Game Balls and Lame Calls: Packers 24, Jaguars 15

ALLGBP.com All Green Bay Packers All the Time
Aaron Rodgers
QB Aaron Rodgers was good but not spectacular for the Packers in their 24-15 win over the Jaguars

It was ugly but the Green Bay Packers will take it.

The Packers offense was not firing on all cylinders Sunday without their top two receivers in Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson, but thankfully the defense was up to the task against a relatively impotent offense as the Packers hung on in an ugly 24-15 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Aaron Rodgers was good but not stellar as he missed his two favorite targets and Alex Green had a fair if not unimpressive performance against the Jaguars.   The defense, despite a third quarter touchdown, played solid in the red zone and kept the Jaguars out of the end zone for the rest of the game.

It would be unfair to say the Packers offense suddenly regressed thanks to injuries at wide receiver, but the running game needs to get going.  The defense also has been hobbled by injuries, but some bad habits seem to be resurfacing despite the unit’s overall solid play in the win.

Here’s who stood out and who didn’t in the win over the Jaguars.

Game Balls

S Morgan Burnett

People were watching to see how the secondary would do with the loss of Charles Woodson and Burnett came up big.  He had an interception, a sack, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and led the team with nine tackles.

When he wasn’t forcing turnovers, Burnett was constantly around the ball.  He showed solid tackling technique and took care of business in the defensive backfield. It’s not enough to help people forget about a special talent like Woodson, but it’s a reminder of how much young talent the Packers have in their secondary that will continue to improve with experience.

LB Brad Jones

Not to be outdone by Burnett, Jones played well in place of both the injured DJ Smith and Desmond Bishop.  Jones was touted at one time as the heir apparent to Aaron Kampman but thanks to the Packers’ commitment to the 3-4 scheme and the emergence of Clay Matthews, Jones became a forgotten man on the linebacker depth chart.

Thanks to Bishop and Smith landing on season ending injured reserved, Jones finally gets another chance and made the most of his chances against the Jaguars.  Jones also had one sack and a forced fumble plus he finished behind Burnett with seven tackles.

It’s a tall order to go more than half of the season with a player who is not used to being an inside linebacker but if Jones can build off his performance against the Jaguars, he should more than be able to hold his own in the critical games in December.

WR Donald Driver (sentimental game ball)

He only had two catches for 10 yards, but he did catch a touchdown.  It’s not the stat line Driver put up earlier in his career, but today Driver added his name to one more chapter in the Packers’ record book.

Driver today became only the second player in Packers history to appear in 200 regular season games for the team (Brett Favre being the other).  With Jennings and Nelson both out, this very well could be the most time Driver spends on the field for the remainder of the season.

In what very well could be his final season before retirement, Driver got to a Lambeau Leap which is fitting for one of the most popular players in franchise history.

Lame Calls

RB Alex Green

In another game where coach Mike McCarthy made a solid commitment to run the ball, Green finished with 22 carries for 54 yards which gave him an average of around 2.5 yards per carry.

The Packers were hopeful Green would finally show the ability to be an every down back against the Jaguars, but it was by all means a disappointing performance for the second year back out of Hawaii.  If the Packers didn’t miss Cedric Benson last week, they certainly do after Green’s play against the Jaguars.

With the passing game struggling to get going thanks again to injuries to Jennings and Nelson, the running game needs to pick up the slack.  With Benson out, many hoped Green would realize the potential he has flashed in training camp the past two years.

Instead, fans may be soon be calling for James Starks and that’s something not many fans thought they’d be doing.  In all honesty, Starks probably couldn’t do any worse.

K Mason Crosby

It’s been a rough season so far for Crosby.

He missed the game tying field goal against the Colts and couldn’t even get a 59-yard kick even close to the goal posts last week against the Rams.  Crosby followed that up by doinking a 32 yard attempt off the goalpost against the Jaguars.

The Packers were unable to put the Jaguars away and those three points would have come in handy as the Packers tried to expand their lead.  Crosby can’t continue to struggle if the Packers find themselves in the close games as they fight for a playoff spot.

