8

October

Could This Loss to the Colts be a Turning Point for the Packers?

Right Way Wrong Way sign

The Packers must find the quickest route to get back on their winning ways

In most any situation in life, be it a movie, fight, game, etc.,  there is a turning point.  At five games into this season and with two tough road games coming up, the Green Bay Packers face just that.  Some may say it’s too early to see it that way, but this sport is about momentum and the Pack need to shift it in the positive direction now.   If this isn’t THE turning point, it’s the beginning of it.

A 2-3 record is hardly a “game over” scenario.  Even if they aren’t able to overtake the Houston Texans  next week, there is still plenty of time for this team to make good on the 2012 season.

That said, it won’t come by continuing some of the things this team has done through five games.  It bears repeating that the definition of insanity is continuing to do the same thing and expecting a different outcome.  The Pack need to realistically consider some different options to help turn this thing in the right direction.

There were many takeaways from this game but a few that really stood out:

Pass Rush

Dom Capers likes to put the defense in the zone coverage when the Pack get a healthy lead and opponents start throwing a lot.  It’s sometimes referred to as the ‘bend but don’t break’ defense.  Well, it’s broken.   Even when the Packers blitzed in the 2nd half today, they couldn’t get there.  They had some success in the first half but seemingly ran out of gas and were sending only four rushers at the end of the game.

Colts QB Andrew Luck may be a rookie, but he’s already the type of QB who teams must pressure to stop the Colts offense.  On the last drive, everyone knew he was going to be throwing and likely looking for WR Reggie Wayne.  Still, the Packers were stonewalled and gave up completion after completion with Wayne scoring the go-ahead TD.  It was similar to the Giants playoff game.  Giving a good QB too much time and surprising to no one, he always found an open man.  Even the best DB’s will give up plays having to cover 4+ seconds.

8

October

Packers Collapse? Blame Mike McCarthy and Aaron Rodgers

Mike McCarthy and Aaron Rodgers

McCarthy & Rodgers talk it over

I can’t really fault those who want to blame Dom Capers and the Packers defense for this loss. They did allow rookie QB Andrew Luck to repeatedly find veteran WR Reggie Wayne, for back-breaking receptions despite a secondary flooded with defensive backs.

But the real blame for the Packers’ loss to the Colts lies at the feet of Mike McCarthy and/or Aaron Rodgers. Our own Adam Czech specifically points the finger at the Packers last drive of the first half, but let me take it a little bit further.

After the Packers went up 21-3 in the second quarter, suddenly the offense changed. To see how, let’s look at their next three posessions:

2nd Quarter: Green Bay Packers at 1:17
1-10-GB 43 (1:17) (Shotgun) A.Rodgers pass short right to J.Kuhn pushed ob at GB 49 for 6 yards (J.Freeman).
2-4-GB 49 (1:12) (Shotgun) A.Rodgers pass incomplete short right to J.Nelson.
3-4-GB 49 (1:07) (Shotgun) A.Rodgers pass incomplete short right to J.Finley (S.Brown).
4-4-GB 49 (1:04) T.Masthay punts 36 yards to IND 15, Center-B.Goode, fair catch by T.Hilton.

 

3rd Quarter: Green Bay Packers at 15:00
1-10-GB 20 (15:00) (Shotgun) A.Rodgers pass incomplete short left.
(PENALTY on GB-T.Crabtree, Offensive Holding, 10 yards, enforced at GB 20 – No Play.)
1-20-GB 10 (14:51) (Shotgun) A.Rodgers scrambles up the middle to GB 22 for 12 yards (T.Zbikowski).
2-8-GB 22 (14:11) (Shotgun) A.Rodgers pass short right to J.Finley to GB 28 for 6 yards (J.Powers).
3-2-GB 28 (13:24) (Shotgun) A.Rodgers pass short right intended for Ja.Jones INTERCEPTED by J.Powers at GB 39.

