The main theme that trickled out of the Packers’ locker room on Thanksgiving was embarrassment.
The Packers didn’t just take a loss, they endured the worst loss in the Mike McCarthy era.
And with four games left, Green Bay must win out or stay home for the playoffs for the first time since the Packers missed the playoffs in 2008 with a miserable 6-10 record.
But how did they get here?
It’s too simple to say that the left collarbone of Aaron Rodgers is the genesis of all that ails the Packers. That isn’t responsible for the 95 defensive missed tackles or the 20 special teams missed tackles.
It also isn’t responsible for B.J. Raji looking like he is on cruise control when the Packers could use his girth and power to shut down the running game. Coincidentally, the Packers are 27th in the NFL by allowing 126 rushing yards a game.
It’s also not the collarbone’s fault that Marshall Newhouse and Co. have suddenly forgotten how to block. The Packers have allowed 32 sacks, which is surprising seeing as how successful Eddie Lacy has been behind a patchwork offensive line.
So where does the blame lie for a stunning 5-6-1 season that could easily end up in the history books as a dumpster fire?
First and foremost it has to lie with the coach. McCarthy has leaned on Rodgers so much that he may have taken him for granted. McCarthy never had to worry about trick or gadget plays because the impeccable precision and undeniable arm strength of Rodgers overcame a lot of the offense’s weaknesses. Let’s also not forget that McCarthy is a quarterback guru and it’s not exactly a feather in his cap to have four quarterbacks start for an NFL team that isn’t even finished with the season.
McCarthy obviously cannot do more than put players in position to succeed. But it’s the players’ job to take it from there. The biggest example of players not doing all they can is Raji. The 27-year-old defensive lineman becomes a free agent in March and has been offered a shocking $8 million a year offer by Green Bay — and what’s even more shocking is that Raji hasn’t accepted it yet. McCarthy can continue to put Raji in positions and places to make plays but if Rajij continues to take plays off and play soft, then the Packers should take that offer off the table immediately. Raji only has 13 total tackles and no sacks for a guy that plays a lot more than 30-year-old Johnny Jolly. Yet Jolly has 16 total tackles and one sack.
The final person that needs to be pointed a finger at, or I guess in some circles it may be THE finger, is strength and conditioning coordinator Mark Lovat. If you’re asking what the heck a strength and conditioning coordinator has to do with the Packers’ humiliating record, you haven’t been paying attention. The Packers have placed 14 players on injured reserve so far this year. That number is astounding given that McCarthy was going to focus on player conditioning in the offseason. Apparently it hasn’t worked because legions of Packers have turned up lame this year from Jermichael Finley’s bruised spinal cord to the many hamstring pulls.
Now obviously football is a violent collision sport. These guys know that a day may come when they cannot feel their extremities nor remember where they live after going to the store to get some milk.
But when it comes to things like hamstrings, I have to wonder what philosophy is taking place when players work out? The mental picture I have is of a 300-pounder putting up as much weight as he can before slamming a protein shake and taking a shower. I cannot imagine behemoth bodies in large stretching circles while the weights remain at a stand still, but maybe that’s the mental change that needs to happen in order to keep these guys healthy for 16 games.
The Packers have been so thin that they actually were close to not being able to dress the NFL minimum of 46 players back in October.
We all know that injuries are the most fickle of things to blame a loss on. But it would help if Lovat provided some transparency. Have Lovat answer questions about why he thinks so many injuries have struck the Packers dating back to 2010 when surprisingly enough, Lovat took over the strength and conditioning coordinator job. Whether the answer is to lift less and do more stretching during the season or drink more fluids 24 hours before the game is anybody’s guess.
There are countless reasons why the Packers have been spinning their proverbial tires. But McCarthy, Raji and Lovat are at the center of why.——————
Cory Jennerjohn is from Wisconsin and has been in sports media for over 10 years. To contact Cory e-mail him at jeobs -at- yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter: Cory Jennerjohn
59 thoughts on “Cory’s Corner: Who’s to blame for Packers’ mess?”
