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7-0 Still Doesn't Feel Quite Perfect

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7-0 Still Doesn't Feel Quite Perfect

Oh, I remember those 1984 Green Bay Packers.  You might not, but it was a year with a lot of optimism.  Bart Starr had finally been relieved of his duties, and Forrest Gregg was brought in to try and do something with the remaining talent that was left from an offense-only 1983 squad.

Now, in hindsight, we know how the Gregg tenure turned out; but in those days we went into the season sky-high that we had not only a coach who was connected to the Lombardi era (which, at the time, was all anyone 30 years or older talked about anyway), but one that had proven he could take a team (almost) all the way to a championship.

John Jefferson was gone, but a veteran nucleus of Lynn Dickey, James Lofton, and Paul Coffman remained.  Eddie Lee Ivery and Gerry Ellis were almost healthy all season. And the defense featured some very talented players in the linebacking corps and secondary.  Ask me a player, I can still name most of their numbers:  Mike "Mad Dog" Douglass (53), John Anderson (59), Tim Lewis (26), and Mark Lee (22).

I was a sophomore in high school.  I begged for #85 when I went out for football for the first time, in honor of the guy who I thought would be the next big thing, Phillip Epps.  In what was perhaps my first-ever Packer blogging article, I wrote a five-page paper for Mr. Jonas's English class, entitled "Why The 1984 Packers Will Win The Super Bowl".  I got a C.  My teacher was a Bear fan.

The fence outside of Lambeau Field read, "Gregg Will Lead Us Out Of The Forrest", and after a Week 1 win, we thought we were on our way.  But the Packers went on a streak of seven losses, all but one with a margin of a touchdown or less.  The air slowly seeped out of Packer fans sails, but each week, we reassured ourselves by claiming our team was "the best 1-5 team in football".

Even the announcers began chiming in. "The Green Bay Packers are the best 1-6 team in football!"  It was almost a joke by the time we hit 1-7, but it was still tinged with a silver lining of truth.  The Packers were in every game.  They just didn't know how to win at the end.

The Packers proved us all right, finishing the season with a 7-1 record that left them at .500 and out of the playoffs.  Just like every other year during the Dark Days, we played our favorite game, "Woulda-Coulda-Shoulda", and waiting for 1985.

My point?  We knew that despite the record, the Packers were better than what the win-loss showed, but in the end, that record trumped the logic we could see on the field.  The 2011 version of the Green Bay Packers might be somewhat of a reversal of that pattern.

Now, I know you have to look very hard to poke holes in a team that has won thirteen straight games dating back to last season, and is sporting a Lombardi Trophy over that time to boot.  In fact, you almost feel guilty (or stupid) for even trying to look for any negatives on a team that is redefining many of the superlatives that already describe a legendary franchise.

The Packers are 7-0, simply put.  They've dispatched of miserably crappy teams and Super Bowl contenders over the course of the season, and sit firmly atop anyone's power rankings.  But they haven't won pretty, and they've allowed some of those lesser teams to stay in games they shouldn't have.

In the end, those 1984 Packers didn't know how to finish a game.  The 2011 Packers rely on knowing how to finish a game, and in the end, that might be all the difference.

But our modern-day Packers have an all-star roster, a veritable Who's Who of players that should be occupying many starting spots in the Pro Bowl this year.  But  the Packers have been less cohesive, less balanced than the team that took the trophy just nine months ago.

Last year, I fretted about the lack of commitment to the run, how Aaron Rodgers would disappear for quarters at a time, how McCarthy would let teams back into games.  But in the end, what saved us, game after game, was a playmaking defense that stymied comebacks in spectacular style.  It wasn't perfect, and sometimes it wasn't pretty.  But, it was enough to earn the Packers a fourth Super Bowl trophy.