 

3rd Quarter: Green Bay Packers at 11:06
1-10-GB 20 (11:06) A.Rodgers pass incomplete short left to Ja.Jones.
2-10-GB 20 (11:03) (Shotgun) A.Rodgers sacked at GB 15 for -5 yards (C.Redding).
3-15-GB 15 (10:28) (Shotgun) A.Rodgers scrambles left end to GB 17 for 2 yards. A.Rodgers pass incomplete short left to J.Finley.
(PENALTY on GB-A.Rodgers, Illegal Forward Pass, 5 yards, enforced at GB 17.)
4-18-GB 12 (10:16) T.Masthay punts 58 yards to IND 30, Center-B.Goode, fair catch by T.Hilton

Notice something missing from all three of these possessions? Yes, a running play.

Up until that point, (and not counting an Aaron Rodgers scramble), the Packers had run the ball 12 times in the first half and passed 14 times. For the Packers, that’s about as balanced as it gets. And guess what, it was working.  The Packers scored three touchdowns using this approach.

7

October

Packers vs. Colts – Game Day First Impressions, Unfiltered: IND 30 GB 27

Packers - Colts - Nick Perry - Andrew Luck

Nick Perry greets Andrew Luck

Green Bay Packers vs. Indianapolis Colts:

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

Inactive for Packers today:

  • WR Jarrett Boykin
  • S Sean Richardson
  • CB Davon House
  • RB James Starks
  • LB Terrell Manning
  • DE Mike Daniels
  • WR Greg Jennings
Inactive for Colts today:
  • QB Chandler Harrish
  • CB Justin King
  • CB Vontae Davis (starter)
  • RB Mewelde Moore
  • LB Pat Angerer (starter)
  • OG Seth Olsen
  • OG Joe Reitz (starter)

Game Notes:

Packers players are wearing ChuckStrong t-shirts in show of support for Colts coach Chick Pagano and leukemia research. Shirts can be purchased at Colts.com.

Colts secondary decimated by injuries. If Rogers doesn’t have at least 3TD’s something is very wrong.

 

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Mike McCarthy Pregame Show on 620 WTMJ:

Long week: We ha

Won 10 of last 12 on road: A tribute to our schedule.  We keep our schedule exactly the same for road games, obviously other than the travel. The routine is good, players sometimes are glad to get away and the distractions at home.

Success in domes: Speaks to Aaron and communication of the whole offense. To be able to go on the road and perform well in loud situations, a tribute to our preperation. We go back in the spring and start preparing for crowd noise. It’s a day 1 teaching.

Jennings week to week? I think that would be accurate. Most important is for him to stay in rehab and not come out too early, whicch he probably did last time.

Jennings importance: Jenning has Pro Bowl next to his name. He gives us the chance to be a great offense.

Andrew Luck: They haven’t had to scale anything back for him. He’s running everything, including the full 2-minute offense.

Colts emotion: Anytime you come off a bye week, the energey will be high. They will surely play with high emotion in honor of coach Pagano.

Mike Neal: How could we not play him? We couldn’t block him in practice. My main concern was just that he was healthy, and he passed with flying colors. Expect to see him out there, especially in the sub packages providing some inside pass rush.

