Wednesday, December 3, 2008

My Take -> Week 14

Greetings, G-Force.

G-Force, you did your job. Visually, Lambeau appeared magical. It sounded exceptional through the TV audio. It had all of the makings of a legendary UNO-DOS! victory. The game that would swing our season towards back-to-back NFC North Championships.

And then...

...we failed to get in from the 1 twice.

...we failed to make a tackle on special teams.

...we failed to knock down/intercept a deep ball.

...we were sieves in short yardage defense.

...we failed to get to the 20 yard line on the kickoff.

...we threw an interception to end the game.

If you ask me, the majority of these instances occurred because of coaching blunders. 2nd and goal from the 1. Our best short yardage runner, Ryan Grant, was on the bench. Sure, B-Jack was having an exceptional game. But, he's not a short yardage runner. McCarthy "went with the hot hand" on 2nd down. We were fortunate to get back to the line of scrimmage. I wanted 3 QB sneaks from the 1.

It baffles me that we would send J-Mike down field on kick-off coverage. To me, he does not seem like the guy that's going to be making tackles in the open field. I'm hopeful for J-Mike's future, but thus far he's been soft. I remember the days of Ron Cox, Lamont Hollandquist, Travis Jervey, Terry Mickens, and Bernardo Harris. We were lethal on special teams. We were physical. The mightier team wins on special teams. We're weak.

Sure, Chuckie should have made the play, but why is Steve Smith being covered by Brandon Chillar, a LB. Chillar said, "he lost the ball." Glad we had a LB guarding the best player on the field. What a coaching disaster.

Why is it that we cannot get in the end zone on 2 tries from the 1, but they can score 5 rushing TD's from the 1?

Originally, I thought we were built for special teams. Now, our special teams is a weak link. We've been devastated on special teams 2 weeks in a row. We tolerate poor play. When we need to make a tackle on a kickoff return, the opposition returns it past the 40. When we need a return, we get stopped dead in our tracks before we reach the 20. We lack depth. We lack desire.

The Green Bay Packers have lost 5 games in the closing minutes. We have not learned from our mistakes. With the exception of the Vikings game, which we sat on the ball and settled for a 53 yard FG, each time the Packers had a chance win it late and instead of managing the clock and the football situation, the Packers went for the Home Run. Each time, we failed. Have we taught UNO-DOS! that, in the two minute drill, it's all about 1st downs and getting out of bounds to stop the clock? We had 2 timeouts and 1 minute 20 seconds on the clock. We treated it as if we had 20 seconds and no timeouts. Embarrasing.

Yet, somewhere Jim Carrey just said, "So you're saying there's a chance!"

Yes, it could be idiotic to talk playoffs, but assuming we win out, we'll hold the tie breaker over both the Bears and Viqueens. Obviously, we play the Bears again. A win at Chicago and we focus on not only winning out, but also having the Queens losing twice. It should be noted that Minnesota travels to Arizona next week. That'll be a loss. Then they host Atlanta. If the Steroid-brothers are ruled out, Michael Turner will run all over them. Finally, they close with the G-Men. If the Giants play their troops, the Giants will win handily.

Regardless, first things first, we need to win this week. Frankly, if the Packers lose this week, I'd almost prefer that we finish 5-11 and get a top 10 pick come April. Even if that means a loss to the hated Bears. I don't want to establish a losing culture, but if you can't beat the Texans - a speed team - in the cold of Lambeau, in December, then we truly do have BIG issues.

The Texans are led by Mario Williams, Steve Slaton, and Andre Johnson. Williams might be the best pass rusher in the NFL. He has all of the moves. It'll be imperative to either double him or get rid of the ball quickly or else he'll make plays in our backfield.

Good ol' Steve Slaton. Man, did this blog beg for him. I was attached to this man all 3 years while he was at West Virginia. Instead, we drafted Brian Brohm. Confusing to me. Meanwhile, Slaton has over 900 yards rushing. He is averaging 5 yards per carry. He has 250 yards receiving and averages over 20 yards per catch. He has 9 TD's. He'll add another 100 yards this week. Guy is a stallion and he should be wearing Green & Gold. If he gets in the open field, you won't stop him.

Andre Johnson is among the elite WR's in football. He's a mismatch for all CB's. He's physical. He's fast. He's got solid hands. He's great after the catch. Often times, he's a man among boys.

