.

on September 9th, 2012 at 07:58pm

Dave, you summed it up nicely. Yikes. I guess that KC preseason game really was a harbinger of things to come. It was bad enough that the defense couldn't stop the pass last year but now they can't stop the run either. The book is out on the team: The last three really physical teams they've faced have beaten them soundly, on both sides of the ball. Just about every GB offensive linemen whiffed, in protection, at least once and the run defense and tackling is horrible. This could be a long season. And it's clear that every single team is going to force Rodgers to dink and dunk down the field, while getting pressure with mostly four or less rushers. Some of the non P.I. calls by the refs didn't help and that will probably remain a trend until the real refs get back.

on September 9th, 2012 at 08:07pm

Very lackluster start....defense was horrible. When you get a bouncing 63 yard FG against you you know it's not your day..I have said it before...our linebackers are weak. Claymaker is a stand up defensive end but Perry, Smith, and Hawk cannot cover the short routes and are blown out on runs exposing the poor tackling of our Dbacks. Forget Charles Woodson at safety...put him back at corner and please get Jared Bush off the field....lets hope Devon House is ready soon. MM made a bad call on third and one.....but it shows he has no faith in the running game. Again....losing Bishop like losing Jenkins the year before.....we will never find a replacement....DJ Smith was a ghost....he takes poor angles and is out of too many plays leaving the tackling to a fundamentally poor tackling backfield. On a bright spot as I have said earlier Cobb and Finley need to make impacts this year. I believe we are only seeing the beginning with Cobb....he needs some touches as a running Percy Harvin. This is only one game and we can't be relying on Capers to come up with schemes....he doe not have the players on D. We will have to win shootouts as Alex Smith is not the best QB we will see....some good ones coming. IT's early but teams are seeing our glaring weaknessess. Agree Davy....Bear game important. GO PACK GO !!

on September 9th, 2012 at 08:26pm

Brutal. AJ Hawk is not a play maker. It's embararssing to watch the Pack "tackle". Finley needs to step up and be a monster every game - his inconsistency is remarkably consistent. We'd better find a way to run the football or else...

on September 9th, 2012 at 09:26pm

Well said! Man I hope things change quickly.

on September 9th, 2012 at 09:42pm

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