26

October

Packers Playbook (aka Hobbjective Analysis): Week 7 at St. Louis Rams

Like Darren Sharper and Nick Collins, there are defensive backs coming out of college that just seem to get it and can contribute right away.  This year it’s rookie cornerback Casey Hayward, who actually is tied for the lead in interceptions with 4.

Hayward has been a very good slot cornerback behind Tramon Williams, Sam Shields and Charles Woodson, but with Sam Shields out after being kicked in the shin against the Texans, Hayward was shifted out to the outside.  How would he respond in his first start and being left on a island?  Pretty good.  While fans will gush at his acrobatic interception, I would probably suggest that everyone take a step back; Hayward is solid cornerback, just not a playmaker…yet

The Situation: The score is 17-6 in favor of the Packers with 1:25 left in the 3rd quarter.  Needless to say things haven’t gone so well for the Rams in the 2nd half.  For the first 30 minutes of football, the Rams had managed to keep the game close by using a steady diet of ground control football with running backs Steven Jackson and Daryl Richardson.

The Rams also managed to keep the ball out of Aaron Rodgers hands by controlling the clock and as a result the Rams had a significant advantage in the time of possession.  However, the 3rd quarter was all about the Packers, who not only managed to flip the time of possession in 1 quarter, but had managed to do it with a methodical passing game which included 3 passing first downs capped off by a touchdown.  Obviously the Rams are beginning to feel the pressure and need to answer back.  This is the first play after the kickoff.

 

The Formation: The rams come out in a 2-1-2 formation (2WR-1TE-2RB), one of the old school staples of any offense.  WR Brandon Gibson is aligned out wide to the top of the screen while WR Chris Givens is aligned out wide on the bottom of the screen.  TE Lance Kendricks is inline next to the left tackle while TE Matthew Mulligan is aligns like an offset fullback.  RB Steven Jackson rounds out the group by lining up 7 yards behind the scrimmage forming a standard offset I formation.  The look is very biased towards running and presumably the Rams hope to catch the Packers off guard with a play action pass and a shot down the field.

9

October

Little Mistakes Add Up to Big Loss for Packers

Rodgers vs. ColtsThere’s nothing worse than missing a game where the Green Bay Packers lose. Yes, it saves some heartache and keeps the remote control from flying across the room, but it’s disheartening to know that, when I go back and watch it, I’m only going to be disappointed. The one silver lining, however, is that the emotion has taken its course, and I can look at things a little more objectively.

With this in mind, I already knew what to look for when the Green Bay Packers dropped an 18-point halftime lead over the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday. I had to figure out what changed between the two halves of play and why things started going south. A lot of blame was passed around in the 24 hours following the loss, but I wanted to draw my own conclusions with the tape to back up my claims.

And what did I find? While I agree with “Jersey” Al that the offense deserves a lot of the heat, I don’t think I can point my finger directly at the play calling. And though Adam Czech is correct in pointing out the missed scoring opportunity at the end of the first half, I think there’s more to it than that. In fact, what I discovered was a lot of little things that added up to big problems. There was no one consistent failure, but multiple mistakes and drive-killers that allowed the Colts to make an historic comeback.

Dropped Passes by the Usual Suspects

It didn’t take long for people to start asking why the Packers didn’t put the Colts away in the first half. They were sitting on an 18-point lead and had over a minute to put a scoring drive together going into halftime. While it is a good question, the answer didn’t have anything to do with a lack of trying.

The Packers made a nice 6-yard gain on a short outside pass to Kuhn, who also managed to run out of bounds and stop the clock. Good play calling to start the drive, if you ask me. In fact, I didn’t have any issues with the next two play calls – it was the execution that mattered. Jordy Nelson made a big drop over the middle on 2nd-and-4, and then Jermichael Finley followed it up with a drop on third down to end the drive. So after less than 20 seconds coming off the play clock, the Packers punted it back to the Colts.

25

September

Green Bay Packers Deserve The Victory They Earned

Packers vs. Seahawks "Fail Mary"

The Packers earned a victory and nothing less.

These last 24 hours have been so surreal, I don’t think my adrenaline has stopped pumping at full blast since before kickoff. Time seemed to slow down as I waited in intense anticipation for the Green Bay Packers to take on the Seattle Seahawks in what I figured to be a great football game.

Could I have been more wrong?

