28

October

It was Ugly, It was Frustrating, but the Packers Won

Morgan Burnett

Morgan Burnett helped the Packers forget about Charles Woodson, at least a little bit.

What? You thought the Jaguars would trot onto Lambeau Field, bow down in worship to the Packers, pee in their pants, and then proceed to get crushed by 35 points?

That doesn’t happen very often, and it didn’t happen on Sunday in Green Bay.

The Packers aren’t the only team with pride, you know. Other teams are more than capable of playing their best when their backs are up against the wall after injuries, bad luck, agonizing losses or whatever else.

I thought this game would be a bit closer than most people predicted (so did Kris Burke). But let’s not judge this game based on how we thought it would go. Let’s break the game down based on what actually happened.

Missing Woodson?
There seems to be two camps of people regarding Woodson:

  1. Those who think Woodson is past his prime and won’t be missed much, if at all.
  2. Those who recognize Woodson as a big name and veteran presence and think he’ll be missed a lot.

Injuries are always bad. You want your players to stay healthy, so I probably fall more in with group No. 2 than group No. 1, but losing Woodson is far from a devastating loss. I think that was obvious Sunday.

There were a few instances of miscommunication in the Packers secondary. I’d like to say that wouldn’t happen with the veteran Woodson out there, but it’s happened a lot over the last season-and-a-half, even when No. 21 was on the field.

Woodson has struggled in coverage all season, and likely would’ve been matched against TE Mercedes Lewis. Lewis had just two catches, so the other guys did a nice job on him.

How about losing Woodson’s impact on blitzes? Morgan Burnett had a sack and a couple nice tackles near the line of scrimmage. He played the blitzer role much better than Woodson has this season.

Running into a Wall
Mike McCarthy seemed to be punishing his own offensive line by continuing to call runs up the middle on first down.

“You guys can’t open up any holes?” McCarthy seemed to be saying. “Fine. I’m going to keep calling runs to see if I can shame you into actually getting some movement.”

To be fair, Alex Green was shaky today. Cutback lanes appeared to be there on a few occasions  and Green either chose to plow into the pile or tripped making a move.

It might be time to give James Starks more of a chance. I’m not giving up on Green by any means, but Starks has a little more experience and if he’s decisive, he has the vision and burst to run well in the Packers system.

Green might be more of a third-down back and pass-catcher as he continues learning.

Jones Looks Good
Let’s end with a positive. Brad Jones had a sack and forced a fumble. He’s filled in admirably at middle linebacker.

He looks a little awkward and indecisive at times, but it’s the first real action he’s seed inside, so what do you expect?

If he can continue providing push up the middle on pass rushes and make the routine tackles, that should be enough to at least partially plug the massive hole left by injuries to Desmond Bishop and D.J. Smith.

What’s Next?
A win is a win, even if it’s ugly. Good teams beat bad teams, and that’s what happened on Sunday.

But if the Packers play as poorly as they did against Jacksonville next week against Arizona, they’ll be 5-4 heading into the bye instead of 6-3 like they hope to be.

The Cardinals secondary is much better than Jacksonville’s and Arizona’s front four will decapitate Aaron Rodgers if the Packers line is shaky and Rodgers holds the ball too long waiting for someone to get open.

If Nelson remains out, I’d like to see more screens and quick slants early to try and slow down the Arizona defense a bit. McCarthy and Rodgers have mostly avoided those two calls all season, so we’ll see if they adjust.

 

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Adam Czech is a freelance reporter and a Packers fan living in the Twin Cities. Follow Adam on Twitter. Read more of Adam's writing on the Packers here.

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---- Get AddToAny

24 Responses to “It was Ugly, It was Frustrating, but the Packers Won”

  1. frozentundra91 says:

    Glad Brad Jones was highlighted. I love his speed out there and he looks decent in coverage. Another positive I would add is Raji. He was really getting a good push up the middle and sealing his gap.

    Couldn’t agree more about the screens and slants against the Cards. The offense better show up against them. Great article.

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  2. Kevin says:

    Really hoping for Ced Benson to get back soon… For now though I would think Starks deserves a chance. In theory his more physical style would work better with these nonexistent holes our O-line is creating

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    • Adam Czech says:

      It’s so hit or miss w/ Starks. I want to say he’d be better, but when he gets indecisive, he’s completely useless. Green is at least decisive, which give me hope if he can ever improve his vision (and not trip over the white lines on the field so often).

