Falcons 44 Packers 21: Game Balls & Lame Calls

The Green Bay Packers somehow reached the NFC Championship game after one of their worst stretches of football in a long time and seemed to have put their worst behind them.  And then this game happened.  The Packers are headed home after getting smoked by the Atlanta Falcons by a score of 44-21.  The Falcons are on to Super Bowl LI and send off the Georgia Dome with a majestic performance and one for their fans to remember and cherish forever.

The Packers put on one of the most embarrassing performances to start a conference championship game that I have ever seen or, at the very least, haven't seen in a long time.  The Atlanta Falcons have rolled on offense all season long and the Packers and everyone else on earth knew they would come in and score.  The Packers were supposed to keep up.  Someone forgot to bring that part of the play book with to Atlanta.  Green Bay looked slow and unprepared from the start.  Toss in a few mistakes and the scoreboard got lopsided in a hurry.

On to what was good and bad in this debacle.

Game Balls

Jordy Nelson

Broken ribs and all, Nelson wrapped himself in padding and kevlar and came out and grabbed six passes and a touchdown.  Nelson was the definition of sacrifice and courage in a game where his team truly needed him.  In his postgame comments, it was clear that quarterback Aaron Rodgers had a deep appreciation for what Nelson did to be out there playing.  This season certainly solidified all of the theories that Nelson's absence makes a big difference in Green Bay's offense.

Adam Czech

One last game ball for my friend Adam.  During this eight-game win streak, I have kept in close contact with Julianna and we've wondered how Adam might be enjoying this or if he had a deeper role.  Whatever you believe, you can believe that Adam was loving every minute of the Packers getting to this point.  Shortly before he passed, he said this team would make a run.  The Packers made a prophet out of Adam.  He was a model fan, never giving up and always taking a positive approach to whatever the situation was.  Always in our thoughts, my friend!

That's It

I can't hand out any more game balls to anyone on a team that came out and did. . .that.  Sure, some plays were made but nothing impactful.  Nothing that gave this team a chance, any semblance of a chance to compete in this game.  A conference championship and. . that?  Shut out for an entire half?!  It could easily have been a goose egg on this side of the equation.

Lame Calls

Missed Opporutnities

In a game like this, you have to take advantage of plays when they're there to be made.  Interceptions not made, fumbles not recovered.  Championship teams create and make those plays.  The other team sits on the bench staring into space.  The "staring into space" team today was the Packers.

Mason Crosby

Crosby has been good all season long.  Two game winners over the past month.  He's not perfect but a miss on his first try was just the beginning of the Packers laying down and getting steam rolled by Atlanta.  In a game where every opportunity was so valuable, Crosby failed to deliver and answer the Falcons' opening drive touchdown and failed to slow the momentum they had.  

Aaron Ripkowski

Ripkowski had a nice run until he fumbled the ball away near the goal line and Atlanta recovered.  At this point, someone should have cued the Benny Hill music as it was another failure of the Packers to score or capitalize on an opportunity.  You can't fumble the ball in a game like this.  But then he did it again in the fourth quarter.  Definitely not "Mr. Big Time", that's for sure.  Why the Packers were running the ball at that point, however, is another great question and lame call of its own.

Mike McCarthy

This team was flat out not ready for this game.  Sure they had guys playing who were already hurt and trying to get to a Super Bowl, but to put up this type of performance in a game of this caliber was a very bad look for the head man.  This game won't do much to quiet those who still question McCarthy's ability to get this team another Lombardi trophy.  Players made mistakes and didn't execute well at all, but Green Bay was out coached, schemed, out everything'ed on one of the biggest stages.  A very embarrassing day for the Packers and on McCarthy's watch.

