22

August

Eddie Lacy, Jermichael Finley and the Play-Action pass

Jermichael Finley enjoyed a big day against the Rams, due, in part, to Eddie Lacy.

Jermichael Finley enjoyed a big day against the Rams, due, in part, to Eddie Lacy.

Despite not punching the ball into the endzone, the Packers’ (kinda) first-team offense passed the eye test Saturday night against the St. Louis Rams.

Eddie Lacy continually punished defenders with his smash-mouth, bulldozer-like running style. Jermichael Finley was running free in the Rams’ secondary, four times catching wide-open passes from Aaron Rodgers.

On 18 snaps against the Rams on Saturday, Finley managed to catch four passes for 78 yards. Last season, Finley set a franchise record for receptions by a tight end with 61, but his 78 yards Saturday night would have been his highest single-game total in 2012.

And with Lacy providing the Packers with a newfound physical ground game, totaling Finley’s job may be a little easier in 2013.

The former Alabama running back racked up 40 yards on eight carries despite subpar offensive line play, as outlined earlier this week by Jersey Al. And although it was Lacy’s first game appearance in the NFL, it’s pretty clear that the Rams already respected the 22-year-old bruiser.

Let’s take another look at Lacy’s two best runs of the night.

1st Quarter 14:31 remaining

In a two-tight formation, Lacy gets the handoff as the single back. The line is sliding to the right, but center Evan Dietrich-Smith doesn’t quite have the quickness to cross his man’s face.

But instead of being stopped for negative yards, Lacy uses his well-documented spin move to get upfield. It was only a seven-yard gain, but a runner creating something out of nothing hasn’t been a common occurrence in Green Bay as of late.

1st Quarter 13:23 remaining

Again, Evan Dietrich-Smith is beaten off the line, but Lacy’s power bails him out.

After breaking out of the defensive tackle’s tackle, Lacy sheds another arm tackle from rookie linebacker Alec Ogletree. The 15-yard gain was Lacy’s longest of the night. It was at this point that Packers fans were all like, “Wow.”

On two of Finley’s four catches, Rodgers began the play with a fake handoff to Lacy. Let’s take a look at those two plays.

1st Quarter 14:01 remaining

Finley is lined up in the slot, Lacy is the deep back and the Rams are in zone coverage. Finley has a cornerback lined up across from him, but he’s released into the middle of the field upon his break.

17

August

Packers vs. Rams – Game Day First Impressions, Unfiltered: GB 19 STL 7

Packers - Rams

Green Bay Packers vs. St. Louis Rams:  2013 Preseason game 2

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

Inactives for today:

Green Bay PackersGreen Bay Packers
16 WR Kevin Dorsey
17 WR Charles Johnson
18 WR Randall Cobb
26 RB DuJuan Harris
28 S Sean Richardson
29 CB Casey Hayward
38 CB Tramon Williams
73 T JC Tretter
75 T Bryan Bulaga
78 T Derek Sherrod
81 TE Andrew Quarless
82 TE Ryan Taylor
87 WR Jordy Nelson
95 DE Datone Jones
99 DE Jerel Worthy

St. Louis Rams
27 S Matt Giordano
30 RB Zac Stacy
54 LB Jabara Williams
57 LB Sammy Brown
64o OL Sean Hooey
76 T Rodger Saffold
97 DE Eugene Sims

 

 GAME NOTES:

All eyes will be on the Packers offense. Mike McCarthy earlier in the week said he’s looking for a much better performance from them in this game. Since Aaron Rodgers will still get limited snaps, that means one of their backup quarterbacks will actually have to look like, you know, a quarterback.

