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Cory's Corner: Kirk Cousins must be a guest at home

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Cory's Corner: Kirk Cousins must be a guest at home

The Packers might be one of the coldest teams entering the postseason.

The offense has scored four touchdowns in the last three games. After averaging over 30 points a game last year, the Packers finished the regular season by scoring 23 a game this year. And Aaron Rodgers hasn’t had a lot of time due to the patchwork offensive line. He’s been the most-sacked quarterback since Week 9.

But despite all of that, this is Kirk Cousins’ first go-around in the playoffs when the Packers go to FedEx Field on Sunday to take on the Redskins in an NFC Wild Card game. Remember, it was Cousins that had to make all of the Washington D.C. folks believe in him after seizing Robert Griffin’s job since the season opener.

And after leading the NFL in completion percentage this season, the majority of the Beltway will be sporting No. 8 Redskins jerseys after the 2012 fourth rounder inks a new contract for around $17 million a year.

Yet, Cousins has never been here before.

Which is why this game falls on the front seven to harass Cousins and make him uncomfortable enough in order for the Packers to steal a road win. Of all the starting quarterbacks in this year’s Super Bowl tournament, only Russell Wilson, Tom Brady, Alex Smith and Ben Roethlisberger won their first playoff game. AJ McCarron, Brian Hoyer and Cousins are doing this for the first time.

The Packers finished the season 7th in the NFL with 43 sacks — eight in the last three games. And amazingly, they were able to do that without top corner Sam Shields — who is still nursing a concussion.

Julius Peppers must bring the energy and prove why he led the team with 10½ sacks. The Packers cannot afford to have him pick and choose when he goes 100 percent. And there’s no other way around it: Clay Matthews can’t be invisible. The hybrid inside/outside linebacker has been playing all over the field this year, but he not only has to make big plays but he must get back to the basics and just make the tackle. And Mike Daniels must continue to prove people wrong that he should’ve been a Pro Bowler by consistently winning his battle up front.

A lot has been said and written about how the defensive backfield will cover speedster wideout DeSean Jackson and playmaking tight end Jordan Reed. However that will take care of itself if Cousins isn’t allowed to settle in.

Defensive coordinator Dom Capers must roll the dice early. Dial up a few blitzes just to see where Cousins’ mind is at. Can he read the blitz or will he be too amped up and airmail a ball or two? Cousins has only been sacked 26 times this year, but that's because the majority of his passes are short, high-percentage throws.

Green Bay’s offense is why everyone is on pins and needles for this game. Nobody knows what version is going to show up. Will the strong and confident Eddie Lacy show up that had back-to-back 100-yard games in Weeks 11 and 12 or the one that tallied less than 25 yards rushing five times? Will the receivers get open against a defense that traditionally doesn’t use press coverage? And will Rodgers get rid of the ball or run it before the pocket turns into human chaos?

But all of those things will work themselves out if the defense can make Cousins feel like a guest at home. The moment that happens, the Packers offense can take a deep breath and instantly feel no pressure. And maybe we'll even hear Rodgers bark out afterwards, "You like that. You like that!" 

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (38) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Bearmeat's picture

I had a point by point missive all typed up that was entirely bovine-like. But I don't want to spread that kind of negativity amongst fellow fans that are as frustrated about this team as I am.

So I will just say that I believe we will see nothing different from an offense that is wracked by injury and cold as ice, and that the D is going to have to absolutely dominate for us to win. I dont think they will because Cousins, Reed and DJax are very dangerous.

My guess is that the Pack loses by 7. :(

croatpackfan's picture

Bearmeat, I'll tell you something - If you are looking only at statistics, we are doomed. But (I may be wrong) I have feeling that we will be pleasantly surprised on Sunday. You know what is my opinion - that how Aaron play was the main problem. But somehow I have feeling that he understood where he was mistaking and we will see again high efficient, mobile, dangerous and top QB in the game. If my feeling is correct, look out!

