Where to Point Fingers in Packers Loss to Bengals

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Packers Jonathan Franklin fumbles against Bengals
Turnovers, like Jonathan Franklin’s fumble, were a major factor in the Packers’ loss to the Bengals.

I grow weary of Green Bay Packers losses. Not because they lose, but because I have to suffer the over-the-top reactions from fans every time. Okay, I guess it’s my choice to be involved in the Packers blogosphere and Twitterverse, but you get my point.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s absolutely no problem with being critical of your team after they lose a game like the Packers did to the Bengals. They should have won that game, and it was sloppy play that cost them. Regardless, it doesn’t mean that we need to start firing coaches or general managers. It doesn’t mean that our season is doomed.

But what really frustrates me is when fans automatically revert to grinding the axes they’ve been sharpening for years. When you mindlessly spout convenient excuses for a loss in anger and frustration, then your opinion lacks substance. Sure, there might be some valid points, but in many cases, it’s simply the failure of fans to objectively assess the game.

What do I mean? Let’s take this most recent loss. After thinking about the loss and reviewing some of the information, I’ve come away with some of the biggest reasons (and non-reasons) for the Packers’ loss. Below you’ll find three places where pointing your finger isn’t really a valid/honest assessment of the game, and then you’ll find three places where finger pointing is more than appropriate.

As always, feel free to agree/disagree in the comments section, but please keep it civil.

 

Where NOT to Point Your Finger:

1. Mike McCarthy’s Play Calling – Let’s get this out of the way first: that call on 4th-and-1 was horrible, no matter how much McCarthy wants to defend it. While I admire expecting your team to perform up to standard, I don’t understand why you try to use Franklin straight up the gut behind an average offensive line. Now, that aside, it’s complete bull manure to use that one example as an indicator of poor play-calling overall. I don’t have the analytical skills to judge McCarthy’s play-calling without going back to the tape, and I doubt a lot of you do, either. When the offense puts up 426 yards, how is that a failure? Not only that, but Starks ran for 55 yards on 14 carries (3.9 YPC), and Franklin ran for 103 yards on 13 carries (7.9 YPC). Even without the 51-yard run, Franklin still had 4.3 YPC. You can’t reduce unsuccessful downs simply to bad play calls, because you also have to consider the element of player execution. And until someone can provide some concrete analysis of the offensive tactics, then blaming McCarthy’s play-calling is just convenient belly-aching.

2. Dom Capers’ Soft Defense – This is going to be fairly brief. The Packers defense only gave up 20 points this game (not counting the fumble return or TD following the muffed punt). Yes, they could have made a stop against the second touchdown run, but that’s still at least 3 points due to Jeremy Ross, former Packer. What they did do, though, is get four sacks, limit the Bengals to 82 rushing yards, force and recover three fumbles, and snatch an interception. Not only that, they played most of the second half without their best defensive player. This defense did what it needed to win, it was the offense that let the team down.

3. Ted Thompson’s Draft and Develop Philosophy – Why I even have to mention this is ludicrous, but apparently people will cling to this until Thompson is long gone. Guess what? He’s not going anywhere. Yes, the offensive line needs some upgrades, but great linemen don’t just grow on trees. Injuries happen, and if Thompson didn’t put stock into developing young players, then you would see this Packers team in shambles already. Of the 53 players on the team, 24 were undrafted rookies coming into the league. While many of those players are back-ups, some of them have become bona fide starters: Sam Shields, Tramon Williams, and Tim Masthay, to name a few. Working within a salary cap system and balancing the needs of the team is no easy task, and every team will have their weaknesses. Had Thompson drafted differently in any respect, then it creates a domino effect. Personnel moves don’t happen in a vacuum. But if you think Green Bay could have stayed in the game with all the injuries they had without this development philosophy, then you might want to think some more about how the 21st-century NFL operates.

 

Where TO Point Your Finger:

1. Turnovers – I saw a commenter (who shall remain nameless) post something earlier this week about how badly the Packers would have lost had they not forced four turnovers in that game. The interception and three straight fumbles certainly helped them rack up 30 unanswered points; however, let’s not forget that the Bengals also forced four turnovers themselves. If Aaron Rodgers doesn’t cough up the ball on a poor sideline throw and Jonathan Franklin secures the ball on his fourth-down run, then they stand a much better shot of winning. Still, the biggest difference is that the Bengals were able to convert those turnovers into more points than the Packers. Off of their four turnovers, Cincinnati scored 21 points. Green Bay? Only 13.