 

Final thoughts:

  • Injuries did this team in, finally, in the end.  Letroy Guion was in at offensive guard and Brett Hundley finished out the game at quarterback.  Had someone told me we'd see Hundley today, I would have thought the Packers won this one easily
  • No lame call for LaDarius Gunter today.  Julio Jones was on another planet.  No one could have covered him.  That said, Gunter is what he was at the beginning of the season: an undrafted free agent who was to be a role player at times.  He was never meant to be a starter on the outside.  I kept calling for him to make a big play but he's just not that guy.  Packers need to find a new starter on the outside next season and preferably one with some NFL experience and a true corner.  Translated into English, that means "sign or trade for someone"
  • Jake Ryan improved in the second part of the season and will continue to be a solid presence in the middle.  I just have this feeling he's going to end up in Green Bay for a long time.  His health seems destined to always be a question, however
  • I can't recall a time that I was more disappointed in a Packers team than I am right now.  Maybe Seattle two years ago and that was probably worse, but this one sucked from start to finish.  No way to sugar coat it
  • It's going to be interesting to see what this team has to say after this loss and how they start addressing personnel changes.  That includes players, coaches and front office.  I can't put my finger exactly on where those changes need to be made, but there certainly need to be some

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Jason is a freelance writer on staff since 2012 and also co-hosts Cheesehead TV Live, Pulse of the Pack and Pack A Day podcasts.  You can follow him on Twitter here

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Comments (84)

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Iain's picture

January 23, 2017 at 06:15 am

We have zero pass rush

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Doug_In_Sandpoint's picture

January 23, 2017 at 06:20 am

Lots of doom and gloom and fire everybody talk to go around. I was far more disappointed after the Seahawks, because we really should have won that...and the SB 2 weeks later. This one I felt we got there on hope and emotion and a bit of luck.

Can't forget how emotion fits in. An interesting ball placement on a third down, a missed FG, fumble on the one. It builds confidence on one side and demoralizes the other. Not one lucky play to stop the slide and it just kept building.

Atlanta was the better team, but I'm thankful that I was able to wear my jersey, tie a packer bandana around my dog's neck, text my buddies, get really nervous/excited and call my dad to talk football for an additional 3 weeks this year.

Heal up everyone. I can't wait for training camp.

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croatpackfan's picture

January 23, 2017 at 07:15 am

Thank you. You are one of true Packers fans...

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RCPackerFan's picture

January 23, 2017 at 06:25 am

Game Balls:
Nelson.

Lame Calls:
Everyone else.

Additional thoughts:
I just would have liked to have seen what would have happened if Crosby hits the 41 yard FG to start the game, and if Ripkowski doesn't fumble. Those 2 plays doomed them from the beginning of the game.

The defense did have opportunities to get the ball back, but missed everyone of them.

The injury that the Packers couldn't overcome was to Sam Shields. Just like Nelson last year the ripple effect happened at CB. Players were thrust into roles they weren't ready for and they got hurt and the CB unit suffered all season long.

The injuries just were to much to overcome. Just the fact that we saw a NT playing OG should tell us how the injuries affected us.

While this game sucked. The fact we made it to this game was truly impressive. They were 4-6 and people wanted them to blown the team up and start over. Next thing we know we are 1 game from the Super Bowl. Amazing!

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Doug_In_Sandpoint's picture

January 23, 2017 at 07:32 am

Great point equating Shields and Nelson injuries. The upshot of Nelson going down was Adams being forced into a roll he wasn't ready for and Cobb being out of position. WR's played all year with nagging injuries. Brass saw that TE's needed improvement. One year later, Cook is contributing, Adams is much improved, Cobb is doing great, and JORDY.

Let's hope the healing of this year's nagging injuries to Randall and Rollins, experience gained by Gunter and Brice, and (dare I say it) a FA singing or two yields secondary improvement like we saw in the WR position.

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RCPackerFan's picture

January 23, 2017 at 08:01 am

It really is crazy to look at the parallel's to the WR group of last year and the CB position of this year.
I think if Randall and Rollins didn't have injuries to deal with they would have been better. The problem is they are so young to the position they needed as much practice time as they could get. And they missed a ton of practice time. But were also thrust into bigger roles due to Shields injury. Gunter became our number 1 CB and should in reality be our 3rd or 4th.

