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Calling all Chicken Littles

Calling all Chicken Littles

I have started this post about five times, but I just can’t seem to find the right, poetic words to say it.  And after following the live blog and twitter and the complete craziness that seems to be gripping Packer fans, I’m just going to flat out say it.

CHILL.

And I’m watching the Bears win against the Eagles as I type this.

CHILL.

The season is not over.  The Packers do not suck.   The sky is not falling.

The second FOX started showing live coverage of the stadium, a panic washed over me.  And despite the audible cheers of “Go Pack Go” and the mass of empty seats, nothing seemed to be able to clear my panic.  I knew it then, and I think in some way we all knew it, even Mr. Corey Behnke, that this would be a dog fight.  Do I want to win every game?  Yes.  Do I think that the Packers stand a chance to win every game?  Yes.  Will they?  No.

Some losses are heart breaking; some losses highlight general shortcomings within the team; some losses can derail an entire season.  This was not one of those losses.

This was one good team, playing another good team.  Each made a couple of mistakes; Green Bay’s just being more costly.

  1. The Aaron Rodgers fumble.  Shame on you Arod for the fumble.  Shame on you for calling the first sneak, and shame on you for not calling out of the second sneak.  There, that’s it.  That’s all the wrath he’s getting from me.  Was the fumble costly?  Yes.  Does it mean he sucks?  No.  Does his play later in the game completely make up for the fumble?  No.  Is he the reason we lost the game?  No.
  2. McCarthy not challenging the fourth down “catch”.  Upon viewing of the replay, it was clear to nearly everyone that Gonzalez did not make the catch.  I have no idea what the status of the replay was in the coach’s box.  There was talk after the game that there is a delay, or that maybe the coaches don’t get the FOX feed.  Here’s what it boils down to.  I wish, that even without the coaches upstairs ok, McCarthy would have thrown the challenge flag.  It was late in the half, why save the timeout?  At the same time, that’s my opinion after I saw the replay and knew it was not a catch.   What if the play would have been closer?  And McCarthy throws out the challenge flag on his own accord, and it doesn’t get over turned.  It’s not just the timeout that will be missed; it’s the possibility of a second challenge in the second half.  In that case, I’d probably be sitting here, cursing him for wasting the challenge.  He’s the head coach, he makes the call, and he gets the credit and the blame.  So I’ll blame him, but I’m not calling for his head – as some very non cowardly guest on the live blog did – nor thinking it’s the worst mistake ever.
  3. Special Teams.  The ST problem was not the facemask penalty.  No matter what, the Packers seem to be incapable of putting together one solid special teams performance.  With Jordy Nelson being used more as a receiver, taking him off of kick return coverage was the right move, and I desperately want Sam Shields to be the answer, but I’m just not convinced.  He has lightning fast speed, and has been catching the ball, but he still seems unable to both read the coverage and pick a lane.  Watching him run, he definitely timid when running into coverage.  And then there’s our own coverage.  Mason, who has the ability to kick the long ball, seems unable to place a kick deep into the end zone.  Our coverage lacks discipline, penalties and Jarrett Bush (hello, sideline!!!), the ability to penetrate a wedge and stay in their lanes, and seems unable to wrap up returners.  I have been on the anti-Shawn Slocum bandwagon for much of this year.  And I believe it’s clear that the Packers need changes when it comes to special teams.   However, I’m done calling for his head.  Mostly because I just don’t think it will happen and I’m done wasting my breath.

So here’s what I’m thinking.  1. We need Rodgers to not fumble on the goal line.  Feel pretty confident that we won’t be seeing him put the ball on the turf again for a while.  We will however see mistakes.  Would like perfection, but would also like a million dollars and that’s just not happening.   2.  The replay system needs to be streamlined.  Not sure if this is a Green Bay problem or a Georgia Dome problem.  Need to prepare better for those situations, especially if there are road playoff games.   3.  Seeing as I believe Slocum will be with us through the season, I can only hope and pray here.  And maybe Mason can always kick with the wind?

I have more thoughts, re running game, the last drive and such, but quite honestly, I’m tired, and there’s a long week ahead.  At the end of the day, the Packers played the number one team in the NFC on the road, made some mistakes and were close to winning the game.  Close only counts in kissing and horse shoes, and there are no moral victories, but our mistakes are fixable and I for one, will not be losing sleep tonight.

This Packers team showed guts and determination in this game and in the past five games, and I feel confident that they are playoff bound.  Mark it.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (15) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Ilpackfan's picture

I agree Jayme that people need to chill, but I am starting to get tired of Brandon Chiiler. If he is hurt again he needs to go on IR. Chiller has played like crap this year. Last year he was playing good and he was always on the field making plays but this year he 2 steps behind everyone. He is reminding me of Mike Montogemry. Please keep Chiller off the field.

Laura722's picture

Great article, Jayme. I agree with 100% of it.

djbonney138's picture

Jayme Thanks, I feel better and now I have an article to use to talk my brother off the ledge.

David's picture

I follow hundreds of Packers fans on twitter, and not one of them said the season was over. And none of them said Rodgers sucks. You are exaggerating.

