The Best and the Wurst: Packers at Falcons – NFC Championship

Jordy Nelson and Everyone Else Playing Through Injuries

Say what you will about a very embarrassing loss to the Atlanta Falcons, but there were some guys on the field who pushed through major pain in order to help their team. Jordy Nelson was wearing a kevlar vest. Davante Adams admitted that he was in pain the entire game. This was a banged up unit. By the end of the game, Letroy Guion was playing offensive guard. It was a gutsy performance for the Packers even if the result was less than optimal. There’s something to be proud of in that.

 

Aaron Ripkowski

Rip has come on strong this year and looks to be a long-term staple of the Packers offense, admirably taking over the fullback reins from John Kuhn. However, he caused the game-changing turnover early in the first half. He also lost a fumble later in the game even though he was called down by contact. If the game would have been closer, Atlanta would likely have challenged and they would have won. That’s essentially two fumbles for Ripkowski in the biggest game of his career.

Lack of Pass Rush

Matt Ryan basically went untouched yesterday. The Packers were not able to generate any heat or even to collapse the pocket. Clay Matthews has seemingly fallen off the face of the earth as a pass-rusher. The usually good Nick Perry was invisible. Julius Peppers was non-existent. What used to be a strength for this defense has faded quickly. The Packers need to restock themselves with some serious threats to the opposing QB.

Ted Thompson

Take some time to let that soak in. Ted Thompson (if he remains the Packer’s GM this off-season, which he almost certainly will) needs to listen to his Pro Bowl guard. Going into this game, apparently at least some members of the Packers offense felt that they would need to score on every single drive in order to have a chance to win. That’s ridiculous. It doesn’t matter how offensively potent Atlanta is, you should not come into a game with the feeling that a single punt will mean a loss.

The Packers have some big name players on defense who are scheduled to become free agents this off-season including Julius Peppers, Nick Perry, Datone Jones, and Micah Hyde. Thompson needs to be selective on who who he resigns so that he can pursue a top to mid-tier free agent or two. This defense needs a few immediate shots in the arm.

I know that Thompson is allergic to major free agent signings but this is not a draft-and-develop team anymore. This is a team that needs a little help to get its once-in-a-lifetime QB back to the Super Bowl before it is too late. Clay Matthews’ contract needs to be restructured and lessened. Matthews will be a $15.2 million hit on the cap next year. The Packers cannot pay him that. Sam Shields’ $12 million hit is also likely to be erased (not including $3 million in dead money).

If Thompson plays his cards right, the Packers are going to have some money to play with. He needs to play to win.

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Taylor O\'Neill is a Packer fan born and raised in Oshkosh, WI. He currently lives in Florida and is pursuing his PhD. Taylor is a writer with PackersTalk.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @TaylorONeill87 for more Packer news.

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  • shavager

    C’MON Taylor!!! GEEZ, AIN’T ANYBODY IN GREEN BAY GOT THE GUTS TO FIRE DUMB CAPERS AS DC??? Dumb Capers DEFENSE: In 2007 playoffs Dumb Capers defense gave UP 51 POINTS to Kurt Warner and Cards! Warner had 5 TD passes, 379 YDS passing and TEAM had 156 Yds RUSHING! HIGHEST SCORE ever surrendered by Packers in playoffs!! In 2011 playoffs–SCORCHED by Giants and Eli for 420 total yds, 3 TD passes, 95 yds team rushing. IN 2012: SCORCHED for a NFL RECORD RUSH YDS for a QB–when a RUNNING QB Kaepernick runs for 181 YDS on 16 carries EMBARRASSED the Packers, totaling 323 yds RUSHING, 263 yds passing against Capers ‘D’. IN 2013: Capers ‘D’ gives up 98 rush yds to Kaepernick AGAIN, 227 yds passing. Kaepernick led 49ers on a 5 MINUTE, 3 second drive to win game on FG with 3 seconds left. 2014: Capers defense BLOWS a 16 point lead vs. Seahawks in NFC TITLE game. 194 yds RUSHING, 2 TD’s, 228 yds passing 2 TD’s. Hawks WON the game with TD pass to Jermaine Kearse, covered on ‘D’ by NFL’s WORST DB for completion/TD rates–Tramon Williams and Capers had NO SAFETY HELP for the WORST DB on GB’s team vs. Hawks top WR! IN 2015: Capers defense DOMINATES Ariz Cards WR’s with MAN TO MAN COVER–middle of 3rd quarter Capers abandons man to man for ZONE coverage, gives up 3 TD’s 349 pass yds to Carson Palmer including a game winning 75 yd pass with NOBODY covering Larry Fitzgerald–TOP WR target for Cards to set up WINNING TD pass to Fitzgerald in OT. LAST WEEK: Capers ‘D’ gives up 18 POINT LEAD, allows Cowboys to TIE game before Rodgers 36 yd pass sets up win by Crosby’s 51 yd FG. NFC TITLE game 2016: Ladarius Gunter, Quentin Rollins, Damarious Randall suffer 3rd DEGREE BURNS FROM TORCHING by Matt Ryan!!! 392 YARDS, 4 TD’s, ALMOST 500 TOTAL YARDS (493). Falcons RAN for 101 yds. PACKERS FANS—DON’T ANYBODY SEE WHY PACKERS CAN’T WIN PLAYOFF GAMES OR SB’s??? DUMB CAPERS can’t provide a DEFENSE despite Ted Thompson signing, drafting nearly 75 NEW players in past SIX YEARS!!! This is the WORST Packers defense IN SIX YEARS!! Gives up THIRD MOST POINTS EVER by a Packers playoff team!! The 2009 Cards scored MOST points ever against Packers (Capers defense) in playoffs (51), Kaepernick’s ( 45 points against a Capers defense) 2012 Niners team scored more points
    than Falcons . So, Packers fans–a DUMB Capers defense has given UP MOST POINTS EVER AGAINST Pack defense and SECOND and THIRD MOST points ever scored against a Pack defense. Do ya’ really think Capers DESERVES the DC position???