I really thought Raji would show up this season but Cory’s right, he’s like a Black Bear in Northern Wisconsin, he’s been in hibernation since Jenkins left. Rumor has it TT offered him 8 million a year. If Raji really turned that down he’s not only soft, he’s delusional to think he’ll get more. Personally I’d have a hard time bringing him back. Of coarse Capers has to go. Question is do they stay with a 3-4 or go to a 4-3. With Worthy coming back, Daniels, Boyd, D. Jones, and even Perry if they went to a 4-3, they’d have the makings of a pretty decent line. All of those players are strong as hell and quick, something lacking in the current line. Bring back Johnny Jolly without a doubt, he’s earned it. I think more than anything Jolly has worn down a bit after being out for 3 years. Any D-Cord brought in worth his salt would be creative with Matthews so Clay would still be the force he is. Bring back Lattimore for sure. This defense was better with Lattimore playing in the middle. I’d like to see MM shown the door, although I think he’ll get a pass, especially if TT is kept. Clements, Slocum, Lovet, Campen, they all should be shown the door. If Clements is kept then he should be a QB coach only. McCarthy has become so predictable with his play calling, it’s almost as though the defense is in the huddle. I can’t remember a season with so many batted down balls. During the Bengals game I swear they knew what was called before Rodgers, especially on that last drive. There’s a reason Rodgers has so few comeback victory’s. The defense and MM play calling. Lots of blame to spread around but I’d say it all begins with Thompson. If he’s kept, so will MM. If so a few FA signings this year Ted. Clearly even you and stubborn MM can see this team has gone backwards the last few years.
Sorry guys, one last thing. If MM is kept then he needs a quality Offensive Cord. This team hasn’t been able to adjust since Philbin left. Joe Philbin was a great OC, Clements is not.
Completely agree. There needs to be changes in leadership on this team, and it starts with the coaching staff.
Great read Cory.
Just one thought though, does MM’s boss — the one who offered Raji $8Mil and paid huge $ to Hawk, Tramon, B. Jones, etc. and whose cherished draft picks are doing nothing with ARod out with injury escape culpability?
Would it not be appropriate to begin questioning TT’s fetish for NEVER acquiring NFL veterans, always keeping the Pack super young, neglecting the backup QB and Safet positions, etc.?
Be strong…. Yes, the central problems stem from TT
Totally agree.This whole build through draft only is total BS. Not saying pay ridiculous salaries like the Mike Wallace or Stephen Jackson type. but some actual viable vets who can contribute
I agree all the people mentioned deserve some of the blame, but I think it goes beyond just the three.
Start at the top with Thompson. If you are only going to use the draft to build your team, you need to hit consistently on your drafts. Since 2010, how many great players has he drafted? Bulaga looks to be a good RT, but has been injured much of his career. The 2011 draft was a complete bust with the exception of Cobb. The 2012 draft still has time to be productive, but Perry, Worthy, and Hayward have all been injured much of the time as well, leaving only Daniels as the regular contributor. The 2013 draft looks to be Thompson’s best in awhile, but not finding a safety has been very costly.
I have always liked McCarthy, but I am beginning to question what he actually brings to the team. Every week he comes out and says there are no excuses, and that they need to get things fixed, blah blah blah, but the team still looks completely unmotivated. Is he a better coach than Jim Caldwell? Caldwell took the Colts to a Super Bowl with Manning, but looked utterly useless when he had to try to win with Curtis Painter.
The entire defensive coaching staff should probably be fired after the season. I really don’t like the idea of promoting one of the position coaches. What position coach is coaching up their unit? What unit is not under performing?
I think the offense will be fine next year with a few tweaks to the offensive line, and a back up quarterback that has some time to learn to offense.
Raji is not a pro bowl top tier dl. He is soft and fat and gets consistently pushed around by strong ol like the giants and 49ers. I wouldn’t pay him 4mil a year and neither would any other nfl team. We need a new def coordinator. Since the SB year we have not had a championship caliber defense.
McCarthy needs to preparing ahead and get a capable backup qb in the pre season not waiting until an injury comes and not be prepared. No qb can step in immediately and play great. This is the NFL as Gruden would say not college./
I’d love to see Kevin Greene kept. He’s been given Matthews, Perry and a bunch of UDFA for the most part. Hell Eric Walden should give him at least half that $16 million contract he got from the Colts. Every time Perry begins to show something he gets hurt. WTF! At least with Perry, no matter which way they went if Capers is gone he can play. I’d bet if given the choice he’d go back to DE in a heartbeat. Anyways what I’m saying is Greene has done a lot with the likes of Waldon, Zombo, Moses, and even Brad Jones his rookie year. Can’t wait to see what happens.