2. Aaron Rodgers – You don’t get paid $20 million per year to play games this poorly. I don’t know what happened to him, but Rodgers was off the mark on Sunday. Yes, his one interception was James Jones’ fault, and Jeremy Ross kept him from getting into the game sooner, but his game was just off. Not even counting the forced throw for his second interception, Rodgers was making some poor throws. I saw balls sail far off target, and these were on passes he normally makes. Maybe his emotions got the better of him? While I liked the way Rodgers and McCarthy were able to handle the flare-up between them, it was clearly a dark spot on the day, and perhaps it was an indicator of Rodgers’ overall mindset.

3. Player Injuries – Let’s do a little critical thinking exercise here. I want you to picture the Cincinnati Bengals team. Now, take away the following players and replace them with back-ups: RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis, RB Giovani Bernard, TE Jermaine Gresham, FS Reggie Nelson, DE Michael Johnson, and CB Adam Jones. Have the new roster in place? Good. Now tell me if that team would have held up against the Packers on Sunday. Because that type of roster change is exactly what the Packers were dealing with by the second half of the game, and they were only a couple turnovers away from a victory. Blame whoever you want for the injuries–dirty players for nailing guys in the head or trainers for not preventing hamstring pulls–but the fact of the matter is that the Packers’ biggest weakness was their lack of starting players. After all, as Zach Kruse from CheeseheadTV noted, “168 of Andy Dalton’s 235 passing yards and both touchdowns came after Matthews left the contest.”

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Chad Toporski, a Wisconsin native and current Pittsburgh resident, is a writer for AllGreenBayPackers.com. You can follow Chad on twitter at @ChadToporski

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  • the real russ letlow

    I think injuries is a area where fans don’t want to point at after a game like Sunday at Cincy. But the fact of the matter, as is pointed out here, is that they had a HUGE impact on the outcome of this game. Starters and backups are what they are for a reason. When you lose a handful of starters, the level of play is going down. I think that what made so many fans crazy about this game is that we should have/could have won.

  • jclombardi

    CARP. Even McCarthy would say injuries are no excuse for a loss Second the defense melt down in second half cannot be excused. Third McCarthy’s play calling had a lot with failed conversions especially the 4 and inches call. Nonsense.

    • Chad Toporski

      Defensive “meltdown”? They only gave up 13 points in the second half…

      And I’d love to see your analysis of the playcalling and how the execution of each play affected the calls. Also, since you know everything, how about explaining McCarthy’s offensive strategies during the game, too.

      • Sven

        Sometimes I wonder if people even watch the game before they write comments. Like Chad said the defense only gave up 13 pts.

        Though it gets confusing. when the national sites aren’t able to differentiate between touchdowns given up by the offense or the defense.

        With that said, the defense played a good game, and did what was needed to win. Except the stupid late hit penalties, those were stupid.

  • John in Montana

    Chad: Great assessment. What every game comes down to is just two things — CONCEPT (do they have the right game plan / play call?) and EXECUTION (did they properly complete the called plays?). If either of these isn’t working there are problems. When both are wrong (think 4th & 1 w/ Franklin or Ross’s failed kickoff decision/execution) then we have a disaster. This loss was a combination of both failed concepts and failed execution on critical plays. Both things need to be cleaned up. Part of the concept problem is thinking you can execute the standard game plan with inferior talent. Another part is having talent that’s not executing (as in Rogers’ two picks). And that, I believe, is what you are touching on here Chad.But go back and look at any good game or bad game. It ALWAYS comes down to concept and execution.

  • Brian

    I would offer the play of the offensive line when pass pro (specifically Bahk….) as a contributing factor to Rodgers crappy game. Yes Rodgers was poor…with that being said, the loss of Finley surely changed the game plan. Rogers took a beating and it seems as though many things add up to contribute to a crappy game :)

    • Razer

      Don’t we have at least 3 more tight ends? Why can’t our other TE do things like block, run routes and catch. Finley has under achieved for 3 out of 4 years yet he goes down and our offense is crippled. Sorry, any mention of our TEs is irrelevant.

