Category Archives: Recaps

18

November

Mike McCarthy Did the Packers No Favors Against the Giants

Mike McCarthy disapoints on and off the field

Mike McCarthy disapoints on and off the field

The Packers entered the game yesterday with a desperate need for a win against the Giants . I expected Mike McCarthy to dial up an aggressive game plan, one that would attack the weaknesses of the Giants defense. Instead, they went at the Giant’s strength.

The first two possessions of the game saw runs on first and second down for little gain, as the Giants did what they’ve done to other running attacks, despite their poor record. Both possessions resulted in punts – so much for getting the Packers off to that rousing start I had hoped for.

Just after the start of the second quarter, there was another set of first and second down runs, this time to James Starks, again with little gain and again, resulting in a punt.

I don’t know how it looked on TV, but watching the game from inside the stadium, in my nosebleed third tier seats, I felt an early listlessness in the Packers’ offense. As if there was a resignation that giving even their best effort would still not be enough without Aaron Rodgers. While that may be true, you don’t go out and concede right out of the gate, do you?

Luckily, the defense was playing better than they have the last few games (though still giving up some big plays), and kept the Packers within four points at halftime. I was pretty happy about that, especially with the Packers having the ball to start the second half. Surely, they would come out with a more balanced attack and march down the field to take the lead. Um… not.

First and second down runs again, for a total of 3 yards gained.  I’m not saying that shouldn’t have been running, but I am saying a little more creativity was needed.  And there other ways to get the ball in the hands of your running back if the defense is packing the line of scrimmage against runs. Packers did it only twice, for a 10.5yd average gain. With that kind of success, should we have seen it more often? One was actually a screen pass – a play McCarthy has seemingly moved to the back of his playbook.

Can you say “Predictable?”

And that brings me to my second point. The Packers are fooling NO ONE (or at least they sure weren’t fooling the Giants).

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15

November

Packers Periscope: Week 11 vs. New York Giants

The Past: The two teams that always seem to cause the Packers trouble in the past couple years are the San Francisco 49ers and the New York Giants.  Packers fans obviously remember Brett Favre’s last pass as a Packer going to a Corey Webster in the NFC Championship game in 2008; Packers fans will also remember the Giants manhandling the Packers in the 2011 playoffs when quarterback Aaron Rodgers was surprising only average while the defense finally collapsed and lost the game for the team.

However the last meeting between these two teams was perhaps the most lopsided; the Giants won 38-10 in 2012 season again embarrassing the Packers.  Outside of one spectacular 61 yard touchdown pass to Jordy Nelson, Rodgers was largely ineffective, going 13 for 24 for 158 yards and an interception.  The running game didn’t do the offense many favors either, totaling 82 yards with a 3.7 ypc split between Alex Green, James Starks and John Kuhn.  The defense stuck to their “bend but don’t break” philosophy, but missing both Charles Woodson and Clay Matthews, allowed 3 Eli Manning touchdowns while the Giants running game ground the Packers down with 31 carries for 147 yards from Ahmad Bradshaw and Andre Brown.

With the loss, the Packers fell to 2nd place in the NFC North while the Giants snapped a two game losing streak and got back into the NFC East playoff race.  However a loss to the resurgent Redskins (headed by rookie sensation Robert Griffin III) the next week followed by a loss against Baltimore in week 16 eliminated them the NFC East crown and a loss by the Lions to the Bears at the end of the regular season eliminated them from the playoffs all together.

During the offseason, multiple changes were made including the release of starting running back Ahmad Bradshaw and the notable drafting of right tackle Justin Pugh, defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins and quarterback Ryan Nassib.  Overall, the 2013 draft class has been disappointing of late, Pugh ranks 56th out of 76 eligible tackles, Hankins has played 74 snaps the entire season while Nassib still hasn’t supplanted Curtis Painter (yes, that Curtis Painter) as the backup quarterback.

29

August

Packers vs. Chiefs – Game Day First Impressions, Unfiltered: KC 30 GB 8

Packers vs. Chiefs

Packers vs. Chiefs

Green Bay Packers vs. Kansas City Chiefs:  2013 Preseason Game 4

Unfiltered game day blog post of comments, observations and first impressions.

 

Inactives for today:

Green Bay PackersGreen Bay Packers

12 QB Aaron Rodgers
24 CB Jarrett Bush
25 CB James Nixon
29 CB Casey Hayward
42 S Morgan Burnett
52 LB Clay Matthews
59 LB Brad Jones
88 TE Jermichael Finley

Kansas City Chiefs
TBA

 

GAME NOTES:

All eyes will be on Vince Young starting with the first unit and the bubble players – many trying to make an NFL roster for the first time.

Just before game time, I found out something very interesting. Brian McIntyre of Yahoo Sports reported that Mason Crosby agreed to restructure his contract on Thursday. Yes, that’s right. Full details can be found here.

I imagine it went like this:  TT: “So Mason, if you’d like to stay here, what say you take a pay cut – then we won’t call Giorgio back – deal?”

