A Fan’s Perspective: Packers Bye Week Review

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Packers 2012 Season Bye Week Review
Packers 2012 Season Bye Week Review

The Packers 2012 season started off like none before it. I will not dig up too many ugly memories, but the Packers record at this point should not be 6-3.

Be that as it may, the team and some of it’s key players have gotten flak that’s just not deserved. Not that everything is perfect; far from it, for many in my opinion it is fans being unrealistic. But we see it every year no matter what the record; fans calling for players to be traded, coaches fired, this player or that player is nothing, has not impressed me and you hear things like I KNOW what is going to be called. It goes with the game and being a fan for many.

Right now I think that the team is in a very good position, even better when most of the currently injured player do come back. The depth of the team has been shown to us all these last 3 weeks. With a full roster this coaching staff, one I think is the best in the NFL, is going to have options they did not have at the start of the season simply because of the younger players and players changing positions gaining experience.

Lets start with the CB’s and Safeties. One of the players getting flak is Woodson. Now hurt, but him not being on the field hurts the defense. There is just so much he can do that is lost on many fans. No other DB can play CB, Safety, LB like he can.

His coming back to the defense will be a big thing down the stretch. With that I have been impressed with the young DB’s.

The only DB with time that can fill that Woodson role is House. None of the other DB’s have his combination of size, speed and controlled aggression. Hayward does not have the physical ability of some of the others but he has the thing that can make a player great, instincts. Some have said that Shields will not get his job back, what a great position to be in. To have your starting CB returning and having had the younger players step up and play as well as they have. But I have little doubt that Shields will return as the starter.

Both Jennings and McMillian have played well. McMillian to me is another Collins type find. He will be a top player in the NFL. The combination of both Jennings and McMillian in different situations with Burnett has been a good thing for the team. When Woodson returns this might be the best defensive back field in the NFL overall. That in itself will make a huge difference down the stretch.

Linebackers; when Bishop went down and then Smith it could have got ugly. But Hawk’s play this year has been very good. I was never in the “cut Hawk” or Hawk being a disappointment crowd to start with but I think he has given that crowd a nice big shit sandwich to eat this year.

Jones as I have posted before, I wanted to see at ILB for a while. He has made some mistakes, but he has also made plays that Bishop and Smith would never be able to make simply because of his size,speed and agility advantage over them both. The best thing about it is that Jones will just get better as he gains more game experience there.

Perry is one of the players I have heard the Hawk-type talk. Now is this just him being a first round pick and the fans think he has to be a another Matthews out of the box or just ignorance on the part of fans of what Perry actually did bring to the field?
Because to me, he brought more to the field then Walden or Moses bring to it.

For those that have not been impressed, neither Walden or Moses hold the point against the run even close to what Perry did.
Neither of them create pressure as in getting push from the other side of the defense as Perry did when he was playing.
Have any of the not impressed noticed that Matthews sacks have fallen way off since Perry has not being playing, or that the defense overall against the run has fallen off? From the comments I have read all over I think not.

The only good thing in all this is that Zombo will be back, He can hold the point like Perry did and get push like neither Walden and or Moses can. We all need to hope like hell that Zombo is healthy and stays that way, or those talented DB’s will have their hands full. Walden might be playing his best football but his best is not good enough.

The Dline without a doubt is better this year. Worthy and Daniels have been good additions, Neal brings quickness that none of the others have. Pickett and Raji play best at NT. Hopefully the entire group will be healthy for the last half of the season and beyond.

The defense overall has been, even with the injuries, better overall and in fact I think can be much better yet. #12 overall, #1 in sacks, #4 in takeaways, #10 against the run and #20 against the pass and #19 in points allowed. The points allowed has to get better and the against the pass has to also. With Shields and Woodson back, and the younger players having gotten more and more experience, those numbers should improve as long as the sacks stay up there with the against the run ratings.

The offense; anyone that thought the offense would be like last year our of the box was living in dream land, but even with that, Rodgers was getting killed by fans and in the media. Even with his starting WR’s missing games and his starting TE banged up he leads the NFL in TD’s and is second in QB rating. All that with only 5 INTs. Five too many for me but that is still amazing.

