For the first time in the '09 season, it felt like things were starting to click. And then, devastating, season-ending injuries occur to Ras-Al & AK-74. One could argue that both will make the Packers Hall of Fame. Now, sadly, both of their futures with the organization are in question. Ouch.
Throughout Ted Thompson's career as GM of the Green Bay Packers, the team has had to deal with a plethora of injuries. In '05, he replaced Robert Ferguson, Javon Walker, Ahman Green, Tony Fisher, Najeh Davenport, and Bubba Franks with the likes of Samkon Gado, Aundrae Thurman, Antonio Chapman, Noah Herron and Donald Lee. It was understood that we went searching for youth as we were clearly rebuilding.
In 2006, he replaced Robert Ferguson & Greg Jennings with the likes of Chris Francies & Carlyle Holiday. When William Henderson went down, we brought in Brandon Miree. When Ahmad Carroll flopped, we experimented with Patrick Dendy & J-Bush. Again, the Packers were in rebuilding mode as it was McCarthy's first year. Time was on both of their sides.
In 2007, we stayed fairly healthy except for when KGB went down with an injury in Week 11. While KGB "played" in 15 games that year, he failed to record a sack over the last 5 games and it was clear that he was not fit. Instead of bringing in a veteran pass rusher, he stuck with Michael Montgomery and Jason Hunter. Both finished with 0 sacks. Thompson got a pass as the Packers went to the NFC Championship.
In '08, the Packers were littered with injuries. Tauscher, Grant, B-Jack & James Jones were all injured or out for portions of the season on offense. On defense, we lost Ras-A-tari, Barnett, Ras-Al, Cullen Jenkins, and KGB. Once again, Thompson relied on youth. Hunter, Montgomery, Jeremy Thompson, J-Bush & Willie B. were all given opportunities. We failed. The fans took notice and considered this unacceptable. Clearly, we lacked both depth and talent.
Which brings us to the present. Ted Thompson must win. NOW. And he knows it. That's why he brought in both Ahman Green & Tauscher. Veterans. And that's also why it was MANDATORY to sign a veteran CB. Like Mike McKenzie. Or Chris McAlister. Both went to the Saints. I understand if we go to battle with Brad Jones at OLB. I don't know if any traditional 3-4 OLB's are available except Willie McGinest and I'm not sure he has anything in the tank. So, it's probably wise to bring up Cyril Obiozor. But, at CB, we're desperate. We can't win with J-Bush as our #3. We know this. Also, as much as I want to like the U-HAUL, he is not ready. Not yet. We need a tried and true veteran. We needed McKenzie or at least someone of his stature. The Packers play a ton of zone defense. If we expect to win with J-Bush on the field for the majority of our snaps, you can kiss this season goodbye. I'm not ready to quit. The Saints showed that they were serious about contending this year - we should do the same! Sign a veteran. Ted, your job is on the line. The time is now.
The win against the 49ers was great. A dominant 1st half. While we were lackadaisical in the 2nd half, we did enough to secure a victory. And it was nice to see the running game. J-Mike was dominant. Jennings was in the flow. Driver was, well, Double-D. Jordy was physical after the catch. And in the 1st half, McCarthy showed great creativity.
Defensively, it was nice to see Jenkins, Raji, Matthews, and Barnett showing great pursuit. Nintendo Nick coming up with the monstrous interception! Chuckie marking Vernon Davis with a blanketing mentality. Why didn't we just go man-to-man on Davis in the 2nd half? Regardless, it was a good win.
It's a short week. It's a nationally televised game. And I anticipate the Packers will be ready for this one. Also, just as the Packers were hurt by injuries, so were the Lions. It appears as though Stafford, Calvin Johnson and Ko Simpson will not play for the Lions.
With Stafford & Johnson, the Lions offense has become dangerous. Without them, not so much. Kevin Smith is a solid back who not only runs well, but he's also a good receiver. Brandon Pettigrew is growing into a very good TE. But, on the defensive side of the ball, the Lions are a disaster.
Regardless of who plays for the Lions, they'll test our battered secondary. Capers will have to call a more conservative game, so it'll be important for Matthews and Jenkins to apply pressure. It'd be great to see Raji continue to get a push. T-Mon has always played well against the Lions, for whatever reason.
Expect the Lions to go after our defense with mid-range passes to Brandon Pettigrew, Dennis Northcutt and Bryant Johnson. The Lions will also use a mix of draws and screens to get Kevin Smith involved.
Defensively, Louis Delmas, Julian Peterson & Larry Foote will attack the line of scrimmage. Nonetheless, we'll move the ball on the Lions. Frequently. Rodgers will consistently find receivers in stride. Streaking thru the defense. And I'm hopeful that the Packers find Red Zone success. If we don't protect the football and if we have to settle for FG's, we could find trouble. Otherwise, assuming Calvin & Stafford are out, I foresee another comfortable Packers victory.
Rodgers throws for over 300 yards. 3 TD's. Grant runs for 75 yards and another TD. It's a Thanksgiving Day treat. And the Turkey's going to taste good.
Green Bay 37. Detroit 16.
Have a Happy Thanksgiving.