      • Chad Toporski

        Your preconception of Finley based on past years is creating some mighty subjectivity. He’s been a better player this year, period, and like it or not, Quarless, Boykin, and Taylor don’t have the same ability level right now.

        • John Willard

          Boykin’s a WR, not TE…Think you met Bostick…let’s play him. Finley is an average, inconsistent TE…am tired of the ‘potential’ tag…not a clutch player.

        • Razer

          Sorry Chad, I don’t see it. I want the guy to be the stud that he once showed that he could be. Like many Packer fans, I keep waiting for that guy to return. To this point and over the last two years, he has been average at best.

  • John

    This really is a stupid article written by a Packer Lemming. I have no problem with McCarthy’s play calling other than the 4th and 1 to Franklin. I do not disagree with going for it, just don’t sent a tiny man at 300# men. I do have a problem with McCarthy accepting a penalty in the San Fran game with 4th and 1 at the 5 making it 3rd and 6 from the 10. What do you accomplish. With 4th and 1 at the 5 there are three possible outcomes, TD or FG or turnover on downs. 3rd and 6 at the 10 gives you 2 possible outcomes, TD or FG. Any intelligent coach at all levels would decline that penalty. I do have a problem with McCarthy and Rogers throwing 30 yard passes when it is 3rd and 3 inside the opponents 50. The short, ball control passing game is very effective, just get the first down!
    I have a huge problem with Ted Thompson’s draft only philosophy. This is where Toporski’s comments are stupid and inane. Of course Thompson isn’t going anywhere. Does that mean if he makes mistakes that waste Rogers career it shouldn’t be pointed out. How stupid is that! Then Toporski says if Thompson didn’t put stock in developing young players the team would be in shambles. Huh! You can’t judiciously sign free agents and make trades to take care of weak spots on the roster. I guess we will have to tell this to Denver,Seattle, San Fran, NE, etc. How insane is this! I do not agree with or want the Pack to sign 8 – 10 million dollar free agents, just sign a 3 million dollar safety, linebacker or offensive lineman. Or trade a 6th round pick to fill a need as SF did ( if SF does not make this trade we win that game by the way ). If you are not using all the bullets in you gun, and other teams are, we are working with too big of a handicap. We are very luck to have Rodgers just as we were very lucky to have Favre. You don’t win in the NFL without a great QB. When you have one, you do everything possible, short of blowing up your cap, to win now! FYI, we left 13 million unspent going into this season. 3 million on a safety would look pretty good right now. To a lesser extent 3 million on a linebacker or offensive lineman would also be a big help. The unthinking, fan slapping articles by stupid writers are very irritating. Get me some excellence please!

    • Dobber

      “Or trade a 6th round pick to fill a need as SF did ( if SF does not make this trade we win that game by the way ).”

      With all due respect, that might be one of the most naive cause-effect statements I’ve ever read.

      • John

        Huh. It was an example on how a good GM uses all his tools. When opportunities arrive, take advantage of them. San Fran had the opportunity to trade a 6th for Boldin and they jumped on it. Boldin tore us apart in that game. Either you didn’t understand my point or you are very stupid. I am guessing it is the first.

        • Dobber

          It is your example I’m pointing toward: you said that the Niners would not have won if they hadn’t traded for Boldin. The assertion is that the game would have played out virtually the same way absent the impact of that player.

          Changing that one aspect of the game fundamentally changes how everything plays out afterward. For all we know, Quinton Patton plays in Boldin’s place and torches the Packers even worse (or Vernon Davis has a bigger day, etc.).

          It’s the equivalent to saying that if the Packers hadn’t fumbled that KO early vs. Cin, they would’ve beatn the Bengals by a FG. We don’t know that. EVERY play call and every outcome after that point is fundamentally changed by removing that play. You can argue probabilities, but you simply can’t isolate and remove single plays or players and expect everything drops into the same places.

          That was my point. Not trying to rag on you, but those kinds of statements (take away that play and we win) are a pet peeve of mine.