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      • Dan "FireMMNow" Blakley FireMMNow says:

        I thought this was Green’s worst game. I felt like he left some yards on the field. I did not feel that way against the rams. The O-line was not great, but it looked like there were a few running lanes missed at times.

        When is MM going to realize that Campen is not a very good OL coach? How long is this team going to stick with him? The OL just does not look technically sound at all. And there is talent there to work with. We have seen more players regress than progress under Campen’s “leadership”.

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        • Rick Racic says:

          When is MM going to realize that Campen is not a very good OL coach? How long is this team going to stick with him? The OL just does not look technically sound at all. And there is talent there to work with. We have seen more players regress than progress under Campen’s “leadership”.

          This is so true. Even guys like Bulaga are regressing on this line.

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  3. Dan says:

    It’s understandable that the Packers would be somewhat limited with Jennings, Nelson, Kuhn, Benson, Woodson, Bishop, Smith, Shields and Perry all being out. What’s troubling is the Packers trenches getting worked over so much in a lot of these games. The O-line is horrible at run blocking and are also giving up to many sacks and pressures. The D front 7 (aside from Mathews) is way to inconsistent at pass rushing. Hardly any pressure again today against a bad team. Throw this in along with lack of emotion in half the games played, some bad playing calling by MM and terrible coverage schemes by Capers, and now a kicker with a head case, and we have a recipe 4 disaster.

    This team needs to get healthy and start playing with an attitude. The front lines need to play pissed off down the stretch and into the playoffs, or they will fail again and have to wait till next year.

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    • Adam Czech says:

      Besides Jones’ sack, blitzes and stunts up the middle seems to create no pressure whatsoever and opened up the entire field for Gabbert to work with.

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  4. Wagszilla says:

    I’m excited for the secondary without Woodson when it solidifies.
    He was missed at times but its a changing of the guard. There’s always a transition period.

    And yes Brad Jones had a pretty awesome game.

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  5. Tarynfor12 Tarynfor12 says:

    Everyone knows I’m a huge Starks believer and even with that,IMO…as bad as Green is as an every down RB and should be used only as a 3rd down guy,if we can get past Ari and into the bye week with just a few plays with Starks for game feel,it would work for the better down the stretch.

    As for Woodson…we will benefit from his return to a point but,moving on from him would be much easier if his value wasn’t over exaggerated.

    As for Finley…he’s a me player as shown by that ridiculous spectacle on display after his catch early and the very little afterwards.Doesn’t get it,never will or will never shake whats bothering him.Send him packing to a new team….done..forever and ever AMEN!!!

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    • Chad Lundberg says:

      What was it again? Oh yeah, he had ONE good catch and celebrated as though he caught a touchdown. One word – EGO.

      The guy has to go…. end of story.

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  6. packett says:

    no excuses about injuries. Jax and Indianapolis also depleted with injuries…yet boasted breakout games of the season against packers. The o-line is bad and gets no push, but you can neutralize with play calling. MM needs a real re-think in strategy. Run D was ok, but seem to me they still getting pushed back 3 yards even when they plug gaps with nowhere to run. 4-5 jax run plays should have gone for couple yards loss. I would like to see that line stout and collapsing opponent line.

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  7. Jeff says:

    Just stop it , the Cardinals are not going to decapitate Rodgers , there will be a whole different game plan. The Cardinl franchise has never on in Lambeau when it was called Lambeau , the last time the Cardinals won here was in 1949 as the Chicago Cardinals in City Stadium. I got news , the Cardinal offensive line is one of the very worst. If there is going to be panic over a win against the Jags , what should there be in Chicago ? a healthy Bear team was totally otplayed by Carolina and were very lucky to win.

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    • Adam Czech says:

      No panic here, Jeff. We’re just talking about football and the Packers.

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  8. Sven says:

    Just win, Baby.

    This is overcoming adversity.

