Tag Archives: Green Bay Packers

McCarthy’s play calling leaves many questions

During the Green Bay Packers 22-9 victory over the Detroit Lions, there was something that was that bothered me, it was not the great play by the special teams, it was not the defense and it was not even the offensive players. It was the offensive play calling.

Overall, I thought the player played a good game, but Mike McCarthy leaves me wondering what runs through his head with the play calling especially in short yardage situations. There were two key moments that stuck out to me, the third drive of the game during the 3rd & 1 with a roll out pass. situation which was made worse by the fact we had to burn a timeout just before the play. The second was at the end of the game, in which we were trying to run out the clock, we had been using Lacy to run the ball, but then we decide to just take a knee? Take a knee with Detroit having a timeout remaining. How… Why? Give yourself a chance to get the first down, which improbable, but not impossible.

These two situations along with a lackluster passing game today show that Mike McCarthy’s offensive game play has passed its prime and it is time for someone else to be calling the plays. We were able to pull the game out today, but against the better teams down the road, we will most likely not come out on top. It has not worked already this year against the 49ers and Bengals.

McCarthy needs to relinquish the play card, he is unable to make the right calls at the right times. We need someone who will provide a scheme that will test the opposing defenses, but also will make the simple calls at the simple times. The one and two yards situations are the simple times, this situation seems to bring out the worse in McCarthy with overcomplicated play calls when maybe a quarterback sneak will do.

I’m not a person who likes to wait until the other shoe to drop to make a change and neither should be the Packers. If this was a one off case, I would not have a problem, but this has been happening for the last 3 years. That is too long in my book. It is time for change with the play calling, the time is now, not when we are in the cellar, by then you are going to lose a lot more than just your play calling responsibilities, it will be your job!

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Josh Freeman over-hyped career over?

As reported on Sunday, Josh Freeman has played his last game in the Tampa area and maybe in the NFL. For me, this “I don’t care” attitude was something that does not surprise me about this quarterback.

This was a long time coming, Josh Freeman was not NFL caliber quarterback and should not have been in the NFL as long as he was. He lasted in the NFL as long as he did for the sheer fact that he beat the Green Bay Packers in his rookie season back in 2009. People started looking at him different and unfortunately viewed him as a real quarterback based on the caliber of defense that Green Bay was at the time.

But everybody has a bad day, it just was not Green Bay’s just happen to have one that day. Bad start after bad start, year after year were shadowed by the fact that “He beat the Packers back in 2009”. You can not rely on one game as the reason a quarterback should be propped up for this long. If there is no improvement by the end of the next season, get rid of the player.

The pressure and the limelight got to Freeman, he thought he was something because everybody in the media said he was something because of one game. Josh Freeman would have benefited by waiting a year or two like Aaron Rodgers, learn the ropes, learn how to handle himself in the NFL.

I’m guessing when he lost the captain role from the team was the end for him, when the other shoe was going to drop was just a matter of time. To spike that quick in the NFL at that age is just too much for most. Someone will most likely give him another shot at a backup most likely (because someone will remember that ’09 Packers game), but the damage is done.

In the end, this occurs more than it should in the NFL, every game is make or break. The media likes to proclaim the rise to stardom from just one game or sometimes from just one throw. It should not be this way, but once again another victim has been claimed in the form of Josh Freeman.

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McCarthy needs to give up the offensive reigns

During the crazy 34-30 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals there was one fact that was move prevalent than anything, Mike McCarthy lacks the common sense to run an offense in the NFL. Now I know that he has led us to a Super Bowl, but the way the offense was running that season, there was no way of screwing that up.

There have been many examples in the past of the sheer incompetence, but the there were two examples during Sunday’s game.

  1. 4th Down and 6 inches – After the yardage reversal on the Cobb catch we encountered the much dreaded short yardage situation. There is a motto “Work Smart, Not Hard”, apparently this saying is lost on McCarthy. Instead of going with the easy and more likely successful QB sneak, we go with the hand off to the running back. The hand off is so much riskier with the chance of someone coming through the line and with going back to 7 yards back to go to 1 yard forward. This should have been a easy call, an easy call, you QB sneak it and keep the clock moving. If you can not make this easy correct call, you should not be calling plays in the NFL.
  2. 4th Down End of Game situation – We are moving the ball down the field, but we end up with a fourth down situation. I’ve always held that you should try to reduce the number variables in any big play. Given that Rodgers had previous passes batted down on the drive, we should have rolled him out of the pocket to reduce the chance of a pass being knocked down or Rodgers being sacked. In the end, the pass gets batted down and the game is over.

