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Confessions of a Polluted Mindset: A Packers Brain Drain

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Confessions of a Polluted Mindset: A Packers Brain Drain

Bears Game: On one hand it was great to have real football back, but jeez, did it have to be so agonizing? And then terrifying. And then exhilarating? As someone on twitter commented. "I felt like I needed a cigarette after that game."

McCarthy: In one of his post-game press conferences, Mike McCarthy talked about the early offensive struggles and mentioned that the difficulties forced them to get away from their scripted plays. I believe he said they only ran about five of the plays they had planned on. My comment on that is that I hope those were better plays than the ones they ended up running, which looked like vintage Mike McCarthy slow developing iso routes. I guess in times of trouble, you revert back to what you know - in his case, I don't consider that a good thing.

Brian Bulaga: Let's all give Bulaga a break here. First of all, he's coming off an ACL injury and is back way before anyone expected. Secondly, he had about 10 live snaps in the preseason. Thirdly, his first assignment is Khalil Mack hyped up on adrenaline playing his first game for his new team under his massive contract. There were some iffy moments in the first half, but neither Rodgers or Kizer did him any favors. Most egregious was Kizer running right at Mack while Bulaga had him engaged - that was the play that resulted in the Mack strip sack. Take a look:

 

Defense: A rough early start, as Matt Nagy emptied his playbook of tricky plays and formations, but damn they got better and better as the game wore on. The defense gave up 146 yards on the first two series and only 148 yards the entire rest of the game.  They also had to come up with not one but two (thanks Clay Matthews) late game fourth-down stops to seal the win. Prominent in those critical moments were the three young cornerbacks, King, Jackson, and Alexander. I'm a believer in those guys.

Randall Cobb: If I'm a Bears fan, the Packers player I have to despise the most has to be Randall Cobb. He seemingly wields the dagger against the Bears, bringing them mountains of sorrow with game-winning touchdowns.

Offensive Line:  During the preseason games, I noted that the Packers offensive line was consistently allowing a lot of inside pressure. We saw that immediately against the Bears, with new starter at guard Justin McCray looking like a deer in headlights and even Corey Linsley and Lane Taylor getting walked back into Rodgers/Kizer. Then came the second half and it was a completely different story. The Packers surprisingly made some protection changes at halftime (must be the Philbin influence on uber-stubborn McCarthy). Also very helpful was the shift to a quick-passing offense, while the Packers going up-tempo and/or no-huddle seemed to tire out the Bears pass rushers. On the outside, the Packers ran various players at Mack, who likes to set up way wide. That makes it easier for a tight end or even a wide receiver (as I noticed a few times) just cross his path to get in his way a bit, preventing a straight line rush to the quarterback. There were nice adjustments everywhere along the line in the second half - not something I have found myself saying very often about this team.

Geronimo Allison:  My prediction is that Allison will become the next Jordy Nelson for the Packers. That's not to say he'll be a #1 WR, just that he knows how to find the openings, is always where Rodgers expects him to be and if you put the ball in his hands, he will catch it. He has Rodgers' full trust.

Aaron Rodgers: Others have since said it, but because it popped into my mind without prompting, I'll say it here anyway. Aaron Rodgers coming onto the field in the second half was his Willis Reed moment. Stuff legends are made of.

OLBs: if you had any doubt about the overall weakness of the Packers outside linebackers group, go back and watch how many of the Bears successful runs were bounced to the outside with no OLB in sight. 

Jamal Williams / Aaron Jones: Williams just cannot carry the rock like Aaron Jones. He doesn't see the holes like Jones does, dropping his head and just plowing forward way too soon. Jones can be a dynamic running back in this league. Having Jones available this week would have been crucial to giving the Vikings defense something else to worry about besides which pass rusher is going to get to the Packers' gimpy quarterback first on every play.