I blame the waterboy. PS, Raji sucks, let him walk if he doesn’t sign a reasonable contact. 8m is much for that fat ass
This discussion is a little premature as we should see where we are at the end of the season and then determine what may need to be done. But if we’re going to discuss why this mess exists let’s use some facts. Beginning in 2009 up to Rodgers injury the Packers record was 60-23 including the playoffs and a SB WIN and a 5-2 start this 2013 season. I realize that for many of you this record is unacceptable. However, I contend that it is one of the best jobs in the NFL and you can check the records of the other teams if you want. My point is that I don’t think that MM has forgotten how to coach during the last 5 games and I don’t think that he should be fired. Rodgers is out and that is an obvious reason for a decline in offensive production, no surprise. However, Rodgers absence is no excuse for poor offensive line play. That is on the players. Why does a running play work for Rodgers and not Flynn? That’s on the OL. Blaming play calling is ridiculous because when a play works the caller looks good and when it doesn’t he looks bad. Bottom line a play works because of execution and that’s on the players. George Halas claimed that he and the Bears knew every play Lombardi’s Packers were going to run prior to a game in 1962. Final score Packers 49- Bears -0. That’s execution. Case closed. On the defense, I believe as I have said in other posts that Capers time has come, because his defense needs a new attitude. They do not play with aggressiveness especially in the secondary. But this is also a matter of execution and the defense has had its share of injuries. And no matter who the coaches are, when they go to backups and third stringers, execution suffers, that’s why they are 2nd or 3rd string players. Also, remember if MM goes the whole staff goes. Pick the wrong HC and we can be much worse off for another 3-5 seasons and then you really waster Rodgers. I believe that MM is here for as long as Rodgers plays. If not AR is done also. You don’t think so. What happened to Favre without Holmgren? No SBs, missed playoffs and then in 2007 Favre took us to one play from the SB. And who was the HC that us that close? That’s right it was MM. Why, didn’t we make it in 2007, execution. Why are we failing in the last 5 games. We’re trying to win with 2nd, 3rd string players at QB, TE, OL, Slot receiver, and various defensive positions against mostly first line teams. Execution and the lack thereof. Thanks, Since ’61
Thank you for the voice of reason crying out in the wilderness.
The pitchfork crowd is un friggen real. This is a good team that needs to get healthy and make some substantial changes on defense. But the players are (for the most part) there.
Need S, DT and maybe ILB, WR and TE (depending on how Bostick/B Jones and White progress) for next year.
The injuries have to get figured out. The DC needs to be fired.
Not the end of the world.
Look at the record since 2007. Success in the playoffs is a 50/50 proposition. NOT one team has looked good year to year in the playoffs since the mid 2000’s Pats.
Some people need to grow up.
Seriously…you believe we don’t need a ‘real’ OLB to help CM3 even still???
Perry has done well this year when he’s been put at ROLB and been healthy.
Yes. I think we’ve got a good enough player. Not a blue chip player – but a red chip?
I think that’s reasonable.
I agree with 95% of your opinions. So the KING goes down and all his servants crumble stop coming to play too? Amazing how guys who can ‘adequately’ hold up for Rodger’s can’t for another QB…it must be contagious on the D line ‘softies’, as they are being shredded by opposing backs. Time for a reality check..and if Rodger’s is smart he should sit the rest of the season or risk a possible career ending injury with little blocking offered. Season over at this stage…
forget about all the stats, the greatness or the poor players, who is to blame etc. winning is what is all about. I don’t care if your hurt, sick, injured or just have to tackle better. In this game it’s about winning and if you not then your out I don’t care who you are.
I also agree with 95% of what Packer 61 wrote, except for the play calling comment. MM did Tolzien no favors with all the vertical routes that take time to develop. Tolzien can make those throws but only if the Oline gives him time. No crossers, no slants, no curls, no RB in the flat, etc. With Bakhtiari consistently bull rushed, there was pressure from the left even when Allen didn’t get home. Newhouse was pretty bad too. Agree that firing MM means a whole new staff, which should be a last resort. Firing Capers means just a new defensive staff.
It is said that Cato ended every speech regardless of the subject by saying “Carthage must be destroyed.” I will copy him: Do not pay Raji.
How many teams win by playing a fourth string quarterback? We are no exception. Unfortunately, our defense (even with most starters) isn’t doing the job and is magnifying the loss of our quarterback and the loss of a number of offensive starters. We can’t fix the quarterback situation until Rodgers is healthy, and the only way to fix the D is to replace some of the coaches and players after the season is over. Yes, the fix is a bitter pill (as this season is not fixable).
I agree with a lot of your points, what we have had with AR is one of the best in the game. I think to many figured after the SB we should have had at least back to back SB at a minimum. So hard to do in this day of FA.Living in INDY and The Colts being my other Team so to speak. I have seen first hand how much the franchise QB makes up for decent or mediocre talent.I know we are playing with a lot of backups in another injuring plagued season, but with the caliber of opponents we have lost to albeit the lions we should have gone through these last five games 2&3 at worst that is my feeling. As I have not been a big fan of MM even during the SB run. I do think he brings alot to the team but feel if changes need to be made, and he is staying an offensive coordinator needs to be brought in to call plays. I just do not think MM’s ego will allow that which is one of his shortcomings. Dom Capers is one of his, and he refused to let him go before. Almost all of the other teams in the NFL would have made a change. So our D-issues are in part a direct result of MM. thank you Since 63
The way mccarthy runs practice is probably more at fault for injuries than the strength coach or medical staff.