Bearmeat's picture

I hope you are right Croat. I really do.

Nick Perry's picture

When this season ends I'm curious what the Front Office does, in particular Mark Murphy. As "Great" as Jordy Nelson is, I refuse to put ALL the blame for the offense on his injury. Every team in the NFL has lost key components to their football teams and not completely fell apart. Hell The Chiefs lost Jamal Charles and won 10 in a row! I put a huge percentage on Mike McCarthy and his staff and to a lesser degree Ted Thompson. Edgar Bennett has been a disaster as an OC, and the WR/OB coaching combination failed miserably too. What do you do now with Clements and Bennett? Put Bennett back at WR Coach? Doubtful. Keep Clements as and Assistant HC? Why? Strip Van Pelt of his WR Coaching duties? HELL YES! If McCarthy is kept, doesn't resign, and is still the HC of the Packers then my hope would be to bring in an Offensive Coach with fresh Ideas.

Thompson has to participate like the other GM's in the NFL. He needs to use Free Agency, Trades, whatever it takes to improve this team. I'm tired of Ted's Lip Service suggesting he looks at all avenues to improve his team. If he really did the Packers would have a TE, ILB, depth at OL, at least one who can step in without giving up mulitple sacks and QB hits. How in the hell can the Packers STILL not have an athletic TE? In todays NFL that's become such an important position. That's one example but why beat a dead horse, we know the problem areas.

As for this game the Packers SHOULD beat the Redskins without any problem. Then again we thought that before Home losses to the Lions, Bears, and Vikings too. Anything can happen I suppose and maybe the Packers can put 16 quarters together, even though they haven't put 2 together in 12 weeks.

Razer's picture

A lot of good points Nick Perry. I think that MM has painted himself into a corner with his offensive coach-by-committee. Indeed, what do you do with Clements or Bennett as you try to roll back the cluster. How long will we have to watch Rodgers pout if Clements is let go?

I would have had no issues with this coaching scheme IF they would have come up with something new. Instead, we are running a dumbed down version of our 2010 offense minus any routes over the middle and without a serious TE. I would much prefer a real OC that has some new ideas on the game and a coaching staff specialized to their positions.

As for TT, I agree that he needs to move faster to address the chronic weaknesses on this team. If Peppers leaves, I would add OLB to your list and sprinkle in some WR. I never understood why we wasted so many of Favre's years with sub par receivers. Now I am watching the Rodgers era tick by with these same deficiencies. It would also be great to see us draft some speed at WR and RB. Let's spread the field and maximize Rodgers strength.

I too am looking for a different offense to show up down in Washington. Go Packers!

That's a buck fifty worth!

Nick Perry's picture

A excellent $50.00 bucks! You brought up a good point about Rodgers, how long will he pout? I would never question Rodgers and his will to want to win, but that pass against Minnesota last weekend was something I don't recall him doing even in 2008, his 1st year starting. Throw towards the pylon and the Packers have a TD. Some of these decisions Rodgers has made this year have been horrific. Totally agree on the speed issue, especially at RB. How many times did we read that this RB or that RB fit's the "Mold". What I wouldn't do to watch a guy like Dion Lewis or Bernard in the Backfield.

PaulRosik's picture

it is not often that you question what was Rodgers thinking but I have quite a few times the last few weeks. It felt like I saw where the ball should go and he didn't. I guess a loss of confidence is a big thing when 300 pound guys are running at you.

MarkinMadison's picture

Adam!

dobber's picture

Hope your treatment is "effective" (I'd say "going well" but these things never feel like they're going well).

