Could This Loss to the Colts be a Turning Point for the Packers?

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The Packers must find the quickest route to get back on their winning ways

In most any situation in life, be it a movie, fight, game, etc.,  there is a turning point.  At five games into this season and with two tough road games coming up, the Green Bay Packers face just that.  Some may say it’s too early to see it that way, but this sport is about momentum and the Pack need to shift it in the positive direction now.   If this isn’t THE turning point, it’s the beginning of it.

A 2-3 record is hardly a “game over” scenario.  Even if they aren’t able to overtake the Houston Texans  next week, there is still plenty of time for this team to make good on the 2012 season.

That said, it won’t come by continuing some of the things this team has done through five games.  It bears repeating that the definition of insanity is continuing to do the same thing and expecting a different outcome.  The Pack need to realistically consider some different options to help turn this thing in the right direction.

There were many takeaways from this game but a few that really stood out:

Pass Rush

Dom Capers likes to put the defense in the zone coverage when the Pack get a healthy lead and opponents start throwing a lot.  It’s sometimes referred to as the ‘bend but don’t break’ defense.  Well, it’s broken.   Even when the Packers blitzed in the 2nd half today, they couldn’t get there.  They had some success in the first half but seemingly ran out of gas and were sending only four rushers at the end of the game.

Colts QB Andrew Luck may be a rookie, but he’s already the type of QB who teams must pressure to stop the Colts offense.  On the last drive, everyone knew he was going to be throwing and likely looking for WR Reggie Wayne.  Still, the Packers were stonewalled and gave up completion after completion with Wayne scoring the go-ahead TD.  It was similar to the Giants playoff game.  Giving a good QB too much time and surprising to no one, he always found an open man.  Even the best DB’s will give up plays having to cover 4+ seconds.

Offense

As a whole, this unit was too hot and cold today.  Aaron Rodgers made some great throws and hooked up with two different receivers for three TD’s with John Kuhn rumbling in for a 4th score.  On the flip side was an old and bad habit rearing its ugly head:  Rodgers held onto the ball too long on too many occasions.

Say what you will about the O line or how good the Colts pass rush was.  QB’s cannot hold onto the ball for 4+ seconds and stick around the pocket hoping not to be touched.  Even the weakest pass rush will eventually get someone there in that time.

When his initial few reads are covered, Rodgers has to get out of the pocket and at least give himself the option to throw it away if he needs to.  Staying within the system and trusting your O line and WR’s is great but it’s a fact:  you cannot hang onto the ball as long as he did on many times today.  Plain and simple.

MVP QB or not, Rodgers has to work on this.  Frankly, this shouldn’t still be happening after seeing this become costly in as far back as 2009.  This is three years later and the story is the same:  it’s no less dangerous to be hanging onto the ball that long.

On a positive note is the emergence of WR James Jones.  Jones now has 2 multiple TD games in a row and stepped up big today with Greg Jennings out.  Despite all of the trade rumors and being relegated as the team’s 4th WR up until the end of last season, he has maintained his work ethic and it’s paying dividends.  It’s good to know the Pack have Jones as a viable option with Jennings’ status uncertain for the short-term.

Randall Cobb also made some plays in space and found a hole in the Colts’ zone to set up Mason Crosby’s last FG attempt.  A lot is being made of Cobb and his play-making abilities and he flashed some of that today.  The Packers will continue to try and keep him involved as much as possible and let his feet work some magic.

While the O line have had their rough patches this season, they are not committing a lot of penalties.  I don’t recall any false starts or holds on the O linemen in the Colts game.  They have to get out and start winning their one on one matchups.  How do they accomplish that?  I don’t have that answer but the guys who are paid handsomely to figure that out need to do just that.

It’s hardly time to hit the panic button but it’s reasonable for fans and the team itself to be concerned.  Great teams win games they are supposed to.  A 21-3 lead over a team with a slew of young players and who seemingly don’t match up well is a game the Packers were supposed to win.  They have to start searching for that greatness that has defined them over the past two seasons.

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Jason Perone is an independent sports blogger writing about the Packers on AllGreenBayPackers.com

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  • Mark Richardson

    Some random thoughts that occurred to me after the game yesterday:

    1. Defensive line is very dependent on BJ Raji and really struggled when he was out.

    2. Ryan Pickett looks old.

    3. Lack of defense was apparent with multiple encrochments and lining up off sides repeatedly. See number 1 above.

    4. I think its time to admit that the OL picked by Thompson and developed by McCarthy is just not that good. They are very average at best. They can’t run block and apparently cannot pass block when it counts.

    5. Aaron Rodgers needs to take a good look in the mirror and stop trying to force the ball down the field. It’s okay to throw an 8 yard pass on 2nd and 12.

    6. I noticed that Luck started taking much deeper drops in the 2nd half and that seemed to negate the Packers rush.

    7. Mike McCarthy seems slow to adjust when things are not going well. I’m not sure who is in the coaches box with Philbin gone but McCarthy seems to be calling plays with out complete information. Packers offense is extremely one dimensionable. Run is not difficult to stop and teams seem to have figured out the secret to covering the Packer Receivers.

    8. 2nd and third string OL for Colts looked great against the Packers. Enough said.

  • Rob

    Maybe it’s not so much that they need to turn around, but stop spinning. They go from hot to cold, good to bad and then back again. Which team is going to show up next series?!

