When I started this Packer Journal prior to the '07 season, my intention was to provide an approach that was an optimistic yet realistic point of view on the Green Bay Packers. Today, the outlook is bleak & I don't have much positive to say.
After a game that I'd title a complete & utter failure, the Packers face a must-win game on Sunday. While I know the Bears still suck, they'll beat the hapless 'queens. Thus the tie-breaker goes to Chicago & at this point, it doesn't interest me to discuss the wild card possibilities until after the Giants & Eagles game.
You can't lose to Detroit. Not in December. Not when you're in the thick of a playoff race. Shame on us.
I blame this game on Ted Thompson & Mike McCarthy. While I remain a supporter of both, clearly they whiffed on their assessment of Matt Flynn. Not that Flynn is solely to blame for the inept offensive performance, but the reality is that in just over 2 quarters of work, he mustered only 3 points. Further, just when his play garnered praise, he threw a pathetic interception. Really, it's not Flynn's fault though. He played as well as we could have expected him to play. In fact, I'd say that this performance was his best as a member of the Packers, preseason included. Still, it was wasn't good enough to earn a victory. With that said, yes, I'm aware that in nearly two quarters an Aaron Rodgers led team failed to score a point.
My point: I can say with confidence that Jeff Garcia wins that game.
While I know McCarthy didn't score a point in his 1st game as coach of the Packers, I'd argue that this was his worst coaching performance ever. We were unprepared. Lackadaisical. The Lions played a base defense for much of the game. Their front 4 beat our OL. McCarthy couldn't slow them down.
In the 1st Quarter, Jennings showed he could get behind the defense. Why didn't we come back to that until the final 4th & 1? Didn't we watch the Thanksgiving game between NE & Detroit? Didn't McCarthy see the film of the Lions/Bears game the week prior to our game? Detroit's weakness is their secondary. On double moves, they can be beat. We didn't capitalize.
The painful reality: The Drew Stanton led Detroit Lions beat the Green Bay Packers. That's unacceptable. Especially in December.
I found two play calls absolutely baffling. Almost as if McCarthy was calling plays as though he was playing a video game.
1.) McCarthy called a pass the play after Rodgers' concussion.
2.) On the final possession, I was stunned when McCarthy called a run on 2nd & 2. I thought he should have come back to the play-action roll-out to AQ81 that was working effectively.
Again, shame on us. Barring a near miracle, the 2010 season looks as though it'll go down as the most disappointing Packers season of my life. While it's true that the injuries have been devastating, I won't settle for that as an excuse. The bottom line is that we couldn't beat Drew Stanton & the Detroit Lions.
On a bright note, I want to give a huge shout out to CJ Wilson. He played well. In fact, he'd be the only lineman that I'd give a passing grade. Our Big Beefy Boys got pushed around.
Our secondary played well. Detroit had 0 yards passing late in the 3rd Quarter. We also picked off 2 passes. Though it looks like Sir Charles is strictly a slot CB at this point.
Our OL was beyond awful.
Too bad AQ81 fumbled as otherwise I thought he played well. But, the fumble was a total drive killer. It destroyed our momentum early in the game.
Greg Jennings, wtf?
Why can't we open a lane for Sammy Swagga on Kickoff Returns?
After 13 games, we've created 24 turnovers & produced 37 sacks.
This week it is the New England Patriots on Sunday Night Football. As I write, I have no idea whether Rodgers is playing. If I were in charge, I'd rest him. He's too crucial to our future. His head needs the rest. With him, we could possibly win a shootout. Even with the crippling injuries to Zombo & Cullen Jenkins. We could outscore them. I truly believe it.
After the game on Sunday, I suggested that it was "the day the music died." It feels that way. Unless we beat NE, it looks like the playoffs will go on without us. We did this to ourselves.
So, let's go into New England and play with fire. With attitude. Possessed. Our life is on the line. Let's fight. And, hopefully, the ball bounces our way a couple of times.
My pep talk to the Packers would be simple. I'd quote Paul Simon:
In the clearing stands a boxer and a fighter by his trade,
And he carries the reminders of every glove that laid him down,
Or cut him 'til he cried out in his anger and his shame,
"I am leaving, I am leaving."
But the fighter still remains.
I'd state it as we walked out onto the field. Take out our anger of the Lions game on the Patriots. And Sunday, we'll see if the fighter still remains in our belly.