When was the last time the Packers beat a good (playoff caliber) team – I’m not counting the Megatronless Lions earlier this season?
Texans last year in week 6?
If you’re not gonna count the Texans (were they really any good last year?) then you probably have to go all the way back to week 13 of 2011 when the beat the Giants (who then went on to completely kick our ass in the playoffs).
This team has been slightly above average, beating up bad to slightly below average teams for quite a while.
I would love to see them take on a SB caliber team and actually compete with them. Hasn’t happened in a while.
No it hasn’t. And the defense is to blame.
Something has to be done by MM about this. Other than at Safety, TT certainly has invested enough in the defensive side of the ball in the last 3 years.
Cow 42 is right, since our SB, we have not played well against the SB contending teams, especially physical teams. The Packers are only good enough, with Rodgers, to beat the bad to so so teams. Rodgers doesn’t have the support , since 2010 , to beat elite teams. This has been evident the last 5 weeks. The D is the main problem. This D has so many holes that I don’t see TT drafting his way out of this mess anytime soon. As a matter of fact, with the amount of time it takes to develop these players and the odds of TT hitting on good D players in the draft, we may never fix this D in time for Rodgers to win another SB.
Baltimore? – They sucked until the playoffs last year.
SF? – Maybe. But opposing defenses have figured Kaepernick’s 1 trick act out.
SEA? – They’ve certainly looked terrible half the time this year against bad teams
NE? – No. They’ve looked bad against every good team they’ve played outside of 1 half against Denver.
DEN? – Ditto above.
Bottom line: It is HARD to even be in the conversation for the best team in the NFL at any one time.
Green Bay has problems. And they have not looked good on defense (I give the offense a pass because of injury this year).
Something needs to be done on defense, whether it’s personnel or coaching.
GB very much could be (should be?) right back in the conversation for the Lombardi next year.
I agree with Bearmeat about next year BUT, it’s going to take a outstanding draft class, a few free agents, an a whole new Defensive staff and a Offensive Cord. If the Packers put Rodgers and Cobb on IR, they’d be in the top 10 of the draft. Depending on who’s available in Free Agency, I’d address the Safety position if possible and TE, unless they can draft that kid out of Texas Tech at TE. He’ll be the next Gronk. S, ILB, TE, WR, DT, and CB are whats needed IMO. Love to see them get Sammy Watkins from Clemson, the kid can ball! There’s no promise we’ll be able to keep Nelson after next year.
I’m think Bearmeat is in the right direction. The offense is fine. Think of this offense with Rodgers, Cobb, Bulaga, Sherrod, D. Harris and possibly J. Mike back and healthy. Maybe Trettor at center, EDS and Lane as backups. The WR corps is fine. Maybe draft or sign a reasonable priced TE if JMike is done. This offense if healthy can play and beat anybody, SB caliber or not. On the defense, I’m OK with CM3 as OLB’s, but we need some big, mean, tough interior D linemen. Then we need some seriously intense ILBs with bad attitudes. Plus a shutdown corner and a safety who can deliver a serious hit. Also, a DC with a bad attitude to instill in this defense would be a nice to have. Beyond that turning over the whole staff is just wrong. As for TT, yes he has done a better job of drafting for the offense than the defense but that is a product of 4 consecutive of late round picks and simultaneously building the offense. This is not Fantasy or Madden football. These are human beings in the actual world that make mistakes, have weaknesses and in some cases are not as good as their opponents. But If we ever get the chance to get through a season with this team healthy I really believe we will have plenty to be proud of. Thanks, Since ’61
I agree, the offense was gangbusters before rodgers got hurt (#2 in both passing & rushing I think). lacy & receivers are studs. lang, eds, and barclay are all perfectly serviceable and bulaga is coming back. bak should improve with experience.
