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Blog – Per on the Pack

Secondary Hurt: Can the Packers Survive Atlanta?

Another tough game for the Green Bay Packers, but this time it is a bit of a stretch to try and blame this one on Aaron Rodgers, as the very close game was lost more so because of defense more so than any decisions Rodgers made.

Aaron Rodgers has felt the heat up one side and down the other.  The Green Bay Packers quarterback, criticized so often this season and over the summer too, put up no less than 32 points and gave his team a six-point lead at the end of the game with less than four minutes to go and still went home a loser, but he wasn’t the one at fault this time.

This one really is on the shoulders of the Packers’ defense.  Rodgers and the offense took the lead with a masterful drive of no less than 13 plays, 86 yards over 8:33.  What did it come down to though?  Injury, injury, injury. No matter how hard the Packers’ defense tried it didn’t matter because the Falcons exposed the Packers’ short-handed defense.  The Packers’ defense hasn’t been able to overcome the losses of their top three cornerbacks to injury, and it showed when they faulted to the Falcons.

One of the Packers defensive tackles, Mike Daniels, was available for comment on those last few precious minutes of the game:

  • “A good number of us are playing because we were the young backup that had to play because of injury, so it’s next man up.  Those guys, I think they did a good job. I think they did a good job overall. But when you’re playing a good offense like that, just doing enough is not enough. You’ve got to go above and beyond and us veterans are supposed to take that thing by the horns and do that.”

It’s hard to give the team a really hard time about a game that was well played almost the entire game.  But the fact of the matter is, the team is struggling and badly too.  The team is struggling quite a bit with so many veteran players out with injuries of one kind or the other.  The major concern here is what on earth can be done to stop these players from continually injuring themselves time and time again and over and over again too.  For some reason, it would appear that this year the Packers is having a strange tendency to really struggle a lot and with a lot of injuries too amongst players on all corners and positions of the field.  Bad luck for them, bad luck indeed.

Here’s what quarterback Aaron Rodgers had to say about the loss:

  • “Personally, I’m just really proud of those guys who made plays today.  We got Jordy going early with the big completion, but we had three touchdown passes — one each to Geronimo Allison, who wasn’t on the opening-day roster, to Trevor, who’s had limited opportunities, and Jeff Janis for the go-ahead touchdown. I’m just so proud of those guys and the way they battled. We wasted a couple drives in the third quarter after a really nice first half. The opening drive of the third quarter would have been a momentum-shifter, for sure, if we had been able to put points on the board.”

All concerns aside, the Packers still played a great game.  It was a small slip up that lost them the game, it wasn’t like they were completely trounced or anything.  Hopes are high for the next few games, because they are up against some teams that have had far more difficult of seasons than the Packers have had.

Coaching: Should Mike McCarthy Have Gone for it Against Minnesota?

Tough times in recent games for the Green Bay Packers.  The team’s coach, Mr. Mike McCarthy has been known to be criticized at times throughout the years for not taking a more aggressive approach.  True enough, the Green Bay Packers have a proclivity for playing it on the safe side.  Granted, it has usually served them well, but this season a lot of fans are speculating that it has caused more harm than good, and done more hurt than benefit.  The concern here too is that, especially in their game against Minnesota, Mike McCarthy might have picked the wrong time to try to shed that label.  He was a little overzealous in that early game, and now fans are concerned that his tendency to play it safe since then has caused some of the team’s more recent losses.

For example, the Green Bay Packers coach went ahead and eschewed a chip-shot field goal that would have tied an already low-scoring game on that fateful night when the Packers played one of their first games against the Minnesota Vikings.

What ended up happening?  Here’s what happened as a result of that call.  From the Vikings’ 14-yard line, running back James Starks came up just a mere a yard short, and the Packers never got any closer in their 17-14 loss that set the stage for a tough time indeed. McCarthy apparently thought he had the Vikings’ defense reeling after a long drive forward, but he definitely didn’t.

Here’s what McCarthy had to say about it:

  • “It was fourth-and-2, we were on a 12-play drive,” McCarthy said. “I felt the advantage was to the offense in that particular situation. We had a solid play call, and that’s my decision.”

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers backed his coach up on it by saying:

  • “I liked the call.”

Could it Have Been Played Differently?