        • Since ’61

          John – the only reason the 9ers could make the trade and pay Boldin’s salary is because they only pay their QB less than $1 million per season for now. If they had a QB salary and an LB salary of a combined $40 million or more like GB has they could not afford Boldin’s under the current cap rules either. And if you brought in FA’s for $3 million how good would they be. Plus who says they would not get hurt. By the way TT paid $14 mil to Saturday how did that work out. In today’s Nfl you manage the cap and develop your draft choices or you end up like the Jags, or the Raiders or worse yet the Viqueens. And remember the cap rules have changed since the 90’s. Wake up! Thanks, Since’61

          • John

            Very true. And this brings up another Thompson sore point of mine. When you are lucky enough to have superstar talent at below market salaries, you must make hay while the sun shines. IE: pre 2013 Packers, and now SF and Seattle. IT is true that going forward it will be trickier to make trades or sign free agents because of the Rogers and Matthews deals. All the more reason to hold Thompson accountable for the decisions he made when these two contracts were below market. The opportunities to win Super Bowls are much less now then before. Please wake up and stop being a Lemming before you fall off the cliff.

            • Dobber

              “When you are lucky enough to have superstar talent at below market salaries, you must make hay while the sun shines.”

              The majority of ARod’s “cheap” rookie contract was eaten up carrying a clipboard behind Brett Favre. In essence, they had to make a decision to extend him based on a very limited amount of game play. That brought him back into renewal at the very height of his productivity. Hard to play hardball with, one of the best QBs in the game…and imagine what we’d be saying about TT if he made a mistake and let Rodgers get away?

          • Chad Toporski

            Hey 61… John simply needs to realize that trades and personnel moves don’t happen in a bubble. Thompson can’t command a trade or a signing. There are always two parties involved.

            Besides, it’s easy to say “TT should have done that” without considering the butterfly effect that would occur in its wake.

            • Since ’61

              Absolutely correct Chad. I have been with the Packers since their ’61 title game against NYG (as my moniker suggests)and I haven’t fallen off the cliff yet, but who knows maybe the cliff is right around the corner. In any case thanks for your articles and effort to create the dialogue. Since’61

      • Kat

        Does McCarthy have a brother coaching in the NFL? That’s the only reason Boldin went for a 6th rd pick. Jonnhy didn’t call around the league and try to get the highest pick, did he? That’s proof positive.

      • John Willard

        Think he meant picking up Boldin for a 6th round pick. By the way, he has done next to nothing in games 2 and 3…Torched us because our safeties, LB’s and DBs were apprehensive about press covering one of the slowest WRs in the NFL…great plan, play off him by 5-10 yards, then try and tackle him. Rocket science.

        • http://MSN Mark

          Great job. It is frustrating as a fan to see the defense blow game after game. Even if we win, the games always tighten up in the second half.

          It is frustrating to see other championship franchises make intelligent off season moves while we stand pat. Draft and develop is great when a late first rounder turns into the best QB in the NFL. Then, you get to draft mid round in a couple off years.

          Center, strong safety, back-up QB were glaring weaknesses not addressed in off season. A competent starting strong safety is cheap in the NFL. Velasco started the season on the street, at least bring him in for a look.

          Good job John.

    • Sven

      Chad’s article is great. I read through it and agree with him. MM and TT know what they are doing. That is why we consistently make the playoffs. Saying that they don’t know what they are doing, seems silly as they have proved it as few others ever have.

      Draft and develop is a winning formula. I know because we consistently win with it. I am bummed by this loss, but I like where the Packers are at.

      It sounds like you need a new team.

      • John

        I love the packers. I am a season ticket holder and a stock holder. They can do better! I lived 30 years of no QB. I know what that is like. We will have to suffer thru it again sometime. It would be nice to have a few Super Bowls to hold us over during the bad times. We consistently make the playoffs because of Rogers. He won’t be here for long.

      • John Willard

        The one areas TT and MM appear to have failed or certainly not met expectations, is at safety, the main hole in our defense, cost us the 40’whiners game, and has been rather hapless so far this season. Hope we draft a safety early next year.

    • Adam Czech

      Chad Toporski: Packer Lemming.

      • Chad Toporski

        I’ve been looking for a good nickname, and now I finally have one! YES!

    • Chad Toporski

      So you’re bringing up McCarthy’s penalty management in the SF game, why? How does that have anything to do with the Bengals?