Just because fans get upset after a loss, doesn't mean they think the season is over. And just because people criticize Rodgers, doesn't mean they think he sucks.

Fans get upset when their team plays poorly. Its not that big of a deal. No one needs to "chill."

Jayme Snowden's picture

I didn't say anyone said Rodgers sucks. Think you might need to re-read. And yes, I did see people say that the season was over and that MM is the worst coach in the league.

I am not taking issue with anyone being critical after a loss, or for anyone be upset; I am critical of the people who over react, which I did see some of today.

And yes, I do think some people need to chill. There was some over reaction today, and there seems to be a lot of defensiveness out there. If that's not been your experience, then lucky you; but it has been mine today.

Brewcity's picture

I was disappointed with the D's inability to make the open-field tackles today. Granted, Turner is a load. But we gave up some crucial 3rd and longs due to bad tackling.

It hurt to have our two backup safeties wearing street clothes today.

Jayme Snowden's picture

agree about the tackling. that is purely unacceptable going forward

M.S. Yacoob's picture

Liked the article Jayme. And I agree with the sentiment...mostly.

I get this nagging feeling, however, that A-Rod has to play mistake free, or else this team is toast against good teams.

And that's what scares me. You can't ask a guy to play six mistake free games.

Chad Toporski's picture

Thank you, Jayme. A lot of people needed that.

foundinidaho's picture

Unfortunately, the ones that needed it most are just barking at Jayme instead of listening. But well said, Jayme.

Chris's picture

I totally agree with you Jayme. People need to chill, not everything is lost. Will it be a tough road ahead? Sure it will. Do the Packers have the team to make the playoffs? Sure they have. Do they need to play better against a very good team like Atlanta to win? Of course.
But they have to work with what they have. Which is a very good QB, no running game (basically because of poor blocking off the OLine), a solid bend but not break defense and an unreliable special teams play.
On the issues Jayme posted:
1. You need some trickery at the goal line to score with a run there. Especially if you don't have a running back and OLine like the Falcons. Pre-snap movement, 2-back sets with one RB going into a pass pattern, all this kind of stuff. Hell, even give ARod the chance to move under center and sneak it if he thinks the defense doesn't suspect it. They really should design more of these kind of plays, because the Packers struggled there this season.
2. I cannot say I blame McC for not challenging that play. There was no clear view in the first few seconds, and then it was too late. Maybe have someone watch the official broadcast somewhere outside in a hotel room with a direct connection to the guys up top in the stadium. This way you don't rely on the pictures from inside the stadium.
3. Special teams play is totally unreliable this season once again. One day they play great with good coverage and decent returns, the next they play like against the Falcons. Why not squib kick it on the last kickoff? And Shields was just bad returning kickoffs. They have to get better and more consistent.

Next week is a must-win against the struggling 49ers. Let's just hope not going after Westbrook does not bite the Packers in the a**.

Oppy's picture

On point no. 2, the no-challenge-on-Gonzo's-catch point:

The thing I find ridiculous about everyone's uproar over what has been classified as a major mistake from MM for not challenging the play, is that everyone... and I mean EVERYONE just has to state how it's unacceptable for MM not to challenge the play because it was "So obvious it wasn't a catch from the moment I saw it", that MM should have "thrown the flag just in case" it wasn't a good catch.

Hold. your. horses.

Nobody, and I mean NOBODY, thought that Gonzales failed to make that catch in real-time. Not the booth, not the coaches or players on the sideline, not even the players on the field in coverage. Everyone thought that was a catch. It was only when the Fox telecast replayed the clip at reduced speed that everyone noticed the ball wasn't secure.. and Fox didn't re-play the clip because the catch was questionable- it was sort of an "OH, wow, look, the ball is actually moving, this might not be a catch" moment.

If the booth didn't get that feed in time, there's no reason for MM to even question the catch- since nobody on the sidelines or on the field thought it was anything more or less than a reception. That was such a close call, Tony Gonzales probably honestly didn't know it wasn't a catch.

You all need to take yourself out of your living rooms, where you are watching a HD, slow motion, tightly cropped shot of the play after the fact, and put yourselves on the sideline or playing field in real-time. It's very possible that the only "indication" that something was awry was the Falcons going no-huddle to get a play off. Guess what? That's what the freakin' Falcons are known for. That's not an indicator by itself that a questionable call was made. When you're playing the Falcons, that's an indication that they might see something, like a personnel match up vs. the defense, that they find favorable and want to exploit. It's entirely possible that ATL got the feed and reacted to it, while the Packers did not, and had no way of knowing that something might even be iffy.

Is this so hard to understand? Or am I completely missing something here?

rickybobby's picture

i don't see the playoffs happening.
they can't lose 2 more games.
they will.

NE
NYG
CHI

all these games will be close.
the Packers lose close games.

final record 9-7.
won't be good enough this season.

loaded for bear next year, though.

Jim's picture

I love how your comments go from incredibly gung ho and positive to the complete opposite alternating every week almost to the T. It's like a cartoon sketch.

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