Another tough opponent for the Green Bay Packers and another win slips through their fingers.
To a novice it would appear as if they were simply out-matched with better talent and out-coached. But in reality, the game plan was quite sound and not at all too difficult for an average person to understand.
Coach Mike McCarthy has been accused of bad preparation for the game and of being out-coached in the game. Our young players have all been accused of not being talented enough to play in the NFL and of being heavily out-matched on the field.
Yet, with a DVR handy and taking the time to look through a game, many things become glaringly clear. A game of mistakes and missed opportunities can summarize this last game against the Seahawks.
The Packer defense began the game with excellent effort. The weather certainly had an effect throughout the game, however, the odds were even for both teams. That aside, the defense did a great job of shutting down the pass and had 4 interceptions in the first half of the game. The Seattle run game was a work in progress as they struggled to gain more than 3 yards in the first quarter. By the second quarter they were gaining better yardage at times. They generally ran left but would run right just to keep our defense honest.
The Packers responded by placing Brady Poppinga on the weak side and moving A.J. Hawk to the strong side with Hodge in the middle. During the game most people did not notice this. I think the Packers were hoping to put experience in front of the run game as McCarthy has admitted that Seattle is a left handed running team ... right into Poppinga.
But by the end of the first half, the Seattle passing and running game was beginning to come alive. In fact Seattle led in stats though the Packers were leading in the game. A closer look would reveal KGB being sealed inside our driven outside of the running lane on each run. Yes at times he was filling the gap and stringing out plays to the sideline, but generally he was beat at the line of scrimmage. Montgomery would spell KGB and he too suffered the same fate. At the same time, Cole was being driven down field regularly and can be seen numerous times spinning away from a block and trying to get caught up to the play downfield.
On the flip side, the Packer run game was now being shut down as Seattle put 9 men inside the box and also would cheat left to head of the run prior to the snap. The errors begin with play calling as we too are a left handed running team. However we get away from the run far too fast when it is not working well and when we try to score too fast and go three and out.
The cut blocking on run plays appeared to be totally missing. While the left side of the line was being stacked up and the safeties would run and dive head-on into the legs under the line as they attempted to drive forward. It was a comedy of missed tackles again. Not everyone at once, but in combinations scattered throughout the entire night. Clifton let a man go right past him to catch Green from behind on one of the few run-right plays of the night. He actually would have had a chance for good yardage if not for being caught from behind. No cut block was made. Then there was the matter of the screen pass in which two Packer offensive linemen blew their blocks as Morency tripped himself up prior to being tackled.
Pass blocking by Green Bay was generally good, but there were some poor blocks by running backs again at times. And of course the question is how long the line will need to be backed up by running backs and tight ends.
Harry Sydney is wrong when he states the three young guys are not hurting the team. Their lack of execution is in fact hurting the run game tremendously. But it is not limited to them. Even Clifton and Henderson can be held to account for missed blocks and poor technique. And let's not forget Miree, as he too did some strange blocking in the game.
Green Bay needs tight ends and backs out in pass patterns while sending the top three receivers a bit deeper. This would keep the safeties from choking up to the line and putting 9 guys in the box.
What was noticeable was that in the second half, Green Bay realized that Seattle was cheating left. Their answer was a quick pass to Driver that he took for a touchdown. The middle of the field was basically empty as the Seattle defense choked and cheated left. They did however have 3 guys over driver which driver ran across the front of and away from after the catch. The problem was that Green Bay never ran that again as Seattle again cheated left the rest of the game and shut our run down.
I think Harry Sydney got another one wrong on his take on McCarthy chewing out Favre on his throw to Franks as it appeared that he did one of his classic bootleg naked left without McCarthy calling the play. To make matters worse, that was the play he threw the ball to Bubba Franks in which it got picked off. Speaking of Franks, he had some excellent blocking going on and some excellent sustained blocking. Had Favre bootlegged right the throwing angle would have been different and away from the coverage... though from what I saw, he likely would not have had time to throw deep anyway. So he took a shot. They need to take shots down field to keep 9 out of the box and especially when 9 are in the box.
The special teams appear to be lacking practice time as they have no clue what it means to stay in their lanes on kick and punt coverage. Simple mistakes, devastating results.
