Let’s just get it out of the way right now and quote Bob McGinn:
“It bore an eerie resemblance, the red-zone ineffectiveness of the Green Bay Packers’ No 1 offense Thursday night, to seven months ago and a game played in Seattle that some people in Wisconsin might remember.”
Just stop. Or to quote my 11 year old, “STAHHHHHP!”
Don’t get me wrong, I completely respect McGinn. He’s one of the go-to journalists I like to read. But we’re actually going to compare the first preseason game of the summer to the NFC Championship from last winter, and be serious about it?
After the game last night, I watched the latest incarnation of Godzilla. It was bad, I mean stinky stank, why did I waste those 90 minutes bad. Ironic I chose to watch it last night because that, and McGinn’s sky is falling hysteria remind me of my favorite Calvin and Hobbes frame as well as a giant lizard with a walnut size brain emerging from the ocean to destroy humanit.
No, there is no monster arising the from the primordial ooze that is about to devour the 2015 season. And no, the first quarter inability to find the end zone is not indicative of a greater problem in Green Bay. It does not signal that Aaron Rodgers cannot get it done when his back is against the wall.
It was a preseason game. You know, a glorified practice with another team that happens to be on television because, well, money.
There is nothing wrong with the first string offense that can’t be corrected and adjusted between now and September. Before everyone starts freaking out, it’s important to remember a few things.
First of all, it’s the preseason. That game was played with training wheels on both sides. No one came out of the game with a catastrophic accident, so I call it totally a win. That only a bare bones, exceptionally vanilla version of both the offense and the defense. McCarthy wasn’t desperately trying to prove the Packers weren’t floundering and still reeling from last January that they had to score with laser-point accuracy of the first drive. Quite Frankly the only think McCarthy was likely trying to prove was that the team could quickly run plays with the Tom Clements, not McCarthy calling the shot. In that case, the offense moved fluidly and didn’t lose a beat.
While it would’ve been entertaining to hand the Patriots their butts on a platter, that really wasn’t the purpose of last night. The Packers didn’t keep trying to go for it on fourth down not because the game depended on it but because they had the luxury to try it several times because the points and outcome of the game didn’t matter. The only consequence of not converting or scoring was waiting a possession to try it again. Same goes for Rodgers trying to thread the needle tightly. He’s going to challenge receivers to make impossible sideline catches. He wants to gauge how well they are running their routes and find out where the vulnerabilities are on offense knowing that some passes will fly through hands, and some routes will be run incorrectly. It’s all part of the preparation process.
It’s why it’s called practice. Preseason games are there to test new ideas and strategies, not to prove a team is in playoff form.
And as for failing repeatedly and giving up, as McGinn asserted and finally going for the field goal? Another silly comment meant to do nothing more than inflame. It would have been nice to connect in the end zone last night, but obviously McCarthy saw what he needed to see at that point.
Then there’s the fact that the play we saw on the field was just a vanilla skeleton of the actual offensive schemes. They aren’t going to install the true 2015 offense until the first week against the Bears. You really think the Packers are going to show their hand and reveal their retooled offense in the first preseason game? We didn’t see everything the Packers planned to roll out, and we certainly only saw a glimpse of the Red Zone offense. So while the fans were getting all frothed up about the lack of productivity in the Red Zone, McCarthy was kicking the tires and making mental notes of what needs to be addressed.
So take a page from Rodgers himself and R-E-L-A-X. It’s just the preseason. There’s always the regular season to lose your mind and demand the coordinator du jour’s head on a platter. Until then, take a step back and remember you’re only seeing a fraction of what the team has in store for 2015.--------------