      As for Thompson, I find it rather ironic that you bring up the Patriots, because they also follow a draft and develop philosophy. And they’ve got a few rings to show for it.

      • John

        Go back and study the Patriots trades and Free agent acquisitions under Belichick. I think you will have to revise this statement.

        • Chad Toporski

          Go back and study the last time the Patriots won a Super Bowl, too…

          You might also want to figure out where Thompson got guys like Woodson, Tramon, Pickett, Seneca Wallace, and Tolzien from.

          • John Willard

            Woodson is history…(Great pick-up), Tramon had a couple-three good years, and now looks pedestrian (UDFA), Pickett has been solid, why are you including Seneca Wallace and Tolzien? They have yet to play and if they do, they may play well or stink.

    • Outis

      Excellent observations, John. Not only does Thompson forego opportunities with his “draft only” philosophy, but as an observer of draft talent, he’s far overrated. He passed over players who would have contributed this year. Players like: Terron Armstead, Jamie Collins, Quinton Patton, Jordan Mills, Bacarri Rambo, Latavius Murray and Jordan Poyer. The holes in the OL and the secondary would have been filled. And in Jamie Collins, we’d have an OLB who, at the minimum, would go in for last year’s draft bust, Nick Perry, on passing downs.

      By-the-way, hats off for dubbing Chad as “the Packer Lemming.” He will forever be known as such on this site. Love it.

      • Chad Toporski

        There’s a guy in one of the Fantasy Football leagues I play in who thinks he’s the **** when it comes to drafting players. He knows all the best guys, the sleepers, and when to take them. And he talks it up constantly.

        Funny thing is, he’s sat at the bottom of the league the past two years.

        • Outis

          Your comment is as irrelevant as your post is misleading and inaccurate. I don’t play fantasy football.

          Upon further review, I think John got your nickname wrong. You’re not “the Packer Lemming;” you’re the “Pied Piper of the Packer Lemmings.” LOL.

          • Chad Toporski

            Ahh, nothing like resorting to name-calling to try to win an argument. It’s pretty clear now that your maturity level isn’t suited for objective reasoning.

            Have fun flexing your anonymous internet muscles…

            • Outis

              Nahhh! Feesa etho.

      • Chad Toporski

        “Not only does Thompson forego opportunities with his “draft only” philosophy…”

        Also, there’s nothing quite like hanging your hat on an argument based on a blatant falsehood.

        • Outis

          “A blatant falsehood”? What blatant falsehood? Let’s see, so far you’ve called me a “name-caller” for jocularly modifying John’s nickname for you, “the Packer Lemming,” to “the Pied Piper of Packer Lemmings,” impugned my maturing and ability to reason, and now you call me a liar. Interesting. Yet, it is your post that distorts the truth and is filled with misleading excuses for Mike McCarthy, Dom Capers and Ted Thompson. They are the ones responsible for the Packers’ weaknesses and poor performances to date. Responsibility rests at the top. The buck stops there and no toady can hide that fact. And a double moutza to you for trying to do so. Nahhh!

    • http://GV889@aol.com Jerry

      When was the last time San Fran,Denver,Seattle,NE won a SuperBowl? Ted Thompson knows how to build a winner. And unless the Packers suck ass for a few years like San Francisco did not to long ago they won’t have a lot of high draft picks to build an over sized O-line like San Fran has. Ted T has had a few brain farts in the past like not trading for M Lynch and wasting a precious 1st round pick on Justin Harrell.But if you look at the grand scheme of things I would think most NFL team owners would hire uncle Ted and give him free reign to build not just a team but a football program, with a steady stream of young talent.It really amaze’s me. The 49er lost the Super Bowl last year but you wouldn’t think that was the case the way they are portrayed by the media. Colin Kaepernick is talked about like he’s reinvented the QB position, Imagine Aaron Rodgers having an offensive line like the 49er’s do! Their coach Jim Hairball who I think is a few cards short a deck is the next Vince Lombardi.(Wonder if he has any other outfits to wear because he’s always wearing kaki pants and a black turtleneck sweater) Last time I checked the 49er’s hired an idiot named Eric Mangini to be an offensive consultant, and the Indianapolis Colts beat them up at Candlestick.And they have the same record as the Packers 1-2. Just saying!

