Jordy Nelson might still be Aaron Rodgers’ number one target, but Davante Adams has made a case this season that he’s truly the Packers most talented wide out and the future of the receiving corps. Last year, such a statement would have seemed incredible, but credit Adams with sticking with it during the poor performances of 2015. He’s simply too talented to hold down, and he’s starting to make defenses pay. Adams accumulated a whopping 156 receiving yards against the Titans. He was a steady presence on any otherwise very unsteady Packers offense.
Davante Adams is the future and Nelson has certainly a lost a step or two in the speed department. However, Nelson is still a very effective security blanket for Rodgers. His crisp routes help him to get open and continue to make plays down the field even if he’s not as fast as he once was. Rodgers leaned on Nelson to the tune of 12 receptions, a career high for the veteran. He’ll continue to be a major weapon for Rodgers.
Davante and Jordy held up their end of the bargain. It’s not clear that anyone else on this team did. Rodgers looked ghastly in the first half, consistently missing routine throws. There have been moments in the past several games were not only did Rodgers not look like himself, he didn’t even look like an NFL quarterback. The running game was largely non-existent, though it’s hard to fault James Starks and Ty Montgomery too much since the Packers had to start airing it out almost since the first whistle was blown just to keep their heads above water.
The offensive line played very poorly. Rodgers was sacked 5 times and disrupted many more. Much of that was due to guys not stepping up in the face of injuries. Don “Fan Favorite” Barclay looked like a turnstile, as usual. Jason Spriggs had serious difficulty with Brian Orakpo after coming in to spell the injured Bakhtiari, but even Bakhtiari looked subpar earlier in the game. There were also way too many holding penalties.
Mason Crosby missing extra points? Trevor Davis muffing punts? Ron Zook’s crew has slid to Slocum-like production in recent weeks.
And what happened to the 2nd ranked rushing defense? The Packers defensive line was manhandled by Tennessee. Demarco Murray could have run on the Packers for days. Mike Daniels uncharacteristically whiffed on Murray’s 75 yard scamper early in the first quarter. On the same play, Blake Martinez was caught napping in the middle of the field.
The linebackers got little pressure on Mariota who, excepting a garbage time lay down attributed as a sack to Datone Jones, was sacked only once on an admittedly nice play by Morgan Burnett. The cornerbacks continue to struggle big time. The return of Quinten Rollins didn’t slow the bleeding. At one point, Rollins bit on a play so badly that he couldn’t even be seen on the television screen when his man caught the ball for a large gain down the field.
And what about Delanie Walker? I guess that no one was interested in covering him today? I should just stop. Sunday’s game was an unending nightmare for the Packers in all phases.
Last week I said that the way that the Packers would respond to their embarrassment last Sunday in Indianapolis would tell us a lot about the remainder of the season and Mike McCarthy’s future as the head coach of the Green Bay Packers. After complaints that the team looked as flat and lifeless on the sidelines as they did on the field, McCarthy’s team met the criticism with laying the largest, stinkiest egg in recent Green Bay football memory. Before the first quarter was even over the Packers found themselves down 21-0.
This is no longer a team that should be expected to finish 8-8. This is a 6-10 team right now, and that’s riding on the wave of better play earlier in the year. If you were to take a snapshot of each team as they stand in this moment, the Packers are a bottom-of-the-barrel team in the NFL.
However, unlike the hapless Cleveland Browns or San Francisco 49ers or even the Chicago Bears, the Green Bay Packers are very talented. I am not at all convinced that the blame for the Packers’ horrible state falls in any major part on Ted Thompson.
Two straight losses to middling AFC South teams, a complete lack of offensive efficiency, and a totally spiritless on-the-field presence are a damning indictment of Mike McCarthy as head coach. He is a very good coach, but his time as an effective offensive mind and team leader has ended in Green Bay. The team is sloppy, uncoordinated, and incompetent. At times, they’ve looked like an Abbott and Costello routine. That falls on the shoulders of the head coach.
Teams have beaten McCarthy’s scheme and he has no idea how to fix it. Even with the team as a whole, my guess is that, as the losses continue to pile up, there’s growing dissatisfaction and dwindling trust in McCarthy as a leader. His guys do not seem fired up to play for him. His press-conferences are a rote groping in the darkness for solutions that are out of his reach. He restates the obvious and then falls back to his favorite scapegoats: fundamentals and basics. But fundamentals are not saving this team, and neither is Mike McCarthy.
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.