It started off with Aaron Rodgers and his offensive line giving up eight sacks in the first half. Eight! Then, the previously contained passing game of Russell Wilson fired off a long touchdown, with errors in the secondary. I was so livid, I could have screamed bloody murder. The game plan for the offense was all wrong, and the defense was briefly exposed by a rookie quarterback.

But I persevered and stayed to watch the second half. Fortunately, Mike McCarthy finally realized the error of his ways and made offensive adjustments that started to get the chains moving.  Things were looking up.

And then it all came crashing down with the officiating. I don’t need to go into the details, because I’m sure we’ve all read about as much as we’re capable of today.

Yet, even after the “Fail Mary,” things continued to get my blood boiling. Watching the Packers have to trot back out as slaughtered lambs to play the extra point. Hearing Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson talk about how well they performed at the end to get the win. Seeing the response by the NFL in support of the final touchdown call.

The icing on the cake, though, goes to all those Packers fans and Packers haters who seem to think the Packers should have won despite the officiating.

Seriously? SERIOUSLY!?

I actually visited this issue after the Packers-Cardinals 2009 playoff game, when missed calls seem to cost Green Bay the overtime win. Here’s a little bit of what I said:

Now let me get this out of the way before I continue: I make no excuses for the Green Bay Packers and the way they played this game. Each team earned their score going into overtime, and if the Packers would have secured the ball better in the first quarter and played better on defense, then perhaps they wouldn’t have been in that situation.

25

September

Newspaper Covers and Headlines around the Country: Packers vs. Seahawks

Here’s a collection of Newspaper covers and headlines commenting on the events of last night’s Packers vs. Seahawks Monday Night Fiasco:

 

Seattle Times cover Packers vs. Seahawks

Seattle Times cover

 

NY Daily News Cover - Packers vs. Seahawks

NY Daily News Cover

 

Washington News Tribune - Packers vs. Seahawks

Washington News Tribune Cover

 

New York Post Cover - Packers vs. Seahawks

New York Post Cover -

 

Oshkosh Northwestern Cover - Packers vs. Seahawks

Oshkosh Northwestern Cover

 

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Jersey Al Bracco is the founder and editor of AllGreenBayPackers.com, and the co-founder of Packers Talk Radio Network. He can be heard as one of the Co-Hosts on Cheesehead Radio and is the Green Bay Packers Draft Analyst for Drafttek.com.

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17

September

Packers Play Analysis: Week 2 Versus The Bears

“Good luck [...] Our speed guys are going to get around them, and our big guys are going to throw and go,” Cutler said. “We invite press coverage. We invite man. And if we get in that type of game, our guys outside have to make some plays for us.” – Jay Cutler

After that statement, how would defensive coordinator Dom Capers respond?  Obviously by doing the exact opposite and throwing at Jay Cutler a look he’s probably never seen from the Packers that has neither press nor man coverage. In all honesty I’m not exactly sure what the formation is called, DB Psycho?  Woodson Tampa-2?  Well, one thing is for sure, it confused the hell out of the Bears offense and lead to a Charles Woodson interception.

The situation: The score 3 to 13 in favor of the Packers and the Bears find themselves at 3rd and 11 with 3:18 left in the 3rd quarter; in the previous play TE Kellen Davis was penalized 5 yards for offsides, so the Bears are looking for a big drive to bring the game back to a one score difference.

The formation: The Bears start in a 311 formation (3WR-1TE-1RB) with WR Brandon Marshall out wide right, WR Earl Bennett in the right slot and rookie WR Alshon Jefferies out wide left.  TE Kellen Davis is inline outside the right tackle and RB Matt Forte is to the right of QB Jay Cutler.

The Packers respond with their dime package (1DL-4LB-6DB): DE Jerel Worthy being the lone down linemen with Clay Matthews at LOLB and Erik Walden at ROLB flip flopping their normal positions.  ILB DJ Smith has the center of the field while OLB Dezman Moses has replaced ILB AJ Hawk.  In the secondary, CB Tramon Williams is lined up directly in front of Marshall and CB Sam Shields is lined up against Jefferies.   Rookie CB Casey Hayward has Bennett in the slot while SS Jeron McMillian and FS Morgan Burnett look to be playing a 2 deep shell.   None is of this out of the ordinary, but what is odd is that CB/SS Charles Woodson is lined in the middle 20 yards away from the line of scrimmage.


At the snap: Both Williams and Shield bail out (essentially playing safety), taking away the deep routes while Moses and Hayward come up to cover the flats.  With Hayward taking the flat, McMillan takes responsibility for Bennett.