    • Mandarichbestpickever

      Exactly who was TT supposed to get in FA? Exactly who? And at what price? Are you also ripping the same TT that got Pickett and C-Wood? He will not overpay. Sounds like financial management to me. It’s why we have a chance every year. Other teams do not. You yell at the wind saying, “something should have been done”. What, exactly, should TT have done? Which players, what amount?

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

      You sit here and write “War and Peace” about how this is a “stupid article” and then go on to comment 100 more times, each one more arrogant than the last. Yeah, so “stupid” you hung around all day to throw in your penny’s worth. Insinuating that other readers might be “stupid”? Bush. If this were my piece, every one of your comments would be in a dumpster by now. G’night, John boy!

      • Batavia Greg

        G’Morning,Jason: IMHO, I thought John made a valid point about TT’s responsibility for failing to solve the recurring problems at positions of weakness. Although I would not denigrate Chad’s article as “stupid and inane,” it does appear to be an excuse-laden “apologia” for the coaches and GM. Is Chad, or any of the other contributors to this site, truly a “Packer Lemming”? That’s for each reader decide.

        • Mandarichbestpickever

          See my previous post. His point is “something should have been done. What safety was available, what OL, what OLB, etc.? At what price? You cannot get a player that doesn’t exist at imaginary amounts of money.

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

          Greg, true but everyone also has a choice in how they do that. Your post, for example, is rational and does not just throw around rude or insulting verbiage.

          I can safely say that we all expect an opposing viewpoint at times. We read the feedback and in my case, I digest it and think about it. But when it comes off as rude, we like anyone else, stop really paying attention to the point.

  • immafubared

    First I take notice to a couple of things.
    1. Great misconception about play calling and play execution. I think Mac’s play calling was pretty decent to be honest. I liked the 4th and 1 call but here is my issue.
    Do you as a head coach beleive the play you called will move d line one yard for a first. The real issue maybe the coach thinks his O line is more talented than it is and finds out the hard way it ain’t.
    2. O linemen do grow on trees. First. They put false hope in a Bulaga coming back from a hip injury and being a force. False hope that Sherrod would show up, and false hope Newhouse would improve. Because of that they passed on some very good O linemen who grew on the first round trees. Cahill last year stepped in and played and was a pro bowler. We took a fifth rounder as a backup to our hopes listed above.
    We have a pourous O line that does not protect Rogers and he is frustrated by not being able to get a pass off.
    3. TT is playing cheap ball. He is trading third round picks for a ton of 5th/6th rounders. Were passing up possible talent so we can spend less money. Datone has shown nothing. Perry, teams are running right at him. Worthy is worthless and Lacy has yet to show any long lasting longevity.

  • palmda

    The Detroit game should be a good indicator of the remainder of the season. It’s not realistic to think that your Quarter back can be superman every game. Especially when he is getting knocked on his can a lot. The saying is “Defense wins championships”. Well no defense looses games even with a 100 million dollar quarterback. Yes he will win some by outscoring the other team but is that dependable? No.

    • Rob

      Huh?

  • Morgan Mundane

    Even though I’m not a coach, I could draw up some simple plays, or even complex plays. Doesn’t matter really. If I have drafted skilled players with talent, with practice they should be able to execute those plays.
    If the talent I drafted is not so great, some plays may not be executed to prefection or totally screwed up at that.
    The correlation then is my play calling must fit the ability of the team to execute the play based on their skill level.
    Our O line did not possess the sufficient skill or talent to move the cinnci d line one yard back to our running back could follow and get the one yard needed.
    Instead our guy ran into a brick wall because the other team had more skill than us.

    • http://trytheclub.com Sir Cheese

      I think our Oline has the skill to pick up that one yard, evidenced by the ground performance of Starks and Franklin. They just got beat on one play, but they weren’t the ones that fumbled the ball that’s for sure.

  • http://GV889@aol.com Jerry

    I can’t blame A Rod for the first pick,James Jones should have run the entire route instead of stopping.The second interception was on A Rod.Just seemed like the Packers receivers couldn’t get any separation all game long. The o line doesn’t get any push making it hard to believe a smallish J Franklin would have too much of a chance of gaining a yard. Tramon Williams took a bad penalty throwing a receiver to the ground when he was clearly out of bounds, that was just plain stupid! As for injuries,losing Clay Matthews even for one series against a playoff team like the Bengals is enough reason to be concerned. Matthews is the foundation of the Packers defense. He has to be contained at all cost.Opposing offensive coordinators must plan their scheme’s around his presence.If he’s not contained he’s an extremely disruptive force. Clay-maker must be double and sometimes triple teamed to be stopped and when he is that creates space and opportunities for everyone else to make plays.