My eyes will be looking for Eddie Lacy. Want to see if he’s as good against real competition as he looked on family night…

 

 

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Mike McCarthy Pregame Show on 620 WTMJ:

Keys to 2nd preseson game:  Develop team personality.  See guys step into leadership roles.  Have a lot of guys who need to play better and need to take advantage of opportunities with guys out injured

Eddie Lacy:  Biggest thing is how he responds.  Hasn’t played since Family Night so will play rep count by ear

Kick Returner:  Big week for Jeremy Ross.  Needs to play well at both receiver and in return game.  Micah Hyde going to get a chance to return kicks in second half as well

Mike Neal at OLB:  Mike will play in some rush situations

Quarterback situation:  Vince Young’s playlist has increased and will have more opportunities than last week.  Plan is to give Rodgers twice as many snaps as last week

Preseason play calling:  Not a big believer of calling “gadget” plays in preseason.  Save those for regular season.

Adversity defense:  How the defense prepares for the game and responds after other team makes a big play.  This is a focus this season

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21

October

Packers vs. Rams – Game Day First Impressions, Unfiltered: GB 30 STL 20

Jordy Nelson vs Rams

Jordy Nelson vs Rams – Picture by Rick Wood, JsOnline.com

Green Bay Packers vs. St. Louis Rams:

My unfitered game day running blog post of comments, observations and first impressions.

Inactive for Packers today:

  • LB D.J. Smith
  • LB Nick Perry
  • CB Sam Shields
  • WR Greg Jennings
  • DT B.J. Raji
  • OL Greg Van Roten
  • RB Johnny White

Inactive for Rams today:

  • WR Danny Amendola
  • DT Matt Conrath
  • QB Austin Davis
  • RB Terence Ganaway
  • LB Mario Haggan
  • T Wayne Hunter
  • T Roger Saffold

Game Notes:

 

———————————————

Mike McCarthy Pregame Show on 620 WTMJ:

 

Big Win: The best part is we were able to play a complete sixty minutes and excelled in all three phases of the game. Easily our best performance of the year.

Moving forward:   Consistency is a big part of our business. We’ve been able to do that in the past. it’s time for this 2012 team to do the same.

B Jones / Hayward: They both have practiced hard and are ready to go. Jones is extremely consistent and dependable and he has had a great week of practice. Casey keeps getting better with each opportunity. the game will dictate what we do but I look for both of these guys to play an important role.

Rams a year later: There’s a lot of things different. Their talent level has definitely increased. Their younger players and draft picks are playing well. Jeff Fisher is clearly one of the best coaches in our league.

Ram’s’ Defense: Good depth on the DL, very aggressive on the front seven. It’s a defense that will definitely challenge us today.

Bradford: He”s had a challenge of going through different systems. he’s now in a QB-friendly system that I think he can propser in.

RB Daryl Richards0n: From Abilene Christian – he’s explosive. Watched the Sunday night game against the Cardinals – he definitely jumped out at me.

3rd week on the road: Don’t get me wrong, it will be good to be home next week, but we don’t mind these 55 minute flights.

——————————————-

 

Packers vs. Rams – First Impressions – First Half:

Packers win the toss and defer.

Rams show early the Packers can expect a heavy diet of running plays. At least as long as the game is close.

17

October

Packers vs. Rams: 5 Observations from Green Bay’s 24-3 Win over St. Louis

Photo: Mark Hoffman, Journal Sentinel

Aaron Rodgers threw three first half touchdowns, including strikes of 93 and 35 yards, and the Packers (6-0) defense made enough plays to keep the Rams out of the end zone as Green Bay rolled to a 24-3 win over the still winless Rams (0-5).

Here are five observations from the game:

1. Quick start

For the third time this season, the Packers scored 24 points in the first half of a game. For a team that has occasionally gotten off to slow starts in the past, that’s an encouraging sign. The Packers got a field goal from Mason Crosby—his franchise record-tying 17th straight made kick—on their first possession in the first quarter. After a punt on the next series, the Packers scored touchdowns on three straight possessions to essentially put the deflated Rams away. The first score came following James Starks’ 15-yard run on a fourth-and-1 play. Aaron Rodgers’ run-action fake gave him all day as he rolled to his left, and James Jones worked his way back from the righthand of the formation to haul in Rodgers’ perfectly thrown pass in the end zone. In a wind that gave both special teams units problems, Rodgers’ throw couldn’t have been placed any better.