as for the defense, we all know CMIII is a stud when healthy. twill is an ok #2 corner and has had a solid comeback year. Bjones, Lattimore, Perry, and shields are all decent when on the field. Daniels is a beast & Hayward will be back. Burnett used to be ok, but idk if injury is still affecting him this year. Dline is better than they showed the last month. Willing to bet the offense’s failure to sustain drives really tired the big boys out. Not saying they are a shut-down top-5 defense, but they are good enough with the offense we have. I think without the injuries and the offensive slump, the D would have been solid this year. some people need to get a realistic perspective. acting like mr. spacely from the jetsons is not gonna solve anything
OK. Lets put some thought into this. We need a rational way to evaluate the roster. As a fan, our best option is to use Pro Football Focus. They grade every play in every game by every player. They are well respected, used by the media and teams to double check their own grades. I subscribed and will share what I found. These ranks are per position. Our WR’s are good. Nelson 5th best WR, Cobb 25th, Boykin 42nd, Jones 80th. At TE Finley 89th ( wasted $8Million ), Bostick 97, Taylor 105, Quarless 112. HB Lace 7, Starks 37. FB Kuhn 4. OT Barclay 89, Newhouse 99, Bahktiari 105. Sitton 3, Lang 17. OC D-Smith 11. DE Daniels 8, Wilson 50, Jolly 70, Jones 72, Raji 74 (please don’t pay him). DT Pickett 34. OLB, Matthews 33 (rank hampered by hand), Perry 41, Mulumba 71, Palmer 72, Neal 74. ILB, Lattimore 8, Jones 33, Hawk 110 (4th from last). Corner, Williams 18, Hayward 60, Bush 98, Shields 110, House 137, Hyde 139. Safety, Banjo 121, Burnett 129, Jennings 142, McMillan 158.
What stands out. Our 3 tackles are not good enough to start for any other team and Newhouse shouldn’t be on an NFL roster. Bahktiari and Barclay are not good enough to play but might have enough talent to develop. Why are Thompson and McCarthy jeopardizing the season playing Newhouse?
Why does Thompson pay Finley $8Million, by this time we know who he is.
Thompson really wants to pay Raji $8 – _ $10 Million. How foolish.
The Neal experiment should be over. He has not performed, he was over drafted, check the draft again, most didn’t have him going before the 6th or 7th and some didn’t have him being drafted. Huge mistake at 2.
Why is Hawk still playing. Why is he still on the roster. The ILB in a 3/4 is supposed to clean up on tackles. Not Hawk!
The most effective changes possible to the roster right now is benching Hawk and Newhouse. They do not belong in the NFL let alone on a roster and starting. In other analysis using PFF I analyzed all current players going back to 2008. Newhouse was the worse player closely followed by Hawk. It is strange that Hawk was benched the first game last year and then thereafter played most snaps. Is this a decision from higher up than the coaches. Jones is much better than Hawk in all phases of the game and at least should be the nickel and dime ILB.
Shields doesn’t deserve big money at this ranking!
We need new safeties to go along with better tackles and ILB play. These 3 changes would go a long way to significantly improving the Pack and giving Rogers a chance to win several Super Bowls.
I don’t thing signing big dollar Free Agents is the way to go. But, signing average at their position free agents for $2 = $3 contracts to significantly improve the roster is a must. Thompson’s strategy leaves to many wholes in the starting lineup to win as much as the team should with the best QB in the league.
Thanks John, this just shows HOW STUPID MM and Dom Capers are. So not only did my eyes tell me that Lattimore was making plays and should be on the field, his rankings show it too. That kid is fast, tackles well, can cover better than both Hawk and Jones, yet as soon as Jones and Hawk are healthy, Lattimore went back to the bench. I get that Hawk calls the defense but I’m sure it’s something Jones could do. I’m 100% serious when I say this. If the Packers pay someone, no matter how they perform (See Tramon Williams, Hawk, Jones,) they paly no matter what.
Since 61, I agree with you on the offense (if rodgers is healthy) thats why I mentioned the D as needing all the help. The O will be ok with rodgers. A couple more stud Olineman are needed, but, IF Bulaga stays healthy, and IF Tretter and Sherrard can develop, we maybe ok.
The D on the other hand needs major help. Our D line , linebackers and DBs all need help. Losing Heyward this year was bad because he would not had another year of experience. Can we fix all this in next years draft? TT will not budge of FAs, plus we need to manage the cap. Is this getting fixed soon?
And bearmeat, I agree with you on these other teams with wins during the regular season, however, I believe we would lose to all those teams (except the Ravens) in the playoffs , which is a whole different ballgame. And we would probably lose to New Orleans and maybe even KC or Carolina. I think This is what cow42 was getting at and I agree
Dan – Yeah – we would probably have lost to all those teams over the past 3 years in the playoffs 2/3rds of the time.
But my point is that those teams haven’t always looked good (even when winning) either. They’ve got holes. They’ve all had holes. NO, NE, DEN, SF, SEA, BAL. etc..
IMO if Pickett and Raji leave, that probably means we need another 34 NT. D. Jones/Jolly/Boyd/Worthy/Wilson is still an ok line. I don’t know why, but the DL went from looking awesome to looking bad in the span of just 1 month.
ILBs are a product of the DL in a 34. If the DL keeps them clean, our ILBs are good enough. You don’t need Blue chip players at ILB in a 34. Red chippers are fine. Now, if a guy falls into our laps that plays ILB, great.