 

———————————————

 

Mike McCarthy Pregame Show on 620 WTMJ:

Dujuan Harris injury: Like any injury, you have tomove on. Our responsibility as a coaching staff to taylor plays to the guys we have

OL vs. Seattle: There were some things that frankly weren’t very clean. Our assignment discipline was not what it needed to be. Some indecision there.

Kicking competition: Mason’s been challenged throughout training camp. It’s important for Mason to perform well tonight.

Kickoffs: It’s really about the flexibility to have 2 guys who can do it very well. Crosby is good at it but Tim has been exceptional at it.

Kickoff returns: Alex Green will start back there, Johnathan Franklin will get some reps. It’s still an open competition.

Lower-rung players: You’re playing for an opportunity to play in the NFL. Either at GB or somewhere else.

Quarterbacks: Vince Young to start, BJ Coleman will get a lot of work also.

Injured players: Tramon Williams, Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb will all start the game.

Hot Night: We’re very conscientious of the heat – we cut the pre-game down.

Feelings about this camp: We grew. I wasn’t thrilled at first, but by the second preseason games, I thought we had come together and were doing things the right way.

 

31

July

Wednesday 7/31 Packers practice: Davon House shines

Packers cornerback Davon House may have been the most impressive player at Wednesday's practice.

Packers cornerback Davon House may have been the most impressive player at Wednesday’s practice.

With fellow cornerbacks Casey Hayward and Tramon Williams on the sideline nursing injuries, Packers cornerback Davon House stepped up during Wednesday morning’s practice at Ray Nitschke Field.

It’s risky business comparing an unproven player to an established veteran. In fact, comparing any two players is like playing with fire. Some comparisons carry some stereotypes–racial or otherwise. After all, who is Jordy Nelson compared to other than Ed McCaffrey?

But throughout practice, House made play after play. And after a strip of an unsuspecting Jarrett Boykin during a team drill, I thought of Bears cornerback Peanut Tillman. Now, Tillman is likely the best in the business at stripping (or punching) the football from the ball carrier, and House’s 11 career game appearances are dwarfed by Tillman’s 33 interceptions and 39 forced fumbles.

So needless to say, House isn’t in Tillman’s league as things currently stand. But from a physical standpoint, Tillman isn’t a bad comparison for House.

Tillman stands slightly over 6’1″, slightly taller than the 6’0″ House, but both players weigh in at just under 200 pounds and have (slightly) above-average straight-line speed.

Since House wears No. 31 and has dreadlocks hanging out the back of his helmet, he’s often likened to former Pro Bowl cornerback Al Harris. That’s not a bad comparison either, but I think House is naturally more physical than Harris at the point of attack. Harris was a physical corner, no doubt, but House likes sticking his nose in there in the running game.

And now that the team’s best turnover maker, Charles Woodson–owner of 38 interceptions and 15 forced fumbles in seven seasons in Green Bay–is playing with the Oakland Raiders, the Packers will need someone to step up and fill that void.

Last season, Hayward stepped up and picked off a team-high six interceptions. This season, House could be the secondary’s breakout player.

During Thursday morning’s practice, House provided blanket coverage on the perimeter. On one play, Jordy Nelson had a step on House on a deep post route, but House recovered and punched the ball out of Nelson’s hands, breaking up what would have been about a 40-yard gain.

Back in May, I took a stab at five potential breakout players for 2013, and House came in at No. 2, behind only Morgan Burnett.

3

April

2013 Packers Position Group Analysis: Running Backs

Packers RB DuJuan Harris will surely be back with the Pack in 2013.

Packers RB DuJuan Harris will surely be back with the Pack in 2013.

As far as personnel, the Packers underwent more changes at running back than any other position. James Starks was the starter through training camp before the team signed Cedric Benson after the first preseason game. Injuries added up, allowing DuJuan Harris–a former used car salesman–to take over as the team’s feature back.

Where are we now:

Here are the current suspects;

DuJuan Harris (UDFA, Signed as FA in 2012)
Alex Green (3rd round, 2011)
James Starks (6th round, 2010)
Brandon Saine (UDFA, 2011)
John Kuhn (UDFA, Signed as FA in 2007)

Listen to expanded coverage of this topic using the player below or download the podcast from the Packers Talk Radio Network on Itunes.

Listen to internet radio with Packers Talk Radio Network on Blog Talk Radio

Harris: For the 2012 Packers, DuJuan Harris (5-9 208) was a huge blessing in a small package. After starter Cedric Benson was lost for the season with a Lisfranc injury, and reserves Alex Green and James Starks both battled injuries of their own, the team turned to Harris to be the lead back. Harris played in a total of six games last season and recorded a team-high four rushing touchdowns.

Green: After Cedric Benson was lost for the season while James Starks was already out of the lineup, Alex Green was the next man up. Green broke off a season-long run of 41 yards later in the game Benson got hurt but never grabbed hold of the starting job. For the season, Green averaged just 3.4 yards per carry.

