Desperation is upon us.
After another disappointing day in the career of our Pro Bowl QB, the Packers have met the crossroads. It's only Week 7. As Bob McGinn aptly pointed out, in his career, Aaron Rodgers is 1-11 in games decided by 4 points or less. And shockingly, it's the offense that has sputtered throughout the 2010 season. Thus, we're staring at 3-3 and as the 'queens head to town, the season is on the line.
Don't get me wrong, I am ecstatic to have Rodgers as our QB. But, in 2010, he's looked more like the Majik Man of the late 80's, early 90's than he has the cautious yet carefree playmaking QB of the last two years. He's returned to his negative roots. He lacks confidence in the pocket. He's quick to give up on plays - even when he has protection. He's lost a pocket presence. He's not seeing the field. He's missing throws. He's turning his back to the field as he wrecklessly spins in the pocket. On at least two occasions, he made Bryan Bulaga look bad. And, when Rodgers has had a chance to win games, frustratingly, he has not been able to lead us to victory.
I was stunned that we didn't continue to attack the middle of the field after Crabtree & AQ81 combined for two catches totaling 56 yards early in the game. I was also surprised that we did not test the Fins deep with Jennings after the 86 yard strike. McCarthy lacked both strategy & discipline.
Mentally, every time we get something going offensively, we're constantly mitigating the risk of disaster which leads to enhanced uncertainty. Call it the "Risk of Indictment." Someone makes a mistake. Rodgers throws a pick or removes himself from the pocket too soon. An offensive lineman gets a flag. Someone drops a pass. Jones fumbles. Crosby misses a crucial FG. Each week - we find new ways to kill drives.
Amazingly, we're 1 game out of first place & unless Minnesota suddenly figures itself out, I'd be surprised if a 10-6 record is not good enough to win the Division. Win this week & essentially we control our own destiny. Excitingly, we'll hopefully get some of our defensive stalwarts back. Give me Pickett, Neal, CM3, Ras Al & Ras-A-tari back & I'll feel good about where we are at. Without them, not so much. Also, I read that the status of Nintendo Nick & AJ Hawk is in question. With a lack of effective defenders, we become ridiculously vulnerable.
Further, it'll be good to see Anthony Smith back as a Packer. I was surprised we let him go last year. I'm happy that Ted Thompson admitted his mistake.
Hey Ted, any day you want to sign T-Mon & Cullen Jenkins to lock term deals, that day will be fine by me. What are we waiting for? Each week, they are our two best defenders.
In not-so breaking news, I would be thrilled if Shawn Slocum lost his job. We have the worst special teams in football. Tackling Percy Harvin scares me this weekend. Our special teams are an absolute liability.
This weekend, we must get pressure on Favre. We have to get into his face. I'm praying for rain. Mistakes will follow. But, first, we have to throw Favre to the turf a couple of times. Get in his face.
AP can run whether it's rain, shine or snow. It'll be tough to stop him. But, if it's raining, the slippery ball might mean a fumble or two from the occasionally sloppy MN offense.
Offensively, we have to use the breadth of the field. With repeatability. Test them deep down the middle of the field. Utilize what works and that's the abundance of playmakers that we have on offense. And, hopefully, Jordy & Jones come to play. And, Aaron, if it's not the play is not there on 1st or 2nd down, it's OK to realize minimal returns. Small gains are positive gains. In our offensive strategy, it's OK to produce less than significant returns on 1st & 2nd down. Focus on consistent positive productivity. Then challenge the defense down the field as things open up.
McCarthy, when calling this game, I offer you three words: SECURE. RELIABLE. EASY.
Punch them in the mouth. At the gut of the defense. Kuhn & Jackson up the middle. It'll open up play-action. Stick with it. And when we come with play-action, Korey Hall, it's YOUR job to stand up and get physical. Nut up, bro. Don't try to cut a pass rusher. Stand up & take him on. Play mean.
Frankly, it's tough for me to give a solid breakdown of this game. We know who the Viqueens are. But, I have no idea who will suit up for the Packers on Sunday. Therefore, to me, presently, we lack an identity. In order for the Packers to win this weekend, we have to score at least 30 points. We also must hit Favre & force at least 2 turnovers. Anything less and victory will be tough to find. I'm thinking Rodgers gets his act together & the Packers get on track. Rodgers forgets about expectations. Throws for 330. 3 TD's.
Packers 34. Vikings 31.
Men, the lights are on. This is our house. Add some gloss to the helmets. Let them shine. Let them sparkle. Let's play with polish. Let's play with intensity. It's now. Or it's never. I'm not ready to let this season burn in flames. So play with fire. I'll be bringing it in my one-bedroom condo on SoBe. I hope you'll do the same in the most majestic of stadiums, Lambeau Field. Amp up the volume. The season is on the line. The Division is ours to lose. If you can't perform in this game, you're useless to me.
Let's do this!
One side note with regards to the "Who Are You Watching Now?" category. Do yourself a favor this Thursday night. 9 PM EST. ESPN. UCLA v Oregon. Watch #10, OLB, UCLA. His name is Akeem Ayers. I didn't list him as he's only a junior, but he's probably my favorite player in college football this year. Only a junior, he's 6-4, 255. He can do it all. He'd look good across from CM3.