Upon reflecting on that call and that decision and what exactly that meant for the Packers, neither Rodgers nor McCarthy said whether the quarterback really did have the option to audible to a pass at the line of scrimmage or not.  However, when you look at the overall given freedom he had at the line of scrimmage, there’s a good chance he did have a chance but he didn’t take it.

In thoughtful introspection on the whole issue, this is what Rodgers had to say about it:

  • “They brought double-edged pressure, Sendejo was coming on this side, but I felt like we had kind of beat him with the run. I had a chance maybe to throw it out to Jordy, maybe convert it, but I felt good. Not sure about the spot, I don’t know if we have to go back and look at it. But I felt like from where I was standing that we had maybe got the ball a little farther. But I liked the call. It was an aggressive call, we were moving the ball well, and we’ve got to convert there.”

All in all, we have to give McCarthy and Rodgers both a little credit in a play like that to know what they are doing and to hope for the best.  Furthermore, it is really, really hard to make a call like that and still be able to come out on the top, especially when you cannot say for certain exactly what the opposing team is going to do.  The shots were lined up well, and though the stakes were definitely high, it was a pretty good call given the Packers and their overall abilities as a team and in situations like that.

Game Recap: Bears vs. Packers

What a game!  Again, the Green Bay Packers pulled out a victory, but as is their trademark so far for this season, it wasn’t an incredibly clean victory.  The Green Bay Packers are currently at four wins and two losses for the season, which is good news.  Their two losses, one to the Vikings and the other to the Cowboys have been pretty brutal though, and they haven’t had a super clean, absolutely bone crushing victory yet.

This week’s game against the Bears was no different.  Their 26-10 victory over the hapless Chicago Bears looks good on paper, but it wasn’t until the second half that the Packers really started to live up to their reputation and started to do incredibly well.  Most of that too was thanks to three second-half touchdowns from quarterback Aaron Rodgers.  True enough, a game that started as a snoozer ended with bang as Aaron Rodgers led the Packers on three straight scoring drives in the second half to put them far ahead of the Bears.

The Bears, at one win and six losses for the season should have been a lot easier to beat than that, but the Packers weren’t on their game in the first half like they should have been.  This game wasn’t the cakewalk for Green Bay that the score suggests it to be.  In truth, the Packers’ offense struggled to click in the first half and reluctantly settled for field goals on two different occasions instead. Green Bay really did become impatient with only getting three points from their deep drives so they rolled the dice on a 4th and 1 on the Chicago one-yard line to try for a big point surge.

The General Consensus

The general consensus is that the Packers played a good game, but they need to up the ante a bit.  They lost pretty badly last week to the Dallas Cowboys, a game that a lot of people thought the Mighty Pack was going to win.  This win over the Bears was a good win, but it could have been even better than it was.  The Green Bay Packers are arguably one of the best teams in the NFL, and though their score looks good now, they need to really bring the heat in their next few games to have a solid chance at going for the Super Bowl this year.

Spirits are pretty high though amongst the Packers’ fan base, as they should be too.  It was a good victory for them all.  In fact, right as Cheeseheads began grumbling and murmuring “Here we go again,” Rodgers brought the heat and really started to play the game with the impressive potential that he’s known for. He led the Packers on a very impressive 85-yard drive that started with a 30-yard run from Montgomery and ended with a five-yard touchdown pass to Davante Adams that sealed the deal for Green Bay

Rodgers wouldn’t stop there either.  Now that the morale was there and the head of steam was there, it was a perfect opportunity to show what the Packers are truly capable of.  The Packers’ next two drives ended with red zone scores as Rodgers connected with Adams for both of their second touchdowns of the night and went on to find Randall Cobb late in the fourth to wrap the whole game up with a pretty bow and everything.

All in all, this was a game that went from hum drum to full of excitement real fast.  It was one of those classic NFL games that really shows you that you never really know how the game is going to pan out until it does.  Nothing is set in stone, and nothing is predictable in an NFL game, no matter the players.  Hopes are high for the Packers now, and fans and team members alike are now focusing their attention on the upcoming games of the season and how to take their four wins and two losses score and turn it into a lot more wins and little to no more losses.