Ditto at CB. Assuming Williams is gone after the year and Shieds is resigned, you have to think Heyward will make an impact when healthy next year. It’s quite possible House figures it out too. Remember, Al Harris (a player very similar to House) didn’t figure it out until year 5 in his career.
And IMO Perry is going to be fine if he can stay healthy. Is he a CM3? No. But he has been a red chip (very solid) starter when healthy this year. You also have to remember that Neal is a 34 OLB convert this year. He’s never covered anyone in his life. He’s going to be better next year than he was this year. Maybe TT/MM are trying to fit a square peg in a round hole with Neal? Maybe he’s just a 43 DE that needs to leave. Or maybe Mulumba blows up too?
Safety is the real concern. Burnett has not played to his potential and this has killed the defense. The 3 ring circus at the other safety position SHOULD cost Capers his job in the offseason. Maybe Hyde can be a conversion project, but you can’t depend on that alone or next year we might be right back where we are. TT needs to make a MAJOR investment here.
Some real issues? Yep. But no more than anyone else in the NFL and certainly less than most: NE’s secondary blows. SF’s WRs suck. SEA is the best on paper, but they’ve underwhelmed. NO can’t run the ball. BAL sucks overall. DEN’s pass D sucks…
Bottom line: This team has no more holes than ANY team in the NFL year to year.
Yes – all teams have holes…
The Super Bowl caliber teams seem to do better a better job compensating for those deficiencies. Packer “holes” seem to continue to cost them week after week after week… year after year after year.
The Back up QB still isn’t fixed? Seriously? It’s been a couple seasons now.
The OL hasn’t been fixed? Really? It’s been a couple seasons now.
The defense still gives up record setting type yardage numbers every time it faces a formidable offense? Really? It’s been a few seasons now.
They still don’t have a running mate for Clay? Seriously? It’s been a few seasons now.
You mean the ST still is a liability? Really? It’s been a few seasons now.
Capers has to go. I agree with you. The yardage and points given up in big games since 2010 has been pathetic.
And TT messed up by not getting a safety in the draft or a mid level FA to hedge his bet. He made a very “Thomsonesque” mistake by guessing that one of his young guys would ascend and Burnett would make the jump from “good” to “great”. Neither has happened. And it’s cost him.
Ditto backup QB. But at least that looks like it won’t be a problem in 2014. Also – look around the league. It’s hard enough to get ONE good QB on the roster. Very few teams would play .500 over an extended period with a backup QB.
I disagree that Perry is a bust. I know your definition. It’s wrong. He’s played well for a 2nd year player. Not a CM3 impact player – but a solid starter. And he could very well grow into more very soon.
I disagree with you that the OL is “still” a problem. Sherrod is out for 2 years. Bulaga is out for 1.5 years. Tretter (who was TT’s backup plan at C and G) is out. Injuries have DECIMATED the OL this year. Why don’t you wait until Bulaga/Sitton/Tretter/Lang/Bakh (or Sherrod) starts at least one half of ONE YEAR before you pass judgement on TT and MM? The team has been deal a raw deal in that regard. Oh, and that “still a problem” OL is about to produce only the 2nd 1,000 yard rusher in GB since Ahman Green! AND until ARod got hurt, they were on pace to give up 30 sacks. Not ideal. But not bad.
And I disagree with you about ST. The punt team has been very good for 4 years now. They were great as a whole in 2011. While Crosby (inexplicably) struggled in 2012 – the rest of the teams (cover and return) were very good until Ross made a bad mistake in the playoffs. MM thought Ross could do Cobb’s job in 2013 – and he never put it together – until he was fired here and DET picked him up. Every team in the NFL would have done exactly what the Packers did in that same situation. Fire Ross. And hope his talent doesn’t surface elsewhere.
I DON’T LIKE TO YELL – BUT COW – WHAT DO YOU WANT? THE PACKERS TO BE CLEARLY THE BEST TEAM IN THE NFL IN EVERY ASPECT OF THE GAME OF FOOTBALL EVERY YEAR? THAT’S NOT REALISTIC!
TT/MM have done a very good job overall since 2006 together. They’ve had a rough year in 2013. But they’ve had a bunch of things stacked against them. They haven’t been able to overcome this year. They will.
Every offseason, when MM says “this WILL be fixed” it has been.
Defensive communication after 2009
Tackling after 2011
Running game after 2012
I trust him to do the right thing. Now chill the hell out!
I’ll start with ST.
They have a great punter.
Kicker has been good.
But I was referring to kick return.
Kick return coverage.
They are horrid in all 3 of those areas.
