14

December

Green Bay Packers: Receivers Fumble, Team Stumbles

Forget for a minute the Detroit Lions abusing the Green Bay Packers’ front four for 190 yards rushing on 41 carries, if you can. Forget the four sacks, the dominance over the running game, and the utter havoc wreaked on the offensive line by the Lions’ front four.

Forget the 73-yard-oh-wait-how-is-that-not-a-touchdown perpetuated by Greg Jennings, the failed fourth-and-one pass, and everything else but Andrew Quarless’s fumble.

How in the hell have the Packers been fumbling so often this season? And I don’t mean quarterbacks or running backs, either. Our vaunted corps of WRs has been coughing up the football at an astonishing rate this season.

I am absolutely thrilled to be putting up this sort of an image.

Let’s take a look at the numbers:

Eagles: None.

Bills: James Jones, John Kuhn. Both are recovered by Packers.

Bears: Jones’ infamous fumble on the final drive leads to a Bears victory.

Lions: Jordy Nelson loses two fumbles, both on kickoff returns.

Redskin: Donald Lee coughs it up on the second play from scrimmage.

Dolphins: None.

Vikings: None by receivers, but Brandon Jackson does recover his own fumble.

Jets: None. Hey, we’re on a roll!

Cowboys: Jones fumbles for the third time, but it was a rout, right? Who cares.

Vikings: None. Wait, is this all just smoke and mirrors?

Falcons: Holy sheet, I guess not. Jennings fumbles twice and Rodgers fumbles twice, losing one.

49ers: None.

Lions: Quarless.

How in the devil does a receiving group fumble that often? Counting Jordy Nelson’s malfeasance against the Lions in Week 4, the receivers have collectively tossed the ball away nine times. Five of those times, the other side fell on it.

Running backs and quarterbacks account for another four fumbles, with one (Rodgers against Atlanta) lost. Maybe we need Edgar Bennett to jump over into Jimmy Robinson’s turf and start cracking heads, because I for one think that there is no excuse for that level of fumblitis.

There’s no excuse for any of the problems listed up top, but this one stands out to me as particularly awful. Only six of 13 games in which someone did not cough up the ball?! Gentlemen (and ladies), this is messed up.

13

December

Green Bay Packers Post-Detroit: Crawling through the Wreckage

There will be no “Victory Monday” for the Green Bay Packers this morning. Instead, players will most likely be cruising the snow-covered streets of Green Bay, making their way to the warm confines of their practice facilities. While it will be warm in there, I wouldn’t say the feeling will be very cozy.

They will be met by a very unhappy coaching staff, upset as much at themselves as they are at the players.  Together, they will watch a B-Movie horror flick, the best description I can think of for the Packers abomination of a game in Detroit yesterday afternoon.

This brings back some memories from HS Football. I remember watching game films (on a projector – remember those?) after a bad loss. I remember my coach stopping after almost every play to ream somebody out for a bad performance.

I remember one particular film session, where I easily had the worst game of my High School career. I was a left tackle that year, and that game there was a defensive end I just could not block. No matter what I tried, the kid beat me on every play.

As the team was watching the film, the coach ran one particular play over and over, where I had failed to execute a rather simple block,  making sure to point me out to everyone, focusing their full attention on my horrible effort.  I was humiliated, and it has stayed with me after all these years, still haunting me. But one thing you can be sure of, I never again gave such a poor effort on the football field.

The players  and the coaches will be watching the film together. There will be much humiliation amongst the offensive line, but I’m sure Mike McCarthy won’t be quite as evil as my head coach was that day. After all, that was more than 30 years ago, and we’re much more “civilized” now.

The players should feel the humiliation, nonetheless. Especially on the offensive side of the ball. A team with playoff aspirations, lost a late-season division  game to a 2-10 team down to their 3rd string QB and more players on IR than the Packers.  “Super Bowl or Die” feels like so long ago, doesn’t it?