  • James David

    There is only one play in the NFL that is “truly unstoppable” and that play is a quarterback sneak with only inches to go. Why was this play not called?… Now that KR Ross is gone, let us hope that GB obtains better field position to begin their drives…There are 13 more games left for GB to get their problems fixed.

  • gamer

    Excellent article Chad, you nailed it. Good substance and very thorough. Knee jerk reaction comments from the Packer faithful that are well intended are often emotionally charged but not well founded. If you’re not a welder, a banker nor a systems analyst, etc, how can you advise and constructively criticize their work? Sports, however brings out the coach in all of us. Freedom of speech … you gotta love it.

    • John

      Your obviously not a journalist. How do you know that this was an excellent article with substance and very thorough. Either a person in the field can be the only one with knowledge or not. Or does it not pertain to you?

      • Chad Toporski

        How do you know that it wasn’t?

        • Dobber

          Let me know when the hair-pulling and eye-gouging starts… ;)

  • Kurt the Turk

    Fingers off:

    1) Largely agree. MM has made a bad 4th down decision in each loss but an elite team does not let games hinge on single plays that often. However…

    Where the jury is still out is on MM’s change from using a large variety of sets in past years to this year’s uptempo strategy. Going no-huddle doesn’t mean much when the offense is sputtering. Perhaps MM deserves blame for this strategic change rather than on the tactical level of play-calling.

    2) Dom Caper’s defense is playing soft. There’s no two ways about it. If you are counting on recovering 3 fumbles a game get ready to count up a lot of yards surrendered. There’s talent on the D side but they are not playing up to that potential.

    3) Largely agree. My only criticism of TT is his philosophy that a good O line can be cobbled together from low pick and UFA overachievers.

    Fingers pointed:

    1) This comes under “obvious” territory. Or as Seth and Amy would say, “Really?” Any team that coughs up the ball a lot – loses. This goes w/o saying. What should be listed here at #1 is the O line which is not “average” but is decidedly less effective than that.

    2) Yes Arron Rodgers was off against Cincy. He has missed a few open tosses this year and not just against Cincy. But I don’t think AR has degraded this year si much as his his “supporting cast” has degraded.

    3) injuries certainly have hurt this team. But the team that matters is the team that plays on the field. So what this translates to is: GB has regressed this season.

    Can the team learn on the fly and improve during the season? Sure. They can also get worse. Have fun watching the games but THIS team as it has played so far is not looking like a SB contender.

    • Kurt the Turk

      Before someone else does it…

      When I say the offense is sputtering, I refer to the poor pass protections which has reduced GB to using only a fraction of the whole playbook. Obviously the offense can still light it up against a bad team like the Washington.

      • John Willard

        The offense scored 23 points last week and had a number of short fields they failed to take advantage of…Chicago played Cincy (at home) and came from behind, scored late and beat them. They have clearly improved, especially along the O-Line and at TE,…as for Green Bay, sans the safety position, I believe our defense is improved, yet we are weaker at TE, WR, and…the O-Line is getting better results running, not so much with pass blocking. Lastly, if we have any RB’s remaining, our RB’s are improved…So, it is currently a mixed bag. I am hopeful that when Burnett and Heyward return, our coverage will improve and given time and experience, the O-Line will improve. So far, the Bears are the best team in the division, but, it is early, still thirteen to play. Is 10-6 still realistic?

        • Kurt the Turk

          10-6 is certainly realistic. We have a lot of mediocre teams on the schedule ahead of us. GB is a good team.

          It’s just not the great team we all hope to see at the start of every year. Well, since 1994 or so. ;)

          Sure, the Oline can improve. And it will help to get out S and VB back. But those dynamics are at work on the other 31 clubs too or at least most of them.

          We have to look at what we have now.

    • Chad Toporski

      “If you are counting on recovering 3 fumbles a game get ready to count up a lot of yards surrendered.”