Vikings: I watched the entire Vikings - 49ers game. I can honestly say that the 49ers should have won that game. They did everything they could think of to hand the game to the Vikings. The biggest culprit was Jimmy Garropolo, who overthrew a wide open TE George Ktttle (ATTN: Jimmy Graham) three times for what would likely have been 3 touchdowns. Add in some just horrendous passes ending up as interceptions, dropped passes, fumbling on the 2-yard line and multiple other gaffes. The Vikings did not look like the team they are billed to be. Maybe it was a one-game aberration, but the Vikings really should be 0-1. 

__________________________

"Jersey Al" Bracco is the Editor-In-Chief, part owner and wearer of many hats for CheeseheadTV.com and PackersTalk.com. He is also a recovering Mason Crosby truther.  

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (68) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

The TKstinator's picture

One thing 12 does not do is just throw horrible (inaccurate) passes.
GB hopefully will plan to throw quick rhythm passes, so MN will probably plan to jam receivers at the line. GB receivers must then beat the jam with excellent releases. This is one of 17’s strengths.
Let’s see what happens.

croatpackfan's picture

I agree a lot with this short analysis you presented to us, Al. I say Packers were playing much better many would admit. There was a lot of mistakes and bad playing during the first half and at the beginning of the third Q, but D stabilized in the 2nd Q and O started to work properly on the second possession of the 3rd Q...

I want to point out again: This game showed why it is crucial for starters to play at least 1 whole quarter during preseason's games. It is of utmost importance to avoid important players injuries during the 1st week of the season. If OL gelled during preseason, it is big chance Aaron would not be hurt/injured last Sunday!

Since '61's picture

Croat - it is difficult to play the entire OL during the preseason when players like Bulaga are dealing with injuries. One whole quarter of plays probably means 2 drives or about 15 - 20 plays maximum. I think most of the OL starters probably had that many plays except for Bulaga.

Also, Rodgers had only 6 snaps during the preseason and Kizer had 100 or more. Rodgers went out and won the game on one leg while Kizer looked like he never played before.

The bottom line is that preseason play cannot prepare the players for the speed and level of play as the regular season. The starters play at a different speed. Plus the veteran starters on their second or third contracts don't want to play during the preseason because they do not want to risk their salaries and careers. Then you have the owners who are paying players huge amounts and don't want to risk their investments in meaningless games. This is why most teams use the preseason to evaluate their draft picks, UDFAs and 2nd and 3rd stringers.

Players gelling has nothing to do with preventing injuries. We have already seen Rodgers get hurt in Weeks 8 (2013) and Week 6 (2017) long after the OL has had plenty of time to "gel". Any player at any position can get hurt at any time in the NFL. It has nothing to do with how much or how little they play during the preseason.

When I played High School football, a long time ago, I was injured twice by guys falling on me in the pile up of players. Nothing you can do about it. Injuries are going to happen.

NFL is a violent game played by big men. What happened with Aaron's injury has nothing to do with preseason play. Again, for all their lack of preseason play the Packers offense looked pretty sharp during the second half. Thanks, Since '61

GBPDAN1's picture

I was always one that didn't bash MM to much as I think he's a good motivator and his teams never seem to give up on him (except HHCD last year in the season final ...well, and M Bennett, but he's a baby quitter anyway). I definitely didn't like some of MMs in game decisions in the past, though.

But now I'm starting to waver on him. That first half game plan was bad and I agree, Al, that he is stubborn and typically slow to adjust. Maybe this team would be better off with a different HC ?

I was one who supported Cobb and Bulaga in the off season. I disagreed with others who wanted to trade either. Why would we want to trade Cobb when we let Nelson go? We need his experience. And why cut Bulaga when we had no one proven behind him even if he may have went on PUP? I'm so glad they are both on the team. Bulaga will get better as the season plays on.

I too thought the Vikings should have lost that game. The niners blew that one.

I agree regarding Allison. He will soften the Jordy loss.

Our CBs are head and Shoulders above last years mess.

Can't wait for Burks to get back

Our OLBs may be the Achilles heel of this team with regard to a fully successful season (SB appearance)

jeremyjjbrown's picture

Strange.

I was going to reply ../. but now in the reply I see several paragraphs.

