Packers Week 2: Too Early to Panic?

Oh look, it’s the regular season, and Packers fans are already assuming crash positions after week two. Usually it takes three weeks before people lose their minds.

But after the performance this past Sunday, it appears that panicking is par for the course. There is no question that the Packers did not play well. It was reminiscent of midseason circa 2015. The offense was not firing on all cylinders, the defense was getting torched in the middle as well as on the sidelines, and play calling was dubious at best.

So let’s, as my brother calls it, swing the dead cactus* and do the autopsy on what did not go well this week.

What’s the deal with Aaron Rodgers?

Remember last year when I said that he appeared to be drowning in his own offense? Well it appears that someone needs to throw the life ring out to him and pull him back to shore again. On Sunday, he looked lost on the field. Sure there were cases of the drops again. That certain doesn’t help matters. But at times his passes were either too short or bound for South America. For a QB noted for his pinpoint accuracy, Rodgers was far from it again. Of note, if you read his lips during the game, it was a string of four letter frustration. Sure he curses like a sailor with the best of him. But every time the camera panned to him either on the field or on the sideline, he was frustrated. He never seemed to find a rhythm and never seemed comfortable in the pocket.

Some of his passes reeked of that  Favreian everything and the kitchen sink desperation. The moment that final interception left his hands, I suspect everyone watching knew it would be shagged by someone in purple. And then there was that quasi-Hail Mary. We didn’t need it at the time, so what gives with bomb it and hope someone catches it. That type of play works when you’re eight and playing in the street. It doesn’t necessarily translate well when you’re 32 and playing in the NFL.

And then there was his ball security. Why on god’s green earth was he taking off running with the ball out in front of him and not secure against the body? Of course it’s going to be swiped out of his hands. That’s Pop Warner 101 right there, and he got an F for it.

No one knows what’s his deal at the moment, but whatever yips he was trying to shake last year seemed to have found him again. We can only hope that this can be corrected as soon as possible.

Davante Adams and the butterfingers.

I take back what I said last week. Adams still has a problem catching a ball right between the hands. Why haven’t see seen marked improvement from him. And does he need some Velcro glued to his hands? This continues to make me want to throw my shoe at the TV.  He’s a favorite target again, so this is absolutely something that he needs improve upon.

Ten Billion WRs and only a few targeted.

Ty Montgomery may have had that spectacular blocked punt, but he didn’t see a single down on offense last Sunday. Jared Abbrederis was on special teams. Whatever happened to this deep receiving corp? Why aren’t they being used to mix things up? And is Jared Cook still even on the team? (Yes, I know he’s on the team. This is my sarcastic font. Do try to keep up.)

Third and one, so let’s go for a twenty yard bomb to nowhere.

Not sure who is culpable here–McCarthy and some really stupid playcalling or a QB going rogue with one giant ball of derp wrapped up in an ill-conceived audible. The Packers have a battering ram named Eddie Lacy. Wouldn’t it make sense for him to barrel through for the single yard and give the Packers a chance to move the sticks instead of bringing out Schum–who isn’t all that much better than Tim Masthay for the record–punt it away.

Needless to say the play calling, at times was frustrating, and others it was maddening.

An actual quote in Casa Kelly Sunday night from my football neophyte husband:

You’d think if my wife (that would be me) is going to successly predict the first down play every time before it happens, you’d think the Vikings are catching on too, right?

Honey, you got it in one. We all thought stripping Tom Clements of the play calling duties last year would solve all of the Packers’ ails, right? Wrong. Because it’s the same scheme coming from the same head coach that he has been using since about two weeks before the dawn of time.

Lacy for a yard or three. Lacy for a yard or three (or if you’re feeling a little saucy, mix it up with Starks instead.) Incomplete pass. Punt.

Rinse, lather repeat.

McCarthy hasn’t tried anything new in years. The only thing that is different, is the entire stadium can’t call for Kuhn on a third and short alerting the other team to the only play that will be considered in that situation.

Never turn away points, especially when they are all but free.

I may be pretty liberal in most aspects of my life, but when it comes to football, I’m somewhere to the right of Vince Lombardi. Why on earth did McCarthy decide to go for it on 4th down when the Packers could’ve tucked away a chip shot field goal from Mason Crosby early in the third quarter. It wasn’t even desperation time at that point. Down by three at the end of the game, I could understand, but with a lot of game yet to be played, McCarthy decides to play a little all or nothing. Sure it is frustrating when something like that happens, but it is even more maddening when the Packers lose by exactly those three points.

Randall got torched, so by all means, don’t change a thing.

There is no question that Stefon Diggs is a bona fide threat. And yes, I am completely aware that there weren’t any better options than Damarious Randall covering him. But how many times did the second year corner back need to get torched before the Packers defense realized there was a genuine problem? The kid was outmatched the entire game, so much that Bradford made Digg’s his favorite target all night long. Yes, Shields was out and Gunther, Rollins and anything else the Packers could throw at him would likely not have worked either, but there was absolutely zero adjustment through the game to stop Diggs.