The difference this year, while not  evident in the record, is glaring on the field and in the statistics.  Last year, when the offense faltered, the defense rose the occasion, ranking fifth in yards allowed and second in points allowed.  This season, the defense has given up an uncharacteristic number of huge plays, and while they've stopped the bleeding (15th in scoring), the yardage given up can't continue come the postseason (30th in yards allowed).

Why have the Packers had trouble on the defensive side?  Certainly there's plenty of culprits.  The linebacking play has been average, and including Clay Matthews.  The pressure on opposing quarterbacks has been severely lacking, perhaps in part to a departed Cullen Jenkins.  And the loss of Nick Collins as a quarterback of the defense doesn't help either.

Whatever the reason, the anemic Minnesota Vikings offense came to life against the Packers last week, with Adrian Peterson notching 175 yards on the ground, and rookie quarterback Christian Ponder looking a lot better than his stat line indicated.  While he only completed thirteen of his thirty-two passes, twelve of them were for first downs or touchdowns.

In other words, the Vikings stayed in a game they probably shouldn't have been, running up 27 points against the defense and forcing the Packers' offense to pull out the win.

Wait, did I hear that correctly?  The Packers' offense had to pull out a win?  How times have changed.  Now, I know some of you will debate the point as to whether the offense had to "pull out a win", or whether or not the offense did similarly last season.

The point is, Aaron Rodgers is not the same guy he was last year, on the field or statistically.  He's superhuman this year.  And whether you like it or not, he was the reason the Packers were not upset by the lowly Vikings last week. Period.

Yes, James Starks ran for 75 yards, but 55 of those were on the final drive of the game, in the last two-and-a-half minutes.  No, the pressure came down on the guy we once criticized in 2008 for not being able to lead a game winning drive...the guy who is now (to some of the national media's chagrin) the class of the quarterback position in the NFL.

He was near-perfect again, as he's been all year.  Hey...one critical fumble, or perhaps an interception or two, and that game might have turned around.  But that's the point.  We expect nearly any quarterback, even the Bradys and the Mannings, to have a turnover at some point.  But Aaron Rodgers doesn't.

He's on pace to smash records.   He's completing over 70% of his passes.  He holds a 125.7 passing efficiency rating after seven games, enough to top the single-season marks set by guys like Montana, Young, Brady, and Manning.  And he makes it all look nearly effortless.

And therein lies my worries with Rodgers.  While I know I'll take a little flack for this, the Packers are relying on him more and more to lead the team and win the game on his arm.  It wasn't too long ago that we had a different quarterback that we played this game with:  this "well, you're the big superstar...go out and win it for us" mentality.  And, we remember what that did to that particular player's ego.

The Packers have never won a Super Bowl with an emphasis on one player.  Heck, the Lombardi years were the very definition of team-oriented football.  Even with players like Brett Favre and Reggie White, it was a special teams player that won the MVP award in Super Bowl XXXI.  But all those seasons we had the "veteran sure-fire future Hall of Famer" as the center of attention, we didn't quite make it all the way, did we?

And yet, here we are, with a defense with a propensity for giving up as many big plays as they make, and a running game still averaging only 3.8 yards per rush.  And all eyes on #12 when he stands in the empty backfield shotgun, not even giving the defense a threat of handing off.

Perhaps what peaked my attention was the introduction of the no-huddle offense in the preseason, watching Rodgers approach the line and taking the full 30-second clock to call out the play and adjustments.  It reminded me of the many times I watched Peyton Manning do the same for the Colts.  At one point, the Colts offense was a cast of great players, with Joseph Addai, Reggie Wayne, Marvin Harrison, and Dallas Clark, all in their primes.  The defense featured some freaks of nature, too, like Dwight Freeney and Bob Sanders, but played well enough as a unit to contend year in and year out.

But Manning became more and more of the focal point of the team, signing a $90M contract this offseason without even putting him through a physical first.  You've seen him run that offense.  And we all said, no one could run that no-huddle offense the way the Manning is able to.

And, when Manning was lost for the season, it was clear exactly how important he was to that team.  As the Colts have fallen to a humiliating 0-7, you're left to wonder if Manning should have been the league MVP every year.  Could any player be any more important to a team's success.

Such a philosophy would seem to be completely opposite of Ted Thompson's approach, building and rewarding from within, cultivating depth and falling in line with McCarthy's "next man up" pragmatism that worked so well for the Packers in 2010.

Yet, as the Packers have flown to a 7-0 start, the evidence on the field suggests that this may not be the best 7-0 team of all time...but a team that simply knows how to finish a game, increasingly on the arm of its quarterback.  This isn't a gloom-and-doom prediction of harrowing drama to come yet this season.  However, it is a cautionary tale, a little sliver of concern in the hopes that the Packer success continues for as long as possible.

It's conceivable that the eventual gravitational pull of a superstar quarterback is inevitable, that players like Marino, Montana, Favre, Brady, and Manning will always become the identity of a team.  It's possible that after watching the Rise and Fall of Brett, his successor may be in line to also become the central focus of the entire team.

But, if I were Mike McCarthy, I'd take some "ounce of prevention" moves now.  Pull the defense together, commit to the running game, and allow Rodgers' perfection to continue to be a cog in the larger machine.  There's going to come a day when a defense is going to find a way to neutralize Rodgers (or worse, force him to make mistakes we rarely ever see).

Or worse, we're going to have to go for a stretch of games without him. The Colts have shown us how devastating it is when The Most Important Player In The World can't be replaced.

The Packers have a chance to be one of the best teams of all time this season, and are off to a 7-0 start.  But, as we say when the Packers have had a slow start, its how you finish that matters.  Let's hope this bye week helps the Packers "clean some things up", as Mike McCarthy likes to say, and the Packers go back to hitting on all cylinders.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (46) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Bob's picture

The play calling in the second half against a very poor passing defense was ineffective despite Rodgers superior performance until that last field goal. I would worry more about McCarthy's tendency to drift into outer space than the balance of his calling plays. Manning had an advantage that Rodgers does not have - and that is what worries me.

packeraaron's picture

Not sure I follow Bob. I saw a quarterback that was playing with a lead and not forcing balls into coverage. That has little to do with playcalling.

PackersRS's picture

Exactly. Rodgers said so himself that there were couple of drive-killing sacks that were on him, that he didn't want to force the ball with a lead.

tundravision's picture

I would agree play calling is a factor, but it is no more or less a factor than last year. I remember Jersey Al saying in mid-December the Packers won't make the playoffs if McCarthy doesn't change how he playcalls. And the offense sputters and the defense bails them out.

This year is different. The playcalling issues are there, but the defense isn't pulling the games out like they did last year. That's what I was trying to highlight: what's different from 2010.

paxbak's picture

Great article a wraps up my feelings as well. Defense needs to tighten up for this team to be great. All my friends tell me the packers are going undefeated and I always tell them how cautious I am. Remember the 1978 team that started 7-1 and finished 1-6-1? It can happen. I don't think it will with these packers though. Go pack go.

Curly's picture

I enjoyed the article, but can't help but comment on the weak sauce at the end.

If you were McCarthy you'd "pull the defense together"?

I guess the coaching staff never thought of that.

tundravision's picture

It was getting late and the Badgers ticked me off. I tried about seven different endings, and figured...this will do. However, I don't know if it as simple as all that. McCarthy is famous for having to "clean things up" week in and week out. And the Packers usually need their back against the wall to respond, or at least wake themselves up. It might take a loss pinned squarely on the chest of the D to make that "tightening up" happen.

BigSnakeMan's picture

I get what you're saying and, from a Packer-centric point of view, I agree with you. But as I look around the league, even the best teams are flawed in some respect and I'm hard pressed to find a team that is playing better football right now. This is just the current state of the NFL.

Bearmeat's picture

I agree BSM.

If GB does not clean up the D and at least become middle of the pack in yds allowed, sacks, etc.. we're going down at some point.