I think they have to bring in a couple more CB's. Problem is with FA's anyone worth bringing in will command a big price tag, and anyone of value really won't be much better then what we have. Almost have to draft one high.

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dobber's picture

January 23, 2017 at 10:07 am

I agree. There are a few positions you really don't want to have to buy on the open market, and the Packers have need at at least two of them: CB and edge rusher. Thankfully, they signed Bakhtiari early on at what's starting to look like a bargain contract (I'll eat crow there, because I felt he wasn't worth it when he signed it).

It's such a crap shoot in the draft that I hate to think that improvement for this Packer defense is going to rely on drafting those positions well and getting them into a contributing role virtually immediately. I hate to say it, but I think they're going to have to burn a chunk of cap to buy someone to help out in at least one of those roles.

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jfajas's picture

January 23, 2017 at 06:33 am

I think this debacle could be predicted a mile away. We have an incompetent D. No pass rush whatsoever and terrible corners.
We made this run with an exceptional QB and very few errors on the offensive side of the ball. One or two takeaways by the D helped, but it was still a sieve.
In this game, the offense committed errors (fumble, dropped passes and missed field goal). The D was atrocious once again.
Not even Rodgers could save us.
We are wasting the best QB in the league with a very flawed team (no running game and terrible D).
I think in the off-season this defensive problem needs to be addressed and fixed.
Otherwise we will probably get to the playoffs (but will be exposed once again by some team in the process).
Greetings from Lisbon!

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dobber's picture

January 23, 2017 at 10:14 am

I would argue that in recent years the Packer pass rush has mostly been an "in its own time" rush that depends on a deep secondary covering for just that extra second or two for the rush to get home. That wasn't there this year. That said, I agree: the rush needs revamping in terms of approach and personnel. The personnel side is going to happen in terms of Peppers going away. I think they bring Perry back. Jones and Elliott are toss-ups. Fackrell needs to add bulk.

They need help here, or they need to be light-years better in how they use the personnel they have.

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cuervo's picture

January 23, 2017 at 06:55 am

Since Shields is done it is imperative that we sign at least one CB. It is apparent that we currently don't have a single #1 corner prospect on the roster.

Kudos for getting this far with bailing wire and duct tape...but the defense truly needs a complete overhaul. Our current supposed playmakers are old and for the most part washed up. There is plenty of money available, so there are no excuses....unless nobody is available.

Peppers is done and will save millions. I would ask Matthews to renegoitiate his contract, and if he won't I'd cut him...better too soon that too late. This overhaul will take a couple years, but we need new playmakers and speed....period. Our offense will always be adequate as long as #12 plays.

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NickPerry's picture

January 23, 2017 at 07:03 am

I don't think this team is as nearly far away as you think. I agree with much of what you said, but an 'Overhaul" isn't needed. The Playmakers on this Offense just averaged 32 points a game the last 8 weeks and that was with no real RB and injuries to a WR or TE every week. The O-Line will be tricky and I think signing Tretter might be tough.

Defensive "Overhaul", you damn right. But it absolutely positively has to start at the top with Capers.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

January 23, 2017 at 07:05 am

Nick, prepare yourslef for business as usual at 1265.

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RCPackerFan's picture

January 23, 2017 at 07:24 am

We don't need an overhaul. We need to add a few pieces but not a complete overhaul...

On defense, I'm torn on Capers.

He needs better players. No question. But could another DC get more out of what they do have?

The one big reason why I do question it. Casey Hayward. The last 2-3 years in Green Bay he was pedestrian after a tremendous rookie year. He goes to San Diego is ranked one of the best in the league. So is that coaching?
Is Capers using the players to the best of their abilities? I think its a fair question to ask.

