Johnnie Gray: Post-game review

PackerReport.com's Johnnie Gray explains why the Green Bay Packers probably were kicking themselves in the locker room after their NFC showdown loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday.

Just took yet another look at the Packers/Dallas game for the fourth time, and I still don't see where the weakness in the Dallas secondary warranted an aggressive downfield passing attack. Like many of you, I was surprised at the game plan that was so uncharacteristic of what has brought success to the Packers this season, but I'm proud that they were able to get back to what they do best and the way they finished the game.

The most frustrating feeling as a player and coach is to sit in that locker room trying to get dressed knowing you beat yourself, as opposed to the other team beating you. You stay in the shower wondering what could have been; you stop to put your shirt on and think of the mistakes that you've made; and then you throw a shoe across the room because you practiced all week not to play like that.

Both the Cowboys and Bear losses were due to poor execution, play calling and lack of discipline. It didn't help that left guard Daryn Colledge was having a bad night and he had to be replaced by right guard Jason Spitz, which meant that Junius Coston filled in at right guard. In addition, having Mark Tauscher limping around on a very sore ankle didn't help, either, but all had trouble recognizing and staying with their blocks.

I'm hoping that this performance will entice the coaching staff to move Colledge to the tackle position, at least for now, to give Tauscher some relief. Colledge needs to get some of his confidence back and I know the Packers want to have big lineman across the board, but right now they need to have everyone believing in their abilities to help this team win.

I have bragged Aaron Rodgers up all preseason, so now do you believe me? He showcased his maturity, poise, and ability to scramble and strong arm to out-score the Cowboys 17-10. He also satisfied his receivers, Greg Jennings and Donald Driver, whom looked unappreciated in being open in their underneath patterns, and displayed some of that frustration after big catches. Even though they say they have no identity, they really do in that they are unstoppable with spreading the field with short passes.

With that being said, the defense has to have some stops. In the past, I have mentioned that zone is about pattern recognition, discipline and being as deep as the deepest in your zone. That third-and-19 conversion by the Cowboys in the third quarter really hurt the Pack.

Cornerback Al Harris did a good job of jamming, but when no one is threatening your area then you must keep getting depth to be under the deep throw. It doesn't do the defense any good to cover no one. This happened with cornerback Jarrett Bush when he passed the tight end on to the safety and didn't get enough depth. Quarterback Tony Romo threw over Bush's head and in front of the safety for a touchdown. Playing zone does not require the best skilled athletes, but it does demand the disciplined football player.

The Pack gets healthy and refocused against Oakland at Lambeau Field this week as they did after the Bears loss. Go Pack.


Johnnie Gray

Former safety Johnnie Gray played for the Packers from 1975-84. He was inducted into the Packer Hall of Fame in 1994. E-mail him at gray24@gbpackersfan.com.


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