I know it's only the first preseason game and, trust me, my expectations aren't high, but where are the points going to come from? I've been asking this for a long time.
I try to give the Packers the benefit of the doubt even though I watch practice and knew what to expect, and so should you. As usual let me explain in more detail and, believe me, I get no pleasure out of being right.
My first question for the offensive coaches is: Does everyone realize football is a physical game and that sometimes at practice you just might have to really hit someone to prepare for a game? I know Mike McCarthy worries about injuries, but someone needs to tell him it's part of the game. I went to my son's high school football practice and they hit in pads more in one day than the Packers have all training camp and it showed in the game.
As a coach you can't create an atmosphere of toughness by just flipping on some light switch and say, ‘OK guys, it's game time. Go be physical.' Not only that, but I can't believe the start of the game against Pittsburgh. Everyone in the world is questioning the ability of the Packers to run the ball, especially with an unproven and untested Brandon Jackson getting the nod by forfeit because Vernand Morency is hurt, and there isn't a run play until the third series!
Enough about the coaching. Let's talk about the players for a minute. I'll start with Brandon Jackson and let me say I like his effort, but so what? I know a lot of players that give effort and that doesn't make them anything but high-effort, average players at best, just like Brandon Jackson. No disrespect to him, but the fact is what we saw against the Steelers is what we will see all year long.
As a former player and coach I see things just a little different than most and one of the things I saw that I didn't like was the way he ducked his head, at times, for contact. If he did that against the Steelers' back-ups what is he going to do when he plays against the starters for a whole game? He brings nothing to the table that says to me he's part of the answer.
I liked what I saw in Aaron Rodgers. He showed more poise and he seemed to be in command of the offense. He did a good job showing leadership but then again does it really matter? Has he improved, especially considering this is still Brett's team and Rodgers plays the game with handcuffs on. What I mean by this is that how can he correct a receiver for doing this or that when Brett might want it done that way. Who do you think that receiver is going to listen to?
As I see it we have no proven running backs, and a group of young, unproven talented receivers behind Donald Driver and Bubba Franks beating the ball up instead of catching it. The offensive line doesn't want to hurt or hit anyone yet.
The bright spot on offense was the play of James Jones. He had 6 catches for 58 yards, not bad for his rookie debut. I like his toughness and route running ability. Many knocked his speed, but he plays at football speed and that's all that matters. So hat's off to him for that, but most of the receivers had trouble shaking their defenders and couldn't get any separation which made it almost impossible for Brett to find throwing lanes. For that matter Aaron Rodgers had that problem as well and that's why he seemed to scramble as much.
This is the problem I've been talking about since before free agency and the draft. How are the Packers going to score? I have heard enough talk about the offensive line and how good it is going to be because it has been working together for a while and understands the ZONE BLOCKING SCHEME. Well, I didn't see any signs of that against the Steelers and, trust me, I wanted to. I wanted to see Brandon Jackson make me a believer, and he didn't. I wanted to see Mike McCarthy commit to the run coming out the gate and trying to force the run, but as we saw that didn't happen. Please understand the defense had its share of mistakes, but I'm not worried about that side of the ball because it has enough playmakers. The defense, when they get it together, can be one of the best in the league this year. It's the offense that I am worried about because after one preseason game, whether you like it or not, just how horrible they are on that side of the ball was OFFENSE UNVEILED!!!!!!!!!!!
Harry Sydney is a former fullback and assistant coach for the Green Bay Packers. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.