MarkinMadison's picture

I have no idea how anyone can blame Edgar for anything, or make any conclusion about his job performance. You can call him whatever you want, but when some other guy calls the plays for half the season and then the head coach takes that job away, then I'm sorry but Edgar never was the OC. What I do know is that he quit working with WRs this year and they all regressed.

ray nichkee's picture

It was my understanding from what i read earlier this season on packers.com that the offensive coordinator puts the game plan together with the position coaches and players during the week. This is still mccarthys offense and the players need to execute. Not much has changed with the offense over the years. I was excited when i heard all 11 starters were returning but injuries have exposed the depth everywhere but QB and RB.

dobber's picture

I always saw Edgar Bennett as OC as the next step in his apprenticeship in the Packer organization. Certainly he bears some responsibility for the generation of a game plan on a week-to-week basis, but it seems the scripted plays and the early drives show promise. He's not making the calls, and when this team goes off-script they seem to take a nose-dive.

I think this organization likes Bennett enough that they'll do something creative to retain him even if there's a general purge of the offensive coaching staff.

Tarynfor12's picture

" ...if the defense can make Cousins feel like a guest....the offense can take a deep breath...".
I forsee the defense collapsing from holding their breath every time the Packer offense takes the field.
Unless the offense has learned how to play it will not matter what the defense does except to give boast to individual play and give the blind faithful a road to call success from the ugly mess that was and is still obvious.
I hope for a win but lean toward another one and done. : )

LAS VEGAS-TOM's picture

Tarynfor12, Waited around for you?? $1300 up this week. Only put $2 bucks on GB +1. I WANT THIS GAME. It was pick-um for the 1st half. Damn it I was going to bet it that way, but the guy's at Bally's talked me out of it. Damn It. Go Pack!! LVT

Bearmeat's picture

You know, I was just thinking - with as BAD as this team has played the last 2/3 of the year, 13-3 and the 2nd seed was still VERY possible, and 14-2 was as well.

Home losses to the Bears, Lions and Vikes all SHOULD have been wins. And that Carolina game got real tight at the end too. No clutch wins this year. So far. If the team gets that clutch back they COULD go on a run.

Have to have something to hold onto.... come on Pack.

4thand1's picture

Keeping the faith is hard Bear, when your faith is tested like this. But I will keep it for one more week, what else can we do?

Razer's picture

I think that you represent a lot of Packer fans with your "something to hold on to" sentiment. Most of us are holding out hope that the team can play up to a higher potential. I can't give up on this team. My worst fear is that my team gives up and I am forced to witness the dejection. We will see what kind of Team these Packers are this weekend.

daveh's picture

I have mixed emotions about this game, realistic, the Packers will lose, my heart wants a win, but unless MM becomes unconventional , and not predictable the Packers have good chance, but again if we lose we will draft 20 or 21.that's better than 27 or 28... Go Pack..

Tarynfor12's picture

You can only get so much out of something or someone that's good or great.
I sense we have witnessed all that can be gotten from this season regarding the good and or great. : )

Razer's picture

Tarynfor12, I never known you to be so dire about things. Maybe it is too late to say "keep the faith" so I will say " there is still hope. Go Packers!

Tarynfor12's picture

There's a difference in being dire and simple reality acceptance. Hope and faith are two things very easily thrown at others who are realist. I have always held hope for a win and improved play as stated in my comment at the end.

4thand1's picture

Can you imagine what the blogs would have looked like the last 2 years, if Cousins was QBer backing the Packers?

4thand1's picture

Everyone that knows a hill of beans about football is seeing the same thing. It's been pointed out by all of us in here, the media, and troll nation. Each week every team lines up and plays defense the same way and the packers have no answer!

4thand1's picture

I don't know WTF happened here^^^^^^^

4thand1's picture

Everyone that knows a hill of beans about football is seeing the same thing. It's been pointed out by all of us in here, the media, and troll nation. Each week every team lines up and plays defense the same way and the Packers have no answer! In any profession, if a problem rises up, you come up with a solution to fix it. Not this team. That's what's so frustrating to the fans, seeing the same fuckin thing over and over again. This falls squarely on the coaching to fix and it hasn't happened. When we see assistant coaches start to go, usually the head at the top isn't far behind. We got rid of one last year and the rest were promoted. IMO the message has gotten stale and the team isn't buying into it.