It is these mistakes that are not being committed be each player on every play, but are scattered intermittently by everyone throughout the game. Coaches do not escape some blame as well. They were not out-coached but certainly appeared to be dozing off at the wheel with missed calls and coverages.
These mistakes are the mark of a young team, but not an excuse to be used by a young team. At this point in a season, they should be over the hump on these issues as they have had more than enough time to figure out how to win in the NFL. Let's hope they find a way to put an excellent game together and stop the letdowns during the game that they are suffering. Lombardi said that fatigue will make cowards of men – those men who let up on concentration and focus during the game, or let up on effort during the game. Fatigue is more than physical, it includes the mind as well.
Come on guys, get the brains in focus and go win a game like you are capable of!
Mike K., email@example.com, Green Bay, WI
Time to make some coaching changes
I am tired of hearing how young the team is as an excuse for the way they play. To me it's not the players being young that is the problem. After all the coaches are not first- or second-year coaches and they should be able to do a better job coaching. I understand that McCarthy is in his first year as head coach but he and his coaches have been coaching more than two years.
We've been through this before and we need to get rid of some of these coaches. Our special teams coverage stinks, So whose fault is it? Are the players too stupid to stay in their lanes, or is the coach not doing his job as coach? Seems to me this team really needs to go back and learn plain and simple fundementals. If the coaches can't teach the players to do the right things then something is wrong in GB. Teaching the players simple fundementals should not be that hard as most of these players have been playing the game for over 7 years, as I'm sure these players have played H.S. and college ball.
Joe Kempski, firstname.lastname@example.org, Belleville, N.J.
Reaction to Monday's action in Seattle
First Reaction: The 3RD and GOAL from the ELEVEN call. MM says he had already settled on kicking the field goal (i.e., getting the 3 points). I just don't understand it. So he didn't even want to try for a touchdown and 7 points. They could have called a pass play (perhaps utilizing Bubba Franks). Favre could have thrown the ball away if nothing was there (like he did late against the ViQueens). They could have still kicked the field goal. However, MM didn't even try. HE DIDN'T EVEN TRY!
Second Reaction: Special Teams pathetic performance. When will it ever become special?
Third Reaction: It's obvious we need a new DC and DB coach. I wonder what MM is going to do about it, if anything, after the season ends. Of course, DB coach should be fired now with a replacement named on an interim basis.
Fourth Reaction: Still not sold on the zone blocking scheme. Will the current offensive lineman have to be replaced if there is a change in blocking scheme?
Fifth Reaction: How long is it going to take for people to realize that KGB can't play the run?
Sixth Reaction: This team needs a lot of help, i.e., a safety, defensive end, defensive back (for nickel situations), offensive lineman, DC, DB coach and ST coach (just for starters).
I hope we beat the Jets!
Bobio, email@example.com , Minnetonka, MN
Seahawks' ‘12th Man' very rude to Packers fans before and after game
To the Editor,
This was our first visit to Qwest Field. It was great to see our team and all the great Packer fans show up from far and wide.
As our team entered the field for the game "the Gods of Lambeau unleashed a snow storm from the heavens above." While it snowed the Packers dominated the game. Later in the 3rd quarter Seattle had taken over due to some really bad officiating.
The worst call of all that truly affected us was roughing the passer, that altered the direction of the game in Seattle's favor. I admire our team for doing their very best on that field - it truly showed, we all saw you. You made us proud, you gave it your all!
My only disappointment was with the rudest fans I have ever met in my entire life! I'm talking about Seahawk fans. I am 47 and have traveled far and wide in my life in the US military (20 yrs) and as a civilian. My wife and I parked our vehicle at a garage nearby and began to walk to the field, we were profanely yelled at (you suck, cheese go home, and even way worse than that too). Once we found our seats in the upper section, we were again yelled at in a profane manner and food was being throw at us and other Packer Fans near us. This continued throughout the game as they started to gain the point lead. We even had one fellow jump down from three sections above us and got in our faces and said "what are going to do now cheese, get the hell out of here!"