"""I was always one that didn't bash MM to much as I think he's a good motivator and his teams never seem to give up on him (except HHCD last year in the season final ...well, and M Bennett, but he's a baby quitter anyway). I definitely didn't like some of MMs in game decisions in the past, though.

But now I'm starting to waver on him. That first half game plan was bad and I agree, Al, that he is stubborn and typically slow to adjust. Maybe this team would be better off with a different HC ?

I was one who supported Cobb and Bulaga in the off season. I disagreed with others who wanted to trade either. Why would we want to trade Cobb when we let Nelson go? We need his experience. And why cut Bulaga when we had no one proven behind him even if he may have went on PUP? I'm so glad they are both on the team. Bulaga will get better as the season plays on.

I too thought the Vikings should have lost that game. The niners blew that one.

I agree regarding Allison. He will soften the Jordy loss.

Our CBs are head and Shoulders above last years mess.

Can't wait for Burks to get back

Our OLBs may be the Achilles heel of this team with regard to a fully successful season (SB appearance)
"""

jeremyjjbrown's picture

Even stranger. Only before I replied to GBPDAN1 his whole comment just showed up as

"""
.
"""

To me.

Spud Rapids's picture

What are you talking about? I think all you McCarthy detractors confuse results with adjustments. McCarthy even stated that they planned on going with Kizer going out for the 2nd half which means Philbin and him had about 10 minutes to think about a game plan to not only 1. Protect Rodgers but 2.) Getting the ball out quick while exploiting favorable matchups. McCarthy did just that and they were way better offensively.

The long developing routes problem has been around a few years and there is shared blame between Rodgers and McCarthy. You can't tell me that Rodgers isn't to blame too as he looks for the big play and from time to time doesn't take the check down. Why would he when you are a master of improvisational chunk plays? Hopefully he plays to protect himself moving forward because he just proved that he can be just as effective getting the ball out quick.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

"Why would he when you are a master of improvisational chunk plays?"

1. the offense is far less effective when this is done too often and too early
2. he gets his ass kicked by pass rushers and he's not 28 anymore

Spud Rapids's picture

I get that... I'm saying it from the view of Rodgers not my own opinion

Pauly's picture

Maybe I am "chicken little" but don't think so? This is my soap box on a bigger picture of Mike McCarthy's dangerous game plan.
Am I the only one who sees the importance of how dangerous MM's poor 1st quarter 20 scripted play planning was? No one is writing or talking about it. Why didn't MM start the game with the 2nd half game plan and a healthy Rodgers?
Letting Rodgers get hurt was immensely stupid. What if AR needed spinal surgery?? A season or career ending injury??

Wolfe, Farve and Rogers have built the large GB industrial, tourist complex in last 26 yrs and I think MM took a ridiculously irresponsible attitude towards a normal risk assessment of playing an untested OL against a top 5 defensive unit who all had their hair on fire to wipe the floor with Rodgers in Green Bay for the first time in decades.
My evidence is simply what happened in first 20 minutes in Lambeau.. Compare that to how the Raiders played the Rams 1st half. How Jon Gruden started his game against the dominate Rams and played them even for 3 qtrs. TE Cook- 8 catches,160 yds.
Where were the quick drops, hurry up, short passes, 2 TE sets with TE Lewis with Bulaga to start the game until Bulaga figured out Mack and was confident plus the defense was somewhat gassed.

Of course the Packers play a game,, BUT,, the Packers are not a toy owned by a rich billionaire.

MM put the whole business of the Green Bay City owned Packers at risk. The GM should have MM in his office on the carpet getting read the riot act.
The Packers are responsible for and support thousands of local jobs to the City of Green Bay. Green Bay's tourist industry, ticket prices, jobs in the larger Green Bay area. Restaurants, hotels, properties and small/large business investments all based on Rodgers and Packers successes. TT had one thing right, keep Rodgers upright and always be a contender.