Cowboys vs. Packers

Things are really starting to look pretty interesting this year for the Green Bay Packers.  So far this team has played a good season.  They are at three wins and only one loss, better off than the teams they’ve played so far for sure.  Not all of their wins have been straight steals though, with their first game against the Jaguars being hard won and barely scraped victory.  Then again though, their one loss against the Vikings wasn’t necessarily a horrendous defeat either.  In the Packers’ only loss so far of the season they still played a good game and really put the Vikings through their paces and just didn’t quite make the last few plays that they needed to make to win that game.

With the above in mind, the eyes are on the Packers for their game against the Cowboys.  Not everyone agrees with that statement though.  The Cowboys haven’t taken their bye week yet, and have therefore played one more game than the Packers have, and they’ve won four out of five of their games so far this season.

So then, why are the majority of the predictions still edging towards a victory for the Mighty Pack?  There are a couple of reasons why.

The Green Bay Packers and the Dallas Cowboys

These teams are no strangers towards each other.  The reason why most commentators are agreeing that the odds are in favor of the Packers for this game is because the Green Bay Packers have had a history of beating the Dallas Cowboys.  In fact, the Green Bay Packers are 5-0 straight up and 4-1 against the spread in their last five games against the Dallas Cowboys throughout previous seasons!  These are pretty good odds for them.

To make matters even better for the Packers, they will be playing at their home field as well, which always seems to give this team a very strong advantage.  The Packers are in a pretty good mood too.  Last week they beat the New York Giants by 187 total yards and a total time of possession with 36:38 on the clock.  Feelings have been pretty good for this team so far, and hopes are high that this will be another Lambeau Field win for the Mighty Pack.

For the second straight game, Green Bay took a double-digit lead in the first half and was content to ride it out in the second half. Eddie Lacy left the game early in the second half with an ankle injury, leaving his status for this Sunday’s game up in the air.

But the problem is, the Dallas Cowboys have been playing quite well so far this season too.  With four wins and only one loss, their scores speak for themselves.  The Dallas Cowboys have a tendency to lose to the Packers, but that could change at any moment.  Certainly, though most are tending to say that the smart money is with the Packers this time too, there is more doubt and uncertainty on the outcome of this game than there has been for any of the Packers’ other games so far.  A lot of people are arguing that the deciding factor is the location that the game is being played.  Lambeau Field.  For many, that’s what it all comes down too.  After all, the win over New York last Sunday was Green Bay’s 11th straight home win in the month of October, so it’s looking pretty good for them.  Dallas has a good team this year though, and anything could happen.  Fingers are crossed on both sides of the field, and only time will tell who will walk away victorious.

How the Packers Took Advantage of Their Early Bye Week

A bye week for the Green Bay Packers could not have come at a better time.  This unusually early bye week did the team some good as they were pretty beat up after some really intense games.  The team just recently returned to work this past Monday and practiced their plays and their strategies for about 90 minutes at nearly full strength as a few key defensive players returned from injury from previous games.  It was thought that the bye week really did arrive at the exact right time, as everyone needed a break.  Morgan Burnett, veteran safety player, had this to say about the bye week:

  • “The bye couldn’t have come at a more perfect time.  Now we’re getting guys back, getting guys healthy, and that’s what you really want going down the stretch.”

Now that the team is fresh and healed up and doing well, it is thought that the overall, improved health of the team after a week off comes not a moment too soon as the Packers warm up and get ready to host their game against the famous New York Giants on the ninth of October.

How the Team is Looking Now

The team is better off now after their break, but they still aren’t up to full capacity, which has some players pretty worried.  For example, defensive back Micah Hyde had this to say about the upcoming game:

  • “We need everybody out there.  It’s going to be a competitive game.”

It isn’t just the players who are hoping that the team is back up to strength either.  Coach Mike McCarthy commented recently that he would have to wait to see exactly how the injured players who returned to the field fared in their practice before assessing for himself just how healthy the Packers will be for their next game against the Giants.  However, after seeing the Packers play in practice, he did not comment one way or the other as to his thoughts about their recovery.

All in all, the team is in much better shape physically now after their bye week, and there’s enough hope and stamina in the air that most feel as though the game against the Giants will be a win for the Packers.  It’ll be a highly competitive game for both teams as the Giants have had tensions and concerns on their own team the likes of which are not experienced usually this early on with most NFL teams, so the game will at least be an interesting one if nothing else.

