29

October

Second Half of 2012 Season Awaits Green Bay Packers

Green Bay Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy

Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy looks to stop the team’s roller coaster ride

Well, it wasn’t pretty by any means, but as has been said many times: a win is a win is a win.  Sunday’s game was anything but “easy like a Sunday morning” (I’m on the West Coast and it was a 10am start) but in the end, the Packers got the W.  Still, the concerns are valid discussion.

Head Coach Mike McCarthy said that the game was “. . like a roller coaster”.  Often times, the Packers looked flat-out lost out there.  Other times they stepped up when they had to.  They made just enough plays to escape today with a win.  I use the word “escape” because many, including myself, didn’t expect this game to be that close.

Maybe we have all become spoiled over the past four seasons as Aaron Rodgers has moved the ball and scored, seemingly at will.  In reading some of the fan commentary and even some media analysis of the Packers, it would almost seem as though they have actually lost some of the games that they have won.

We have to realize that eventually, opposing defenses are going to come up with an answer to this offensive juggernaut that has been the past few seasons.  Some will point to the New England Patriots as proof to the contrary.  Why have they been able to continue to have offensive success year after year for the past decade?  To that I’d say the Patriots have been more balanced on offense than the Packers tend to be.

As we head into the 2nd half of the season, the Packers are now facing crucial divisional and conference games.  The “tough” part of their schedule is seemingly behind them but none of the NFC North teams want to go away quietly.  The Bears have lost just one game and have a two-game lead in the division.  The Vikings, like the Packers, have five wins.  The Lions eeked their way back today for their 3rd win and have two games against the Pack yet to come.

The Packers need to approach each and every remaining matchup as though it’s an elimination game.  The sense of urgency needs to be there but more importantly, they need to execute on it.  We know they want to get a big stop on 3rd down.  We know they want to put up 300+ passing yards and 35+ points per game.   They have to find a way to get it done.

Next week poses a tougher challenge than it would seem as the Arizona Cardinals come to Green Bay.  The Cards have struggled a bit since winning their first four games but they are still a very dangerous team.   Their defense and pass rush is exactly what the Packers have been struggling against lately.  You can’t just magically make the Green Bay offensive line perform better, but they have to.  The Packers won’t get away with playing how they did today and getting a win next week or beyond.

The air of this post is almost one of gloom-and-doom.  I’m aware that the Pack got the win.  Don’t get me wrong, I am glad they are 5-3 and finding a way to win games like today’s.  But I know what kind of expectations that everyone has for this team, including the team itself.  It will be a huge disappointment if they squander another season because of a string of lame and boneheaded play.

With that said, and it may be a bit premature, but it seems like it’s “gut check” time.  If this team wants to go on a run like they did in 2010 when they won a Super Bowl, they need to start now.  Young guys have to play like they’re not so young.  Older guys need to play like they’re young again.  And the coaching staff has to approach the game as though no option is out of the question.  They can’t sit back and make excuses for who they don’t have available to play each week.  They have to play the remaining eight games regardless so they might as well play like there’s no tomorrow.

Fasten your seatbelts for the second half run!

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Jason Perone is an independent sports blogger writing about the Packers on "AllGreenBayPackers.com

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13 Responses to “Second Half of 2012 Season Awaits Green Bay Packers”

  1. TomTD says:

    The Pack’s zone blocking system sucks!
    There is no other way to put it. At least mix it up some with traps, pitch sweeps, and the old Packer sweep with a pulling guard leading the way.

    Quit running the stretch zone plays-the outside seam is not there and neither is the inside one. We have been getting best runs on draw plays-3 to 6 yards-I think other teams know our play based on keys-our lineman are tipping of each run-there is no run to daylight in this offense-only run into several defenders.

    How do the Patriots and Skins keep running the ball with new backs and new lineman every year-and stay under the cap too-

    Pack is developing free agents and a 7th round pick-either on roster or PS.