Don’t even get me started about the anemic middle. My kingdom for an inside linebacker with a killer instinct.

As per usual, this remains an achilles heel for the Packers. My kingdom for a blue chip ILB in the draft. Seriously, send help, because this is a repeated problem

Sure, this was only the second week of the season. There is plenty of room to adjust and adapt. But the scary thing is the simple fact that there was no change or adaptation from last year. Those who do not learn from the past are bound to repeat it. Exhibit A: The 2016 Green Bay Packers.

Luckily the Packers will be home this weekend playing the anemic Detroit Lions. Hopefully they actually address these problems and not pretend they aren’t there. Otherwise, you may just want to find that cactus and start swinging.

 

*Swinging a Dead Cactus: Oddly it a very bizarre internet meme. My brother discovered it a few years ago. Apparently if you riot and have access to cacti, it’s a thing. Who knew?

 

Packers Aftermath: Top of the NFC North Again

Well look at that, the Packers are once again sitting atop the NFC North. Must be that final stretch toward the end of the season. When the difference between a 1 or 2 seeded team, a Wild Card spot and sitting on the couch watching the playoffs from home may only be a loss or two, every win counts. And taking out an NFC North rival at home is all the more satisfying. The Packers have gone 2-0 against the Vikings this year. See you (wouldn’t want to be you) next year, Minnesota.

  • Not surprised by the close margin of victory. The Packer seem to still have hiccups in Minnesota.
  • And it’s not a game unless Coach McCarthy totally wastes a timeout on a bonehead challenge. Seriously, why?
  • Man, I thought they killed that stupid horn. I guess I was wrong.
  • Hat tip to my awesome little brother (yes, I do claim him as mine once in a while) @jys_h for reminding me that the Packers have not trailed in a game since October 26. That was the Saints game, if you need any further reminders.
  • Not as dominant of an offensive showing, but they got the job done.
  • Eddie Lacy is a bowling ball. Pretty sure he would hurt you if he ran through you. Love that Rodger has finally found his screen pass target. It’s fun watching that play that seemed all but nonexistent the past suddenly become a dangerous thing. Hello, screen pass, I have missed you ever so.
  • Lacy is kind of a mudder. And that make me happy, especially if the road to Arizona somehow winds up going through Lambeau. Bring it on.
  • I’m totally convinced that the lofted pass to the other Rodgers in the end zone planning went along the lines of something like this: “Dude, I’m going to spin around in a circle and try to get sacked. Meanwhile, you go stand in the back corner of the end zone and act casual or something. We’ll look like geniuses.” Sure, it was a pull it out of your rear play. But never, ever, ever leave a Packer receiver (or tight end) completely uncovered in the end zone. It doesn’t matter if Aaron Rodger has six guys draped over him and he’s headed to what looks like an ugly sack. He apparently sees all and will make other teams look like complete fools.
  • My heart stopped when Lang went down hurt. The O Line is already thin. So glad he came back and returned to the game.
  • What was up with all the ridiculous penalties? Were the Packers really that sloppy or was this a flag-happy officiating crew. My gut instinct thinks it was the latter.
  • Oh yeah, the Vikings still have a guy named Greg on their team. Zzzzzzzzzzzz.
  • Micah Hyde is more than just a guy. He has turned it up a notch during the second half of the season and makes a dangerous bookend to Ha Ha Clinton Dix.
  • The secondary is once again a scary crew. So refreshing to see the aggressive play and turnovers.
  • Is Lattimore even on the team any more? No really, does he even exist?
  • Tackling was a little more sloppy this week. That’s something that needs to change between now and next Sunday when the Pack faces New England at home. We cannot afford to let Brady’s receiver’s slip by.
  • Really liking this Matthews to the inside move. Sure, let him pretend he’s still an OLB if that make him happy. But he’s much more effective if one of the big guys on the line is punching a hole open for him.
  • Mike Daniels is still filthy awesome. Bridgewater is going to feel that in the morning.
  • The special teams redeemed itself this week. No botched snaps, no one sleep deprived because babies were being hatched. (Congrats to the Mathsays, by the way.) No blocked anything. Mason Crosby hit one from 48 yards. Could’ve probably hit it from ten more away.
  • This was definitely a team effort. No one was a rock star today. Solid play on all side of the ball. This is exactly what the Packers need to do every game. Solid offense. A defense that doesn’t break. And a special teams that holds it together.
  • This could’ve been a trap game and it wasn’t.
  • With people likening this season to 2010, it even includes a game against New England, only it’s at our house next week. And unlike that game, we have a Rodger and not a Flynn. Should be interesting. Wouldn’t it be grand to mop the floor with the Patriots?
  • I hope Rodgers is smirking again. I don’t think Philly is over it yet.
  • Did I mention I hate that damned horn?