AR and the offense will have a bad day at some point. It's gonna happen. I only hope the D cleans things up first. And barring that, that the bad offensive day is not in the playoffs...

Steve's picture

It is easy to see that the defense is not playing up to last year's level and something needs to change, but what? I get so tired of people mentioning Cullen Jenkins departure, he's gone and I have significant doubt that if he stayed, things would be so dramatically different. Similarly, Nick Collins is gone too, so not much point complaining about that. I am not a football expert, so the question I am curious about is how do we improve the defense? What can or should we be doing better? All Capers says is we must stop the big play, is that all that is really necessary? It would be interesting to hear some of our experts talk about what we can do with the team we have.......

tundravision's picture

I think bringing up the losses of Jenkins and Collins is still relevant, not to complain about it, but to find how their absences are impacting the team, and what Capers needs to do in order to remedy it.

For example: the pass rush is definitely off from last year. Capers has been sending Woodson quite a bit this year, in part because he's struggling more in man coverage. How do you generate a pass rush when your line is depleted and your second-level rushers are struggling?

In other words...what did Jenkins do that made the pass rush more effective, and what can the Packers do schematically to make that happen?

AndrewInAtlanta's picture

I have to believe A-Rod is more grounded than the MS hillbilly and I pray he continues to find ways to play with a chip on his shoulder.
The current defense really scares me but I keep thinking the Neal injury really hurt and, in a non-lockout year TT might have addressed the other OLB spot. Bottom line, I thought we were dead in Nov last year. Lot of season left to clean things up
Nice piece CD

MarkinMadison's picture

Given that AR sat behind Farve at the height of his hubris, I would hope that he absorbed that lesson. But if you look at these guys' lives, you really couldn't find two different white guys regardless.

Farve - Father was best known as a coach
AR - Father is best known as a chiropractor.

Farve's Family - All about being Farve's family. Irv, Bonita, Deanna, all the leaks to the media via his brother, etc. Brett Farve Inc. was a family business.
AR's Family - Not even a picture of AR at his dad's chiro office. Yeah, his little brother plays football. That's about all we know.

Farve - Married young (pregnancy), but lived the life while he was in the NFL anyway - sex, drugs, we all know the stories
AR - Single with few hints about who he's dating, that's it.

Farve - Came to the Packers as the savior for a proud franchise.
AR - Came as the goat for 1/2 the fan base after watching his draft stock fall 20+ spots.

I think AR will handle this about as well as any man can.

tundravision's picture

Mark, I'm not trying to do the tired old Favre/Rodgers comparison, but I am touching on what seems to be the egocentric evolution of legendary quarterbacks. We've seen it in its ugliest with Favre, but also with Manning, Brady, Marino, etc.
And I agree: Rodgers should handle it better than any of them, because of what he went through. But you also can't deny he has a bit of a chip on his shoulder, and we have yet to see him when the wins stop coming.

MarkinMadison's picture

I understood your point. And I agree that any superstar quarterback is going to have to work hard to keep his ego down. But AR is doing a remarkably good job of it. His comments today about his contract were amazingly humble. Maybe part of it is the current economic climate. And I hate to say it in light of your comment, but Farve at the same point in his career was storming into Holmgren's office demanding to get paid. No question AR has a chip on his shoulder. No question he can come off like a bit of a d#$k at times. But you can say as much about the guys at the top of any competitive profession. It will be interesting to watch him evolve, but again, I think he will handle all of it as well as any man can. So I'll stop the BF comparisons (who handled it all uncommonly poorly), and I'll judge him against Young.

PackersRS's picture

I understand your point of not putting all the eggs in one basket, but it's not the same deal. Favre and Rodgers are completely opposite.

Favre was a gunslinger that improvised a lot of his success, but one that made stupid mistakes in pressure situations. He thought that in playoff games he had to do more for his team to win, that he had to win the game. The result was forced throws and interceptions.