dobber's picture

" if a problem rises up, you come up with a solution to fix it. Not this team. That's what's so frustrating to the fans, seeing the same fuckin thing over and over again. "

I'm telling myself that this was the super-secret organizational plan to lull the league into a sense of complacency. That the Packers will come out offensively tomorrow and start playing from unorthodox formations and doing things from the "same-old, same-old" formations that nobody has seen before. That the Packers will put together personnel groups that haven't been scouted all season and do something that is out of the norm for this team. I tell myself this because it HAS to happen. It HAS to be the case if this team is going to advance because they have shown that the "same-old, same-old" isn't working for more than a drive or two. It HAS to be the case because I still have some faith that the coaching staff really is good enough to recognize the position this team is in, and will continue to have faith until the scoreboard says the season is over.

If we DON'T see something new or different tomorrow, then this coaching staff really is in a tailspin and lacks the creativity and innovative ability to make something greater out of the pieces it has at its disposal (rather than the "less than the sum of the parts" that we've been seeing). If we DON'T see something new or different tomorrow, then it's very likely that the players and staff are irreparably distanced from one another. If we don't see something new or different tomorrow, maybe it's time for some kind of a housecleaning that will reinvigorate the team and generate a mood of optimism for 2016.

4thand1's picture

If we don't see change, who will be held accountable? I've thought of the same scenario as you dobber. Hoping we will see a whole different scheme in the playoffs or its back to insanity.

Bearmeat's picture

Guys,

We've been saying that ever since the Carolina game. It's been literally 10 straight weeks of frustration with 1 halfway decent game in there (@MIN). What in the world makes you think they'll figure it out now???

The coaching staff needs to be completely redone on the offensive side of the ball. MM overreacted to the NFC CG debacle last year - which by and large was NOT the fault of the offense. He promoted Clements to play caller - which should not have happened. He gave Bennet OC. He moved the WRs and QBs into the same room under Van Pelt - which should not have happened.

Then Jordy goes down. Randall gets hurt. Davante implodes. Ty is out. Abby gets hurt during training camp and Janis isn't ready. RRod is exactly what we all thought coming out of college (over-drafted, slow and can't break a tackle) AND the OL has been a mash unit all year. Sitton is getting a little old. Bulaga is injury prone. AND Eddie came to camp fat and then got hurt. So it's understandable ARod is seeing ghosts. He doesn't take risks, and his "playmakers" haven't made plays when he's given them a chance. Not that he's not at fault too. You don't get paid 20 mil a year and make those kind of crap decisions and such poor execution. He has been mediocre and needs to look in the mirror himself. And you throw in that AR and MM are quite obviously not seeing eye to eye about things. Ugly, ugly, ugly all around!

Oh, and 17 guys are hurt right now - including our only LT and top cover guy. You know, the only guy with the speed to match DJax's. And the defense has never been able to cover seam busting TEs.

So what's to like going into tomorrow? I want to believe things will get magically better too, but the bottom line is that I see NO objective reason why this mess will improve before the offseason without a redesigned offensive coaching staff, more speed on the outside of the offense, some youth at RG, and both tackle positions.

Tundraboy's picture

This must be the missive you mentioned. Can't disagree with a single point. Hope we have a good weekend, we deserve it this year. Even if it means lower draft position. Have to salvage some pride to get through the rest of the winter.

lecko's picture

I think we all agree that changes need to be made, as well in couching (at least some change in WR and QB coaching) and in more quality additions to the roster. But knowing TT and MM, what kind of result in the playoff will make them do some changes ? I think close loss or a win in DC will be probably enough for them to "stay the course" and not change much.

If PAckers win, they probably match up better with Carolina. I wish Packers to win SB, but if they have to lose, I think more changes will be made if they play bad and loose by big margin.

Bohj's picture

Here's what I see. A team with nothing left to lose. The playoffs are a different animal. The paychecks have been paid. Rodgers said it a few times now. "You earn your paycheck in the regular season, you created your legacy in the playoffs."