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cuervo's picture

January 23, 2017 at 07:25 am

That's what I was attempting to say. Our offense will fine, our defense is a cluster of old players past their prime, and a bunch of JAGS. There is not one single reliable difference maker on the defense anymore.

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pooch's picture

January 23, 2017 at 09:36 am

If 12 throws 5 td passes yesterday we probably still lose.Ted has to go.His reluctance on signing free agents to shore up pourous defense has all ready cost us probably two Lombardis if not a 3rd this year.6 years now and this draft and develope is not working.Its like a cancer.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

January 23, 2017 at 07:04 am

"imperative that we sign at least one CB"

I really highly doubt that they will. It would be ridiculous and irresponsible not to, but I expect that TT will not.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

January 23, 2017 at 09:29 am

haha downvoters.

Some of you folks have the idea that TT is this generational GM. He's not. Sorry to pop your bubble. He's an above average drafter and day to day manager. He has completely failed to leverage Free Agency as a legitimate channel to fill gaps in a team. In fact I would argue that if he did not have the extreme luck to have 2 HOF QBs land in his lap his teams would be average. Basically without AR and BF they would be the Bears of the last 10 years.

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pooch's picture

January 23, 2017 at 09:37 am

Probably like Browns with Brohm at qb

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Packmaniac's picture

January 23, 2017 at 07:05 am

Yep, Shields is done and you're right about the need to sign a CB after drafting and developing Casey Hayward for the Chargers.

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croatpackfan's picture

January 23, 2017 at 07:26 am

I remember one game at Lambeau when Casey Hayward was playing for Packers and Julio Jones was playing for Atlanta - it was somewhat 259 yards and TD scored by Julio Jones... Casey was playing badly...
Say that Casey Hayward is good to very good CB when team plays zone, but not so good when team plays man. He is to slow...

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fthisJack's picture

January 23, 2017 at 08:06 am

even when we had the players on defense, Capers never took advantage. 2011 they had great players but a defense ranked 19th. he is what has kept GB from 2 more SB appearances.....2011 and 2014.

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Packmaniac's picture

January 23, 2017 at 06:56 am

With Ted's obsessive aversion to trades and veteran free agency (he LOVES undrafted rookie free agency) and his weak track record drafting D the past half dozen years or so (former first round picks Perry, Jones and Clark combined for 5 tackles and Randall was a big part of the torching) fielding a competitive defense doesn't feel like it's just around the corner.

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NickPerry's picture

January 23, 2017 at 08:30 am

Something else to note... The Falcons draft from the SEC and ACC a lot. Both Collins and Jones (Who I loved but was told was to small) are from LSU and Neal from Florida. EVERY player can flat out fly too.

Thompson continues to draft from the Pac-12 even though his best pick in last 3 years came from SEC (HHCD). Not bashing, just saying.

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Razer's picture

January 23, 2017 at 09:42 am

I agree. We seem to be west coast driven. Got to wonder if we have scouts outside of the Pac-12.

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Big_Mel_75's picture

January 23, 2017 at 09:50 am

I really have wondered if the Pac- 12 scout has blackmail photos of TT or something that TT drafts many players from Pac -12.

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dobber's picture

January 23, 2017 at 10:20 am

I don't care where they find players, so long as they find them.

Take New England, for example (as tired an example as it is): They have as many players from non-power conference schools (Kent State? Monmouth?) as they do from the SEC, and many of those players are starting or contributing.

Just find them...

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dschwalm's picture

January 23, 2017 at 01:29 pm

It's not the players but the "system" in New England. I hate saying that!!

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NickPerry's picture

January 23, 2017 at 04:37 pm

You're right, they seem to find them no matter where they play. I want to point out one FA singing who would have made a WORLD of difference to this defense. Alan Branch signed with New England as a FA in 2015. His contract? 2 years, $4.3 million with $700,000.00 guaranteed and a $700,000.00 signing bonus. About $2.1 Million in 2015 and $2.7 in 2016. My point is these are EXACTLY the types of signings the Packers NEED to start making, ones that don't break the bank but pay off. Obviously you never know which will but Ted's track record with FA's that are cut have been pretty damn good. Guion, Peppers, and Cook mare all FA's Ted signed that din't cost the Packers even a 7th rounder.

