Early Bird Breakdown Week 10 – Packers @ Washington

Hello and welcome back to Early Bird Breakdown for week eleven of the regular season for the Packers. Before diving into the game, let’s look at the recap from last week.

The Recap:

Last week Green Bay was brutalized, bullied, and beaten by Tennessee 47-25. The team looked lost & disinterested and showed a lack of commitment that Packers fans have not seen since Mike Sherman was the head coach. While Rodgers threw for nearly 400 yards, he did have two interceptions and in general Tennessee despite not having a good defense was ready for the bland scheme the Packers had put together. Defensively, the injuries to the secondary once again led to coverage issues and they were a mess.

The Breakdown:

Packers’ Offense vs Washington’s Defense:

The Packers much analyzed and maligned offense will face a generally poor Washington defense, however that does not necessarily alleviate concerns for this game. I’ve harped on these points a few times this season but as a quick recap on the issues: the Packers do not have a difference maker weapon on offense to create separation from man coverage, Rodgers fundamentals are off, and most importantly the scheme is incredibly bland and defenses know how to stop it.

This last point is the biggest issue and why head coach Mike McCarthy should lose his job. This team has had issues with playcalling in the past, especially the post season. Now (dating back to last season) teams have figured out exactly the blueprint to beat the Packers; they use man to man coverage to lock down the slow but skillful Packer receivers. McCarthy refuses to use motion, pick plays, or any modern offensive technique to scheme receivers open who do not have the athletic talents to do so themselves. In New England, offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels has consistently used various schemes and plays to get the best possible options for New England’s less-than-exceptional receivers to play at high levels (combine that with the addition of a physical mismatch in tight end Rob Gronkowski and you have one of the league’s best offenses).

As for where this all stands in this game, unless McCarthy used the week to implement some new formations and route trees, Washington should be able to play decently well versus the Packers. And with the way the secondary for the Packers has been, that may be enough for them to win.

An interesting thing to watch out for is new edition Christine Michael, a running back recently cut from Seattle due to poor production. Michael’s running style better fits the Packers blocking schemes and he is expected to see the field this week, if he does it will be interesting to see if he can help provide a more stable run game which should also help keep the offense balanced.

Green Bay is also without their best offensive lineman in LG TJ Lang and their starting center JC Tretter is also out. The interior blocking will have a tough time this week, and it is possible the Packers may have issues with snapping the ball to Rodgers in the hostile environment.

Packers’ Defense vs Washington’s Offense:

The Packers defense will have to play significantly better this week otherwise this one could be another rough outing. Washington is fourth in yards-per-game and has got to be licking their chops at the thought of facing this banged up secondary after seeing the tape from last week’s game versus the Titans.

Clay Matthews is still up in the air for this game, and without him the defense will struggle mentally and physically to stop this potent Washington offense.

The Weather:

Washington will is still riding a bit warmer temperatures than Wisconsin, with kickoff set in the low 40s with 0% chance of rain.

The Breakdown:

Obviously, the Packers still have a top flight quarterback and enough talent to not only win this game but turn their season around. However, it appears that the Packers’ leadership (going all the way to Ted Thompson, who was criticized by both Rodgers and McCarthy previously for leaving the cupboard bare) has lost the players and combined with injuries they look lethargic. Pride and talent may force a bounce back, but Washington has played very good football in the last seven games, going 5-1-1 in the last seven games and their only loss was on the road by three points. Due to the injuries offensively and defensively combined with the lack-of-effort last week, it’s hard to imagine Green Bay going on the road and beating a tough Washington team who is hungry after losing in Washington last year to the Packers in the playoffs. I think Washington gets their revenge, Washington wins 31-24.

As always, go Pack go! Stu Weis -Journalism graduate 2012, Carroll University