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5

October

Packers vs. Colts Week 5 Game Predictions from AllGreenBayPackers.com

GAME PREDICTIONS
Week 5: Green Bay Packers vs. Indianapolis Colts
Name Record To-Date This Week’s Pick Score Prediction
Kris Burke 2-2 Green Bay Packers 34-20
No reason for the Packers to lose this game. None.  Still, I’m a buyer on Andrew Luck and think he will have a decent game but the Packers offense appears to have finally discovered the gas pedal.  Look for the Packers to ride their newly discovered balanced offense thanks to Cedric Benson and win this one fairly easily.
“Jersey” Al Bracco 2-2 Green Bay Packers 38-13
After surviving a scare from the Saints and once again the referees, the Packers finally have a laugher they can enjoy from start to finish. Benson and Cobb have big days and the Packers D picks off 2 passes, as “Luck” is on their side…
Adam Czech 3-1 Green Bay Packers 31-19
The defense will bend, but rarely break, Rodgers will build off last week’s game, and the Packers will roll. The Packers need to score early in this one. Can’t give the Colts any hope.
Marques Eversoll 2-2 Green Bay Packers 31-16
I’m buying all the hype on Andrew Luck. I really do believe he’ll be one of the best quarterbacks in the league in a few years. But in 2012, I think Dom Capers will throw some confusing looks at Luck and force a couple turnovers. With a healthy Greg Jennings, I think this might have been a 40-point explosion. The Colts move the ball on the Packers, but they can’t find the endzone as much as they’d like. Packers win 31-16, and move to 3-2.
Thomas Hobbes 2-2 Green Bay Packers 31-20
Previous history of games between the Packers and Colts would indicate that a ton of points are going to be scored.  I think the Packers offense will stay in their groove that they found against the Saints, but the Colts will probably score a fair amount as well with first overall pick Andrew Luck.  While Luck may be congruent to Peyton Manning in the future, at the moment he’s still a rookie who can get easily flustered, so expect to see exotic blitzes and probably a couple turnovers by the Colts.  One advantage that the Colts do have is that Packers seem to have some issues with quarterbacks and coaches they aren’t expecting (Micheal Vick and Caleb Hanie in 2010, Romeo Crennel in 2011), and new interm head coach Bruce Arians is likely to throw some things that the Packers aren’t prepared for.
5

October

2012 NFL Regular Season Week 5: Packers vs Colts Preview

Aaron Rodgers

Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense look to keep the rhythm going against the Indianapolis Colts.

They say lightning never strikes the same place two times in a row, but the Green Bay Packers nearly witnessed such an occurrence.

Not even one full week removed from the debacle in Seattle, the Packers inconceivably nearly lost a second consecutive game thanks to some dubious officiating by regular official Jeff Triplette and his crew.  Thanks to a big goal line stand by a defense that was leaky all game and an offense that finally showed signs of life, the Packers hung on to defeat the New Orleans Saints 28-27 at Lambeau Field.

With the win, the Packers go to 2-2 on the season and after a wacky schedule to start the season, the Packers go on the road for three straight games beginning this Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium against the Indianapolis Colts.

The Colts had a bye in Week 4 and enter the game with a record of 1-2. The team also will play its first game without head coach Chuck Pagano who recently was diagnosed with Leukemia and may not coach the rest of the season.  Offensive coordinator Bruce Arians will coach the team in Pagano’s absence.

What can Packers fans expect from this game?

Scouting the Colts

The Colts currently are going through what the Packers did in 2008 and that’s transitioning from a future Hall of Fame quarterback to his replacement.   The Packers struck gold with Aaron Rodgers and it stands to reasons the Colts could do the same with Andrew Luck.

Luck was the most NFL ready quarterback drafted last April, though Robert Griffin III with the Redskins has outplayed him so far this season.   The Colts pretty much cleaned house after last season’s disastrous campaign with Peyton Manning out the entire year with a neck injury.  Gone are Jeff Saturday (who is with the Packers), Pierre Garcon and Joseph Addai and in are Samson Satele, Donald Brown and Donnie Avery.

Veteran wide receiver Reggie Wayne is back however and should be serving as Luck’s security blanket as he adjusts to the speed of an NFL game.

So far this season, Luck has thrown for 846 yards with five touchdowns against four interceptions.  His completion percentage is 53.3%.   Luck throws a very good deep ball but has struggled with accuracy.  This figures to improve with time so the Packers should feel lucky getting the Colts early versus playing them in November or December.

