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:
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.
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.——————
Jason Perone is an independent sports blogger writing about the Packers on AllGreenBayPackers.comFollow Jason Perone: