Packers playing with fire

The Green Bay Packers remained perfect yesterday by beating the Chargers in Lambeau Field West, er, Qualcomm Stadium but it was easily their ugliest win of the season. The Packers’ defense with the exception of two plays was simply awful.

“A lot of bad football” cornerback Charles Woodson said. It has been that way all year. The Packers can count on Aaron Rodgers to keep the Packers close in every game but they can’t count on the defense to keep getting interceptions at this pace. They need to be able to get a stop the old fashioned way every now and then.

I was shocked at poorly the defense played coming off the bye when the coaches have two weeks to prepare. The Packers put very little pressure on Philip Rivers and looked confused in the secondary on three of the four touchdown passes.

I think teams have figured out Capers’ schemes and he hasn’t been able to adjust as well as he has in the past. Maybe losing Nick Collins to injury and Cullen Jenkins to free agency are bigger blows to the defense than we thought. Something is not quite right.

I think if the Packers have to face the Saints or the Eagles in the playoffs they will have a hard time winning. The Eagles are really scary because they have the second best running back in the league behind Adrian Peterson in LeSean McCoy. Throw in Mike Vick and an excellent receiver group and they have the balance to rival the Packers’ offense.

Woodson says the Packers need to find a way to free up Clay Matthews who has been held in check the first eight games. That would be a good start. Amazingly the Packers are leading the league in interceptions with little or no pass rush.

Winning regular season games is all fine and dandy, but winning in the playoffs is a different beast. The Packers have eight games to get it fixed and have no breathing room with the 49ers sitting at 7-1 and playing a JV schedule the rest of the year.

This will be either Capers’ finest work or his darkest hour, as the only thing standing between the Packers and another Super Bowl title is the play of their defense.

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  • iccyfan

    Seriously, you’re writing about the 3-5 Eagles!?! The Giants didn’t make the playoffs last season at 10-6, meaning the Eagles will need to go 7-1 over the second half to even have a reasonable chance at getting in. Their schedule is AZ, @ NYG, Patriots, @ Seahags, @ Miami, Jets, @ Cowboys, Redskins. I see two losses (minimum) in that group and the Eagles are not playoff participants at 9-7. As for Jenkins, c’mon man – it’s old news – let it go!

    I wish people would just enjoy the season on a game by game basis and stop over-analyzing every little aspect. I’ll bet San Francisco fan-sites aren’t stressing over their offenses inability to put up 35 points every week…

    • Deek

      IF.. I think you’re right. It’s like Dennis Green said, “They are who we thought they are.” The good news is the Defense is as bad as it can be. It can’t get any worse and yet we’re 8-0. With 5 home games remaining and 3 away games, we may lose @ Det and @ NYG. Unless we have a complete offensive break-down, we should end the season 14-2, #1 seed!

      The SD Chargers are one of the AFL teams that the experts predicted would compete for the SB, yet we went into SD and came out a winner. WE know they were UP for this game, as every other team will be UP for us. Every team looks at their game with GB as their SB!

      I’m HAPPY to be a Green Bay Packer Fan!

      • AATP

        I have to agree with Deek… it’s not like last year where we would stymie a team and sneak up on them. We were winning cause I think teams underestimated how talented our team was. That is not the case this year and they are likely spending a lot more time studying on how to beat the Packers this year than last. The Packers have gone up against a bunch of gifted QBs this season. The Panthers may not be winning games but their putting up big yards on everyone they play. Drew Brees is… well Drew Brees, enough said. Phillip Rivers is considered an elite QB and on any given Sunday can show how good he really is – i.e. against the defending and undefeated SB Champs. So every week the Packers step on the field they’re gonna get a complete game from whoever we play so our Defensive numbers are likely gonna be somewhat deflated. BUT, when we need a play, it appears the D is getting it done, just like they did last year. We’re still winning the close games, just like they did last year. And those wins are coming on the D stepping up at the end of the game, just like last year. So I worry less than most about how the D is doing overall when you have a team that work through issues by making a big play here or there to get the win. I’d like blowout wins every week as well so I can sit back, enjoy my beer and brats without that sick feeling that we might lose a game because the Defense couldn’t come up with a stop, but then that wouldn’t be football. We’re 8-0 guys, 8-0 is no small feat… Maybe not the way some wanted but we are 8-0.

  • Reid

    Based on his quotes, it sounds like Woodson is showing some leadership for the Defense. This has to be a good thing. The D hasl made the plays when they “had” to be made (New Orleans goal-line, Atlanta 2nd half shutdown, San Diego int. to end the game), but I expect improvement.

