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?