30

September

Packers vs. Saints – Game Day First Impressions, Unfiltered: GB 28 NO 27

Green Bay Packers vs. New Orleans Saints:

My unfiltered game day recap and blog post of comments, observations and first impressions.

Inactive for Packers today:

11 WR Jarrett Boykin
28 S Sean Richardson
31 CB Davon House
44 RB James Starks
56 LB Terrell Manning
84 TE D.J. Williams
94 DE Phillip Merling

Notes:

No one imagined the Packers and Saints would be a combined 1-5 going into this game, but despite their records, it should be a premiere match-up for Sunday afternoon football.

The Packers offense has yet to find its footing or its identity during the first three games. Will the abysmal Saints defense help to get them back on track?

New Orleans may be suffering on defense, but their offense is still the high-powered machine it has been. Dom Capers and the Green Bay defensive unit will have their hands full going against big playmakers like Drew Brees, Jimmy Graham, Darren Sproles, and Marques Colston.

All the Packers players are pretty healthy going into this game. Sean Richardson (hamstring) is the only one ruled out, with Davon House (shoulder) designated as questionable. James Starks’ turf toe has healed up, but he might be a healthy scratch this week.

This marks the beginning of a consistent schedule for the remainder of the season. The Packers have nothing but Sunday games from here on out.

 

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Mike McCarthy Pregame Show on 620 WTMJ:

Offense Struggling: We just have to exercise the game plan. It’s a new week. We can’t let past experiences affect us in any way. We need to pick up the tempo.

Health of Team: I think this is the best we’ve been so far this year. When you’re healthy it makes for tough decisions – who’s up, who’s down.

Impressions of Saints: Offensively very explosive. Plenty of weapons around Drew Brees. Solid offensive line that’s played well. Special teams get after it. Offensively, we need to be balanced and play fast. Their defense has had trouble against the run.

Saints Attitude as Winless Team: I’m not in their locker room, I really don’t care either. We want to get the crowd into it early. We want to make this a high-energy, fast-paced type of football game.

11

September

Packers Video: The Agony and the Ecstasy – A.J. Hawk Interference and Packers Goal Line Stop

It was a wild finish to the Packers – Saints game last Thursday night. In a matter of two consecutive plays, the dubious A.J. Hawk interference call and the mass stopping of the Saints on the goal line, fans felt the Agony and the Ecstasy of following their team.

For their part, the Packers continued some themes from last season;

  • Keeping opposing teams in games with poor special teams play .
  • Inability to secure the win with a time-wasting drive late in games.
  • Depending on the defense to come up with a big play at the end to win the game.

As they also did late last season, the Green Bay Packers toyed with the emotions of their fans. Fans went from feeling devastated, as the Saints were handed an opportunity to score and eventually tie the game with zero seconds on the clock, to euphoric, as the Packers stopped the Saints on the goal line. All in a matter of 2 plays.

Here is that amazing two-play sequence. Remember what it felt like at the time and enjoy.

 

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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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9

September

Green Bay Packers: 5 Observations from 42-34 Win Over Saints

Photo courtesy of Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Benny Sieu)

The Green Bay Packers held Mark Ingram out of the end zone on the game’s final play Thursday night at Lambeau Field, giving the Packers a 42-34 win over the New Orleans Saints and capping off a thrilling season-opener which gave NFL fans plenty of offensive fireworks and explosive plays on special teams.

Here are some quick observations from the game:

First half fireworks

For those who thought the Packers offense might look rusty to open the season—and I was one of them— those fears were put to rest early. Aaron Rodgers was a surgeon in the first half, completing 18-of-24 passes for 227 yards and three touchdowns while carving the Saints defense throughout the first 30 mintues. 188 yards and two of those scores came in the first quarter, as the Packers built a 21-10 lead. By the time the first half was over, the Packers (28) and Saints (17) had combined for 45 points.  So much for shaking off the rust. The Packers performance in the first half was eerily similar to how they played in Atlanta in the playoffs.

Corn on the Cobb

Even for the most optimistic supporters of Cobb, no one could have envisioned this kind of start to his NFL career. He caught a 32-yard touchdown in the first quarter on a short, underneath route that was turned into a score on a great effort after the catch by Cobb. He willed his way into the end zone. Then, in the third quarter, Cobb gave the Packers something they haven’t had in 11 years: a kick return for a touchdown. Cobb caught the kick eight yards deep in the end zone, then proceeded to bounce off several tackles—using a nifty spin move to elude one—and outraced the Saints coverage for the touchdown.To be honest, I’m not sure I’ve seen a more impressive kick return in its entirety. The irony in both scores was that Cobb shouldn’t have had either. He ran the wrong route on the first and was instructed to take a knee when that deep in the end zone on kick returns.

Later in the second half, Cobb nearly broke a punt for another touchdown. He was eventually tripped up in Saints territory, and the play was nullified by a penalty. But his performance in all aspects tonight showed exactly why the Packers took him in the second round. Cobb couldn’t have asked for a better NFL debut.

7

September

Packers vs. Saints: 5 Things to Watch in Green Bay’s Week 1 Matchup

By the time the dust had settled on the second half of a Monday night onslaught, the scoreboard at the Louisiana Superdome read as follows: Saints 51, visitors 28.

Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints had turned a 21-21 tie into an old fashioned blowout, scoring four touchdowns in the final 30 minutes of play against a Packers defense that had held up so well just a year before. Brees was deadly efficient that entire night in Novemeber 2008, completing 20-of-26 passes for 323 yards and four touchdowns—two of which went for 70 yards.

The 51 points was the beginning of the end for both Packers defensive coordinator Bob Sanders, who was fired after the season, and the Packers playoff chances. After coming into the game 5-5, the Packers left New Orleans beaten and battered at 5-6, limping to a 6-10 finish in Aaron Rodgers’ first season under center.

While the mastermind behind that disastrous performance is gone, the memory of that debacle in New Orleans still remains fresh in the minds of most of the Packers defenders who suffered through that Monday night embarrassment.

Thursday night’s Packers vs. Saints opener doesn’t serve as a rematch, per se, but the Packers are determined to prove that their new defensive scheme under Dom Capers is more than capable of stopping a Saints’ offense that’s still led by Brees and still as explosive as it was in 2008, just a year before they were to become world champions.

Here are some other things to watch in the Saints-Packers matchup:

Dealing with the hoopla

With hosting the NFL’s season opening Thursday night game comes all the bells and whistles of a defending Super Bowl champion. It’s the only game on for the national audience, who by now is starving for regular season NFL action. There is the pregame concert, with Kid Rock and a number of other entertainers scheduled to perform in front of stadium. The Packers will unveil another championship year on Lambeau Field’s facade. Jordin Sparks will sing the National Anthem. There is a ton of fanfare and media reporting before and after the contest.

All this could lead to an overwhelmed team that’s just seven months removed from reaching the peak of the NFL. And of course, the Saints have been there and done that after winning the Super Bowl the year before the Packers. They played the Vikings last September in the Thursday night opener and beat Minnesota. That experience should give the Saints a definite advantage in terms of dealing with the spectacle of the game, right?