    • Steve Cheez

      Sundays would be a whole lot less stressful if they made the plays earlier and didn’t have to make them at the end.

      • Rick

        True

        • Dunaway

          True dat

  • dave76

    I think the loss of Collins is bigger than we may first have realized. Three wide open TD passes with total confusion at corner and saftey, IMO, would not have happened with Nick there. Luckily we did have 2 pick 6s, otherwise we lose 38-31 with just O. I did hear Neal may be ready to go next week and it was good to see Zombo out there again. Hopefully Neal can help get some push and Zombo can get into a groove again. Iwill also be glad to see the cast off Burnett’s hand and get him back to 100%. I do like his play for as little experience as he has, I think he could be very good in a year or 2.

    On a positive note, a QB rating of 129, 24 TDs, only 3 ints, while completing 72.5 % of his passes to an average of 7 different receivers through 8 games is beyond words! AR spreads the ball around so well, it is impossible to cover everyone with his accuracy. Starks,IMO, is our next 1000 yd RB. I like his size and the power he runs with. At 8-0, this team is led by a very special QB and a GM who has constructed a powerhouse team. Montana to Young, Favre to Rodgers, all HOFers some day. But for now, time to take care of business for the rest of this season on our way to our goal, SB46!! Go Packers!!!

  • iccyfan

    dave76 says: “Luckily we did have 2 pick 6s, otherwise we lose 38-31 with just O.”
    ======================================================================

    That’s not a logical conclusion. To state the obvious, those two defensive TD’s robbed the offense of the opportunity to score them. Masthay didn’t launch his first punt of the day until only 5:01 remained in the fourth quarter. The Packers ran clock and made SD use their time-outs on our final two drives, which culminated in two punts. We could potentially have scored points on those drives had they “been of a mind to”.

    Sorry to “give you the business”; guess I’m just a little curious as to why people are looking for chinks in the armor. The Packers were never really threatened in this game and I’m feeling the need to defend them! C’mon people, celebrate a comfortable seven-point road victory over a likely division champion and quit worrying so much… :)

    • Reid

      Amen, brother!!!! The glass is more than half full.

    • dave76

      Iccy, I’m not looking for chinks in the armor, I simply put one sentence where I had a different perception. I do understand yours also. Everything else is positive and optomistic( and maybe overly with calling Aaron future HOFer). At this point my worry is almost nonexistent. Believe me I’m happy, how can I not be at 8-0!

      • iccyfan

        It’s all good D76, except that Zombo is hurt again…

      • dave76

        That stinks about Zombo. Hope Walden can continue to turn it up a little, I thought he had some great plays. Good hustle.

  • Larry

    Yeah Charles Woodson, quit being such a killjoy with these “bad football” comments. What do you know about good defense anyway. Hell, I’ll bet you don’t last another 3 years in the league.

    I’m going to wear my rose colored glasses (used to hide chinks in armor) and drink some more of that kool-aid that IF and Reid are pouring!! Bottoms-up!!

    • iccyfan

      “Good morning, Eeyore,” said Pooh.
      “Good morning, Pooh Bear,” said Eeyore gloomily. “If it is a good morning, which I doubt,” said he.
      “Why, what’s the matter?” said Pooh
      “Nothing, Pooh Bear, nothing. We can’t all, and some of us don’t. That’s all there is to it.” said Eeyore

    • Jeff

      That was Corn . chinks in the armor of a 8-0 team , comments like these come from bandwagon fans. If you think this team has chinks , take a look at all the other teams , none of them can beat us.
      You just destroy the season for yourself waiting for doom that is not coming.
      You guys are going to eat your words when this defense is bringing it just like they did last year after Thanksgiving.

  • Packer’s Advocate

    Sunday was a good exaple of “why they play the games” and “playing 60 minutes”, my friends….. There we are with a nice lead, not too much time on the clock, everyone happy w/the defense and POW!!! Throw in a crap PI call on Woodson to Gates and an onside kick that they executed better than we did, a momentum change, and suddenly we’ve got a game! The PI call on Woodson was irritating cause it was a 4th down play, Woodson was looking in at the QB for the ball (which eliminates him from the PI in most cases), the ball appears to be thrown way too high and too far in front, as far as I could tell, Gates stops, Woodson bumps into him, PI Crap call, no ball for us, 1st down fro them. Didn’t appear Gate’s even attempted to catch it. DVR didn tape so I’m doing this from what I think I saw on the replay. I’m not worried…… they’ll be fine.

    • Jeff

      Some simpltons just dont get it that if we field that on side kick we win this game by 14.
      I do not get it , we were favored by 5 qand won by 7.
      I told you people last October the defense would get it going and I was right then and I am going to be right this year too.

  • Pierre

    Looks like the Giants, 49ers, and the Bears are getting their defenses improving weekly. Giants will be a good test for the Packers after knocking off Tom Brady and the Pats in New England. Cutler and the Bears were impressive beating the Eagles in Philly Monday night. Cutler does it with only marginal receivers; imagine if they had gotten James Jones? Defense does often prove to be the difference in playoff and bad weather games so the Packers do need to get their act together defensively. Sure the Packers can continue to “out-offense” everyone but as Al notes, it is like playing with fire, as the offense almost needs to be perfect, with no turnovers to get that next championship…unless the defense can improve in a significant manner. (And yea, they are bound to get a number of picks when the opposing QBs are throwing about 40 times per game and putting up about 350 to 400 yards passing!) This is indeed Capers’ challenge to turn the tide with this defense however the results to date are not too promising. The defense (without the rose-colored glasses) is not playing as a cohesive unit and really needs to be shored up, because they look awful.

    • AATP

      Sorry, I don’t agree – the defense comes up with the plays when it needs the plays… playing against, what the analysts call, elite QBs and the fact that the Packers have a huge bulls-eye on their back now is the difference this year. Last year we were just a team “hoping” to make the play-offs. This year we’re an undefeated team trying to defend our championship. Big difference from last year. Teams are preparing much differently for the Packers IMHO. They may say it’s just another Sunday but you can bet in the locker room it’s a whole different atmosphere – knock the champs off the perch and you solidify yourself as a contender. Sorry, but I just don’t agree with all the naysayers out there. When you play teams that have excellent players at any key position, there is always the chance you can be beat. The fact that the Packers continue to persevere when 5 of the last 8 games have been away games I wouldn’t put much stock in thinking the Defense is “horrible”. Can they improve? All defenses can improve and I believe they will – can you imagine how scary this team is going to be once the Defense tightens up even more? AND, you can be sure Capers is making his adjustments each week based on the schemes of the teams we’re coming up against but you know the chess match – they’re trying to adjust to our Defense as well. There will ALWAYS be a way to score points when you have an opportunistic defense like we have.

  • Jeff

    The Eagles could not cover the poor receivers the Bears have and their run defense sucks , they would never win a playoff game in Lambeau !
    The Saints have never won a road playoff game ever and they are not winning in Green Bay !
    Get your facts straight , the Packers have never failed to win it all when they finidh with the best record in their conference.
    Winning in San Diego was ugly? You do know the Chargers have not lost at home in 3 years and Rivers is 35-9 at home.
    Do you understand that the Saint defense has no prayer of slowing us down??
    The Bears were not impressive in Philly , they won because of a special teeams turnover.
    The Bears are 5-0 against non winning teams but they are 0-3 against winning teams.
    I hope the fraud Bears have one more in them to beat Detroit so the Packers can knock the magic number down to 5 this week.
    You just keep believing in the Giants , they are done in December every year.
    49ers have struggled to score the last 2 weeks against 2 bad teams , why dont you say the 9ers are playing with fire because they can score?
    I just keep laughing at this negativity, People just do not retain anything anymore , do you remember that the defense was not very good in the first half last year??? They let a Washed up McNabb come back on them , they let Chad Henne and Bradon Marshal control them , and they gave up 24 at home to a bad Viking offense, the defense did not get it going untill Thanksgiving , what part of this do you not understand ! You people want Capers to play all if his damn cards now when he does not have to.
    You people forget that when this defense had to do the job and seal the deal they did against the Saints , Falcons , and Chargers. The game in Atlanta saw the Packers totally shut out Matt Ryan and the Falcons after the first 2 drives.
    What is wrong with you people , the Falcons , Chargers , and Bears have lost one home game each and guess who did it to them????
    8-0, 5-0 on the road , anyone who can not see that this team is superior to all other teams is nuts.
    I am sorry , there is not a team that can beat us right now. anyone who think the Bears looked impressive in Philly is nuts ! Philly has already lost 3 games at home this year.
    The Packers on a bad day are still scoring 31 in all of the remaining games includin playoffs which means teams would have to score 32 on us in Lambeau to have a chance to beat us , grow up and forget it !!
    The Packers will be 10-0 on Thanksgiving and they will have the #1 seed , nobody is beating this Packer team in the playoffs , nobody.