These errors can no longer be overlooked, these issues with the play calling need to be changed. The defenses of the NFL change their defense schemes year to year and so should the Packers offense. While it appears that the Packers are starting to get a running game the offense continues to be crippled by the sabotage play calling McCarthy.

The easy thing to do is to hand over the play sheet to someone else, but I really hope we are not heading down the path of one of my other posts. Anyway, in the end it is time for a new play caller in town with common sense and a sense for the game before this offense goes down the tank.

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Packers and the no confidence defense

If a team completely dominates another team for 1/2 a game, but still wins, does anybody care? This guy does. While I did enjoy the 38-20 victory over Washington, what was not lost by me was once again the large number of passing yards that were hemorrhaged by the defense. Last year I had written a post about having no confidence in the Badgers against anybody good, today I write about my no confidence in the Packers Defense.

Another game of 300+ passing yards (320 to be exact) given up by a secondary that can not cover and a defensive line that can not reach the quarterback. Some people might say to me that the game was over and the Packers were just not allowing any big plays, but let me say this, how many teams do you know that are playing “prevent” defense blitz? This shows me that Dom Capers was still attempting to play this defense straight up 100% to shut down Washington.

It was another week in which no adjustments were made during the game or at halftime which led to another receive having a monster day against us. This week it was Pierre Garcon, last week it was Anquan Boldin. Dom Capers proves that once again, instead of addressing the issue with maybe something like double converge on the receiver in question, we decide to blitz the hell out the quarterback which leads into my next problem…

The pass rush, the non-existent pass rush reared it ugly head, especially in the second half of today’s game. How did we address this lack of pass rush? By blitzing, but this caused the opposite effect because none of the blitzers reached the quarterback and the receivers were more wide open than they already were.

For the above reasons and because of the way the Packers defense has played since 2011 the Packers should put Dom Capers out of his misery now, fire him and start building a new defensive scheme. Most people would think I’m insane to suggest firing an assistant coach, but why waist time on what you already know is going to happen? Why allow us to play the 10 yards off the ball defense?

There is no reason today after the way the offense played in first half that the backup offensive players should not have got some time on the field today, but due to the defense allowing Washington to keep the game within an arms length this could not happen. This cost the backup value experience on the field for future situations.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy that the Packers did win today, but I can not help it that you can see the car wreck happening while the cars are two miles apart, but the cars keeping going along the same course. It is time for a course correction  and fire Dom Capers.

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Packers: New Year – Same Defense

This was the Packers chance, the 49ers had lost the Super Bowl, they did not have the same team and the Packers had worked on the defense, but all that was just a dream last Sunday. The same old Packers defense reared it ugly head with close loss in the Bay.

I can only sum up the game and team like this:

Linebackers = Still Slow

  • Corners = Take too many chances
  • Safeties = Sound rename themselves the “Un-Safeties”.
  • D-Line = They do not exist, we rush one person in the middle and two linebackers on the side

One position I would like to hit on is the D-Line, Ted Thompson has made to no attempt to replace this position since the Super Bowl run. We continue to run one person on the line with two linebackers which leads to no pass rush and no pass defense. This is a clear attempt of sabotage by Ted not to see this issue and correct this issue.

The scheme of Dom Capers did get us a title, but it does not work any more. We can not continue to play the big yard zone defense games and continue to win. It is time to get rid of Dom and start a new era of the man to man defense and turn this team around. The time is now, not when we have the 4-12 record.

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NFL Draft Four Days Away

Can you believe it, time for another NFL draft? And due to another no free agent signing year from Packers GM Ted Thompson, we once again rely on the lifeblood of the NFL draft to resupply the team and fix a defense that looked non-existent against the running of San Francisco.

You never really know what you are going to get with Thompson, sometimes he gets the it right (2005, 2010), sometimes he gets it wrong (2006). It is funny watching him explain why he takes some of the players he does. For example, in 2007 with the pick of Justin Harrell Thompson stated that he had to take the best player available regardless of position, but yet Brady Quinn was still available at the time (Granted that too would have also been a bad pick).

Who are we going to pick? Only Thompson knows.

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We will miss you Charles Woodson

With the release of Charles Woodson, the Packers continue the ending the era of the Super Bowl winners like I mentioned here. While from the business side of the game it made sense given how much he was going to make along with his roster bonus, there is an emotional effect that made people want Woodson to be a Packers forever.