Rodgers is much like Montana. Rodgers is an amazing decision maker that has the ability to make all the throws, but knows when he needs to make them and when he shouldn't.

Rodgers will never try to do too much and lose the game. He doesn't have to with the talent he has around him, but even if he hadn't he wouldn't. Like McCarthy said, Rodgers' decision-making is off the charts, and that is precisely why he can and should be trusted with the offense, because he will put the team in better situations than with just the called play.

The thing with Manning is that I don't believe Manning has that great of a decision-making ability. Don't get me wrong, he's a HoF, and he is the best QB at pre-snap reads that I've ever seen, not to mention a lot of elite attributes, such as preparation, great arm, great accuracy, and the brain to make corrections in-game. But in those rare instances that he misreads what the D is showing, and if he is pressured, he will throw the ball almost every single time (instead of trying to avoid the rush or simply taking the sack), he is afraid of pressure, and he will make stupid mistakes.

All that to say that Rodgers' situation isn't the same as Favre's or Manning's. He's not necessarily a better QB than them (though I do think he is), but he's much more trustworthy when given the keys.

tundravision's picture

Love the Montana comparison. Think I've used that one myself. There's a lot worse quarterbacks to be compared to. I still list Montana as my best QB of all time.

PackersRS's picture

I go with Starr myself, simply because he called the plays.

Cole's picture

You say that there will come a day when a defense shuts down aaron rodgers, but I don't see that happening. How are they going to do it? The best receiving corps in the league. One of the best tight ends. A respectable running game. A very solid O-line. I think the only way we lose in the playoffs is if some team can beat us in a 42-41 type of game, like the Saints almost did in week 1.

I do agree that it's not smart to rely too much on Rodgers. However, I'm not worried about the coaching staff doing that. I'm worried about the other players on the team thinking to themselves, "hey, we got #12 to bail us out if anything happens" And then THEY don't come out with their best because they think someone else will do it, that someone else being #12.

tundravision's picture

Cole, don't lose perspective of what I was saying. I wasn't suggesting an apocalypse this year, but in the future if things evolve in a certain way.

Look, the Packers are not going to win a Super Bowl every year for the rest of Rodgers' career. I love to believe that it could and should, but reality suggests that someday, this win streak will end and the Packers will be mortal again.

And what you said is EXACTLY what I used to see with the Packers and Favre. When the s*** hit the fan, everyone from the players to the fans to the coaches looked at #4 and waited for him to be the hero or the goat. And every week, he was one or the other. I don't want that to be Rodgers' fate, too.

DAWG's picture

If healthy Zombo,Neil, would be a boost, kinda like this So'oto kid also.
DJ Smith reminds me of a young Sam Mills, the dude can hit.
Jenkins is missed, no inside pass rush.
But I agree, this D needs to bump it up a few notches.

PackersRS's picture

http://twitter.com/#!/officialdjsmith/status/130506405462556672

"it's mine I spend it! Lol".

I worry about that kids' head. Alex Green and Davon House chastised him about that. Those guys are our future, but two of them are already there in terms of maturity. One isn't.

NJ's picture

I think you might reading waaaaay too much into what a 22-23 year old writes in a twitter post.

FITZCORE1252's picture

Clay is currently on pace for just under 7 sacks, anybody want to bet that he doesn't get his 3rd straight double digit season? I say he will. I think this bye is coming at a great time. Let him and Woodson get healthy for the stretch-run, hopefully get Neal back shortly, Let Tramon's shoulder FULLY heal so he can get back to consistently using the bump-and-run where he is so effective. Give Dom some extra time to self-scout... I think our D plays better ball after the bye.

GBP 4 LIFE

cow42's picture

it's gonna be close. i won't take the bet because i'd rather pull for him to get sacks than to not get sacks. but.... it's gonna be close/

TPackers's picture

One of the best articles I've every read on Cheesehead TV. Good s***.

Oppy's picture

THis doesn't belong here, but I'm posting it anyways:

Rams beat New Orleans?

