The Packers managed to survive today against the 0-3 Detroit Lions, but just barely. The Packers defense surrendered 431 yards of offense to the Lions, with 308 coming from the vaunted arm of, yes, Shaun Hill. Without a few early game gifts from Jahvid Best, The Packers would not have been running down the clock on their final drive, but rather trying to come back to win the game. The Packers are 3-1, but it’s been anything but comfortable. Here is a running tally of my comments and first impressions as the game progressed…
Inactives: Shields, Peprah, Chillar, Johnson, McDonald, Lang, Newhouse, Wynn
A few significant things with the inactives:
Hard to imagine, but Shields not being available is actually a problem for the Packers. For a UDFA who has only played CB for a year, Shields has done an improbable nice job so far as a starting nickel back for the Packers. Now the preseason favorite for that spot, Brandon Underwood or Jarret Bush will get their opportunity to step in and show what they can do.
The second thing to look at is the absence of Brandon Chillar. Not being able to slot Chillar in on the nickel defense will certainly invite the Lions to test the coverage skills of AJ Hawk and Nick Barnett. Desmond Bishop figures to get some playing time today, as well.
And finally, Quinn Johnson is inactive in favor of Dimitri Nance. Hopefully Nance gets a few chances today, but more significant to me is that Johnson is still the third string fullback. The fact that he hasn’t progressed that much and has not been able to help on special teams is rather disappointing. I had higher hopes for him. Still early in his career, though – not giving up on him yet.
During the first series, we see something that to me, is always lacking in the Packers running game – an actual short pitch from Rodgers to Jackson to get him to the corner more quickly. If you think about it, it’s uncanny how infrequently you see plays like that from MM’s playbook.
Speaking of rarities, on the third down tight end screen to Pettigrew, we witnessed a rare Charles Woodson missed tackle. He may have slipped, but he was one-on-one with Pettigrew and whiffed.
Capers once again bringing the rush early. Lets hope he doesn’t back off as the game progresses, as he has been prone to do.
If I can see the setup on the 3rd and two and just KNOW they’re going to hand it off to Kuhn, I’m guessing the Lions know also… And then to use Kuhn, a fullback, on a play like that… dumb.
Been worried about Masthay since preseason. Not his leg, his mind. Not sure he has the mental makeup to punt in the NFL. We talked about this on Cheesehead Radio last week.
Jahvid Best proving to be the Packer’s BEST friend so far. Responsible for an INT and a fumble. Maybe he should have stayed on the injury list…
I don’t know the last time I saw a pass as impressive as the Rodgers TD pass to Finley. Perfect spot between double coverage. Just like throwing it into a tire.
I still cringe when I see Tramon Williams returning punts. With the way he’s playing at CB (near pro-Bowl level?), it’s just an unnecessary risk.
And then Rodgers does it again with another pinpoint pass to Jennings for a TD. Other than Montana/Young, has there ever been another back-to-back QB combo like Favre/Rodgers?
The Packers could learn a thing or two from the Lions, RE: how to run a screen and beat a blitz with quick dumpoffs into the vacated area. And no sooner do I write that and on the next play, the Lions complete another tight end screen for a big gain inside the 10 yard line.
Charles Woodson did as much as he could on the touchdown to Johnson. Derrick Martin did nothing. Didn’t even try to jump and contest it. He could have at least gone up and tried to strip the ball before Johnson came down with it. Nothing. Horrible effort.
Nick Collins: Woodson bailed you out, but can you please catch the balls that come right to you? Hell, if AJ hawk can do it, I think an All-Pro safety can do it too.
With 9:26 left in the third quarter, Detroit has 299 yards of offense (242`passing) so far… Packers only 154…
Rodgers INT throw on the short interception was as bad a pass as his TD passes were great.
As the 3rd quarter comes to a close, I’m pretty nervous as the Packers go three and out and Detroit is trailing by only 8 points.
Jarret Bush with a real nice play on a strip of the ball on Pettigrew, but keep in mind, it was needed because his coverage was very poor on the play.
I didn’t like Jordy Nelson switching the ball from one hand to the other as he’s returning the kick. It looked like he didn’t have it secured well, and sure enough, it gets knocked out. Argh!
Thank God for Charles Woodson. Makes 3 plays in a row to break the momentum and force a Detroit punt with under 7 minutes left in the game. HUGE.
It has to be embarrassing for Brandon Jackson to watch a fullback do his job better than he can. And Dimitri Nance was active today because…?
This is a team with a lot of question marks right now. They’ve made it through the first quarter of the season with a 3-1 mark, but have been less than impressive for a good part of those games. The Packers defense continues to give up large chunks of yards in the air, (blame the linebackers as much as the secondary) and the big stops are few and far between unless the opposing team does them a favor and runs it into the interior line. They were burned repeatedly in this game by the screen pass, the best answer opposing teams have when the Packers blitz.
Dom Capers has a difficult job ahead, especially if Morgan Burnett will now be out for an extended period of time. Opposing teams seem to have a pretty good blueprint for attacking the Packers defense. Capers has to come up with a plan for preventing opposing teams from short-passing them to death. I don’t envy him.——————
Jersey Al Bracco is the founder and editor of AllGreenBayPackers.com, and the co-founder of Packers Talk Radio Network. He can be heard as one of the Co-Hosts on Cheesehead Radio and is the Green Bay Packers Draft Analyst for Drafttek.com.