- Falcon and Rhino All Day Long
With the expected return of fullback Korey Hall, McCarthy can finally get back to his two fullback, two tight end sets. Dubbed 'Falcon', 'Rhino', and various other things, these formations were used to great effect in the playoff win against the Seahawks last season, the difference being (apart from the snow) that this time McCarthy should use them to open the game, rather than to put the game away, as he did last year. The Giants made the Seahawks defense look silly last week in the Meadowlands, but everybody knows the Seahawks have a different defensive squad at Qwest Field. The deafening crowd noise causes nightmares for visiting offenses, especially offensive linemen trying to react to the snap count. The best way for McCarthy to combat this will be to pound the football early. The Packers power formations match up well against the Seahawks and their lighter front seven. The right side in particular, with Spitz and Tauscher working against Bernard and Kerney, should be exploited by the Packers' running game.
- Don't Underestimate The Seahawks Pass Rush
Mark Tauscher handled Patrick Kerney last season without any help. He was so dominate that Kerney's name failed to appear on the stat sheet one time for any reason. That won't happen on Sunday. For whatever reason (Greg Bedard intimated that Tauscher is playing hurt in the JSOnline weekly chat - sorry, sub req) Tauscher is not playing up to his usual standards. Neither is Chad Clifton. And Seattle is not where you go when you're having problems protecting the quarterback. Their pass rush is simply a completely different animal at Qwest Field. One need look no further than the film from the Seahawks games in Seattle against St. Louis and San Francisco and then compare it to last weeks defeat against the Giants in New York. It's night and day. McCarthy should use ample shifts of his tight-ends, like the touchdown play to Driver, to shore up the protection. And he should look to get Greg Jennings matched up on Seahawk corner Kelly Jennings, who simply won't be able to cover him one-on-one.
- Put Eight In the Box on Every Play
Seriously. The Seahawks likely starting receivers are Billy McMullen and Keary Colbert. There's simply no way the Packers should get beat on the edges. Sanders must commit a safety to the line of scrimmage throughout the game and take away even the pretense of a Seahawks running game. Of course, this assumes Sanders employs a few run blitzes with his linebackers. If the past few weeks have taught us anything, its that the defensive line can not be trusted to control the line of scrimmage. It's imperative that Sanders recognize that his usual M.O. of having his linebackers 5-8 yards off the line of scrimmage and reacting at the snap of the ball simply is not getting anything done against either the run or the pass. This game should be tailor-made for the Packers defense, as the Seahawks, outside of Matt Hasselbeck and possibly Julius Jones and Maurice Morris, don't have any playmakers on offense. (Although watch rookie tight end Jon Carlson who has looked impressive)
- Help Will Blackmon - Preferably By Demoting Him
The good news: When the Seahawks go to their three wide receiver package, putting veteran Bobby Engram in the slot, the Packers counter by putting Charles Woodson against him. The bad news: This leaves Will Blackmon outside to handle someone in space. This is bad. Blackmon - for all his kick return prowess - has simply looked lost in coverage and not nearly physical enough for the style of football the Packers want to play on defense. Rookie Pat Lee, while raw, has simply looked better in coverage up to this point, and much more physical at the line. Yes, he was the victim of a ludicrous pass interference penalty this past week - but as McCarthty says, you can live with combative penalties.
One of the things that doomed Mike Sherman's defenses were his and Ed Donatell's stubborn refusal to go with rookies when their defensive veterans were clearly struggling. This is a mistake, especially in today's NFL. One need look no further than last years champions, the New York Giants, to see an example of a team unafraid to play youth in the secondary. Patrick Lee, it is said, is a 'project' - well of course he is. But there's no way he will progress if he's not allowed to play. That said, he is already better than Blackmon, who struggles to locate the ball and loses his relationship between his man and the quarterback far too easily. Throw in the fact that he seems scared to be physical with receivers on the line, something Lee has seemingly taken a liking to, and it's a no-brainer that Lee should be allowed to work as the nickel back until Al Harris' return.
- Like Like
- 0 points