20

January

Comparing the Packers Defense to the Juggernauts in Seattle and San Francisco

Seahaws CB Richard Sherman gave a postgame interview after his team won the NFC Championship game that would’ve fit well into one of the Godfather movies.

An email exchange among Jersey Al and the ALLGBP.com crew during the NFC championship game between the Seahawks and 49ers got me thinking about the Packers defense compared to the two defensive units we saw on the field in Seattle on Sunday.

The Seahawks defense is like The Godfather: Tough, gritty, innovative, in-your-face, shocking at times and wildly entertaining.

The 49ers defense is like the The Godfather Part II: Unique, equally as tough, maybe a little sleeker, and just as shocking.

The Packers defense is like The Godfather Part III: A few decent moments, but mostly hated by fans of the Godfather franchise, boring, dated, slow and frustrating.

If there are any mafia Dons among the millions of Packers fans throughout the world, perhaps one of them could make the 49ers or Seahawks an “offer they couldn’t refuse” to swap defenses with the Green and Gold.

When you were watching the Seahawks and 49ers defenses on Sunday, what came to mind when you compared them to the Packers D?

 

 

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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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14

January

The Packers are still among the NFL’s Elite (if they can stop being so fragile)

It’s tough to be an elite team when the franchise quarterback breaks his collar bone.

I’ve heard all about how the Packers aren’t on the same level as the Seahawks or 49ers.

I’ve read the pleas for Ted Thompson to start signing veteran free agents to plug roster holes.

I’ve seen the calls for Dom Capers to be fired.

I’ve noted the cries for more playmakers on both sides of the ball.

I’ve gotten frustrated at the Packers poor special teams play.

I’ve been exasperated by the play of Morgan Burnett and Brad Jones after they signed contract extensions.

I’ve been just as frustrated (warning: NSFW. And it’s not me in the video. I swear.) as all of you have been after another early playoff exit.

I agree that the Packers haven’t been as good as San Francisco or Seattle over the last two seasons.

I agree that Ted Thompson should not completely ignore veteran free agency when building his roster.

I wouldn’t mind seeing Capers gone.

I’d like more playmakers on the field, just like every other team’s fanbase would.

I hate getting irrationally angry after the Packers allow a long kickoff return.

I wish Burnett and Jones (and Raji, as long as we’re at it) would quit stealing money from the Packers.

These are legit problems that the Packers faced this season and should address in the future. But isn’t the Packers main problem injuries?

If the Packers don’t play significant parts of the season without Aaron Rodgers, Clay Matthews, Casey Hayward, Randall Cobb, Jermichael Finley and Bryan Bulaga, wouldn’t a lot of these other issues be covered up?

If Eddie Lacy, Sam Shields, James Jones, Nick Perry, Evan Dietrich-Smith and Robert Francois don’t miss all or parts of multiple games, would the Packers be on the same level as San Francisco and Seattle?

I think they would be. And that’s not making excuses or being blind to the fact that a few things around 1265 Lombardi Ave. could be done differently. It’s hard to be elite when you play without your best offensive player, best defensive player, your starting left tackle, your top tight end, one of your best wide receivers and a really good special teams player for most of the season.

5

January

Another ho-hum Playoff Performance from Packers QB Aaron Rodgers

Once again, Packers QB Aaron Rodgers could not lead the Packers to a playoff win.

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers signed a $110 million contract extension before the 2012 season. In Sunday’s wild-card round playoff loss to the 49ers, Rodgers made a couple of $110 million plays, but didn’t have a $110 million game.

The performance was a microcosm of Rodgers’ postseason play since winning Super Bowl XLV.

Now before you get all bent out of shape, I’m not blaming Rodgers for the loss or demanding that the Packers try and find a new quarterback. Rodgers is the best quarterback in the league and he gives the Packers a legit shot at the Super Bowl every season.

And I do feel guilty for writing a post that is critical of Rodgers when there are all kinds of other reasons why the Packers season has ended early three years in a row.

But ever since going on a tear and winning the Super Bowl in 2010, Rodgers hasn’t had another standout postseason performance — the kind of game that cements legacies and delivers memorable playoff wins that are talked about for the next 30 years.

Rodgers’ quarterback rating on Sunday was 97.8. That’s very good. However, he only threw for 177 yards and when the Packers had a chance to take control of the game early, Rodgers and the offense went three-and-out on its first three possessions. Then when the Packers had a chance to take a lead late, Rodgers and offense sputtered in the red zone and only managed a game-tying field goal.