As for the rest…
I have a hard time just sitting back and saying “hey – when Sherrod, Bulaga, and Tretter get back we’re gonna have a great line.” None of those guys have really done anything. You can’t count on them to improve the OL situation… you’re really just “hoping” they will. Personally – I doubt Sherrod will ever become a starter. I also think it’s silly the way that everyone seems to be “counting” on Tretter. He is a complete and total unknown. Bulaga? At least he’s been serviceable when healthy… although I think Packer fans overrate him a bit.
I understand that it’s unrealistic for the team to be great in all phases. My problem is that w/ Rodgers on offense all we really need is for the defense and special teams to be average. They haven’t been even average for quite a while. The Packers don’t have to win games with their defense and special teams, but it sure would be nice if they could get themselves to a point where those 2 areas aren’t actually preventing the team from competing at a championship level.
Here’s the thing about the “hoping” thing though –
Sherrod was a 1st round pick.
So was Perry.
So was Bulaga.
Those 3 are our 1st round picks from 2010, 2011 and 2012. What team could do well without that much talent gone?
Not many. Yes, Sherrod is a project. But he’s got all the measurables. You have to see what you’ve got there.
TT can’t afford to invest in the OL any more. They’re not terrible – even with the big losses via injury. Safety and TE/WR/ILB? That’s the next pressing area.
Now – about ST’s. I explained the deal with Ross. MM has said the same. They thought he’d get out of his own way. He didn’t. Until they fired him. Sucks for us.
Regarding the coverage units – you do realize that STs are the hardest hit areas by injuries right? You’ve got so many positions to cover and you’re filling them with guys who haven’t practiced there. Because they were like 5th on the depth chart when the season started. There’s only so much talent and practice time to go around.
Kick coverage has to be better. But I think you’ll see it get better when (if) injuries get better.
Now, if MM decided Slocumb has had it – then I trust him. Like I said before, when he’s emphasized something in the offseason, it’s gotten fixed.
Bearmeat, Since 61, Dan, and yes, Cow too, all raise good points. It would really help if Sherrod, Tretter could take some snaps this year so they could be assessed in game situations. I would like to watch a healthy Perry and Neal over the next 4 games to assess Perry and to see if the light goes on for Neal, just to see where GB is at OLB. IDK what might happen with Neal in FA, whether teams will look at him as a DE or as an OLB.
Pro Football Focus is a reasonable tool for we average fans to use, but with caution. Daniels is ranked 8th at DE. Based on production per snap, maybe so, but only as a situational sub. If John has listed 9th thru 15th, I am guessing that we would see 4 or 5 starting DEs who most think are better than Daniels. I like Daniels, but don’t want to see him as a starting DE in our base 3/4, although he seems to be getting better against the run and might yet develop and beat his size limitations.
“Regarding the coverage units – you do realize that STs are the hardest hit areas by injuries right? You’ve got so many positions to cover and you’re filling them with guys who haven’t practiced there. Because they were like 5th on the depth chart when the season started. There’s only so much talent and practice time to go around.”
I get this.
Problem is there seems to be a reason/excuse for the poor special teams play every year. I’m tired of having people explain WHY the problems exist… Just fix them, already! And if you can’t (they haven’t) then it’s time to find someone who CAN.
yea there are much bigger holes than Oline. Middle of the line is very good. Sitton & Lang are one of the best guard tandems in the league this year and EDS is at least average. Tackles are inexperienced and should improve w/ more reps and bulaga coming back.
Defense needs continued investment, esp. since alot of special teamers are from D
the inside LB’s are good enough?? wow, you dont set your sights very high…they are mediocre or worse…the way this defense is supposed to operate under “the Doms” scheme they have to much much better than the average or worse that we are getting…
John excellent and objective post.
But you are not really advocating taking action against AJ Hawk are you?
AJ is a fair-haired fan favorite. TT, MM, and Dom all love him and AJ in turn repeatedly declares how much he respects and admires his bosses.
PFF obviously does not see all the great things Hawk does like forcing a fumble once every 6 years (as long as he can grab face mask of the running back), making tackles 8 yards down the field, and letting receivers run free in the middle of the field.
Plus, AJ, as the D’s signal caller, is responsible for all the great communicating among our awesome defensive players.
Finally, if TT let Hawk go some less knowledgeable fans might question why he took AJ over All-Pros Vernon Davis, Donte Whitner, and Haloti Ngata who all were drafted right after AJ and why TT signed Hawk to a huge second contract (while letting Jenkis go) when that money might have gone to other, more productive players.
You can criticize much about the Pack but never, ever AJ Hawk.
Yes – Hawk is bad.
Don’t care what anyone ever says.
I will never be convinced that he doesn’t suck.
Regardless of whether or not you think an ILB in a 3/4 team needs to be a stud… you have to agree that Hawk is about as far away from being intimidating as an NFL ILB con possibly be.