Maybe we don't win tomorrow. But I think Rodgers will play his heart out tomorrow. He will be scrambling more for crucial first downs. He will hit more guys that aren't open. Why? Because the season is over otherwise. There's no collarbone or calf to protect for the next game if there isn't a next game. And his play will elevate the play of every guy, scrub, backup, and journeyman.

Peppers will get sacks. Why? Because he is old and wants that last piece of hardware for his legacy. He is captain. He will make this game mean something. You will see a different Packer team tomorrow... Win or lose.

And then what if we win? And then what if by some miracle we win again? We beat a Carolina or an Arizona? Likely? No. But if we do, and we don't change the plays. And we win anyways. What will your tune be then? Still need a regime change? A shuffling? Will winning cure all woes? Season's end is the time to have these conversations.

Against all odds. World against them. I hope the media and the fans all eat their words and we take the trophy home. And then all of the armchair know it alls will be totally baffled and clueless. It's sad to lose hope. Sadder than losing. Mailing it in is what weaker people do. People that mail it in, die in the woods. I guess I like stories like Aron Ralston. It makes for better endings. Perseverance. Adversity.

Fans that turn off the TV or leave early. They miss all the best stuff. I'm glad I saw Rodger's Hail Mary. I'm glad I saw Flynn come back and beat Dallas. My father turned the TV off both times. Now i have lasting memories. And until the Pack is truly down and out. I may just have some more. Support your team tomorrow. Have some hope. And if they crush all hopes again.....well......then we can doom and gloom till next season.

Go.....Pack.....Go

ray nichkee's picture

My dad used to shut the tv off and leave the room. I turn it right back on. Ive seen more comebacks than not. Its been my theme all along to be patient end enjoy what you can. Some people only enjoy the scoreboard. When the season is over then we can reflect on it.

PETER MAIZ's picture

This season has really tested me and my faith. I will be very honest with the guys here. This team is very beaten up and some players' ambitions, my intuition tells me, is just to end it here and go home. Packer pride has been eroded by all the slings and arrows of this tragically funny season. I say they let this one slip as no rational human can have faith on the offense.

4thand1's picture

Unless the offense plays the best game of the year.

D Ernesto's picture

This is not a talented football team. Wins against the bear, Lions, vikes, San dieago, San Fran is not a resume builder for greatness. This team needs a lot and one or two drafts will not fix it all but its a start only if Ted and mike understand nd that. It's not the injuries, those are excuses. All teams are missing people.

LAS VEGAS-TOM's picture

YES, YES, YES, I LOVE BEATING THE BASTARDS. CINN, MINN, & THE PACK. I DIDN'T BET KC. I GOT YOU BASTARDS AGAIN. WAY TO GO PACK!! WAY TO GO MM WAY TO GO AR. WAY TO GO JAMES.

COW YOU'RE DONE WITH YOUR END OF THIS BET. WHY DON'T YOU POST AND GET IT OVER WITH.

DO NOT GIVE UP ON NEXT WEEK, BELIEVE ME. I'M GOING TO THE BANK!!

LVT

LAS VEGAS-TOM's picture

YES, YES, YES, I LOVE BEATING THE BASTARDS. CINN, MINN, & THE PACK. I DIDN'T BET KC. I GOT YOU BASTARDS AGAIN. WAY TO GO PACK!! WAY TO GO MM WAY TO GO AR. WAY TO GO JAMES.

COW YOU'RE DONE WITH YOUR END OF THIS BET. WHY DON'T YOU POST AND GET IT OVER WITH.

DO NOT GIVE UP ON NEXT WEEK, BELIEVE ME. I'M GOING TO THE BANK!!

LVT

LAS VEGAS-TOM's picture

SORRY FOR THE DOUBLE POST, BUT I'M PRETTY HAPPY TODAY, & A LITTLE LOADED.LVT

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