On the way back to our parking spot we witnessed a car load of college-aged men profanely harassing a sweet 60 year old couple we talked with that was getting in their car for the long drive in the snow/ice storm clear back to Idaho. We also saw a Seahawk fan running beside a line of Packer fans who were lined up on a sidewalk and began hitting them in their heads with his 12th man flag. Our fans resisted and never once flinched. I've gotta say were are truly the best fans ever and represent our team at the highest level!
My wife and I will never go to Qwest Field ever again - never. I am sad to say I live here in Seattle among some of the rudest fans I have ever met!
I just want you all to know how proud I am of my team and all our fans! You made my wife and I two very proud people that rough night in hell. We are the best fans on earth!!!
All the best to each and everyone of you!
PS - I will be forwarding this on to Qwest Field corporate and Paul Allen.
Two loyal Packer fans for life, Erik & Robin Hass, firstname.lastname@example.org, Seattle, WA
Loss to Seahawks KO's Pack
This Seahawks game was a killer - most likely for the season.
Some think it should have kept snowing - they don't know how to play at home, in the snow.
Everyone's writing about McCarthy - but I think the play-calling falls on JAGS .... when Rossley was the OC, he got quite a bit of the brunt of the criticism - why not Jags? I'd really like an insider's answer. Jags has the guts to stay down on the field, which Rossley didn't have the stones for - and he escapes criticism?
No spock logic in it, Todd. Seriously.
There's someone on the offense game planning committee that prefers the Shermanesque Marty-ball/prevent mentality type of game. Those coaches need to be fired, and not after the season is over, either. Denny Green had the guts to do it. It's not unheard of. Certainly, on defense, Schottenheimer has to go. He wasn't any good when he was here before. On offense, I think the O-Line coach is suspect. The players will eventually figure it out - but a Larry Beightol quickens their learning curve and he ain't it. Especially not after 10 games, Todd. Heck, gettin' to .500 looks real elusive right now. I would have hoped for at least that much.
This time, as opposed to the last two years - it's the coaches. I don't blame McCarthy all that much - he's very much like Holmgren used to be and comes from the same type of background - but his friends in the coaching side (and on the staff) are not being honest or forthcoming and he needs to see that or find a confidant that will direct him to see it for himself at the right times.
Certainly, next year will be more of a 9-7 year, maybe better. But, certain Coaches just have to go.
This last game had Favre so pissed - you could not hide it on camera. It reminded me of Rossley and Sherman pulling the ball out of Brett's hands after that awesome half against the Panthers, last year... remember that? A coach should never be that callous ... a cardinal sin, from whomever really did bring that play in.... no matter if Mikey falls on the sword or not.
Tony LaRussa, email@example.com, Indianapolis, IN
Two rules that need to be changed
I would like to have your opinion on two rules in the NFL that I feel have too much influence on a game.
The first one is the rule with which Jenkins got called for hitting the QB. on the helmet. I feel that it should be changed to excessive use of the hands to the helmet. Why, because like everyone can see, Jenkins was pulling back his arms and he barley moved the QB's head. The 15 yards and first down is far to much. It is easy for the QB's to put on a little act to help the Refs judgment.
Secondly, I really dislike giving the ball at the point of the infraction to the offense with the first down when they throw a deep pass. That was put in the rules to make the game more exciting and raise the scores. It does the game of Football not justice in my mind. Too many teams when falling behind and the better team is winning will toss the ball deep and have the receiver help the defensive player into an interference call and boom, now they are first and ten inside the red zone while only using up a few seconds and giving the beaten team a new life by "cheating". They should get the call but then move the ball 10 yards from original line of scrimmage and a first down.
That would help eliminate the possible upset victory by the team that needed help to get close to the goal line.
What is your thoughts on those two rules? Thanks for your opinion.
Jerry Ingaldi, firstname.lastname@example.org, Erie, Pa.
Both rules obviously are in place by the NFL to help the offense score more points, which is what fans want to see. The penalty on Jenkins was simply a bad call. I can't believe that's the intent of the rule. I think the ref wanted to see the penalty, and it obviously wasn't there. With the point of infraction on pass interference, it's another case where the league favors the offense. I think it should be like high school and college, where a team gets 15 yards and a first down for defensive pass interference from the line of scrimmage, but I don't think the NFL will ever change that rule.
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