    • http://Orlando Mark

      You make a good case Jeff and anyone who’s on this site hopes you’re right. The problem is we’ve all seen good offensive teams stumble unexpectedly in the playoffs. 17-0 New England and 15-1 Vikings come to mind. A Giants team came into Lambeau with a good defense and run game and beat us on the way to beating those Pats. Some of us see areas that can be improved and there’s no sense criticizing us for that. I wonder what you would say to the coaches when they review the game film from last week and utter these same criticisms. The coaches and TT are going to deal with our shortcomings as best they can and I don’t think they’re going to pretend they aren’t there. BTW the Bears make a good living on ST’s and turnovers. It’s ugly but they’ve been known to get very lucky. I’m surprised at how well they’re doing and just glad I don’t bet football anymore.

    • AATP

      I’m with you Jeff, all the way… We might lose a couple games on the way to the play-offs and I think that’s OK… Might stoke the fires in the players that might be losing perspective. Honestly though, this is a very good team they field each week, and aside from a few communication issues on the Defense, they played admirably. When your D can score twice for you, you can’t really lose. Especially when your offense is as stout as the Packers. I really don’t see the Packers Defense falling down – I see Capers and the Defense starting to do a lot more moving around. Have you noticed that this year there isn’t near as much movement on the D line before the snap of the ball as there was near the end of the season last year? If I were a betting man, and I’m not, I’d bet we start seeing a lot more movement up front over the next 8 weeks. I think the next 8 weeks will show a defensive shift, much like last year. We have to play the Lions twice yet and I’m quite sure Capers it trying to keep his best schemes in his pocket until after this first game with the Lions so he can throw the kitchen sink at them for the second game. Just thinking out loud here but I like where this team’s head is right now…

  • Larry

    This banter reminds me of the good old days with Rocky on the post! Jeff you’re right…on a bad day GB will score 31..and get beat by 10. It CAN beat every team but it won’t. The schedule is much tougher the last 8 and sooner or later Rodgers will have an ordinary day and D isn’t good enough to get the win. That’s all I’m saying, that all Woodson said, and that what Capers and MM are trying to fix.

    and as Tigr says…TTFN

    • iccyfan

      On what basis are you projecting the second half of the “schedule to be much tougher”? Records at the half-way mark of the season? I don’t really see it that way.

      The Packers played five road games in the first half and came away with convincing victories over playoff contenders (Chicago, Atlanta & San Diego).

      We get five home games in the second half (Vikings, Bucs, Raiders, Bears & Lions) with only three road games (Lions, Giants, Chiefs). No juggernaut on the horizon and more likely a couple poseurs to be exposed.

      The three games in eleven days (Monday / Sunday / Thursday) will be difficult, especially considering the third of those games is in Detroit. I don’t expect to go undefeated during the regular season but it’s not out of the question either. Seriously, if you had looked at the two half-schedules during the preseason, you’d have opined the second half was more desirable. Yes?

  • Larry

    Sorry IF…just a week ago winning percentages were compared and the results were clearly showing the second half was tougher. In addition one could argue that NYG, Chicago, Minny are clearly playing better ball now and Tampa. Oakland, KC and Detroit are fighting for the playoff lives with 8 games to go.

    First half saw the Rams, Carolina and Minny in disarray. Minny has righted the ship albeit still a weak NFC team.

    Way, way too much kool-aid!!!

    • iccyfan

      Eeyore, the old grey Donkey, stood by the side of the stream, and looked at himself in the water.
      “Pathetic,” he said. “That’s what it is. Pathetic.”
      He turned and walked slowly down the stream for twenty yards, splashed across it, and walked slowly back on the other side. Then he looked at himself in the water again.
      “As I thought,” he said. “No better from this side. But nobody minds. Nobody cares. Pathetic, that’s what it is.”

      • AATP

        LOL… love the Pooh and Eeyore references…

  • Pierre

    Guess that some of the human filters on this site have deemed it very objectionable and of an insane nature for others to share some constructive concerns and observations about the Packers that they believe need to be improved to help insure continued success this season, just as a number of the Packer players and coaches also are expressing. By their approach the coaches are way off base saying such things and should just quit the film watching and coaching the players to improve their performances since they are obviously winning each game and the same will happen going forward without the extra work to improve.