His ability to get off blocks is more akin to how a safety would do it as opposed to the way an ILB should… and he tackles (drags down) like a corner.
Hawk is rated 50th of 53 inside linebackers and 110 out of all 114 linebackers?
Unbelievable. How does the press continue to say AJ is solid, assignment sure player?
He is by far the most overrated player on the team.
good post. surprised there haven’t been more calls to hold the strength and conditioning coach accountable. the chance of having the most injuries in the league by dumb luck is 1/32. The chance of leading the league two years in a row as the Packers have done is (1/32) times (1/32) = 1/964, which of course is a pretty small number. So it strains credibility to suggest simply that the Packers are unlucky. As you point out, all the hamstring injuries can’t just be a co-incidence.
Many “experts” questioned whether Raji could excel in Capers “eat up two blockers” scheme for interior dlineman. he is more of a one-gap player who can use his quickness to penetrate. I would like to see a fresh new defensive scheme before we throw away numerous players.
I couldn’t agree more. Capers’ 3-4 is a two gap scheme that is read and react. I would like to see some variety and play some one-gap penetration. Maybe Lovie Smith and a 4-3 with Perry, Datone, Jolly, and Jones.
Meant Raji instead of Jones
“Raji’s quickness”…are we talking about B.J. Raji in 2013?…He’s no longer quick…Maybe 3 years ago, but, he’s so fat, his quickness has disappeared.
I can’t believe the 180 fans have done in the past month!
Yes, it’s been bad. Do some things (Defensive issues) need to be fixed? Hell yes. But these TEMPORARY issues don’t change the direction of the entire organization!
You all do realize this is one of the best run and deepest organizations in professional sports right? That injuries (most of them not predictable nor preventable) have killed the offense and parts of the defense this year right?
The direction of the entire organization doesn’t change over a month. It changes over years. TT/MM have built this thing up from the ground level of Sherman-crappyness since 2006. Don’t flip on them now.
Yes, if they haven’t fixed this and given us a good shot to win it all in 2014, and things continue to get worse – THEN we can talk about firing everyone.
Everyone here needs to chill.
Thumbs down me as much as you want. I could care less. I speak the truth.
Facts represent the truth. I see no facts. How about going to a neutral site that ranks the players by watching every play of every game of every player on tape. If Thompson’s players rank high, he has done a good job. If Thompson’s players rank low, he has not. It really is that easy!
I haven’t done a 180.
I’ve been down on the talent of this team for a while.
They lack difference makers.
You have been. And for years you’ve wrecked your enjoyment of watching GB Packers football.
They’re a good overall team Cow. Not right now, but overall the talent is high.
TT is really in charge of all the decision leading to where we are. He should probably take the blame but needs to fix it fast or it’s going to get old very fast.
First, why do you keep a strength and conditioning coach who can’t figure it out. Pathetic injury record since he took over. Second, not putting any effort in finding a viable backup QB is not acceptable when that is the most important position. We can’t do any better than GH since Flynn left?
Back in the 90s I remember hearing talk that if you have the ‘D middle’ players solidified , your D foundation was set. Examples. .Tampa. ..Sapp in the middle line, Brooks in the middle LB, Lynch at saftey. Baltimore. ..Goose and ( who was the stud next to him?)in the middle line, Lewis at ILB, Reed at saftey. Think of any great D, and there is probably solid players up the gut(middle) on D. What do we have? Pickett is getting old, I dont know what Raji is? Our ILBs are not intimidating thumpers and we have nothing at saftey ( no inforcer over the middle) ..I think we need to start here with building this D. This is the part of the D that establishes a physical presence. The rest of the crew can be athletes on D
Like I’ve said in posts posts…
Whichever crappy player is next to Burnett
…scares no one.
I agree with most of Cory`s article except with the obvious omission that Capers needs to hit the road. I have never been a fan of the 3 man front with the personnel we have. instead lets put 4 studs up front and then play with the linebackers and gaps. Probably the biggest problem I have with Capers is his either inability or stubbornness with changing his schemes during the game. He seems to come in with a game plan and come hell or highwater, he`s not going to change that plan no matter what the offense is doing. He has consistently put our defense at a disadvantage by the schemes he is calling. You can have the best personnel, which we don’t, and if they are in the wrong position, it wont matter.
So the article begins by pointing out that the Packers stand in grave danger of missing the playoffs for the first time since 2008. And fans are falling all over themselves to see which of them can suggest firing the most people.
At least it’s good to know we haven’t lost our sense of humor.
The reason I didn’t mention Dom Capers is because I don’t think he has the horses this year to run a solid defense. The defensive line and linebackers have been less than average and the secondary has been dreadful at times.
If you replaced Capers with whomever the results probably would still be the same.
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