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In Defense Of My Gut

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In Defense Of My Gut

Some commenters and more than three emailers have taken me to task for my overly harsh assessment of Bob Sanders and his prowess as defensive coordinator. In the words of Sammy J. - Allow me to retort!

When I call for 'more blitzing', I am not issuing a "damn the torpedoes!" fatwa, calling for all eleven men on the defensive side of the ball to come flying after the quarterback with blood in their eyes. This isn't Madden.

I do, however, still think the defensive gameplan the Packers used last night was idiotic. Why it takes a three score deficit to start dialing up blitzes and dogs from your safeties and linebackers is beyond me. Why it takes three quarters of watching your defensive line get manhandled before you start sending the likes of Hawk and Rouse is mystifying.

And I'm not just talking about blitzing on passing downs. Run-blitzing was conspicuous by its absence last night as well. Play after play, we saw linebackers aligned 5 yards off the line of scrimmage, waiting and reacting at the snap of the ball, rather than attacking the line of scrimmage. Against the Dallas front, 'reacting' is an exercise in futility. Remember last years game against the Chargers and how Poppinga and Barnett were sent flying into the line on run blitz after run blitz? It was pretty effective in shutting down what was at the time the best running back in the league. Last night? Nothing. Thus, we were treated to Marion Barber running through great wide open holes.

Overall, Sanders, (and McCarthy as well) game-planned and called the game like he was scared. I understand the need to mask deficiencies in the defensive backfield due to injury, but the big play by Felix Jones was against one of the most vanilla looks a defense could possibly give - it certainly didn't help Charlie Peprah one bit in his hilarious attempt to do anything that resembled playing football in the NFL.

I've said it over and over, and I'll keep writing it until I'm blue in the face: The Packers need to develop some nastiness and overall toughness, because right now they are a finesse team. And they have the likes of the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans still to come on the schedule, not to mention next weeks date with the Buccaneers. All these teams will hit the Packers in the mouth worse than they were last night. McCarthy and Sanders have got to stop playing scared and attack.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (7) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Mr.Man's picture

Hmmm.... I think it's a bit of an overstatement to say that the Bucs, Yaguars, and Titians will be more physical than Dallas. Especially because they probably have the best offensive line in the NFL right now.

I do agree that the defensive game plan was disappointing. I strongly suspect that losing Harris early on made Sanders even more conservative.

Mr.Man's picture

Also, I want Tony Moll out of the starting lineup as of, like, yesterday. Ugh.

packeraaron's picture

Agree on Moll. He was worse than pedestrian last night. Just brutal.

brat1475's picture

I felt the defense looked worn and fragile last night. I think too much focus was placed on keeping T.O. covered. Our offense didn't help matters any either. One, we kept committing to the run at a point where we should have dropped it for a while. Also, why did we wait until 4 minutes left in the game and when it was almost pointless to go no huddle? I don't think they blitzed enough, but good lord, there comes a point when you do what you have to to stay in the game.

packeraaron's picture

brat1475 - Thank you for reminding me about the no-huddle. Going to write about that. Should have been implemented much earlier.

Keith's picture

The game plan was backwards. When they should have been running, they were going four wide and getting nothing. Then, after the half, when they were down, they were running. Didn't make any sense.

packeraaron's picture

Keith - couldn't agree more. Go back and read what I wrote in the Cheesehead TV Matchup this week. They needed to pound it early and keep the Dallas offense off the field.

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