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  9. Dan "FireMMNow" Blakley FireMMNow says:

    Sometimes you have to win ugly. It was pretty obvious that the energy was not there. This team just came off of two road games that were pretty close to must wins. They overlooked the Jags without a doubt. But overall the defense and special teams played well. When you get wins on the back of your ST and D, they always look ugly.

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    • Art says:

      Not quite sure why I keep reading that the Defense played well. Once again we gave either a rookie QB or a nobody QB their best passing stats for the season. Is it the D, Capers or MM? I am not a Woodson fan, have consistently called him a liability for two years, and we won a SB without him and 16 players on IR (so let’s not talk about his absence), but our D is still killing us. Add that to an invisible OL and we have trouble, with a Capital T right here in GB city.

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      • Dan "FireMMNow" Blakley FireMMNow says:

        yards given is not the stat to look at when evaluating a defense. the jags gave up less yards and more points to the packers. the packers gave up 15 points and 6 of those came on a turnover deep in their own territory. this is not the 85 bears defense, but the defense did not kill this team, they helped it survive an awful game by the offense.

        the offense gets a pass all the time. the defense played good football. forced lots of punts, forced a turnover. i am not saying this is a great defense, but they played pretty well over all. no team is going to pitch a shut out every week.

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        • Dan "FireMMNow" Blakley FireMMNow says:

          and it took gabbert 49 passes to get to 300 yards. he completed 55% of his passes. he started 8 for 10 after that he was 19 for 39. put up all the yards you want going 19 for 39.

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  10. Toch says:

    been reading this site for a couple years now, Great info & thanks to Jersey Al for running this. 1st time replying;
    I don’t think Capers will last beyond this season, D looks like 2011 without the turnovers. Finley should be gone after this season. O line coach will also be gone – no progress seen this year protecting Rodgers and no run game again.
    loss of Woodson & Jordy really hurts.

    MM playcalling yesterday – run the ball got real old and di dnothing but make every 3rd down longer.

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    • Dan "FireMMNow" Blakley FireMMNow says:

      explain to me how giving up 15 points is a bad performance?!?! i have never seen so much hate for a unit that gave up 3 field goals when a team had to start in its own territory. what do people expect. this is the nfl where every rule is slanted to the offense.

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      • Adam Czech says:

        I agree w/ you, FireMMNow, but let me play devil’s advocate…..

        Do you think the D would’ve given up only 15 points if they were playing an offense that had an above average QB and wasn’t missing its stud RB?

        There were a lot of blitzes yesterday that came nowhere close to getting home. Also, miscommunication in the secondary reared its ugly head again.

        Most Packers fans seem to judge the team based on their own high expectations while incorporating long-term ramifications. What actually happens on the field often gets overlooked. That’s often frustrating because it leads to a lot of bitching and moaning, even after a Packers win and a relatively good game from the D.

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        • Dan "FireMMNow" Blakley FireMMNow says:

          this may be long

          there are a lot of what ifs in that question. i am guessing DC said, let gabbert beat us, and load up on the run. if that was brees back there game plan would have been different. yeah the jags were missing MJD, the packers were missing 6 or 7 starters on defense.

          if the offense would have done its job the defensive yardage stats would have looked better. the jags had the worst rushing D in the nfl. the offense did not capitalize. the jags were missing 3 of 4 starters in their secondary. the offense did not capitalize. time of possession was even because the offensive execution was poor. the defense forced 5 punts and recovered a fumble. when the defense does that the offense needs to take advantage and keep the ball. instead they punted 5 times and lost a fumble as well.

          not every blitz is going to get home. they got 2 sacks off of blitzes. if DC does nothing and sits with 8 in coverage he gets criticized. when he brings pressure and it does not get home he gets criticized. do you think that sometimes he doesnt bring pressure because the MLBs are not great blitzers?

          if i was going to say that any unit played poorly on sunday it would be far and away the offense. they put up a season low in yardage and probably points as well, but it is the defenses fault for not “putting a team away”. offense puts teams away, defense can only stop an opponent from putting your team away and they did that admirably yesterday.

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  11. barry says:

    The problem with run was McCarthy insisted on running it up middle–seemed like every first down we would run up middle 2 yards (it was consitant 2 yrds everytime)–it happened probably 10 times. It doesnt work. Saturday cant make it happen.Later in day we started running off guard and between tackle/guard and got some better runs.

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