      I don’t think that’s an accurate statement. The defense isn’t counting on turnovers to make stops. They forced 3 punts (two of which were after only 3 downs) in addition to those 4 turnovers.

      They work on creating turnovers, but they don’t rest their defense on them.

      • Kurt the Turk

        Well, that’s sorta my point. We cannot extrapolate the numbers from tis game into the future, because we are unlikely to see 3 fumble recoveries a game. W/o those FRs this game, Cincy probably scores a lot more. At a minimum GB scores less.

  • Since ’61

    I believe that MM’s 4th and 1 call was a good call. The execution was the problem. More importantly the fumble is the issue. We don’t know where the officials would have marked Franklin’s forward progress. But assuming that Franklin did not make the 1st Cincy would need to drive 70 yards for a winning score. They would have less to go for a game tying FG. MM could have called a QB sneak, but are you paying your franchise QB over $20 million to dive into a pile and possibly hurt his throwing shoulder or have someone step on his hand or take a hit to the helmut and get a concussion. I don’t think so. Or could call a rollout with option to throw, but again Rodgers may take a serious hit running or throwing, a pass could have incomplete or picked. A FG was out due to distance and the wind conditions. You might try a coffin corner punt but if it fails you only pick up 10 yards for the defense. Basically, if Lacy doesn’t fumble we’re probably talking about a GB victory. Thanks, Since ’61

    • John Willard

      the 4th and a foot call was lame and predictable and went nowhere. A good call? Not

    • John Willard

      am sure you meant if Franklin doesn’t fumble, not Lacey…

      • Since ’61

        Yes, Franklin

  • Ruppert

    I think Rodgers’ play declined after he took that shot on the sideline when he was going out if bounds. He took a good shot in the NFCC game at Chicago too and played poorly the rest of the day too. I think taking a hard shot really affects him.

    Re: TT, I love how people make it sound like we’re wasting AR’s career, and if TT just changed his philosophy, we’d rack up a couple more Super Bowls. It’s HARD to win ONE. No matter what a team does. No matter how you approach it, there are no guarantees.

    • Dobber

      Thank you! We were due for someone to remind us of this.

  • http://jersyal.com tim

    Great article and debates. Whole heartedly agree that plan, execution and talent was just a little better on the Bengals side. My two cents, we lost one game to a good team because overall, they were a little better – not a lot. A few adjustments and a couple of more bodies available one way or another and we’re 3-0. Its early and we’re playing with a lot of back-ups. TT & MM are making the adjustments – example, Jeremy Ross gone. Hopefully Ted and Mike are good enough to have the machine building momentum toward the end of the year when we want a head of steam. They’ve got a good track record!

  • marpag

    I like it when the Packers win. Seriously, I do. Two reasons….

    First, because I’m a Packers fan, and fan’s want their team to win.

    Secondly, because eight billion brain-dead, Chicken Little morons come crawling out of the woodwork whenever the Packers DON’T win.

    Oh well.

    • John Willard

      …”The sky is falling, the sky is falling”…

      • John Willard

        Just kidding. Some of you gentlemen need to lighten-up…the previous comment was stated in jest-Get it?

  • http://jersyal.com tim

    I love the intensity and enthusiasm of the pack faithful, but is interesting how easy it is to panic and lose faith in the management of the team. It’s been a great entertaining ride for…?? – well, a long time. Lions, bears, Vikings, cardinals….you name the team… fans might happily die for the show that TT, MM and the team have given us. And the best part, it ain’t over!!, not by a long shot. Sit back and enjoy the ride, odds are its gonna be good.

  • Wkupackfan

    Chad, hope you’re still reviewing the comments. Thanks for the nice compliment on my hamstring comment over on CHTV a couple of days ago. It meant a lot, especially coming from a fine writer like you.

    Someone above mentioned that injuries are not excuses. That is true, but injuries are also facts, and they do effect the game. And can we please put this “TT is cheap” stuff to bed? Trading out of the 3rd to get more picks in rounds 4,5,6, and 7 is just management if no player grad

  • Wkupackfan

    Stupid mobile device. Finishing the thought above, trading into later rounds is just good management when there is no player on your board ranked as high as your pick. It has nothing to do with TT being cheap.

  • John Willard

    Dummy-up!