12

December

Packers 3, Detroit 7: Stupidity Rules

The Packers inexplicably fell to the Detroit Lions today, in what I can honestly say was some of the stupidest football playing I’ve seen in awhile.

It was an UGLY start for the Green Bay Packers today, with a scoreless first half a gift to the Packers thanks to  Drew Stanton and his two interceptions.

Things only got worse as Aaron Rodgers stupidly refused to slide after having already picked up a first down and got knocked out of the game with a concussion.

Not surprisingly, Matt Flynn had limited success, doing SOME good things but ultimately failing when the Packers needed it most. I don’t blame Flynn for the loss, however. Matt Flynn is who I thought he was.

My game day impressions:

PREGAME:

The whole trap game concept has been discussed thoroughly here and here. While I do believe in the concept of a trap game, I think the particular circumstances of each such game have to be taken into account.

In a case like this game today, with the Packers fighting for a playoff spot, needing division wins and only four games left in the season, I just don’t think it’s possible the Packers will take this game lightly.

MY KEY TO THE GAME: If I had to pick JUST ONE thing, it would be this: Get after Drew Stanton. Detroit has the weapons at wide receiver to give any team a tough time. Give Stanton the time to throw it up there to Calvin Johnson & Co., and you’re just asking for trouble. Make Stanton’s life difficult from the first play, and the turnovers will follow.

My 1A key to the game is to take the same approach on offense as they did against the 49ers. Throw the ball downfield and take advantage of the very week Detroit secondary. Of course, the offensive line will need to give Rodgers some time to do so.

Lions had 431 yards of offense in their last meeting….

Inactive for Green Bay on Sunday: Bigby, P. Lee, Smith, Hall, Wilhelm, McDonald, Newhouse and Jenkins.

No surprises this week. Still pretty sad to see Jenkins’ name there…

Once again, all three fullbacks are active.

MM Comments on WTMJ Pregame show:

It’s a good day to be inside…

3

October

Packers 28 Lions 26 – First Impressions – What the Hell is Going On Out There?

The Packers managed to survive today against the 0-3 Detroit Lions, but just barely. The Packers defense surrendered 431 yards of offense to the Lions, with 308 coming from the vaunted arm of, yes, Shaun Hill. Without a few early game gifts from Jahvid Best, The Packers would not have been running down the clock on their final drive, but rather trying to come back to  win the game.  The Packers are 3-1, but it’s been anything but comfortable. Here is a running tally of my comments and first impressions as the game progressed…

PREGAME:
Inactives: Shields, Peprah, Chillar, Johnson, McDonald, Lang, Newhouse, Wynn

A few significant things with the inactives:

Hard to imagine, but Shields not being available is actually a problem for the Packers. For a UDFA who has only played CB for a year, Shields has done an improbable nice  job so far as a starting nickel back for the Packers. Now the preseason favorite for that spot, Brandon Underwood or Jarret Bush will get their opportunity to step in and show what they can do.

The second thing to look at is the absence of Brandon Chillar. Not being able to slot Chillar in on the nickel defense will certainly invite the Lions to test the coverage skills of AJ Hawk and Nick Barnett. Desmond Bishop figures to get some playing time today, as well.

And finally, Quinn Johnson is inactive in favor of Dimitri Nance. Hopefully Nance gets a few chances today, but more significant to me is that Johnson is still the third string fullback. The fact that he hasn’t progressed that much and has not been able to help on special teams is rather disappointing. I had higher hopes for him. Still early in his career, though – not giving up on him yet.

THE GAME:

During the first series, we see something that to me, is always lacking in the Packers running game – an actual short pitch from Rodgers to Jackson to get him to the corner more quickly. If you think about it, it’s uncanny how infrequently you see plays like that from MM’s playbook.

Speaking of rarities, on the third down tight end screen to Pettigrew, we witnessed a rare Charles Woodson missed tackle. He may have slipped, but he was one-on-one with Pettigrew and whiffed.