The Packers have the best WR group in the NFL, of that there is no doubt. I could go on and on about each them. But no QB has more weapons from this position than Rodgers. With both Jennings and Nelson back and adding the experience Cobb has gotten and Jones playing like he has, it is just scary how good the passing game can be.

TE’s have been getting hammered, Finley for sure. Some of it is deserved but Finley has been injured for most of the season. He drops WAY to many balls but he does things that most fans don’t get and that is making the WR’s job easier. I like Quarless being back, who will be a nice lift to the group. He is the best blocking TE and has speed that is better then all the rest, I wonder about that now with his knee injury, but he and Finley on the field in two TE sets is a bad thing for the other teams defense. Quarless can help the running game that is starting to get going.

Green and Starks are both showing up and getting better. Green has done what I expected out of him coming back from a knee. Starks problem is staying healthy, but he played well this last week. You add Benson back into that mix for the cold months and and into the post season the options the offense has just make the team that much more dangerous when it will be needed most. And don’t think for one minute that Kuhn has not been missed. He brings short yardage, receiving, pass protection and special teams play that NONE of the others do.

Last but not least the Oline, this is a scariest part of the whole deal. Saturday has been a serviceable stop gap. And I have to say his play has gotten better as the season has gone on. But he is not a long term answer even for next year. Newhouse has been better then last year and to me thats all you can ask. Lang at LG makes mistakes but has played fairly well.

Sitton is just a good football player, Pro bowl type I don’t think so but very good. And Bulaga has been shaky at times specially the Seattle game. But overall he and Sitton are the best Olinemen. These next few weeks will be interesting. Lang HAS to play his best football yet, moving to RT and EDS has to play as he has filling in. Depth from here is the big question.

Sherrod starting to practice is a very good thing. Another player that got more negative comments then he should have – I thought he played very well filling in. His getting injured was not a good thing but he is talented and if healthy can be a very good thing from here on in. The group overall has given up to many sacks, but half of them I give to Rodgers not just throwing the ball away when he should.

The running game is showing signs of improvement and I think MM has done a better job of getting it going. No group on the team needs to improve more for the season to go as it should.

With the players coming back and younger players gaining experience, the team is in a position much like 2010 with injuries, only much better, with so many of them actually able to come back yet this season.

You get starters like Woodson, Jennings, Benson and others back and the Packers have the opportunity to be the scariest team in the NFL going into the bulk of divison games and the post-season.

This post was brought to you by Don Christensen, NDL Draft workout maven and frequent contributor (Yoop) to one of the best Packers Forums out there, TalkinPackers.



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Jersey Al Bracco is the founder and editor of AllGreenBayPackers.com, and the co-founder of Packers Talk Radio Network. He can be heard as one of the Co-Hosts on Cheesehead Radio and is the Green Bay Packers Draft Analyst for Drafttek.com.


12 thoughts on “A Fan’s Perspective: Packers Bye Week Review

  1. I agree the team is improving at the right time against inferior teams.So the next few weeks will determine what kind of team we are.In my opinion we are going to give up plenty of pts. and yrds.Too many injuries and rookies to expect us to be any better than a decent defense. I think it will be in the 25 pt range, which is manageable because our offense is great.As I see it,the running game will be the key to our success and if Starks can avg. about 70 yrds per game it will slow down offenses and make our O unstoppable.Next Sunday’s game is very crucial. Buckle up here we go !!

  2. I though it coincidence the OLBs best at holding the point are former linemen (Zombo, CMIII, Perry). But…Walden played DE as well. Oh well.
    Thinking on the TEs, sure it would be nice to have Gronkowski/Graham play out of Finley. However, this offense will function better with a multi-threat player there. A player, dare I say, like Mark Chmura who “out-slowed” guys to get open…dependable receiver and more than capable blocker.
    Woodson’s absence shows up in Caper’s play calling and element of surprise. His skills have declined, but he adds so much stress to an offense with his varied abilities. This defense will start to shine when replenished. The secondary will cover a little longer and the line will get there a little sooner. The game of inches will get better on both ends. As long as the LBs can stay consistent throughout, or even improve with experience, we’ll be fine.