I haven't seen anyone talk about the importance of MM's disdain for risk assessment of the Packers and their tourist industry in Green Bay. I realize football is always risky but the risk has to be managed as much as possible with an eye to the big picture. Risk assessment is critical in this business and ignoring it can lead to tragic consequences.

Spud Rapids's picture

"Letting Rodgers get hurt was immensely stupid. What if AR needed spinal surgery?? A season or career ending injury??"

What the hell are you talking about? McCarthy didn't let Rodgers get hurt how can you possible put any blame on McCarthy? Do you want him to play to win or play to protect Rodgers... It's football.

Pauly's picture

Like several others here and Packer's News have said, if MM started the game with his 2nd half plays until he could see what the Bears brought, Rodgers probably would not gotten hurt and Pack would have won bigger, It's common sense.
Not to mention the 2nd half plays worked a lot better while playing to "win" than first half did.. The facts are obvious!

PAPackerbacker's picture

I don't think Allison will be the next Jordy Nelson but for sure he is a receiver that has Rodgers trust and can get open and catch the ball. He may be the guy Rodgers goes to because of the attention Adams and Cobb receive from defenses. The Vikings will be prepared to do battle against the Packers, Starting at 2-0 against division opponents would be a great way to start the season. The Packers can not start out flat like they did against the Bears. And hope Rodgers can play. Kiser is not ready to go up against the Vikings. Short, quick passes should open up the running game and provide more manageable third down situations for Williams running style. And get Monty involved. He has had success against the Vikings. Go! Pack! Go!

RCPackerFan's picture

I think the whole OL was suffering from few snaps in preseason (rust) and from not playing together. The 2nd half they settled in and was a different story. They probably made protection changes but regardless they played more like we know they can.

Allison maybe the key to the offense. Most defenses are going to try and double Graham and Adams. That will leave a lot of 1 on 1's for Allison. If he can constantly win those battles teams will no longer be able to constantly double Graham and Adams.

I like Jamal Williams. I like Ty Montgomery. But I LOVE Aaron Jones. Jones will transform this offense! I wish he would have been available against the Vikings. The difference between Williams and Jones is that Jones finds holes to run in and can create his own yards. Williams has a tendency to 'run into the pile' for nothing.

This week against the Vikings is especially where getting Philbin back could pay off the most. Assuming Rodgers plays he is going to be very limited in what he can do. So coming up with a game plan/offensive scheme will be pivotal if they want to win. Vikings know the Packers will be looking to do short drops. Finding ways to scheme receivers open will be huge!

The 49ers should have beat the Vikings. They had their chances. Hell last year the Packers could have beat the Vikings twice had they had a backup QB that could have done anything.
The one way to attack them is with the TE's. Vikings weakness is defending the TE's. Packers have 3 that can be a threat! This week is the time to get them involved. Also getting Montgomery involved in the passing game with designed routes for him to run.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

I also think Akiem Hicks ran himself out of gas in the first 20 minutes. He was an absolute force in the middle, and then after that he was absentia.

I wonder if he saw how he got beat up over his preformance against the Packers last season on various message boards.

RCPackerFan's picture

yeah, i think he was probably supercharged in the beginning of the game.
I do think it was more rust on the OL though.
McCray missed some time in camp also right?

I think the OL is a position that needs so many snaps of contact to get into a rhythm. They played a lot better in the 2nd half. I'm guessing a lot of it was due to rust. Also probably the Bears DL wore out.

mrtundra's picture

I think Bulaga played very well against Chicago's defense. He had one of the best pass rushers in the league coming at him all night long. I think Bulaga held up very well. Where was Mack in the 2nd half? Hicks? Burned out? 24-23.

RCPackerFan's picture

Bulaga struggled early against Mack, but who doesn't. I think he was more rusty then anything. He had what 13 preseason snaps coming off a torn acl. Just the fact he was playing is astonishing.

J0hn Denver's Gavel's picture

"mountains of sorrow" I spit out my morning coffee on that comment! keep em coming!