  • Ron LC

    Olinemen tweeting to complain about the play calling.

    An Elite QB who is not playing up to his potential.

    Coaches who are so stuborn they will never admitt their own mistakes.

    Morale is coming apart.

    Somebody needs to take charge and start kicking asses.

    To paraphrase the greatest coach in GB history, “WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON OUT THERE?”

    TT, MM, and Capers need to get together and get control of that team. It’s is a fatal conditon when TJ and Sitton are critcizing the Coach and AR on the stupid ass social media. STFU you fat asses and block. Campan can’t control them? Fire his ass.

    It’s time to fix this shit now or soon it will be too late.

    JJ Watt against “The Statue” Bulaga (Sorry Breno you just lost your title) is going to be a sad situation. Anyone against Newhouse added to the equation and more trouble for AR.

    Team meetings and someone putting a firecracker under Capers’ lethargic ass and get him to finally admitt his 7 DB deep zone shit stinks. Enough is enough! He has had over a year to figure out what is wrong. He hasn’t.

    FIX IT!

  • Savage57

    Best thing about this loss is it stripped all the makeup off and laid the wench naked. This team isn’t the beauty that everyone kept telling us when they set up the blind date.

    She’s a little old, a little tired and has probably started to believe too much of her own press. She ain’t the beauty she used to be.

    Question is, will some time at the gym, getting some work done and a little polish around the edges enough to make her catch anyone’s eye again, or is it time for all of us to start looking around?

    That said, I do hope that she’s still our girl, and we can take her to the end of the year dance.

  • frozentundra91

    Good article. “The bend but don’t break defense is broken”, haha. Couldn’t agree more. How many times have we watched the Packers play it and let teams just march down the field and get back in games. I understand playing a little more conservatively but c’mon.
    -Run blocking is clearly an issue. I think the reliance on the zone blocking scheme has made our o-line a little soft.
    -It’s not time to panic but starting out 2-4 is gonna be tough to overcome.
    -I know this is pro football and it’s a business but there is no emotion on this team. You think this defense would have a little edge to it after last year.

    • http://allgbp.com/category/authors/jason-perone/ Jason Perone

      I want to reiterate that the Pack is 2-3. I see what you’re getting at, but they are not 2-4, at least not yet. All I can say is that this team has the personnel on all levels to get it turned around. They have to do it and need to have the right mentality/culture. That comes from leadership.

      • Bubbaloo

        Jason, I agree, they have the personnel, so where’s the problem? In my opinion I have seen the Packer out-coached in several games this year, with no adjustments other than running the ball in the 2nd half at Seattle. There’s no sense of urgency on this team, no fire! Somebody needs to get cut or fired to wake these guys up before we ruin the rookie class too!
        I’m Pissed! They’re embarrassing!

      • frozentundra91

        Your right Jason they’re not 2-4 yet. With Rodgers as quarterback the Packers will always have a chance to win. I just hope they don’t have to overcome it.

  • Bwinky

    @Savage57: Great comment, thanks. Reminds me of one of my own favorite expressions… If you put a pig in a prom dress, it’s still a pig.

    • Bubbaloo

      Bwinky, I took a pig to the prom, left early, had a hell of a night!

  • Victor

    All the NFL cares is that this is the best outcome for PR. I have a problem
    with the Officials deciding every game.
    They took another score away on Perry’s
    sack fumble. The NFL is proving it has
    lost all of it’s integrity. It seems like you have just wait for the officials to blow another call to deflate the Packers momentum. The last three games were decided by the officials.It is maddening.Vic.

  • Bearmeat

    This next game they are either going to wake up and play Houston really tough (like vs the Pats in 10) or they’re going to get blown out. And the season’s over.

  • Dan

    Thanks Ron LC, you are helping me vent

    • Ron LC

      You’re welcome Dan. I just can’t stand an emotionless uninspired effort without any effort to change. Why can young teams without the talent and depth like Indy out play the Pack with no responce on the field? That must be fixed.

  • Dan

    Also, I have to agree with bearmeat, the pack needs to come out fighting for 4 qtrs next week and give Houston all they got. This would prove they still have fight in them. If they get blown out…forget it…season over as far as the playoffs

  • babyface53

    Okay lets be honest here… one game our Defense is strong and our Offense is weak, and vice versa… but the only time our D is strong is against a weak opposing Offense… why you ask? OUR DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR. get him out of there… lets see what these guys can do… and can we please keep Perry and Matthews in at the same time please. I think both teams need to start working together as a team and not two separate teams…. we got lots of games left to play and wins that can go under the belt. I wanna see our team come out strong, and stay strong… through our D line and Offense team.

    • frozentundra91

      I agree, I think Perry holds the point better against the run. He is faster and stronger than Walden and he also gets much better pressure on the quarterback. However, Walden is still a good fill-in for passing downs to buy Perry some time and he can make some good plays also. Linebackers are definitely a strength for the Packers. Go Pack

  • babyface53

    Exactly what I was trying to say!If we could just put each guy in where they are strongest and work together we would walk off with more wins! Thanks for your comment frozentundra91 :)

  • Big T

    Maybe Rodgers is not who we thought he was… He is better at commercials than football this year. When Rodgers gets flustered he shuts down and can’t function anymore. I would get pissed to however, if I was hitting Finley right on target and the bastard keeps dropping them. Lets start by getting rid of Fumble Fingers Finley (FFF). I think Rodgers will eventually come around.