Taking a look inside the Xs & Os, personnel and schemes after watching video of the Packers 20-17 loss to the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football yesterday…
- As poorly as Chad Clifton and Mark Tauscher looked at times yesterday, Jermichael Finley and Donald Lee were as much to blame–if not moreso–for the failure to establish the run game in the first half. On two first half runs, Finley had the responsibility of blocking Peppers. Being asked to block Julius Peppers one-on-one is a tough task for anyone, but Finley did not get the job done. The first time Finley tried to cut block Peppers, whiffed and Kuhn was tackled for a loss of one yard. Two series later Peppers fought through Finley and tackled Kuhn after a gain of one yard. On the second offensive series of the game, Donald Lee was asked to block linebacker Lance Briggs, couldn’t contain him and Jackson was tackled for a loss of two yards.
- I don’t know if Korey Hall’s snaps have been limited, because of his hip injury, but it’s a shame to see his play drop off so much from the first game of the year when he was given the offensive game ball from the coaching staff. On one of his few offensive snaps he attempted to cut block Brian Urlacher, missed and Jackson was tackled after a gain of only two yards.
- With the lack of a running game and thus the lack of any play action threat, the Packers only used two running backs in the backfield on 4 of their last 18 snaps of the game. And all 4 of those plays came in the red zone. Despite that fact, the pass was generally successful nonetheless.
- James Jones just can’t seem to turn the corner. He displayed a sense of urgency and determined running gaining nice YAC on nearly every one of his 5 catches yesterday. It’s a shame his fumble will be the only thing people remember about his performance that game.
- The Packers didn’t appear to run one of their patented run/pass option plays for the second straight game, which had been one of their bread and butter plays for quite some time.
- Unlike last week’s game against the Bills, the Packers did not utilize a big nickel package with A.J. Hawk and Ryan Pickett on running downs and then a little nickel package with Cullen Jenkins and Brandon Chillar on passing downs. The defense played nickel defense for all but 10 plays the entire game, but there appeared to be no rhyme or reason to when they used Pickett and when they used Jenkins. They seemed to share snaps fairly equally, I’m guessing to limit Pickett’s snaps because of injury.
- However, the defense did seem to use Hawk more in running situations and Chillar more in passing situations in the nickel defense. Chillar had a tough time covering Bears tight end Greg Olsen. Chillar tried to bat down the pass and missed, which Olsen caught for a touchdown in the first half. Chillar also was flagged for pass interference while getting beat down the seam by Olsen in the second half, a pass in which Olsen caught anyway.
- The sack by Tramon Williams was a thing of beauty. It was such an unconventional blitz package that the Bears had no idea what was coming. The Packers dropped both Frank Zombo and Cullen Jenkins in coverage while blitzing both Hawk and Williams off the left edge. The overload left Williams unblocked for the sack.
- The Packers used a 4-4 jumbo defense on four goal line plays. When the ball was outside the 1-yard line, the Packers used Jarius Wynn for 2 of those 4 plays. When the ball was on or inside the 1-yard line, they subbed offensive lineman Josh Sitton for Wynn on the other 2 plays. It’s rather telling that the Packers don’t think Wynn can hold his own on the goal line.
- The rest of the 4-4 jumbo package consisted of B.J. Raji, C.J. Wilson and Pickett on the line. The linebackers were Clay Matthews, Frank Zombo, Nick Barnett and Hawk. The secondary consisted of Charles Woodson, Nick Collins and Morgan Burnett. Not part of the jumbo package was Jenkins, Chillar or Tramon Williams.
- The Packers used the Psycho package on 5 plays without much success.
- They ran the base 3-4 defense for only a single play on the first drive of the game.
- Derrick Martin should have taken a knee on his first half interception. Greg Olsen was near him the entire time and made the tackle at the 10-yard line.
- The Packers miss Johnny Jolly on field goal and extra point defense. With two blocked kicks in his professional career, Jolly has shown to be one of the few players on the roster with that capability. Pickett and Raji try to fill that role, but they’re not as good at it as Jolly.
- Josh Sitton appeared to be at fault for the blocked field goal by Julius Peppers. He knifed between Bryan Bulaga between right guard and right tackle. Sitton tried to block two players at once instead of blocking Peppers on the inside. As the old axiom goes, the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. It only makes sense for Sitton to make sure the inside person is blocked and hope the tight end (Jason Spitz) gets the person to his inside.
- In addition to a drop in the endzone on offense, Andrew Quarless struggled on special teams missing a block on the penultimate kickoff return of the game when the outcome was still in doubt and failing to get in position to tackle Devin Hester on the punt return for the touchdown.
- It’s tough to ask long snapper Brett Goode to be able to react to the quickness of Hester, but his arm tackle on the touchdown return didn’t get the job done. Hester cut between Goode and Chillar and there was no one left to tackle him.
- As good as Derrick Martin can be on special teams, he seems to make one mistake per game–like his 15-yard clipping penalty yesterday.