Back in 2006 when we signed Woodson, I thought this was a bad signing. I thought this was another player that did not want to come to Green Bay plus I thought that the best day were behind Woodson. I’m happy that Woodson proved me wrong, I’m happy that he proved he could be the defensive leader that we so needed at the time not only in words (Like so many players), but in his actions.

Age caught up with Woodson, but  he will never be forgotten in the eyes of Green Bay.

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Green Bay Packers End of Season Grades

In the past, I have always read somewhere on the internet end of season grades given to players for how they performed during the season. I have decided to take a shot at that this year from this fans perspective. Lets start with the QB’s….

Offense:

  • Quarterback
    • Aaron Rodgers – Grade: A. The heart and soul of the Green Bay offense who carried the team on his back just like in 2010. Rodgers was able to take care of the ball and drive the team to wins. I think Rodgers could be more successful if the Packers had a running game.
    • Graham Harrell – Grade: C. The use of the backup quarterback in the NFL is one of my biggest grips with most teams. There was no major concerns from Harrell, so he gets my average grade It is hard to grade the backup because when he plays, he gets the watered down offense consisting of handing off the ball or the 1 yard out pass play to the tight end. This hold no more true than with Graham. My personal thoughts are if you are afraid to teach your backup your normal offense for whatever reason, maybe you should be looking for another backup. Remember, he is only one play away from coming in the game.
  • Running Back
    • DuJuan Harris – Grade: B. This guy is the possible light at the end of the tunnel. Harris has the ability to make one cut and use his speed. It is scary how many yards this guy could pick up if had competent run blocking and I’m interested to see what 2013 holds for this guy.
    • John Kuhn – Grade: C. Kuhn does not have the “surprise” ability that he showed a couple of years before. He does show average ability to run and pass block, but is unable to run the ball consistently for the needed yardage.
    • Alex Green – Grade: C-. We keep waiting for Green to break through, but he continues to disappoint, but then again who can blame him with poor run blocking. Therefore those two factors along with his pass catching give him an average grade.
    • James Starks – Grade: D+. Starks shows flashes of hope, but overall can not stay off the injury report.
    • Ryan Grant – Grade: D. Our mid-season desperation move that did not pan out. Grant has lost more than a step or two.
  • Wide Receiver
    • Randall Cobb – Grade: A. This was Cobb’s breakout year and a go-to target for Rodgers. This guy has done everything this year, catch, run and return.
    • James Jones – Grade: A-. This was Jones breakout out season with a significant decrease in the number of dropped passed along with leading the league in TD catches.
    • Jordy Nelson – Grade: B.  Jordy had another good year catching the ball, but was hampered at different points in the season with injury.
    • Greg Jennings – Grade: B-. It appears that Greg has lost a step or two and injuries have taken a toll. The lost of the step has reduce the down field threat from Jennings.
    • Jarrett Boykin – Grade: C-. In a stacked receiving chart, Boykin was unable to break into consistent playing time. During the time he did play, he seem tentative and not always sure of his hands. He also needs to to work on his timing with Rodgers.
    • Donald Driver – Grade: D+. He has been slowly shuffled down the depth chart the last couple of seasons. He has lost a step or two, but did not complain about his role on the team.
    • Jeremy Ross – Grade: D. Minimal playing time during the season on offense, with more of a presence on special teams. Had a costly muffed punt against San Fransisco.
  • Tight End
    • Jermichael Finley – Grade: C-. You get the good with the bad with Finley. He was able to resolve his dropping problem has the season progressed, but could not keep out of trouble with his mouth. Also, for someone with his size, I would expect him to be more dominate and create more issues for the defense. He also could improve in his run blocking.
    • Tom Crabtree – Grade: C-. While a better run blocker than Finley, he does not posses the skills in the pass game yet.
    • D.J. Williams – Grade: D. This guy has not develop yet with minimal playing time on offense.
    • Ryan Taylor – Grade: D. Like Williams, minimal playing time on offense with most time spent on special teams.
  • Offensive Line
    • Josh Sitton – Grade: B. This a tough position to grade because I was unsure if there was a play issue or a offensive scheme issue. Out of the all the linemen, Sitton appeared to be the most consistent.
    • Evan Dietrich-Smith – Grade: B-. He was the biggest improvement on the offensive line and it will be interesting to see how he does in 2013.
    • T.J. Lang – Grade: C. We did not hear much from Lang this season and if you do not hear anything from him, that must mean something is working sometimes.
    • Marshall Newhouse – Grade: C. Most people would say a “C” grade is average shows no sign of improvement, but Newhouse was able to improve over last season to reach a “C” level.
    • Jeff Saturday – Grade: C-. The guy who was suppose to be the anchor of the offensive line was the source of confusion. I’m unsure if that was due to the change of teams or scheme, but this was definitely a down year for him.
    • Don Barclay – Grade: D+. This guy was throwing into the lion’s den and did a average job at times, but showed his inexperienced as a un-drafted free agent.
    • Greg Van Roten – Grade: D. Another un-drafted free agent who played minimally.