LeotisHarris's picture

I enjoyed that, too. Well done, Al.

dobber's picture

Randall Cobb : Bears :: Golden Tate : Packers

Handsback's picture

It was a nice win against the Bears, now forget it and move on. Similar to Green Bay's game against Jacksonville a few years ago...they took their best punches and came out victorious by the skin of their teeth. I think like Jacksonville, the Bears will be a very good team in a few years.

Philbin and MM will need a very good game-plan for a hurt Rodgers. It may have to extend into several games, so it may be a semi-permanent game-plan. No doubt the lack of playing time hurts positions that have to work together and that includes both lines. Just remember that the Vikings also haven't worked together much either and they will improve from the 49ers. It will be a better game by both teams and turnovers will probably determine the outcome.

dobber's picture

Unlike Jacksonville, the Bears have frittered away the ability to get cheap help in the Kahlil Mack window. I would argue that they're going to have to win over the next couple years with the guys they have right now...Trey Burton? Mistake.

They're going to have to be great drafters and strong in UDFAs to support a roster that will lack the benefit of impact draft picks and gobs of salary cap space. Jacksonville has tremendous talent at most positions aside from QB...which will kill them long-term.

Jonathan Spader's picture

Great drafters with what picks?

The TKstinator's picture

Are you saying Blake isn’t GREAT???

WKUPackFan's picture

The majority of the armchair GMs who spent months calling for Cobb and Allison to be cut still refuse to admit that they were wrong. They don't care to enjoy the win, choosing instead to continue their mantras of "Cobb is too expensive and hurt all of the time " and "Allison is too slow and just a JAG".

These people aren't real Packers fans, as it is easy to see that they were so disappointed when Cobb and Allison made huge contributions to winning the game.

egbertsouse's picture

They each had a great game. That’s great, I was going crazy! But let’s revisit the Cobb/Allison story after game 8 or 10 and see if they are still putting up these kind of numbers before we enshrine them in Canton.

As you say, I’m not a real Packer fan. I’m just a 2nd generation season ticket holder who has followed the Pack since 1958. No, I wasn’t at the game, my kids had the tickets. I always end up with games like the 23-0 Raven’s game.

Green Bay Shareholder's picture

Nice response !!!!!!! Mustn't be a real fan unless you drink the Kool Aid, shame on you for thinking Arod deserves more than 1 ring for being in the discussion as the greatest QB of all time and employ critical thinking. Not talking specifics regarding the WR but people that criticize decisions / policy / personel moves are typically doing so because they want the organization to improve. The unreal fans move on and become silent, probably no longer watching or caring whether the organization is successful or not.

Lare's picture

It's always nice that we have people like WKU to decide who the real Packers fans are.

fthisJack's picture

one guy was saying that Kumerow and Allison are battling for a roster spot and that Kumerow> Allison. cut Allison. HA! i'm glad they kept both.

Oppy's picture

I don't know that I'd give up on Jamaal Williams just yet. He did not look good on Sunday- he looked a lot like he did the first few games of 2017. Perhaps he just takes a game or two to find his groove. No doubt Jones is more explosive, but Williams was a good back in the second half of 2017.

dobber's picture

I'd like to find out how many routes Williams ran in the second half on Sunday. My guess is only a few, and on those he seemed to be split out (empty backfield) rather than running from the backfield. He was in blocking a lot, it seemed.

Doug_In_Sandpoint's picture

Most have pointed to “rust” and bad game planning in the first half. I’m not sure why we came out slow, but to me it looked like we just weren’t ready for NFL level football. At first, the team collectively looked shocked that the Bears were going full speed and hitting them hard. Then they played as if unsure of themselves wondering if the Bears are really that good.

Ultimately...maybe after halftime, it looks like they decided, “Hey, we’re the Packers.” I hope they can get in that mindset from the beginning of the Vikings game. The other team is full of professionals trying to take your lunch money. Come out brawling from the beginning.

So what I’m saying is that more than play calling and execution, I think the difference in halves was a mass psychology thing. Let’s fix that.