What Rest Can Do for a Team

The general consensus one way or the other is that the bye week did wonders for the Green Bay Packers.  Almost every NFL team will have some injuries that come about as a result of it, which is to be assumed and planned for.  Coincidentally, though the Packers have been playing a good season so far, they for lack of a better phrase have been getting beaten up one side and down the other physically, even though they have been winning most of their games and pulling off great plays.  Thankfully, the bye week was perfect for them and the rest was what they needed to recharge their batteries and heal their bodies and get ready to bring the heat against the Giants.  The Green Bay players are unfazed about the fact that having the bye after only three games means the team will have to finish the season with a long, uninterrupted stretch of 13 games and possibly more once the postseason comes around.  They’ve taken their bye week and they’re standing by it.  One way or the other, we will see soon enough if it was a wise decision or not.

December 31, 1967

The Ice Bowl
iceThe Packers faced the Cowboys for the second year in a row in the NFL Championship games, and they had followed up the previous years victory with a win over the AFL in the first Super Bowl. This matchup was such a legendary matchup on so many levels, coaching, players, the weather… the weather. Both coaches would become Hall of Fame coaches with legendary reputations, but they both first crossed paths when they were coordinators for the Giants. Landry took over the Defensive Coordinator position while still playing cornerback and Lobardi was the Offensive Coordinator. Both these men were amazing minds crafting a game plan for their specialty, and it would prove to be quite an amazing matchup when they went head to head.

Game-time temperature was around 15 below and everything was frozen: from the referees whistle, to the bands instruments, to the field itself. In what could be their last offensive drive, the Packers took over possession with 4:50 left in the game. Starr led his team down the field with three key completions: a 13-yard pass to Dowler, a 12-yarder to running back Donny Anderson, and a 19-yard throw to fullback Chuck Mercein. Then Mercein ran 8 yards to a first down on the Cowboys’ 3-yard line on the next play. Twice Anderson attempted to run the ball into the end zone, but both times he was tackled at the 1-yard line, the second time after his footing failed on the icy field. By then the thermometer read twenty below zero.

Starr returned to the huddle and called a Brown right 31 Wedge,but with him keeping the ball. Jerry Kramer and center Ken Bowman executed a double-team on left defensive tackle Jethro Pugh as Starr crossed the goal line. Bart Starr’s last play with just seconds on the clock scored for the Green Bay win. The coldest NFL game on record couldn’t stop the Packers, who went on to a second Super Bowl victory.

January 26, 1997

Super Bowl XXXI

sbBrett Favre joined the franchise in 1992 and in 5 years would lead us out of the slumping late 80’s with three quick playoff trips in the early 90’s that culminated in a run to the Super Bowl in the 96 season that began with a league best 13-3 regular season. Another key member of this mid 90’s Packer powerhouse was Minister of Defense Reggie White who joined the team in 1993.

The game was played in New Orleans at the Superdome where the Packers faced off against the New England Patriots with stars Drew Bledsoe and Curtis Martin. The Pack dominated the Pats on both sides of the ball, outgaining New England 323 yards to 257 and intercepting quarterback Drew Bledsoe four times. Packers defensive lineman Reggie White set a Super Bowl record with three sacks, including back-to-back takedowns in the 3rd.

The game MVP was Desmond Howard who had several huge returns and of course the game clinching 99 yard kickoff return for a TD. Brett Favre became the first QB to have 3 TD’s in a Super Bowl and not be named MVP.

February 6, 2011

Super Bowl XLV

greenbIt’s no coincidence that my favorite moment in Packers history happens to be the most recent great moment, and one I witnessed myself in Texas just a few years back. I’d anxiously awaited Aaron Rodgers fulfilling all his potential as the future of Packer football, and he did just that bringing Coach Lombardi’s trophy back to Green Bay.

There was great history in this game with the Pack matched up against another storied franchise in the NFL, the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers put up a fight, and even pulled within 3 of the Packers in the 4th quarter, but ultimately the high powered offense and shutdown defense proved to be too much and the Packers won 31-25.

The Packers were led by standout performances by Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, Nick Collins and Clay Matthews. Of course I have to mention the MVP performance of Aaron Rodgers throwing for 304 yards and 3 TD’s.