Starks: As the starter in the Packers’ first preseason game, James Starks turned in a disappointing performance. Before suffering a turf toe injury which would cause him to miss half of the season, Starks also lost a fumble. He returned to the lineup and became a key part of the backfield rotation during the middle of the season, but his roster spot for 2013 is far from assured.

Saine: The second-year back out of Ohio State didn’t carry the ball once in 2012, as he was lost for the season after suffering a torn ACL in week six against the Houston Texans. Saine has appeared in just 14 games the past two seasons, but he showed promise during 2011 in a limited role.

19

March

2013 Packers Position Group Analysis: Wide Receiver

Packers WR Randall Cobb will return as a top playmaker in 2013.

Packers WR Randall Cobb will return as a top playmaker in 2013.

The injury bug bit the position hard, but players continually stepped up and the offense didn’t miss a beat. James Jones has had his fair share of struggles with dropped passes, but he had the best season of his career in 2013, leading the league with 14 touchdown catches. Randall Cobb also had a breakout season, due in part to the absence of Greg Jennings for much of the season. With Jennings likely headed elsewhere as an unrestricted free agent, more pressure will rely on the shoulders of Jones, Cobb and Jordy Nelson.

Where are we now:

Here are the current suspects;

Jordy Nelson (2nd Round, 2008)
James Jones (3rd Round, 2007)
Randall Cobb (2nd Round, 2011)
Jarrett Boykin (UDFA, 2012)
Jeremy Ross (UDFA, Signed as FA in 2012)

For expanded coverage of this topic, listen in using the player below or download the podcast from the Packers Talk Radio Network on Itunes.

Listen to internet radio with Packers Talk Radio Network on Blog Talk Radio

Nelson: Coming off a breakout 2011 season, expectations for Jordy Nelson were high coming into 2012. Nelson will likely assume the subjective role of the Packers’ No. 1 receiver without Jennings in the fold. Although he missed four games due to injury, Nelson performed well when he was in the lineup. In a two-game stretch against the Houston Texans and St. Louis Rams, Nelson racked up 17 catches for 243 yards and four touchdowns.

Jones: Perhaps the most pleasant surprise on the team, Jones set career highs in receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns in 2013. With Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson in and out of the lineup with nagging injuries, Jones started all 16 games for the team and led the league with 14 touchdown catches. He didn’t command much of a market as a free agent in 2011, and the Packers benefitted greatly from having him in the fold this past season.

Cobb: As a rookie in 2011, Randall Cobb was electric as a return man. But in Cobb’s second season, it became obvious fairly early in the year he was one of the team’s best offensive playmakers. In 15 games, Cobb led the team with 80 catches and 954 receiving yards, to go along with eight touchdowns. Cobb does most of his damage from the slot, but he’s capable of lining up on the outside, as well as running the ball out of the backfield. It should be more of the same from Cobb next season.

28

February

2013 Packers Position Group Analysis: Cornerbacks

Packers 2012 Cornerbacks Sam Shields and Casey HaywardPackers Cornerbacks:  All eyes were on the cornerback group during Training Camp in 2012. This unit, above all others, had some serious competition going on for a starting job. And the result was that this competition continued throughout the season until we ended up with Tramon Williams, Sam Shields, and Casey Hayward as the clear leaders of the secondary.

For expanded coverage of this topic, listen to the podcast using the player below or download the podcast from the Packers Talk Radio Network on Itunes.

Where are we now:

Here are the current suspects:

Tramon Williams (UDFA, 2006)
Jarrett Bush (UDFA, 2006)
Sam Shields (UDFA, 2010)
Davon House (4th Round, 2011)
Casey Hayward (2nd Round, 2012)
James Nixon (UDFA, 2012, Practice Squad)

How many teams can say that their top two cornerbacks went undrafted as rookies? The Packers can, though they can also say that their past two draft selections on cornerbacks are also beginning to make names for themselves.

  • Williams: After a horrible showing in 2011 thanks to an early shoulder injury, Tramon Williams was looking to get back to his championship form of 2010. Unfortunately, he only seemed to get about halfway there. He showed clear improvement but still came up short, especially in key moments. The big question is whether he’ll continue the upward trend or start falling again.
  • Bush: Can we be done with the Jarrett Bush experiment once and for all? He’s a key special teams player, but a starting cornerback he is not. His performance in Week 1 against the San Francisco 49ers had the coaches quickly backpedaling in their confidence, and in Week 2 Bush was no longer starting anymore.
  • Shields: The award for most improved player of the year could easily go to Sam Shields. He went from an abysmal 2011 season to legitimate shutdown corner status in 2012. Not only that, he found the will to tackle and play with more physicality. His size doesn’t help much, but at least the right attitude is finally there.
  • House: People seemed to forget about Davon House during the offseason until he started proving his worth in training camp. From almost nowhere, he became one of the favored starters next to Tramon Williams. A shoulder injury derailed those plans, but in a short amount of time, House has initiated a lot of hope for the future.