Tundraboy's picture

And with the significance of this game, and all the positive motivational angles, how did they come out flat? So much for bulletin board motivation.

stockholder's picture

If this game was at soldier stadium. The Packers lose. They got Lucky. The home crowd kept this team energized. A-Rod was awesome. Allison deserved to be on this club. I would have cut him. So I'll eat crow on that only. He does have Great hands. But pushes off to much for me. Still A-Rod needs players he can trust to go to. I wonder how good Allison will be if Adams or Cobb go down. I prefer separation. James Jones, Jordy Nelson, all seemed to lose it and favor, especially when the packers wanted Cap. Ty Montgomery will be more dependable than Allison before the season ends. Montgomery is a bigger game changer than Allison. McCray needs to stop the holding.

dobber's picture

I agree with you: I think that long-term, the Packers are better off with a better athlete in the Allison role. I think he's JAG who #12 makes look good...so how good would someone who runs a little better look? I have high hopes for Monty as well.

Demon's picture

Baby steps there dobber. Lets see if Monty can stay off the trainers table first. Aim lower before having high hopes.

A Pickled Packer's picture

A JAG with hands like that who can consistently catch it in the clutch and under pressure is no JAG. Geronimo is an acrobat with the ball. He may not be top shelf but I'm glad he's on our shelf.

Tundraboy's picture

A combination of great hands and Rodgers is a very good thing. Allison has his trust and catches the ball and he is always available.

Grandfathered's picture

Finally someone who says that Monty can be a game changer! I agree, and maybe splitting out Monty rather than Williams from the backfield will help, especially in quick passes and checkdowns. And if they run a screen with either back, have the back outside the tackle, not in the middle of the line.

4thand1's picture

This game plan will interesting. The queens are going to be expecting a quick passing game. What new wrinkles can Joe B and MM come up with? Full blown west coast I say with Cobb and Monty out of the backfield. Make the queens run around on defense, ball control. We don't know if AR is starting, hope he suits up though he's better than most QBs on one leg. Take a page out of the Dan Marino slew footed quick release master.

Razer's picture

I get it that we want to find silverlinings for this defense, especially after the Caper years and this being the first game of the season. The first half and second half defensive stats give us hope and Lord knows, we need something to hang on to. I am not from Missouri but I need a little more 'show me' than what I saw on Sunday night.

We still have way too much trouble with these RPO plays. Clay Matthews can't diagnose one to save his soul. While the Bears offense slowed down in the second half, much was their own doing. Trubisky is not good enough yet to finish the game and Nagy abandoned his run game at the wrong time. They were controlling the clock and the final minutes until they decided to put the game in the QB's hands. Bootomline - our defense has a long ways to go. The Vikings should be a better barometer on this front

RCPackerFan's picture

One kind of under the radar silver lining that we can take from the game is that Pettine was able to adjust his defense to what the Bears were doing. And stop them.

That is something Capers struggled doing.

Razer's picture

Maybe. A good QB probably would not have had a 'Trubisky' problem. We weren't getting significant pressure on the QB and the run game was still ripping off good gains.

I am optimistic about this rebuilt secondary. Williams and the young CBs looked good, as did Brice.

RCPackerFan's picture

Well part of the reason for the Run game having some good runs. The Packers played 63% of the snaps with 6+ DB's.
That's a lot of DB's.

i agree about the secondary. They did look really good.

LambeauPlain's picture

CMIII looked like Vince Beigel Sunday eve...check that, at least Beigel would run down runners and make tackles.

Matthews was lost on the field and almost single handedly lost the entire game.

He is not an effective Edge rusher anymore. Like last year, he never gets any double teams now. He gets locked onto the blocker and shoved away from the play and the QB.

I truly think Pettine should move him inside at ILB where he had his last, best, pro bowl year in 2015...try to resurrect his career and make him productive again.

Granted, that would make a thin OLB group even more dangerously weak...can always sign Beigel off the Saints practice squad or try a few of the back up ILBs as backups outside, where they played in college (Crawford & Toomer).

I do think Pettine will have CMIII on a short leash and Gilbert will take (and deserves!) more snaps.