Defense:

  • Defensive Line
    • B.J. Raji – Grade: B. He did improve this year, but has a way to go to be a dominate inside presence.
    • Mike Neal – Grade: C+. I was ready to write this player off, but he did improve during the season which led to the increase in the grade.
    • C.J. Wilson – Grade: C. Like Neal, Wilson did improve this season, but he only played to average.
    • Jerel Worthy – Grade: C. In this first season, he was able to record 2.5 sacks playing in 13 games.
    • Ryan Pickett – Grade: C-. Pickett continued to be a force on the inside run, but we are seeing a slight decline in the ability of Picket.
    • Mike Daniels – Grade: C-. Daniels did have a good game against Detroit, but did not play significant time this season
  • Linebacker
    • Clay Matthews – Grade: A. While listed as a linebacker, Mathews plays more like a defensive end but the key is, he does it well. He shows great instincts and power.
    • Dezman Moses – Grade: C-. This guy surprised me this year with his play, but did play like a rookie.
    • Frank Zombo – Grade: C-. This is a guy who let me down this season, with injuries allowing him to play, I expected more out of him given he has been in the league now a couple of years.
    • Brad Jones – Grade: D+. He under-utilizes his strength and sometimes he is too slow to the ball, but somehow we keep this guy around.
    • Terrell Manning – Grade: D. Played a minimum role on the Packers this season as rookie.
    • Jamari Lattimore – Grade: D. Another guy who has played a minimum role.
    • Erik Walden – Grade: D-. A speed linebacker who seems to lost most of the time whether rushing the QB or in coverage. He is incapable of identifying his player pre-snap and staying with him throughout the play. In my personal opinion, he was responsible for shadowing Kaepernick most of the game and letting run wild during the Divisional game as he was chasing the false shadows. His saving grace from an “F” grade was his ability to make a tackle if someone happen to end up near him.
    • A.J. Hawk  – Grade: F. Mr. Magoo could have played the middle linebacker position better than A.J. Hawk. He has poor gap responsibly, unable to tackle the running back, unable to cover the tight end and has poor reaction time. This area should be a focus for the Packers in the off season.
  • Cornerback
    • Casey Hayward – Grade: B+. This guy was the surprise for me. I enjoy the way the guy plays the position and how he adapted to the NFL. A little on the smaller size which means he does not match up well to big No. 1 type receivers.
    • Sam Shields – Grade: C+. Shields played a little better down the stretch. The only issue with Shields is for him to get caught looking the wrong way at times.
    • Tramon Williams  – Grade: C. While still playing the corner position well, Tramon has regressed since 2010. He does not trust his ability and takes too many chances.
    • Charles Woodson – Grade: C. Injuries plagued Woodson this season and it would have been interesting how the season would have went with Woodson at a safely role
    • Davon House – Grade: D+. We saw flashes of good play from House, but he has not been consistent.
    • Jarett Bush – Grade: D- When Bush plays corner, he wanders around like a lost little lamb. His only saving grace from a “F” grade is his play on special teams.
  • Safety
    • Morgan Burnett – Grade: D+. Burnett is always out of position and is afraid to make the open field tackle. He also seems to get beat deep sometimes which is a problem when you are the safety,
    • M.D. Jennings – Grade: D. I thought this guy was robbed during the Fail Mary game, but as the season progressed, I became to realize that M.D. Jennings had what was coming to him during the Seattle game. A number of interceptions went right past him this year including one right through his hands at Minnesota week 17. His ability to make the sure play seemed to elude him and he also seemed to have issues from time to time with gap control.
    • Jerron McMillian – Grade: D: This guy did play like a rookie in the Nickel and Dime packages this year. Hopefully in year two he is able to improve at the safety position.