    • iccyfan

      I’m certain the coaching staff and players will find your constructive observation regarding lack of defensive cohesiveness to be very useful. ;)

      Only Jeff seems to think the present team is infallible. I think it’d be awesome if Mike Neal returned as the second coming of Mike Strahan, A.J. Hawk could cover a RB out of the backfield and somebody took Charles Woodson to the Fountain of Youth. None of those things are going to happen; it is what it is, and no amount of “constructive concern posting” is going to change that. I see the potential pitfalls and choose not to dwell on them, rather enjoying the good that is unfolding in front of us. Unless you know of a pocket-pushing DE who’s also stout against the run and available by Monday night, I suggest a download of the Katrina and the Waves classic, “I’m Walking on Sunshine”. Maybe Bobby McFarlane’s “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”…

      • http://jlworden1@suddenlink.net LarryAz

        Man, you’ve got it iccy! Chances are we will not go 16-0, but it is possible. Its not a cliche to take these games as “one at a time”. Sure, the D appears to be weaker than the end of last year because of Jenkins and Collins but the O is a hell of a lot stronger than last with Finley and Grant. The OL does not seem to be as good with the left side, but my gosh we ARE 8-0. We’ve all been around this league long enough to know that other teams have, and will have their woes too, so buck up my friends.

  • http://Orlando Mark

    If Jeff wants to believe we’ll be 16-0 it’s OK with me. I just don’t want him getting in a huff when I see some things that can be improved. Just remember last year we had a lot of people that TT dug up from nowhere like Zombo, Howard Green, Starks and Walden. He didn’t stop looking for help when we were down and I hope he doesn’t feel like Jeff and stop looking now when we’re up. I will add I wanted him to get Lynch before Starks bailed us out and this year Aaron Curry to help with the rush where I thought both were bargains. But I’ve learned to trust what he does given the outstanding results.

  • Mel e Mel

    The Great Giants who let Tavaris Jackson beat them at home. I will guarantee that MN this week will be a tougher test than the Eli Manning NY hype machine.

    • http://jlworden1@suddenlink.net LarryAz

      Well, match ups again for me. Stafford twice w/ a TE and maybe best red zone WR in the game. Cutler, ok, eratic, but a D that could contain us by getting thru our OL. Palmer; I don’t think anyone could revive OAK w/ really only a good RB. Manning, who can ever predict that guy he is so inconsistant? KC and MIN cannot keep up with our O. Then there is Freeman. Only thing they can count on is that he beat us in ’09. It is truly up to the D now…………….!

  • http://Orlando Mark

    I’d just like to say that college football is having it’s worst year since 1905. Starting with the USC penalties, the Fiesta Bowl graft, Ohio State meltdown. All of which I smugly felt was their comeuppance until my school, The “U” of Miami, got blindsided. Now all I can feel is sorrow for the victims and the great fans and quality players of that school.

    • http://Orlando Mark

      Sorry, my last sentence was a reference to the misery at Penn State. I could have also added the conference realignment moneygrubbing and the ongoing BCS mockery.

    • Rick

      It is all just so tragic. So much pressure to be the best program in the best spot. All about the dollar.

      A quick comment on Penn State and the old heir apparent Sandusky. He was going to take over for Joe Pa and then stepped down 98-99 and took over his charity full time. No other college or AD asked to interview or bring him in since. There has been a lot of “Sandusky is a stange man” talk for 25 years in the coaching circles. Great defensive mind but horrible people skills.

      I am sad for the at risk kids touched by this. Paterno is a big boy, being fired is not a horrible thing. What happened to the kids was very very bad. After a 3year grand jury hearing you figured they knew the end was coming. I am glad Sandusky will be prosecuted and those that did not step up to protect or protest will be removed.

      • iccyfan

        This whole story just makes me incredibly sad. My employment involves risk management for churches and I spend a significant amount of time and effort attempting to get them to implement formal Child and Youth Protection Policies. This happens much more frequently than people want to believe; it just doesn’t get much press unless it’s a major organization like Penn State, Boy Scouts or the Catholic Church. When I contemplate the “domino effect” of Sandusky’s actions, it depresses me to the point of physical illness. Literally, I couldn’t sleep last night because I evaluate organizational programs that are meant to prevent this, yet I know in my heart there are pedophiles who operate with impugnity for decades because people “don’t believe it can happen here”. I’m out…

      • dave76

        Paterno has no excuses to not have stopped these horrific crimes against boys. His EGO and his drive to become iconic in college football became his top priority. He knew a call to police could have stopped it, but that would also cast a dark cloud over Penn St, his football program. He didn’t want to take that chance, so he rolled the dice hoping this day would never arrive. If this had been happening to his son, whom I listened to yesterday, I am positive he would have stopped these events. I have a son and I can’t imagine the pain of the parents trying to help these children deal with abuse they will NEVER forget. Joe looked out for #1 only and and admitted it by saying , “I could have done more, but I didn’t” He is a great football mind, but a not so great man. Sandusky will get what he deserves behind bars, even prisoners hate child crimes. Sorry to rant so much guys, with my son I’ve coached alot of teams and this really hit home. Prayers for the kids and families involved.

  • Rick

    To all veterans…. thanks.