    • Taylor O’Neill

      It’s hard to tell how much of the blame falls on Capers. Look at the talent-level that he’s had to work with.

      • Arthur Rosen

        I don’t agree with you Taylor. Whether they are the best of the best or not, they are well paid professional football players. Giving up the numbers shavager posted tells it all. Capers should have been gone a long time ago. Packer fans have been complaining about him since 2011!

      • shavager

        Taylor, consider this: In past six seasons Packers have sit on picks, came home with players like Ricky Elmore, DJ Smith, DJ Williams, Lawrence Guy, BJ Coleman, Andy Datko, Terrell Manning, Jerron McMillian, Nate Palmer, etc…they PASSED UP players you’ve heard of: JPierre Paul, Earl Thomas, the Pouncey brothers, Navarro Bowman, Jimmy Graham, Demarco Murray, Harrison Smith, Luke Kuechly, Ryan Kerrigan, Tyler Eifert, Giovani Benard—YEAH, can’t expect to get a lot of those stars, but imagine how many COULD be Packers had Thompson traded some of the first group for a higher pick here and there instead of coming home with 46 PICKS from ’11 to ’15–NINETEEN of which are gone now and nothing to show for them. Stocking the team with CHEAP picks and undrafted players has really showed up now–most of their bench talent couldn’t get a job except as bench bums elsewhere. They work out TE’s like Ertz, Eifert and others looking for solution to Jermichael Finley’s absence and lack of production at position for FIVE years and then let them get away before they HAVE to sign Jared Cook to upgrade position–and I don’t have any complaints about Richard Rodgers but he AIN’T and never will be a Graham or Gronk and neither will Cook be. But IF GB wants a SB opportunity, it is MANDATORY this defense MUST be upgraded on ‘D’ line, LB’s-don’t really expect Peppers to return except with cheaper contract, they need DB’s that can really play position instead of just showing up for paycheck. Their LB’s can’t run with any RB’s, can’t cover fast TE’s, CAN’T cover the middle zones. The secondary CAN’T play man to man well and are LOST in soft zones. I saw STATS on the Sun nite NBC game vs. Redskins–WITH Morgan Burnett and Clinton-Dix ON THE FIELD–the Pack’s QB completion rate was MINIMUM 118.0%–when GB’s secondary is allowing QB’s to COMPLETE 118% of passes–HOW in the world do you expect to compete? It’s like a BUNCH of Tramon Williams’s running around in secondary! And in case you don’t remember–Tramon Williams played FOR GB, he was rated NFL’s WORST DB for QB and TD completion rates in 2014. HE was that Tramon Williams that Russell Wilson threw game WINNING TD against in the 2014 NFC Title game Dumb Capers defense gave up 16 point lead and LOST. Worse part, Capers had Williams ONE on ONE with Jermaine Kearse deep and NO safety over top to help out NFL’s WORST DB against TD’s. Common sense–something Thompson, Capers don’t express often.

  • James C. Drumheller III

    I’m glad they didn’t let Wolf become a 49er. It’s time to sign Elliott Wolf as the next GM. I believe there is room for TT if he would want to stay as a scout. Wolf must have the final say though.Yes, I agree Capers should be long gone.I’d like to hear candidates for the vacant job. I suspect Wolf,if hired, would make the change anyway.It’s time the cries of the people are heard.What about Rex Ryan? He is without a doubt in my humble opinion the best candidate available and probably won’t get another head coaching job any time soon.We just cannot continue to waste another year of our HOF QB’s career.The other teams in our division are also getting better each season and Minnesota will be creeping down our neck in 2017.With an infusion of fresh coaching minds and front office staff we can reach our and every teams goal to be in Super Bowl 52. GO PACK GO!!!