    Adrian Peterson would only average 3 yards per carry with our line and scheme-

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  2. Chad Lundberg says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you Jason. Someone who agrees with me.

    Despite the win, the players have to ask themselves – “can we honestly expect to get through the playoffs playing like this”?

    As a fan, that is all I’ve been trying to say. Yes, I get that we won, but do you really think they’ll win a Super Bowl if they don’t clean up?

    Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers said it best. There is simply no excuse for having your team not be good at the things that don’t take talent.

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  3. Bubbaloo says:

    “You can’t just magically make the Green Bay offensive line perform better, but they have to.”
    No you can’t, and Yes they must, but some semblance of an NFL running back would certainly help, a RB that doesn’t trip over his own feet would be a major upgrade! But we can be pretty much assured that TT won’t see it that way come Thursday! Wait till next year, right TT?

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  4. alex parkhurst says:

    We ran a dive play two weeks ago that went for 9 or 10 yards. Kuhn ran the ball with Green lined up in back of him. Our present system requires AR to retreat 5 yards into our backfield and then hand off. Our line can’t hold the blocks that long. You see it every play.

    We haven’t had a running attack in years. We pay coaches big bucks. McCarthy gets $4 to $5 million a year. Is it too much to ask to rethink our running game?

    TomTD above is right. If it ain’t working change it until it does.

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  5. Bomdad says:

    I think opposing defensive backs have been playing very tight and physical with the receivers and there has not been any adjusting to it. Especially Finley since you brought up the Pats, who have goen big and physical with recievers an an emphasis. Coupled with Rodgers conservative play, it’s stifled the O. If he makes some risky throws, the little clutches here and there become PI calls and coverage loosens up. He could run a little more too. So I am not worried. The D seems fine when they don’t have to play more than 50% of the game, and every SB team lately depends on young guys stepping up their game. Lots of opportunity for that to happen.

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  6. frozentundra91 says:

    McCarthy keeps saying running the ball is more about attempts than yards and efficiency. Correct me if I’m wrong but it doesn’t seem like teams respect the running game at all. Why put more men in the box if you can play safeties deep, physical coverage by corners, and still shut down the running game? I’ve noticed teams play against the Packers, Lions, and Saints almost the same way and it’s pretty effective. Just my observations.

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  7. [...] Looking ahead, the Second Half of 2012 Season Awaits Green Bay Packers. [...]

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  8. Jason Perone Jason Perone says:

    Some good commentary! Everyone has valid points in that this team has to do something about the running game. If I have to watch another run right on 1st down for 1 yard. . I’ll start DVR’ing games and fast forwarding.

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  9. Ed Schoenfeld says:

    If you were going to spend a game to find out how good your current running game is, the Jags game would be the one you pick.

    It’s not easy to change from ZBS to power run in mid-season. That’s a scheme that requires different personnel and practice routines (what McCarthy calls an ‘install.’)

    Trading for an expensive veteran RB near his last legs is not the answer, except as a last resort. Anyway they already have that player in Benson who will be back for the playoffs.

    For now they need to get Kuhn healthy (or find a TE who can block a power run), work Starks in, and mix the ZBS stuff with the few power plays they occasionally use. And fans need to be patient.

    One of these things is a bigger challenge than the other one :-)

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    • Bubbaloo says:

      You “know” Benson will be back? The injury was originally reported as a LisFranc injury, the Raiders “Knew” the same thing about Darren McFadden that you “know” about Benson, and McFadden was in walking boot till February. It did accomplish one thing though, they got themselves a new Head Coach!

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      • Bubbaloo says:

        Furthermore Ed, a few more games like Sunday’s, and there won’t be any Playoffs!

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  10. BTF says:

    “Maybe we have all become spoiled over the past four seasons as Aaron Rodgers has moved the ball and scored, seemingly at will”

    If we have we have short memories-the 2010 offense was just as inconsistent and ran the ball just as poorly for most of the season. That season didn’t end too badly..

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