If Rodgers is healthy & ready to go, it's a Packers miracle. Much like 2002. Except this time it's much closer. Green Bay 37. New England 34. If Rodgers doesn't play, no comment.
Let's steal this!
When your wife lives 2,000 miles away and you're obsessed with football, the only thing that crosses your TV screen from August-December is football. Whether it's college or the NFL, it doesn't matter. Often, it's muted. Still, I was close to football. As we approach bowl season, I thought I'd dedicate a plane ride across the country to a "Who Are You Watching Now?" so that we could pay special attention during the bowl games. As always, at this stage, I only comment if I've actually seen him play. Also, until someone has declared, I only comment on seniors. And, as always, I don't include OL. At this stage, I'm only listing names. We'll have plenty of time to get into the details later on. I intentionally went heavy on listing TCU players for your entertainment value during the Rose Bowl.
Round 1: Von Miller, OLB, Texas A&M
2.) Ryan Kerrigan, OLB, Purdue
3.) Greg Jones, ILB, Michigan State
4.) Cameron Jordan, DE, Cal
5.) Jimmy Smith, CB, CO
6.) DeMarco Murray, RB, OK
Round 2: Ras-I Dowling, CB, VA
2.) Leonard Hankerson, WR, _
3.) Colin McCarthy, ILB, _
4.) Mark Herzlich, OLB, BC
5.) KJ Wright, OLB, Miss State
6.) Deunta Williams, S, UNC
7.) DeAndre McDaniels, S, Clemson
8.) Dontay Moch, OLB, Nevada
Round 3: Noel Devine, RB, WVU
2.) Chris Rucker, CB, Michigan State
3.) Titus Young, WR, Boise State
4.) Jerrel Jernigan, WR, Troy
5.) Quan Sturdivant, ILB, UNC
6.) Mason Foster, OLB, Washington
7.) Austin Pettis, WR, Boise State
8.) Marcus Gilchrist, CB, Clemson
Round 4: Casey Matthews, ILB, Oregon (Gotta have Clay's brother!)
2.) Chris Carter, OLB, Fresno State
3.) Brandon Hogan, CB, WVU
4.) Colin Kaepernick, QB, Nevada
5.) Tejay Johnson, S, TCU
6.) Wayne Daniels, OLB, TCU
Round 5: Terrence Tolliver, WR, LSU
2.) Anthony Egbuniwe, OLB, Ga Tech (you won't find him on most draft sites, but I like his game & he's played in the 3-4)
3.) Evan Royster, RB, PSU
4.) Anthony Allen, RB, Ga Tech
5.) Ricky Stanzi, QB, Iowa
6.) Greg McElroy, QB, Bama
7.) Armon Binns, WR, Cincy
8.) Jalil Brown, CB, CO
9.) Mario Butler, CB, Ga Tech
10.) Andy Dalton, QB, TCU
11.) Pernell McPhee, 3-4 DE, Miss State
12.) Ian Williams, 3-4 DE, ND
13.) Brooks Reed, OLB, AZ
Round 6: Mario Harvey, ILB, Marshall
2.) Bruce Miller, OLB, Central Florida
3.) Brian Duncan, OLB, Texas Tech
4.) Devon Torrence, CB, Ohio State
5.) Jeremy Kerley, WR, TCU
6.) Cory Grant, 3-4 DE, TCU
7.) Graig Cooper, RB, _
8.) Derrick Locke, RB, KY
Round 7: Brandon Bair, DE, OR
2.) Scott Tolzien, QB, WI
3.) Jerrod Johnson, QB, A&M
4.) Ryan Colburn, QB, Fresno State
5.) Case Keenum, QB, Houston
6.) Anthony Gaitor, CB, FIU
7.) Jake Coffman, OLB, NIU (Former military man. Served the country in Iraq. Fearless.)
8.) Baron Batch, RB, Texas Tech
9.) CJ Gable, RB, USC
10.) Damien Berry, RB, _
11.) Dom DeCicco, S, Pitt
12.) Zac Etheridge, S, Auburn
13.) Jasper Simmons, S, Missouri
14.) Mario Edwards, S, Ga Tech
15.) Chad Spann, RB, NIU
16.) Thomas Merriweather, RB, Miami of Ohio
I'm going to be paying attention to WR's during the Bowl games. Looks to be some good underclassmen at WR. More to come later on...cheers!