    The ability of the offense is tied to runs of only 1-2 yards. Benson automatically turns the same plays into 3-4. Yards are being left on the field.

    The biggest concern going forward is the injuries and depth of the OL. And Mason Crosby’s ability to hit a winner…or anything from the right hash.

  3. -Glad Brad Jones keeps getting good mentions. I though DJ Smith was a very good tackler but he lacked speed and coverage abilities. When Smith went down I didn’t think it was quite as big of a deal as some people. Jones has done quite well.
    -Sherrod and Perry need time. Both were developing fine until injuries. They were first round picks for a reason and the comments some people say about them are ridiculous. Newhouse has gotten better but Sherrod should be the long-term answer. Perry has all the physical tools to be one of the best pass-rushers in the nfl and it’s why the Packers were so happy to grab him in the draft. A lot of good 3-4 outside linebackers in the nfl weren’t stars in their first few seasons.
    -Walden has been playing well and he needs to keep progressing. If Moses can improve a little the Pack might be able to slip by Detroit after the bye. I kind of have a feeling that it’s going to be a shootout so hopefully the running game can keep improving to keep Stafford off the field.
    Go Pack!

    1. Definitely agree with your point on Sherrod and Perry. I’m really glad Sherrod is back and able to practice for at least these 3 weeks. Hopefully he can get up to speed and in shape so he can take the snaps at RT at least while Bulaga is out. The game experience he gains there will help him when he challenges Newhouse this offseason – I still think Sherrod is the future at LT. Perry just needs time. He was improving every week. I think his being from USC was unfortunate because the majority of Packers fans instantly though, “Perry is from USC, wait – Clay is from USC…therefore Perry should be just as good from day 1!” I immediately thought “Perry will be our version of LaMarr Woodley!” And it took Woodley a year to really get on the field.

      These two will be key components in the Packers’ continued excellence and placement as a perennial Super Bowl contender.

      1. I think people also forget that Matthews did not play much or start at the beginning of the year. If Perry was improving, that would actually have put him on the same trajectory as Matthews (although, not that the peak would have been as high as it was with Matthews), who also improved steadily through his rookie year.

  4. Good analysis. You missed one third of the team, however – special teams. All is good unless we need a FG (or extra point even?) to force O.T. or win a game. If so, we are out of luck. No chance Crosby makes it. None. Never. I disagree with one point. We are 6-3 because we earned it. It is the record we should have. 8 sacks in one half with no adjusment until halftime? 3 DB’s against 1 receiver on a desperation pass and we can’t stop it? Knock the ball to the ground and the game is over. We earned that loss. We lose a huge lead in the second half against a rookie QB, then have to rely on Crosby to try to get us to OT (see above). We earned that loss. Like McCarthy says, 6-3 is reality.

    1. True we didn’t play well in that Seattle game. But good teams get breaks too. The Bears should have lost to Carolina, but Steve Smith slipped and gifted the Bears a pick-6 that allowed them to win the game. We deserve to have had the Seattle win as much as the Bears deserve the Carolina win. The scoreboard is all that should count, poor play or not. Anyone who complains they should be 7-2 has a legitimate gripe.

  5. The only team that is on the Packers’ level the rest of the year is the Giants and you know what, I’d like to see them lose that game. Keep them humble, focused, and hungry.

    Assuming both Jennings and Nelson are out as much as that would suck, the rest of the NFC North is still nothing special and should be beaten handily.

    Also remember Mike McCarthy’s near immaculate record off of the bye! Kittens are going down but they’re going to get destroyed if McCarthy learns to run at Suh every play. Guy over-pursues more than Ben Roethlisberger at a bar!

  6. I did forget Wilson in my Dline review and that was a big mistake, He has become a very solid DE in this system.

    Special teams I think are very good, I think Crosby will be fine and get back on track. But he deserves the negative press he is getting.
    The coverage teams are the best they have had in years and the punter one of the best in NFL IMO.

  7. I don’t think Hawk’s play has been good enough to warrant the shit sandwich . . . . He’s not playing as badly as he did last year but he’s still a coverage liability and mediocre against the run. His biggest asset is the same as it’s always been: consistency.

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