I like this new D. Pettine has a well earned reputation of being able to analyze information and make quick adjustments during the game. He did it on Sunday!

Lphill's picture

I watched the replay last night and I think Clay was still disruptive and on that roughing the passer from one angle he started to commit towards Trubisky when he still had the ball and then tries to hold up , there was a play also where Rodgers released the ball and a Bear defender dove at his legs and tackled him which I think could have been called . Much easier to make analysis when you can replay film which gives a different perspective than live action.

butchroy's picture

pack needs a RB. Trade with Pitt for Bell? What do everyone think

4thand1's picture

Nope, trade for olb or o line.

Demon's picture

How would you come up with the cap space to pay Bell? Theresa lot of mileage on him. No way!

Minniman's picture

Aaron Jones when back from suspension should do nicely.

I'm not going to hit the RB panic button until I see Monty, Jones and Williams all playing and the run-game still fails.

Have a look at the positional stats for last year, they were solid (not spectacular) and provided the appropriate alternative for Rodgers.

mrtundra's picture

The vikings should be 0-1. I couldn't agree more, Al!

TheBigCheeze's picture

......." the Vikings really should be 0-1."---------well, then let's at least make them 1-1.

White92's picture

Nagy was a big factor. Had nothing after his scripted plays and Packer adjustments.

Hopefully Packer staff has made changes and adapts quicker as you indicated Al.

Nice writeup

Community Guy's picture

i am commenting here because the column title attracts me, and, it is another well-written piece.

one topic that i haven't read in any game review commentary is how well disciplined the Bears D was in not allowing any free plays/off-sides when playing Rodgers. Rodgers clearly used his hard count on several occasions, but he never prompted the Bears to jump. i hate to admit it, but, i don't think the Bears suck anymore.. at least defensively. i can see why the Packers were interested in pursuing Fangio for DC.

Mojo's picture

Khalil Mack has been feted with unwavering praise since Sunday nights game, but a good deal of his success was the direct result of the ineptitude of Kizer.

As Al pointed out on the strip-sack fumble, Kizer opted to run right into him. If that weren't enough he decided not to protect the ball holding it low where Mack could pry it loose. Kizer never gave Buluga the chance to counter Mack and force him out wide.

Another over-hyped Mack play was the pick-six. Once again Kizer, acting while under duress, throws a duck right into Macks stomach. Mack did seem to recognize a screen-play was called and hung out in the area, but was greatly aided by Kizer who instead of eating the ball or throwing it away tried to be a hero and just threw it up for grabs.

The second half of the game with ARod back, Mack did nothing. Mack's line; one strip sack, two tackles, one assist and one pick six.

Not going to say Mack isn't talented but his night was greatly aided by the ineptitude of Kizer and the spotlight of the national stage. Plus, I believe he was super-motivated to prove his worth after the big contract, first game of the year, new team, rival game etc. Don't know if you'll see this level of effort every game going forward.

If you analyze the whole game, Mack had a good game but only thanks to Kizer did his impact become overblown.

4thand1's picture

Kizer was responsible for a 10 to 14 point swing.

Minniman's picture

Kizer hasn't learnt to trust his Tackles yet, and perhaps it's arguable that better pocket protection should have been added while he gets into the game.

On that play in question, on the left side the bears rusher (Hicks - I think) is making inroads against Bakh, but Bakh recovers and guides him high (just behind the interior).

On the other side, Bulaga is struggling against Mack's bull rush, and while not explicitly being beaten, Mack is a half-step ahead and has his left shoulder "around the corner".

Kizer zigs when he should have zagged by rolling to his right when he should have rolled left.

He also doesn't protect the ball.

Sure, easy for an "internet coach" to diagnose, but this is the same problem that Hundley had - the proclivity to exit-right instinctively instead of assessing the play.

that's where some line help could have aided him, so that a young player didn't get put in a rodgers-esque position where he had to parallel process the situation and tendencies of the 2 rushers and his 2 tackles and make the right escape call (wheel left).