F'ing Awesome.

FITZCORE1252's picture

Wrong. That belongs everywhere!

Norman's picture

QB controversy in St. Louis?

hobot's picture

I completely understand that it is your journalistic obligation to come up with SOMETHING to write about with this team. However, this REALLY comes across as petulant and nit-picky. Not so much with this article as much as this is the mentality and worry for just about every Packer fan. Just enjoy the fact that we have far and away the best team in football. If/when we ever lose again in my lifetime, THEN we can find fault. Until that time though, enjoy the ride because this is what we all dream of.

packeraaron's picture

Um, this is silly. Right, just blindly go along as if the team is playing perfect football when it is not even close to doing so.

When a teams defense is getting gashed for big play after big play, pointing that out is not being "nit-picky"

Point Packer's picture

Keep calm and carry on.

hobot's picture

My point is not to say that winning covers everything and one cannot point out fault. There are clearly areas that could use improvement. I am alluding to the fact that the "flaws" seem to be overwhelming the positives. If I were to read the message boards without knowing the record I would believe that the Packers are a mediocre team at best.

At this point in time this is the best team in football. Bar none. In my opinion, the fact that the defense has given up so many big plays DESPITE WINNING should be a relatively minor notation, not the headline.

I understand that I am not a journalist, whose job is to find interesting points of discussion and write about them. It would also be incredibly boring to read only how awesome this team is article after article (although I could probably get used to it). I also have greater aspirations for this squad. It just seems like if we can't appreciate this juggernaut of a squad, then we will never ever be satisfied as fans. Am I wrong in this?

PackersRS's picture

The flaws are being highlighted because the strenghts have already been praised to exhaustion.

hobot's picture

So is it a journalist's nightmare to follow a "perfect" team? (i.e. a team without any faults)Or is that when a team starts historical comparisons?

PackersRS's picture

A LOT of biographies and articles focused on the players lives.

tundravision's picture

You know, I touched on that early on in the piece, whether or not we even have the "right" to offer criticism while in the midst of a 13-game win streak.

And I do enjoy every second of it, because as you also read, I was a passionate fan in the worst possible years to be a passionate fan. I appreciate it as much as anyone.

However, to not connect a 30th-ranked defense to postseason hopes is having your green-and-gold glasses tinted just a little too dark. It's a long season, and the Packers can't settle for listless play and allowing crappy teams to stay in games, relying on the big play to keep pulling it out at the end.

Ruppert's picture

I read "1984 Packers," and all I could think about was how much I wanted Eddie Garcia to be the kicker because he could get a kickoff into the end zone.

This is a great piece, and the timing is great, too.

In his 4th year starting, did ANYBODY have a clue how big Favre's ego would become? I sure didn't. Come on...he was the redneck beer-drinker, just like me, just like 4 million Wisconsinites, and just like several million Packers fans at large. He was the guy that would show up drunk at a bar in Milwaukee and do shots with a bunch of dudes. Surely he would NEVER end up with the type of ego that would make him think he was bigger than the entire Organization.

But he did.

And right now, Aaron sure doesn't seem like a guy who could end up like that that. Right now, that is.

And as far as the defense goes---this defense, the way it's playing right now, will not make it through a playoff run. It has to improve. I don't know/care how, but it must improve if the Pack is to repeat.

Kendra's picture

"But, if I were Mike McCarthy, I'd take some "ounce of prevention" moves now. Pull the defense together, commit to the running game, and allow Rodgers' perfection to continue to be a cog in the larger machine. "

If Mike McCarthy were Mike McCarthy, he'd do the same thing. Since week 1, the coach has more or less said these exact things. He wants a running game and he wants defense to be tighter. He's on the same page as you and I believe him when he says he wants things cleaned up. I just think some things are easier said than done. The execution just isn't happening.

This defense looks more like 2009 than 2010. Maybe 2010 was the aberration. Hopefully, the defense starts playing up to their 2010 levels.

