I believe we can safely say the NFL experiment of playing in Canada on a CFL field was an epic failure. While the NFL, CFL and the Oakland Raiders (Home Team) had many weeks to prepare properly for this game, they failed to do so. The field was deemed unsafe only minutes before kickoff. The game ended up being played on an 80 yard field with no kick-offs. I’m curious though why Oakland left 20-30 players behind, and the Packers came ready to play their starters? Did Oakland know the field was inferior to NFL standards, thus leaving all their starters in Oakland or was this just coincidence? I wouldn’t put it past John Gruden or the Raiders to withhold valuable information like that from the Packers. The Packers could’ve saved a great expense by leaving 20-30 players in Green Bay. I’m sure Matt LaFleur’s decision not to play any starters was influenced by Oakland not doing so. Why risk injury to more key players?
The Packers did suffer injuries to key parts of their offense and defense. Mike Pettine can’t be happy that 1st round pick Rashan Gary sustained an injury (though not serious we are told). With MLB Oren Burks already out with a chest injury, promising back up Curtis Bolton suffered a leg injury, along with Safties Will Redmond and Natrell Jamerson suffering unspecified injuries. On the offensive side of the ball the most serious injury was to WR Equanimeous St Brown, a high ankle injury which will sideline him for 4-6 weeks. It also appeared that WR Allen Lazard left with a possible concussion, and backup OL Cole Madison left the game with an unspecified injury. Matt LaFleur said we would learn more about the injuries next week.
On the positive side, potential #2 QB Tim Boyle, after a slow start led the offense on three consecutive scoring drives. As he needed, WR Trevor Davis had a spectacular night and WR Jake Kumerow had another “Kumerow” night….making plays. The Oline played their best game, minus some key holding penalties, the running game flashed a little and tackling by the defense was their best thus far. On the negative side, QB DeShone Kizer, despite enormous talent, failed to produce any points in the second half. The defense, when faced with a game winning potential stop, on a 4th and 9, yes once again allowed a first down and ultimately Oakland kicked the game winning FG (after about 5 Time Outs allowed by the Officiating Crew). The Packers must live and learn from this (game?).
That brings us to the Officiating. “Officiating, what Officiating?” Another terrible display of disorganized, inconsistent, inaccurate accumulation of calls by an NFL crew. I can’t even begin to name all the crazy calls in this game. Phantom holding calls, unsubstantiated roughness/personal foul calls, and to top it off blatant misses of obvious penalties. When will the NFL Officiating finally get it right, or even close. I’d accept close, because they can’t get every call right, even if they adapt the Big Ten official in the booth method.
Now to a totally different subject to finish this Sunday Post. What’s with all the Packer fans jumping on the I hate Aaron Rodgers train. Really? The Green Bay Packers have been blessed with two of the best QB’s to ever play the game back to back over the last 30 years. If you want to jump on a hate train, hate the fact that the Packer organization had Brett Favre since 1992 and Aaron Rodgers since 2005 and only produced 3 Super Bowl appearances, winning two. In contrast, by my count, the Patriots, with Tom Brady have appeared in nine Super Bowls winning six in his fifteen years. You may ask what’s the difference? Is Brady better than Favre or Rodgers? No and again no. Rodgers has played with a Top 10 defense twice 2011(#1, Super Bowl win), and 2013(#8), and a Top 15 2008(#13), 2016 & 2017 (#11), 2018(#15). Favre had a Top 10 defense in 1992(#6), 2004(#8), and a Top 15 1999(#13). Brady on the other hand, in his fifteen years as QB of the Patriots has had Top 15 defenses thirteen times, twelve of those have been Top 10, with five of those being Top 5. See the difference? This is where the saying, “defense wins championships,” applies. You can have the best offense, best QB, but if you can’t stop the opponent, you lose. Before you place all the blame on Rodgers or Favre, look at the teams assembled around them.
Let’s hope 2019 delivers a special defense, a consistent offense, and relatively injury free season. That should equal a winning combination!
As Always, Go Pack Go,
PackerGregPackerGreg Veteran/Go Army @DrGTP on Twitter