No Huddle Radio: Are Packers Back on Track? (w/ SI.com’s Peter Bukowski)

No Huddle Radio from ALLGBP.com on Packers Talk Radio Network

In the matter of five days, Packers Nation went from consternation to relaxation. Your No Huddle radio hosts, JasonPerone, Cory Jennerjohn and Andy Burch examine how the Packers quickly turned around a 1-2 start with two straight wins within their division.

Joining the crew from ALLGBP.com on No Huddle Radio tonight will be Peter Bukowski, producer and contributor for Sports Illustrated’s SI.com. Together, they’ll be examining the NFC North and what direction teams are likely to take from here on out.

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Join the writers at AllGBP.com for a fast hitting discussion of all things Packers. Please be sure to visit  ALLGBP.COM, where we are “All Green Bay Packers, All the Time.”  You can also browse Packers Talk Radio Network for more Packers podcasts from the best Packers bloggers on the internet.

Out of the Pocket: Green Bay Packers in First Place

Out of the Pocket Podcast on the Packers Talk Radio Network.

The Packers didn’t play on Sunday, but Richard, Kelly, & Colleen still sat down to discuss Thursday’s victory over the Vikings and look ahead to Miami.

With the Bears and Lions both losing in week 5, the Packers sit atop the NFC North at 3-2. Can they enter the bye week at 6-2?

Out of the Pocket is a part of the Packers Talk Radio Network, serving up enough weekly podcasts to satisfy the most fervent of Packer fans. Follow us on TwitterFacebook, and subscribe over at iTunes.

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Join two of the PocketDoppler Angels and Richard Chang as they take their show on the road and bring you a weekly dissection of the Green Bay Packers as only they know how.  All three are longtime Packer fans who bring their infinite wisdom, passion and snark to the Packers Talk Radio Network. Check out their work at PocketDoppler.com and Dick’s Favorite Blog. And follow them on Twitter at @WhatRUTinkin , @Ceallaigh_k and @RichardMChang.

Packers need to be cautious facing the Vikings

Packers Eddie Lacy

It’s a short work week, and the Green Bay Packers face their division rivals the Minnesota Vikings tomorrow night at Lambeau Field. Yes, it’s the Vikings of collapsing stadium roof fame. Yes, they are the same team that brought us lots of laughs because, well, Christian Ponder. And they don’t seem as ferocious without their MVP running back Adrian Peterson.

But let me quote the great philosopher Han Solo for a moment.

Don’t get cocky.

To put it bluntly, don’t be doing any victory laps until the final whistle blows.

On a good day, it is oh-so-satisfying to send the Vikings back over the Mississippi with a resounding victory. But remember, on a bad day when things don’t go right, this is the team we tied last November. You know, that kissing your sister game where Matt Flynn did his best to neither win nor lose, but managed to keep playoff dreams alive? Yeah, that game.

Quite frankly, my brother is an ugly little thing, and I don’t fancy smooching him any time soon. And I don’t want to lose or tie the Minnesota Vikings any time soon.

So what will it take to win?

Remember this is not the Vikings of old.

Yes, there’s no AP suiting up, but that doesn’t change the fact that the team’s Achilles Heel this year is it’s run defense. And mobile quarterbacks are a bigger Kryptonite for that run D.  While Teddy Bridgewater is a tentative go with his gimpy ankle, he could very well still be a threat. The Packers defense won’t be able to stop him if they continue to through everything and the kitchen sink in a blitz and come up empty. It leaves to much open field between Bridgewater and the secondary where he could gash the Pack while they have egg on their face.

Don’t forget about Corderelle Patterson.

Patterson doesn’t follow the mold of your typical Viking. He isn’t from the Island of Misfit Toys, and he isn’t a crumpled-up, sloppy second that Minnesota found in the dumpster behind 1265 Lombardi Avenue (Hello, Greg. Why yes, I’m talking to you.) He’s a bona fide first round draft pick with all the skills and potential that goes with it. He’s got sure hands. He’s got speed. And if he doesn’t gain yards from a pass, he can also run the ball efficiently as well.

That said, Ponder is preparing for the start, and say a little prayer that Mr. Inaccurate who loves to stay in the pocket is the one suiting up tomorrow night. Not that I want anyone to be injured, but I’ll never say no to a little Ponder in Lambeau.

The Packers need to establish the run.

I’ve said this just about every week, but I mean it today. Well, I mean it other days, too. Quite frankly, the Packers cannot allow Eddie Lacy to have a sophomore slump and simply give up on him. The Vikings defense is comfortably in the middle of the pack as far as NFL defense go this year. No, not good enough to choose as your first choice fantasy football defense, but solid enough to give the Packers offensive line some hassles and put Rodgers on his back several times.