Owen Daniels is a good possession TE who will cause problems for the Packers. Kevin Walter is an above average 2nd WR.

Matt Schaub has a lot of promise, but he cannot stay healthy and he's prone to making the big mistake. It'll happen this week.

On defense, besides Mario Williams, the Texans have good players in Dunta Robinson, Amobi Okoye, DeMeco Ryans and Marlon Greenwood. But, this defense can be beaten.

If the weather allows, expect Greg Jennings to blow up this week. Yards after the catch will be his forte. I look for Jennings to have 120 (+) yards.

UNO-DOS! builds off of his solid performance. It's do or die and UNO-DOS! peforms at an elite level.

Amazingly, the Packers get a pass rush this week and take advantage of a weak Texans O-Line. In turn, we cause turnovers. The Packers get TWO big turnovers to blow open a close game in the third quarter.

From there, we watch a dose of the Packers running the football until a late Texans score narrows the final margin of victory.

Packers 34
Texans 23

It's Lambeau in December. Keep The Faith.

Talkin' S-Mac.


Brennan said...

i remember you talking up Slaten, and man, does he look good. I was thinking the same thing watching the Jvill-Houston game preparing for the FL journey next week, and thinking, well this guy will have triple digit yardage against our de. After rethinking this season, it is amazing what our special teams has done to us. Coverage and field position. two basics. I do think we can still win out. The G-force needs to be brought this week. See you next weekend.

Stack said...

It's the end of the holiday weekend, and I'm fortunate enough to be sitting next to my dad watching the game from the comfort of the living room. Second and goal from the 1.

"Play action..." I say with a sense of distaste for any other play call.

"' bootleg," says my father.

So I put a cap on the weekend and headed back to Madison to unwind, unpack, just be Stack and watch the night game. When I watch the Bears and Vikings play, I consistently think "These guys are better than us..." despite anything that records might indicate. If you exclude the shoddy quarterback play that plagues each team, they're both better at every other phase of the game. Every phase except passing offense. The Bears and Vikings hit and they tackle.

This comes on the top of MM's hiring as a blue collar, Pittsburgh run-between-the-tackles guy. We don't hit people. And we really don't tackle all that well on Sunday, which makes me wonder what we're working on during the week...we're consistently out-muscled at the line of scrimmage against teams who are more ferocious hitters and more violent tacklers. Do we work on tackling? Do we hit each other? Doesn't look to me like we do. Maybe that's because of the injuries. Or maybe that's the cause of the injuries.

The Texans looked good on Monday night. I think they'll be a test. They present challenges in the run, through the air, and with their pass rush.

Let me plug this weeks match up into the semi-reliable formula for Green Bay football this year:

We will not get pressure on Schaub. We will be able to largely shut down Andre Johnson.
Steve Slaton will run wild.
Mario Williams may make a small handful of plays, but Clifton will battle him, and we'll be able to survive.

I'm actually scared by Travis Johnson matching up against our interior line.

Let's keep an eye out for Joe Porter. I remember talking about his burst in the preseason; guy was reportedly the fastest player on the team. Let's see if anyone beats him down field on special teams.

It is only blind optimism that brings me to this:

Pack 31
Texans 27

A.J. Hawk is lost in space. He seems to be minding the car for Nick Barnett instead of owning it for himself. That's the real training camp story of next year, does A.J. assert himself on this defense? Maybe we'll see something in the final four weeks. Also, remember Cory Williams talking to the press in his sunglasses after the loss to the Giants with tears streaming down his eyes at the thought of being traded...? Where has that pride gone?

Stack said...

Catching the midnight showing of the Mike McCarthy Show...

MM emphasizing fundamentals.

"The closer you get to the football, the faster you run."


And a dead-on message for the defense and special teams.

Stack said...

Brandon Jackson was under the Mikro-Scope breaking down what he saw on the the 32 yard scamper...

Jackson talks about reading the DT and DE, then talks cutback and linebacker flow,

"Brandon, you're seeing all of this...?"

Jackson was impressive. The young man has a presence now.

Stack said...

Our DB's are so pimp. Willie B on Inside Lambeau, talking about the secondary and the professional attitudes of Al and Charles.

Michael J. said...

Yet another example that they myth of warm weather teams playing in cold weather games are at a disadvantage is just that...a myth.