Packers Face Another Early Turning Point

Rodgers and McCarthy

McCarthy and Rodgers have not fared well when playing from behind late in games

Last season and after the loss to the Seattle Seahawks, I wrote about how the Green Bay Packers were facing a turning point in their early season.  It seemed like a knee-jerk reaction to what was a huge debacle by the replacement officials and the NFL because it was after only three games.  Turns out, the Packers did get it together enough to win the NFC North and win a playoff game.  In looking back at last season, the Seattle loss still looms as the turning point in 2012.

Here we are, three weeks into the 2013 season and seemingly at what could be this season’s turning point.  Sure, some will say it’s too early, I’m being hasty, I’m a downer on Twitter and when this team gets all of its injured guys back, the Packers will be fine.

The “problem” that the Packers have, as far as fans are concerned, is that with a quarterback like Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay will always be a contender who can win any game.  Therefore, the expectation to win is high.  When the Packers don’t win, there is usually an adverse reaction that ranges from mild displeasure to profanity laced rants on twitter to some jumping out the 10th story window.  Emotional responses by fans, players and coaches are a part of football.  It’s contagious when we are watching a game that thrives on emotion and so we respond in kind.

But let’s try to take the emotion out of the equation for a minute and look at a few things that are happening now that could play into how the Packers respond after today’s loss and the upcoming bye week.

Tough Opponents

What is a “tough opponent”?  For the purposes of this discussion, I’m talking about playoff-caliber teams.  So far, the Packers have faced, and lost to, two such opponents.  Last season, four of the Packers’ five losses were to playoff teams.  Their fifth loss was to the New York Giants, who were the defending Super Bowl champions.  They beat only two teams who made last year’s playoffs (Houston Texans and Minnesota Vikings).



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.