That means if Lacy can’t do it running North-South, perhaps they need to give James Starks a chance to run to daylight and not just give him one play to show his worth like he did last week. What Starks lacks in sheer cannonball strength, he makes up for it with speed. Getting the run going early and often will keep that target off Rodgers’ back.

That can’t happen unless the offensive line rises to the challenge. They have done a fairly good job now that Bulaga is back in the mix keeping Rodgers upright and safely in the pocket a little longer.  But that means they have to stop being so one one-dimensional, dig deep and remember how to block for the run.

Don’t forget the other receivers.

It means Rodgers needs to utilize all of his receivers not just named Jordy Nelson and bring the tight ends back into the fold. Be still my heart last week when we didn’t see the Zebra offense but a few plays with a 2-Tight End set. Get Richard Rodgers. He’s earning Rodgers’ trust, and that is crucial if he’s going to get more passes lobbed his way in the future. There’s something that has been sorely missing since Finley went down with his neck injury one year ago. The Packers need a tight end that can block and has nimble hands. Thursday night would be a great time to roll out the Rodgers to Rodgers Show.

Play your own game and forget about the refs.

Quite frankly, I’m sick and tired of hearing about how the refs are hosing over the Packers. While I am disappointed that the greatest professional sports league on the planet somehow manages to find officials that kind of stink, the Packers need to forget about the zebras and play their own game. Sure, that means there will be some dubious holding calls, and maybe an even worse PI call during the game. But they need to test those boundaries on both sides of the ball. Jeff Triplette was off last week. So who knows, his zebras may very well get the assignment for tomorrow night.

It doesn’t matter. You win some, you lose some. And if you’re paying attention, the crap calls tend to balance themselves out over the course of the game.

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix needs to welcome #BeGreat Greg Jennings back to Lambeau Field with his own brand of Roll Tide smash mouth football.

Okay, I threw this one in for purely personal reasons because Greg, a former resident of my hometown outside Green Bay decided to take potshots at the lack of educational opportunities where he used to live. That’s my school you’re talking about, sweetie, and you just made it personal.

Hey Greg? You’re just some Viking that I used to know. Thanks for crapping all over the Redbirds. I hope HaHa blasts you (with a legal yet forceful block) into the next zip code every time you run a crossing route, because well, Roll Tide, Greggles. Roll. Tide. How’s that juggernaut QB working out for you?

Behind Enemy Lines: Packers – Vikings with AJ Mansour of KFAN 100.3

Behind Enemy lines podcast on Packers Talk Radio Network. Amanda Lawson &

Chris and Amanda kick off the Week 5 edition of Behind Enemy Lines by gushing over Aaron Rodgers’ performance before discussing whether or not the win over the Bears felt like one from the Green Bay Packers’ Super Bowl run back in 2010.

Amanda remains unconvinced by the defense, while Chris tries to figure out whether or not the rookies are up to snuff a quarter of the way into the season.

They then welcome in AJ Mansour from the Twin Cities radio station KFAN 100.3 to talk about the Teddy Bridgewater bandwagon, how to best use Cordarrelle Patterson, the offense under Norv Turner and discuss what they’ve learned about the NFC North.

Behind Enemy Lines is brought to you by hosts, Amanda Lawson and Chris Callaway. Read Amanda’s work over a CheeseSportsLife and Chris’s musings at Midwest Sports Fans.

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Behind Enemy Lines is just one great podcast in a great lineup of Packers’s podcasts from the Packers Talk Radio Network, serving up enough weekly podcasts to satisfy the most fervent of Packer fans. Follow us on TwitterFacebook, and subscribe over at iTunes.

Ol’ Bag of Donuts: Offseason Spectacular Part 2 (The Empire Strikes Back)

Ol Bag of Donuts podcast on PackersTalk.com with Chris Lempisis and Adam Somers

Chris and Adam dive into the Packers offseason by breaking down the team’s roster position by position. They try to take the hard and realistic approach of what the roster may (and should) look like heading into next season, while countering the arguments that the skies around Green Bay are falling.

In this two-part podcast, luminaries such as Brooks Kieschnick, Bo Jackson, Joe Smith and Kim Kardashian are all topics of conversation.

(If you missed part one, you can find it here)

Listen in using the player below or download the podcast from the Packers Talk Radio Network on Itunes.

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Listen to internet radio with Packers Talk Radio Network on Blog Talk Radio

Chris Lempesis and Adam Somers bring their offbeat brand of podcasting to Packers Talk Radio Network, with the latest rumors, news, and prognostications about your Green Bay Packers.

Follow them on Twitter at @olbagofdonuts and @ASomers_time  and stay tuned to Packers Talk radio Network every week for more of Chris and Adam!