Oddly enough, when push has come to shove, they've done what they've needed to do. Take the Atlanta game, for instance. That was the game that fooled me into believing the D was back.

Anyway, based on their comments, I don't think this team is resting on their laurels because of their QB. It's a matter of pride to them to play better. The defense does not want to be seen as the "weak link" in a 7-0 team.

As for Rodgers and his ego, he has an ego. All the greats have one. In fact, his may even be bigger than "that guy's" at this point in his career. But he is also pretty self aware and controlled. I think he has learned to keep himself in check and watching Brett in his last year's in Green Bay may have been a "cautionary tale" as you say.

Ultimately, I think what doomed Brett was coaching changes. He was the tie to the last SB we won after the long drought. The coach who brought us there left. Brett outlasted all of the players from that team, many by a decade. None of the coaches who came in after Holmgren left had that tie to greatness and I don't think any was able to coach Brett the way MH was able to.

If #12 is going to "break bad," I think it'll be after coaching changes, if he experiences those...and later in his career.

I will say that I do think that winning a SB with #12 may have changed the perception of the fans. I think in 1996 we placed more importance on the individual. Favre and Holmgren led us back. Getting another win with a completely different team fifteen years later may have shifted the importance to the organization. We're in a great period where winning is expected, regardless of the QB or coach.

foundinidaho's picture

CD, I said to my husband during the Vikings game, "Lot different than Jennings saying he hated to keep putting it on the defense to win" in the Super Bowl. I agree with you. I hope the defense "pulls it together." I think what you're saying is that yes, this is a very good team, and it needs to get better to avoid future problems. I don't think there's anything wrong with requesting continued improvement.

packsmack25's picture

"The linebacking play has been average, and including Clay Matthews."

I'm not sure what you mean here. Are you saying that they have been average, and then there is Clay Matthews? Or are you including Clay in the "average" category? Because he's been FAR from average thus far.

IowaPackFan's picture

I think he's including Clay in the "average" category. We're not seeing the sacks we saw last year from him, but that's because he's been doubled or tripled teamed. He is however still putting some good pressure on QBs and making some good tackles. I agree with you. Clay is not just a "sacking" machine - he can still make hussle plays downfield and I expect he will.

IowaPackFan's picture

Just nitpicking a bit here...Starks had 99 total yards (He got about 25 passing yards) and Grant had about 40 yards rushing. Packers had more than 100 yards rushing against the Vikings, so I think that provided a decent enough balance.

mark's picture

I don't think the defense is as problematic as everyone is making it seem. Keep in mind before the Vikes game, our defense had given up 3 points in 6 quarters. And as for the Vikes, Ponder played really well. You have to give him credit. Same thing for Cam Newton when he lit us up. Those first couple drives, there wasn't a defense in the league that could have stopped those passes.

Can we improve? Absolutely. I think Nagler pointed out some good flaws in Shields' game that seem fixable. I think Clay Matthews and Tramon Williams, two key players, have been playing through injuries. Time will fix that. Hopefully Mike Neal can come back and have an impact. So'oto just needs a chance. We're definitely not dominating on the defensive end, but we're only 7 games in and lucky for us the offense has been able to carry the load. So I'll just say this: TRUST IN DOM. Next to LeBeau, he's the best in the business. He will get this solved one way or the other.

Darrin's picture

Gotta remember one thing that's different this year as opposed to last year and all the others, this year we're the Champs, the best team in the league, the team everyone wants to beat. The Packers are going to bring out the best in even the worst teams in the league cause we have a big bullseye on our backs, especially being the only undefeated team left. If you want to be the best, you gotta beat the best. Just like the early-mid 90s trying to beat the Cowboys, except now that's the Packers.

Dan's picture

I agree, with out Rodgers the Pack is 2-5 at best. The defence is a shell of its self from last year.

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Packers Tickets

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"A school without football is in danger of deteriorating into a medieval study hall. "
"I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle – victorious."
"The Bears still suck!"