The NFC North is going to be an uphill climb for Green Bay and they will need their kicker in top form with their divisional games usually close late into the fourth quarter.

The “bend but don’t break” defense

Once again the Packers couldn’t put away an inferior opponent and once again the defense made a bad quarterback look decent.

Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert entered the game with a shoulder injury but thanks to occasionally pillow soft coverage in the middle of the field by the Packers, he finished with 303 yards passing with one touchdown pass.  It’s been maddening to watch the Packers get burned by something that should be very correctable yet Capers seems either unable or unwilling to make the adjustment.

Until the Packers can deliver the knockout blow to an opponent, doubts will remain about the defense being an asset versus a liability.  While it seems like an improved unit from a year ago, the stubbornness of the coaches to go for the kill shot could cost the Packers a shot at the Super Bowl.

——————

Kris Burke is a sports writer covering the Green Bay Packers for AllGreenBayPackers.com and WTMJ in Milwaukee. He is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) and his work has been linked to by sites such as National Football Post and CBSSports.com.

——————

  • FireMMNow

    Please stop hating on the defense. the defense allowed 15 points and 6 of those were on a gift turnover near the red zone. Dom kept the pressure up most of the game. Even the commentators noted that he was bringing pressure late in the game.

    The defense was without the following players: Bishop, Smith, Woodson, Shields and Perry. And they still basically gave up 9 points.

    Why not give a lame call to the offense. They scored 17 points against an inferior Jags team with only one regular starter in their defensive secondary. They were lucky they had a blocked punt for a TD by the STs.

    One lame call was the fake punt. Lets not get too cute MM/Slocum. Special teams have been HUGE this year. But lets do it in the normal phase of the game. The big special teams plays this year have all had one thing in common, the element of surprise. When you do the formation shift everyone knows there is about a 65% chance you are going to run a fake. Mashtay had no pressure and should have just boomed it out of the endzone when he was not comfortable with the pass. If we are going to run that crap I would rather have Rodgers throwing the ball on fourth down.

    • FireMMNow

      Also, add Worthy to the list of players out in the second half. He is a big part of their pressure packages.

      • PackersRS

        Even with Worthy and Neal still on the rotation, the play of the DL was pathetic. It’s not that they couldn’t get pressure. They couldn’t even hold ground! It was a beautiful pocket everytime for Gabbert.

        That being said, the DL was the only problem, albeit a big one. The secondary played well without Woodson, and the LBs, save for a blalant error here and there *cough* Hawk *couch* did well. And 15 points should always be enough.

        But the Jaguars are the WORST offense in football, and they played without their best player. Their average ppg is 14.7.

        It was not on Capers. It was on the DL.

        And Raji played. Apparently. Haven’t seen him since the 2010 playoffs.

  • jay

    Gabbert didn’t throw an interception that game according to the box score.

  • Ron LC

    Rotten, stinking, awful, pathetic, poor, incompetent, miserable, unprofessional, are just a few of the descriptives that should be applied to Campan and his stable of Fat Guys. We had such high hopes for this group and it is now obvious they are the WORST Oline in the NFL. They can’t protect AR and they sure as hell can’t run block. What happened to this group where the one weakness was Newhouse trying to block speed rushers? Now the whole line is playing like Newhouse. I’m afraid it’s too late to do anything about it this year.

    It’s time for damage control. With two shots at Detroit and Suh, two shots at the Queenies and Allen and one more with Peppers and Briggs coming up, I fear for AR’s safety.

    Green is really bad at finding the crease. And a crease is all he’s going to get with the immobile Lardos in front of him. Starks showed some ability to get there in his few carries. Much like Benson was doing. Green looked like he wants to play Rugby. Charging into the scrum and disappearing seems to be his one move. Use him on screens on the corners, that seems to be his one talent.

    Like “fire MM,” I think as long as Capers keeps the pressure on, the D is hard to score on. There’ll be misses on man-to-man and some yards will add up but they can’t be scored on as easily as last season.