Rodgers hasn’t thrown for more than 300 yards in the postseason since Super Bowl XLV and has only six touchdowns in four games.

49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has 1,025 passing yards and two fourth-quarter rallies in four playoff games (and 362 rushing yards). Colts quarterback Andrew Luck has 731 passing yards one fourth-quarter comeback win in only two playoff games. Rodgers has 972 passing yards and zero fourth-quarter comebacks in his last four postseason games.

Since hoisting the Lombardi Trophy three seasons ago, the Packers are 17-for-49 (35 percent) on third-down conversions in the postseason. During the Super Bowl run, Rodgers helped the Packers convert 24 of 49 (49 percent) third downs.

5

January

Packers vs. 49ers – Game Day First Impressions, Unfiltered: GB 20 SF 23

hands_to_faceGreen Bay Packers vs. San Francisco 49ers:  2013 Wild Card Round

Unfiltered game day blog post of comments, observations and first impressions.

GAME NOTES:

This will be the second meeting this season and the fourth in the last 16 months between the clubs. The Packers visited San Francisco in Week 1 this season, a 34-28 win for the 49ers.

Including playoffs, the Packers have won 13 of the last 17 games against the 49ers, but San Francisco has emerged victorious in the last three.

It’s cold at Lambeau Field, with temperatures in the single digits and dropping. It’s possible the temperature will remain at or above zero through most of the game, with the brutal cold arriving later in the evening. Still, wind chills will be in the minus-20 range for most of the game and possibly getting worse.

 

As per team tradition, the Packers alternated game captains each week during the regular season. The team elects captains for the entire postseason.

Today’s captains for the Packers will be WR Jordy Nelson and QB Aaron Rodgers (offense), S Morgan Burnettand LB A.J. Hawk (defense), and K Mason Crosby and CB Jarrett Bush (special teams).

 

Inactives for today’s game:

Green Bay PackersGreen Bay Packers
13 WR Chris Harper
16 QB Scott Tolzien
20 CB Jumal Rolle
51 LB Nate Palmer
52 LB Clay Matthews
65 G Lane Taylor
73 C/G JC Tretter

San Francisco 49ers
22 CB Carlos Rogers
46 TE Derek Carrier
54 LB Nick Moody
62 G Ryan Seymour
71 DT Quinton Dial
78 G Joe Looney
84 WR Jon Baldwin

Startling lineup change: 26 CB Trumaine Brock starts for Rogers.

 

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Packers vs. 49ers – First Impressions – First Half:

Hope all the #Packers fans at Lambeau stay warm and BRING THE NOISE!!! #gopackgo

The Eagles’ loss to the Saints last night highlights the problems of poor run defenses. I’m hoping but not confident that the Packers can get back into their earlier season form in that regard.

Three runs to start the game, and a three-and-out. Message sent, but at what cost?

Sam Shields down… Not a good sign for the Packers.

Two fumbles so far, one by each team. Could see more of this with the weather, but who will take advantage of it?

It’s going to be a long day for the secondary, as Crabtree is wide open for the 4th down conversion.

3

January

Will Packers Defensive Coordinator be up for the Task against 49ers?

Time for Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers to step up on Sunday.

The fate of Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers likely will not be decided by what happens on Sunday against the 49ers, nor should it be. Decisions on whether to hire or fire a coach should not be made based on a single game.

But if Capers gets outclassed by Jim Harbaugh and the 49ers yet again, Packers general manager Ted Thompson and coach Mike McCarthy would at least have to swallow hard before deciding to stick with Capers for the 2014 season.

Under Capers, the Packers defense has been completely run over by the 49ers. In their last three meetings. San Francisco has:

  • Averaged 483 total yards
  • 200 rushing yards
  • 5.5 yards per rush
  • 284 passing yards
  • Completed 67 percent of its passes
  • Averaged 35 points.

And all of those abysmal performances came with Clay Matthews healthy and playing.

This entire Packers season has been about hanging in there, catching a break here and there among all the injuries and chaos, and eventually persevering. That’s exactly what the Packers need from Capers and his defense on Sunday.

We’re not asking for a shutout or a repeat of the 1994 wild-card game where the Packers held Barry Sanders to -1 rushing yards. A handful of three-and-outs mixed in with a couple of turnovers will be perfectly acceptable. Oh, and consistently getting off the field on third down would be nice.

It’s nice having Aaron Rodgers back and all, but let’s not make him feel like he has to score every single time he has the ball.

In their last three playoff losses, the Packers have allowed 45, 37 and 51 points. It’s time for Capers and his defense to step up in a big spot and come through. Yes, I realize the defense is filled with young and inexperienced players — I don’t envy any defensive coordinator who has to rely on Andy Mulumba and M.D. Jennings as much as Capers does — but Packers fans stopped caring about excuses a long time ago.

Very few Packers fans think Capers is up for the task. Very few Packers fans also thought Green Bay would make the postseason. When the Packers are down and out, they usually end up rising and proving a lot of people wrong.

3

January

Packers Periscope: Wild Card vs. San Francisco 49ers

The Past: Do we really need to remind ourselves of the past?  Sometimes it seems like certainly match-ups become one sided rivalries; in the 1990′s the Packers seemed never able to beat the Dallas Cowboys and recently it’s seemed like the Packers have always gotten better of the Atlanta Falcons and Chicago Bears but the team that seems to give the Aaron Rodgers Packers the most problems is the Jim Harbaugh lead San Francisco 49ers.  Quarterback Colin Kaepernick stole the show in their last playoff meeting, setting a new record for yards on the ground for a quarterback and added 263 yards in the air and two touchdowns.  On the other side of the ball, Aaron Rodgers just couldn’t get anything going against the stout 49ers defense and was stymied into a 1 dimensional passing attack.

The Packers drew the unfortunate luck of having to see their rivals right out of the gate this season with similar results. Again Aaron Rodgers couldn’t get much going against the defense, the running game lead by two rookies just wasn’t ready and the defense fell apart, this time only through the passing game as Kaepernick threw for 412 yards and 3 touchdowns and made aging receiver Anquan Boldin look like the second coming of Jerry Rice.

Since then the Packers have mostly been licking their wounds quietly with bigger issues to fry such as replacing Rodgers for 8 games while his shoulder blade recovered, or having to find a new defensive line and linebacking core as players shuffled in due to injuries.  Getting to the playoffs was essentially a pipe dream until week 17 (the Packers at the lowest had a 6% shot at getting into the playoffs), when they secured their playoff berth with a miracle 4th down touchdown from Rodgers to Randall Cobb, who was also coming back from a horrific bone break of his own.  While neither the Packers nor the Bears were really expected to fare all that well in the playoffs, getting in is an accomplishment on its own, especially considering the wretched season they had to endure just to get to this point.

16

September

The BIG 3 are Coming up Huge for the Packers Defensive Line

Ryan “Big Grease” Pickett has anchored the Packers defensive line through the first two weeks.

The big three — and I literally mean the B-I-G three — on the Packers defensive line have come to play through the season’s first two games.

Packers = soft? It looks like B.J. Raji, Ryan Pickett and Johnny Jolly have taken it upon themselves to change that equation.

The trio, which weighs a combined 1,000 pounds, played a key role in containing Colin Kaepernick’s running and shutting down Frank Gore in week one. On Sunday against the Redskins, they collapsed the pocket in the first half, allowing blitzers to get in Robert Griffin III’s face.

Pickett even swatted a pass and Raji was wagging his finger after a couple stuffs at the line.

All three players are free agents after this season. It’s an easy talking point to say that players are better in their contract years, but I don’t necessarily buy that theory (that talking point has been proven false, for fantasy football purposes, anyway).

Pickett is a prideful leader who wants to prove he still belongs. Jolly knows he’s beyond lucky to have another shot at both life and the NFL. Raji is an uber-talented player who can be unblockable in stretches.

Whatever the reason, all three are playing great and it seems like they’re energy is giving the entire defense a boost. I’m really looking forward to what this defense can do when Morgan Burnett and Casey Hayward return and take advantage of what the Big Three are doing up front.

Sure, it’d be nice to get more of a pass rush out of the Packers’ defensive line, but if the Big Three can keep can keep winning their one-on-one matchups, it should free up others to get after the QB while keeping the run defense strong.

Another player to watch: Datone Jones.

The rookie has been invisible the first two weeks. Not sure if his ankle is still bothering him or if he’s just going through the typical struggles of a rookie defensive lineman. Either way, if he manages to come around and provide a little pass rush, this d-line could go from solid to downright dangerous in a hurry.

I know it’s early. But through two games, we can’t call this Packers defense soft (a little lost in the secondary at times, maybe, but not soft). A big reason for that is the play of Pickett, Raji and Jolly.