Minniman's picture

Addit:

I totally agree Mojo - why give oxygen to the Bears and Mack by not coming out hard in stifling them?

.....what's the one tenet of a Bill Belichick game plan.... find the opposing teams strength and take it away from them.

Rebecca's picture

I agree with your Kizer observations. Why don’t the coaches get him out of these habits? We saw Hundley’s bad habits repeat last year into this preseason. Thankfully he’s gone. Kizer’s big enough to see what’s coming from his strong side, why not teach him to secure the ball and take a slide, get out with a 3-4 yard loss? If he can’t adjust he doesn’t belong in this league.

Minniman's picture

I guess that the only fair thing to add is that hopefully when we see Kizer next (and I hope that it's next pre-season... no offense Deshaun) that he shows progress in this area....... and schemed help.

Tundraboy's picture

Love the article. Look forward to more over the course of the season. Another great CHTV staple.

Pauly's picture

Maybe I am "chicken little" but don't think so? This is my soap box on a bigger picture of Mike McCarthy's dangerous game plan.
Am I the only one who sees the importance of how dangerous MM's poor 1st quarter 20 scripted play planning was? No one is writing or talking about it. Why didn't MM start the game with the 2nd half game plan and a healthy Rodgers?
Letting Rodgers get hurt was immensely stupid. What if AR needed spinal surgery?? A season or career ending injury??

Wolfe, Farve and Rogers have built the large GB industrial, tourist complex in last 26 yrs and I think MM took a ridiculously irresponsible attitude towards a normal risk assessment of playing an untested OL against a top 5 defensive unit who all had their hair on fire to wipe the floor with Rodgers in Green Bay for the first time in decades.
My evidence is simply what happened in first 20 minutes in Lambeau.. Compare that to how the Raiders played the Rams 1st half. How Jon Gruden started his game against the dominate Rams and played them even for 3 qtrs. TE Cook- 8 catches,160 yds.
Where were the quick drops, hurry up, short passes, 2 TE sets with TE Lewis with Bulaga to start the game until Bulaga figured out Mack and was confident plus the defense was somewhat gassed.

Of course the Packers play a game,, BUT,, the Packers are not a toy owned by a rich billionaire.

MM put the whole business of the Green Bay City owned Packers at risk. The GM should have MM in his office on the carpet getting read the riot act.
The Packers are responsible for and support thousands of local jobs to the City of Green Bay. Green Bay's tourist industry, ticket prices, jobs in the larger Green Bay area. Restaurants, hotels, properties and small/large business investments all based on Rodgers and Packers successes. TT had one thing right, keep Rodgers upright and always be a contender.

I haven't seen anyone talk about the importance of MM's disdain for risk assessment of the Packers and their tourist industry in Green Bay. I realize football is always risky but the risk has to be managed as much as possible with an eye to the big picture. Risk assessment is critical in this business and ignoring it can lead to tragic consequences.

Tundraboy's picture

I didn't take it to the same macro level as you have but I too was astounded how MM started this game. As I've said in several posts, I still don't understand how with the significance of a hundredth game against our Arch rivals, at home knowing that the Bears are coming for Rogers,we came out so flat. Rodgers getting injured was further salt in the wound.

A Pickled Packer's picture

Not putting in Lewis to help Bulaga even after seeing him struggle against Mack just because he didn't fit into his scripted plays proves what a stubborn mule this coach is. It took a bent knee for him to realize it wasn't working and shift gears. It almost cost us the season.

Tundraboy's picture

Yup. Dodged a bullet there.

Denise Chanterelle's picture

I suspect the Vikings will throw to Dalvin Cook on Sunday, like they did against SF. Cook caught 6 out of 7 targets for 55 yards, garnering a 9.2 avg. Pretty impressive. I hope the Pack is planning for this. Thanks for this article Al. Go Pack!

Grandfathered's picture

Would sure like to see Jones in a safety blitz package. Maybe that would help with the pressure. Hope we get him back soon, and Pettine has plans to use him.

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