Rams punter Donnie Jones pinned the Packers at the 7-yard-line to begin their next drive, but Jordy Nelson’s perfectly ran sluggo route on former Packers Al Harris allowed him to get behind the Rams defense for a 93-yard score. Harris bit hard on Rodgers’ pump, but there’s no doubting that Nelson has proven to be a home run hitter through six games in 2011. He has 20 catches for 409 yards and four scores, with three of the touchdowns coming from 50 yards or further out.

Rodgers’ final touchdown pass, this time to Donald Driver, capped an 11-play, 77 yard drive that gave the Packers a 24-point lead with under two minutes left in the first half. Facing a second-and-goal, Rodgers again rolled to his left, and Driver made a veteran move to get space in the end zone for a sidearm throw from Rodgers. At that point, Rodgers had 234 yards passing and three scores for a perfect 158.3 rating. Any scoreline from the Packers seemed attainable with the way the offense was clicking to start the game. It probably goes without saying, but the Packers will be a tough out if they continue to play that well to begin games.

16

October

Packers vs. Rams Preview: 5 Things to Watch

Second-year quarterback Sam Bradford leads the winless St. Louis Rams (0-4) into Lambeau Field to face Aaron Rodgers and the undefeated Green Bay Packers (5-0).

The basics 

When: 12:00 CDT; Sunday, Oct. 16, 2011

Where: Lambeau Field; Green Bay, WI

TV: FOX; Chris Myers and Tim Ryan with the call, Jamie Maggio on the sidelines

Radio: 620 AM WTMJ (Milwaukee), Packers Radio Network, Sports USA Radio, NFL Sunday Drive (Sirius Radio)

Series: Rams lead, 43-46-2 (Packers won the last regular season game, 36-17, in St. Louis on Sept. 27, 2009)

Five things to watch

1. Throwback jerseys, throwback offense?

For the second time in as many seasons, the Packers will wear their 1929 throwback jerseys. Some love the brown-on-blue-on-yellow-on-tan color combination, some hate it. But like the ’29 team that went 10-0-1 and won the NFL championship, the Packers could look to the ground game on Sunday to move the football against the Rams. While it won’t be Verne Lewellen or Johnny “Blood” McNally lining up in the backfield, the Packers will likely use a heavy dose of their own duo of James Starks and Ryan Grant against the NFL’s worst rushing defense. St. Louis is giving up almost 180 rushing yards a game, which is a ridiculously high number in this age of football and 34 yards higher than the next best team. The opposition is averaging 5.3 yards every time they run the ball on the Rams defense.

The Packers are still a passing team and will want to throw it plenty against the Rams banged up secondary, but there’s nothing wrong with attacking such an obvious weakness in an opponent. An effective running game could also take pressure off the Packers offensive tackles. Marshall Newhouse will be making his first career start at left tackle on Sunday, and Bryan Bulaga might have some rust after missing two games with a knee injury.

2. Mistake prone

Few teams in the NFL have self-destructed at such critical points like the Rams have this season. Take the Rams 17-10 home loss to the Redskins in Week 4, for example. St. Louis had nine penalties, seven sacks allowed and six dropped passes in that contest. St. Louis was probably lucky that Rex Grossman played so poorly, because the final easily could have been 35-7 or worse with the way the Rams played through the first three and a half quarters.

15

October

Know Your Packers Enemy: Previewing Packers-Rams with Ryan Van Bibber

In this week’s installment of “Know Your Packers Enemy,” I talked with Ryan Van Bibber of Turf Show Times, the Rams SB Nation blog, to preview Packers-Rams.

Let’s get to the questions.