This team shouldn't have even been on the same field with the Packers. I know that anyone can beat anyone at any time, but as I look at it the Packers want people across the country to take notice, whether they say it or not, because they are 6-1 and nobody respects them. The football world when they talk about the contenders in the NFC for some reason they talk about the Cowboys, Giants and, unfortunately, I think I'm starting to see why. First, we all understand that a win's a win and that's supposed to be the bottom line, but is it really? Let's take a look at the game that the Packers won 19-13 on the first play of overtime, not including the kickoff and focus on what we saw:
Mike McCarthy did a pretty good job allowing Brett to change between the run and the pass depending on how many were in the box. If there were seven defenders in the box Brett would audible to a run and if the Broncos brought eight, then he would throw. That kept the Broncos off-balance which was excellent on Brett's behalf, but it also showed that Brett was prepared and that starts with coaching.
I also liked the fact that Mike McCarthy is wise enough to realize that the DeShawn Wynn experiment is over. As a coach, if you can't count on your player to show up when his number is called, call another number. He did and Ryan Grant delivered. Again, good coaching.
In my mind those were some of the positive things that happened besides winning the game. Unfortunately, the Packers very easily could have lost this game if it wasn't for Denver's mistakes, or questionable coaching decisions, such as the play-calling in the red zone. The Packers were finally running very well and they got inside the 10 yard line by running the ball, then they stopped. On first down, they throw the ball to Donald Driver out of the end zone. Then on second down, they went ‘empty' in the backfield and tried another pass. Then on third down they hoped to fool Denver with a ‘draw' and it didn't work.
I thought that series of play calling could have hurt them, especially against a team that knows how to score. They did get three points because they settled for a field goal. I know points are points, but I thought that was a wasted opportunity. Good teams don't do that. They use that opportunity to break a team's will to further compete not give them hope and make them believe that they can't play with you. Just like the clock management before half. They let the Broncos off the hook by not using their timeouts and forcing them to punt with more time on the clock. Besides that why not set up a return giving Woodson some running room? Not many punts are blocked, and I thought that was a wasted opportunity to get at least three more points on the board if they would have used their timeouts better.
If it sounds like I am harping on the small stuff, I am because this team has such potential. It's up to the coaches to put them in the right places to be successful.
Brett Favre was magical, going 21-27 for 331 yards and throwing two touchdowns. Besides that he didn't try to force anything. I know people questioned his arm strength, but understand the touchdown throws to James Jones and Greg Jennings were different types of throws. He knew that either they would be caught or overthrown. He didn't have to be so precise. Brett read the coverage to perfection and took advantage of bad technique by two of the best corners in the game in Dre' Bly and Champ Bailey. Favre realized they were sitting on the slant route and just sent the receivers by them for throws of 79 and 82 yards. But in order to do that the offensive line had to give him time and it did.
Clifton, Tauscher, Colledge, Spitz and Moll gave Brett all day to throw and opened up running lanes for Ryan Grant, the new starting running back for the Green Bay Packers. I really like the way he exploded, making one cut and getting north and south. I think that he's the type of back that can, and will, make the offensive linemen's jobs easier because they won't have to hold the blocks as long. But before he starts celebrating too much, let's remember it's Denver, the worst team in the league at stopping the run!!!!!!
Aaron Kampman is a force. Every right tackle will have to figure out a way to slow him down because I don't think he can be stopped. He won't let himself be stopped. Everyone was impressed with his three sacks, of course, but I was more impressed with him when he didn't stop chasing wide receiver Brandon Marshall when he took the ball and was going to throw on the reverse pass. Kampman finally tackled him after running about 50 yards on one play. I also know everyone will be after Atari Bigby's head after all those penalties, but he is young and will learn to play smarter. Unfortunately, he might be learning bad habits from the masters of holding - Charles Woodson and Al Harris. They really do need to clean that up before it costs this team a game.
So as I'm writing this article I still can't figure it out. I know the Packers are 6-1 and really should be 7-0, and I know who they have beaten. Even more importantly when they beat them and how they beat them, and I'm still not sure. I keep asking myself ‘are they THAT GOOD OR THEY LUCKY, BECAUSE I CAN'T TELL!!!!!
Harry Sydney is a former fullback and assistant coach for the Green Bay Packers. E-mail him at email@example.com.