28

August

Post – Indy Thoughts on the State of the Packers

Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews sacks the Colts' Curtis PainterAfter reading a few quick items in he sports pages this morning I’m not sure how much extra insight I’m going to bring to the table regarding the PACKERS win over the COLTS Friday night, but here goes…

What more can a coaching staff hope for in the Pre-Season than a game that goes right down to the wire and requires back-ups and rookies to secure a victory in the clutch? How psychologically rewarding is it for MASON CROSBY to redeem himself from an earlier FG miss with a clutch game-winning kick in the final minute?

I would say I saw two negatives that I am sure MIKE McCARTHY and his staff will be concentrating on in the next two weeks. The first team offense was plagued by some untimely (not that there is any such thing as timely) penalties that hampered several scoring drives. The OL was a bit less than stellar in protecting AARON RODGERS from the COLTS pass-rush… in particular DWIGHT FREENEY.

FREENEY, who is still at the top of his game, made CHAD CLIFTON look like an old man on multiple occasions. CLIFTON should be OK most weeks, since there are not many DEs in the league of FREENEY’s caliber. But I’ll just voice the opinion that for the long term DEREK SHERROD had better make a ton of progress during the 2011 campaign so that he can handle that LT position by the time the 2012 season rolls around.

Though not dominant by any means, I thought the PACKERS RBs looked good overall. RYAN GRANT showed flashes of his old self, and JAMES STARKS was monster as a receiver out of the backfield. ALEX GREEN continues to show some ability, and tons of potential, in limited time as the 3rd RB. BRANDON SAINE continues to show flashes both as a runner and a receiver, but there isn’t room on the roster for 4 RBs this year. Not with the quality logjam at TE. And don’t forget JOHN KUHN will be a FB/RB swing man once again this season.

Overall, the PACKERS OL would seem to be the unit most in need of improvement as camp winds down. This is not unexpected because of their youth and the team’s decision to let DARYN COLLEDGE leave town as a VFA, and hold open auditions for his replacement. My money is still on T.J. LANG, but he shows some of the same inconsistency that plagued COLLEDGE for years.

27

August

Packers 24 Colts 21 – First Impressions of 2011 Preseason Game 3

The Packers played the Colts last night in this 3rd game of the 2011 preseason. I actually joined the game at halftime, so I watched the second half live and then the first half on the DVR. Here are my first unfiltered impressions.:

 

1st half

Joseph Addai: 26 yds in his first two carries, both to Clay matthews’ side. Is this a carry over from the Pittsburgh strategy in the Super Bowl and something we’ll see a lot of this year?

By the way, on both of those runs, the Colts used an offensive tackle to kick out on Matthews and let Addai cut inside. Some bad decisions by players behind Matthews, like Morgan Burnett, who took an outside position even though Matthews was already out there. He should have seen that and taken an inside angle.

And then on 3rd down, Matthews shows what makes him so valuable – goes around the Colts’ right tackle like he’s standing still.  Matthews gets the sack and waves off the predator celebration – not in preseason…

It’s amazing how often you’ll see BJ Raji in on the tackle on a screen pass. What a motor for a 335lb guy….

So nice to see that Aaron Rodgers has seen the light and slides when he takes off on a scamper.

DJ Smith with a big hit on kickoff coverage. What a great draft pick that was, Ted.  The kid is fearless and already looks very much at home in the NFL.

One of the things I was most excited about this season was the return of Morgan Burnett. So far, I have not been disappointed.  A future Pro Bowler…

My jinx skills work once again. I had hardly finished typing the sentence above when Burnett blows a coverage, resulting in an easy 57 yard touchdown pass for the Colts. Oh well…

Either Jordy Nelson has finally become what I first envisioned for him (that possession-receiver security blanket for Rodgers), or he’s being showcased.  James Jones invisible so far…

Missed field goal. The look on Mike McCarthy’s face said it all. no further comment.

Jarret Bush makes yet another mediocre quarterback look like Joe Montana. What? Bush gets turned and loses track of a ball over his head? Never seen that before…