    Work the Lardos until they drop. Screw the CBA. The Jags were/are the worst Dline in the NFL and they made them look like all-pros.

    • Bearmeat

      Relax Ron. They are not a good run blocking OL right now, that is true. And Green is not a good RB right now.

      But blowing up the line (disregarding the CBA is not a realistic option), is NOT the way to improve in season. They have the talent, and (with the exception of Saturday) there is reason to believe that every single one of the linemen is only going to get better over the next couple years.

      The head shaking mental errors is what gets me. Let’s hope Starks can stay healthy and Green can hold down the fort while we wait for Benson to get back in week 12.

  • marpag

    When it comes to “lame calls”, I’d say that laughable fake punt was pretty lame. For as awesome as special teams have been this season, that call was bad.

    Agree with Ron that the O-line is letting us down. A. Green is not great by any stretch, but the “lardos” aren’t pulling their weight with the run or the pass.

  • Tarynfor12

    Watching Green as an every down RB with this OL is like…Russian Roulette with a loaded gun…

    • marpag

      …then again, a loaded gun would have some “pop”.

      Green and this line certainly have no “pop”, although they are likely to get you killed…

  • Dan

    I agree with Ron, I wish I could hit your “like” tab more then once. The O-line has regressed so bad this year. I keep hoping it will turn around and play better, but, its the opposite, they keep getting worse. I hope Arod doesn’t get killed in one of these games. A. Green is making me miss Benson more and more every week. And I officially hate Capers.

  • art

    FINLEY’S GOT BALLLS, BALLS, BALLS!
    “We need to come out and put teams like this away. Of course it’s disappointing,” Finley said via FOX Sports Wisconsin. “With the ability we got and with the guys we got on this team, it kills us. If the defense is looking at us, that’s why they’re mad at us if we go three-and-out, because they know what we can do. And we’re pissed off at them when teams like Jacksonville drive the ball down the field.”

    Finley noted that the team’s pass protection was lacking.

    “You get a guy like (Rodgers) on his back several times, it distracts him. He’s looking behind his back, in front of him, beside him,” Finley said. “It can throw us off in the passing game, too. I’m not blaming a soul on the team, but we have to keep ’12’ (Rodgers) off his back. …

    “I’ve got my swag back; I’ve got my hands back,” Finley told the Green Bay Press-Gazette. “Everything’s back. I don’t have a say (in how many times he’s thrown the ball). I’m in a great place. I’m happy.”

    • Tarynfor12

      “I’ve got my swag back; I’ve got my hands back,” Finley told the Green Bay Press-Gazette. “Everything’s back. I don’t have a say (in how many times he’s thrown the ball). I’m in a great place. I’m happy.”

      Please let him do a Forrest Gumpp and let him keep running through the tunnel,pass the highway,across the prairre,over the mountains and into the freaking ocean.

  • hotpockets

    It’s obvious that our line can’t run block especiailly in the zone sceme, but it seems like the few times we have pulled a gaurd or or motioned a lineman or tigh end into the backfield to lead block we have had success. Also, who else in the league hands off so much out of the shotgun? I have never seen a running back forced to take a hand-off with no momentum (other than draw plays)and succeed. McArthy might have a great passing mind but his running sceme seems awkward at best.

    • A_Lerxst_in_Packerland

      Agree with you on pulling the guard and running out of the “gun”. Also, what happened to putting Cobb in the backfield and handing off/tossing it to him? That play has been going for some decent yardage almost every time they run it.

  • Rusell

    Starks should be starting and getting the bulk of the carries. Green should be used in 3rd and long situations. Hats off to the D for only giving up one TD. One of the problems with the O-line is poor technic. These guys are not getting any leverage on run blocks. You dont have to be as strong as your opponent to block him effectively. There are no holes to run through. Perhaps we should pay more attention to the O-line coach to see what he’s teaching.

  • aaronqb

    There wasn’t anything lame about the defense. They played without 4 of their preferred starters. Raji was at less than 100% and they lost Worthy during the game. The defense is playing very good ball right now and stands to get better when the medical room clears out a bit.