Special Teams:

  • Mason Crosby, K – Grade: D. This was tough year for Crosby who went through a prolonged slump mid-season, but was able to recover to make his kicks at the end of the season. It still might prudent of the Packers to try out other kickers for next season.
  • Tim Masthay, P – Grade: B. He has been the best punter I can remember since Hentrich.
  • Brett Goode, LS – Grade: C+. If you not talking about bad kick and punt snaps, then this guy must be doing his job right.

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End of an Era for the Packers?

After the 45-31 loss Saturday to the San Francisco 49er’s, I came to the realization that what I was watching was the end of an era in Green Bay Packers football from the Super Bowl winning team in the 2010.

The way the NFL works now in the salary capped free agency era and the way players change teams, you have a 2-4 year window to win the Super Bowl before players either retire, sign bigger contacts or their skill diminishes below a useful capacity and are released. Also other teams start to figure out how these players skills which reduces their impact. After the 2-4 years have passed with no Super Bowl, the team can no long win the Super Bowl without an overhaul on the team. Since the early 90’s, this is how the NFL works.

I would like to to cite the example of the 1996 Green Bay Packers who won Super Bowl Super Bowl XXXI. During the lead up to the Super Bowl winning season the Packers were able to acquire or draft many key players in forming a championship winning team. But after the 1996 season the pieces to the puzzle started to go missing:

  • Keith Jackson retired
  • Edger Bennett got hurt in the 1997 preseason and never played for the Packers again
  • Andre Rison bolted for Kansas City
  • Desmond Howard bolted for Oakland, did return to Green Bay a couple of years later, but it was too late
  • Chris Jacke bolted for Pittsburgh, got hurt, then signed for Washington
  • Reggie White was plagued with injuries in the coming seasons and left Green Bay after the 1998 season.
  • Sean Jones final game was in the 1996 season
  • Eugene Robinson bolted for Atlanta after the 1997 season.
  • Coach Mike Holmgren left after the 1998 season for Seattle
  • OC Sherman Lewis left after the 1999 season
  • Andy Reid left after the 1998 season

All these key people left mainly after the Super Bowl loss to the Denver Broncos or the following season and until a whole new system was implemented, the Packers did win, but could not go all the way to the Super Bowl. Once all the players from the 1996 team era had left, we were able to succeed. Another example of this you are currently seeing this with is the Pittsburgh Steelers who last won the Super Bowl in 2008 and have now surpassed the 4 year window. They finished the last season 8-8.

Based on what I saw Saturday, this is it for Green Bay, major changes need to be made on Offense and Defense to turn over to another era. We are in need of:

  • TE
  • LT/RT
  • DT
  • LB
  • FS/SS

In addition to these changes, some defensive changes are needed after watching how we planned for Kaepernick. I even knew that this guy could run the ball going back to his college days, but we had nobody marking him all night. When this occurs, it is time for a change, not once we hit a 4-12 season, but now while we still have time.

All in all, it will be interesting how this off season will go for the Packers and what changes are made (or not made) and if the Packers are able to continue this streak of success, but I fear that last night was the end of an era and now we begin the slow decline to our final destination …. Failure.

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Finley, Shut Up!

It is said “Least said soonest mended”. Apparently that phase lost on Packers Tight End Jermichael Finley when he stated that the Bears were better off without “Slow Urlacher”. This statement continue a long list of statements that make you want to clamp Finley’s mouth shut. When he keeps his mouth shut or is injured, the Packers are successful, when he is yapping, the Packers seem to struggle amidst the additional attention he draw. On top of that, it seems that he has trouble grasping the concept of catching the ball after he has opened his mouth.

The sad thing is, this guy has the talent, but he tries to run before he can walk. He has a Sterling Sharpe complex, he wants the ball, he wants the attention, but he can not deliver the consistence performance required out of a superstar. To matters worse, he rips or comments on everybody from his own teammates to players on other teams. In the NFL today, teams are usually already all fired up, Finley just likes giving them additional motivation.

Finley does not get it, follow the flow and everybody wins. When Finley was injured a couple of years ago and was out for the rest of the season, what happened…. We won the Super Bowl. When the grand champion of getting attention, Sterling Sharpe got injured in Week 17 in 1994 what happened…. We won the Super Bowl two years later. Keeping the distractions down along with getting on a hot streak near the end of the season generally leads to success in the NFL playoffs.

If Finley wants to help the team he needs to catch the ball and keep the big ole yapper shut!

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