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dobber's picture

January 24, 2017 at 08:53 am

I would argue that players are willing to give the Patriots a Bill Belichick discount. They know the Patriots are likely to be playing the last two weekends of the playoffs, and they're going to get to play in a big market with plenty of amenities and a reasonable chance for personal marketing. All the Packers can offer in that regard is really the playoff side. The rest? Not so much.

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Big_Mel_75's picture

January 23, 2017 at 09:48 am

I firmly believe that TT needs to go. You can not simply turn your nose up to other players around the league. Letting Hayward walk was a HUGE mistake. TT can not draft on defense to save his life. Daniels and Matthews for the long years isn't enough... You need to draft develop and sprinkle in free agents to fill the gaps. I vet DB would have helped wonders with this team. After TT is gone you can argue to get rid of Capers but I don't think the best D-cord could produce championship d with these players.

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Razer's picture

January 23, 2017 at 07:20 am

Let's face it, we were fortunate to make it to the NFCCG. Aaron Rodgers was the only real difference maker over the last 8 games. Not being competitive in this final game was a disappointment. You only have to look at Atlanta and New England to realize that the best teams got to the SB and did it in convincing fashion. Can't argue with better play.

I know that there are calls for a lot of heads and enough lame calls to cover two teams. I see enough on offense (Aaron Rodgers) to get us a SB. I don't see enough defensive talent to get us to the top. We don't have the CB's to cover championship WRs. We don't have pass rushers to even beat average lines and we still have A.J. Hawk at ILB. If firing Capers satisfies your need for blood fine - but it doesn't change our lack of talent - sorry.

The 2016-2017 Packers overachieved and we were treated to a fantasy ride. Find pleasure in that and hope that we can add a couple of difference makers on next year's version of the team.

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cuervo's picture

January 23, 2017 at 07:28 am

That is a short, concise, and accurate synopsis of the season and team.

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RCPackerFan's picture

January 23, 2017 at 07:32 am

I just mentioned it above, but I'm torn on Capers.

The defense needs better players. No question. We can't completely blame Capers for what has happened on the defense. He's trying to play Euchre with a bunch of 9's and 10's.

The question I have is can another DC get more out of what they do have? Like Euchre its not necessarily about having 9's and 10's but its knowing when and how to use them the best.

Regardless they need better talent on Defense. They need better pass rushers and need more CB's.

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fthisJack's picture

January 23, 2017 at 08:09 am

Capers has had better players in years past and has squandered the opportunities. time for him to "retire."

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pooch's picture

January 23, 2017 at 09:41 am

why does Dom have dbs playing 10 yards off recievers,game after game after game you see this

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Razer's picture

January 23, 2017 at 09:47 am

Randall played 10 yds off and could get anywhere near his assignment. Gunter played at the line and couldn't get in front of his man. By and large it doesn't matter where this secondary played, they didn't have the talent to beat their man.

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pooch's picture

January 23, 2017 at 11:15 am

I meant why are the open by 10 yards ?Its just laughable at times,is that how they played in college?

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Razer's picture

January 23, 2017 at 01:40 pm

I think that he totally lost his confidence and it showed worse as the games got bigger. I don't know if he really has true corner instincts or skill. He was a safety in college.

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NickPerry's picture

January 23, 2017 at 04:41 pm

I think that's pretty accurate. He plays 10 yards off and stays 10 yards off the whole time on most patterns. I actually feel bad for the guy because I don't know if he'll EVER come back from that. He might be worse than Ahmad Carroll.

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NickPerry's picture

January 23, 2017 at 07:21 am

It seems we're here at the end of the Packers season talking about the same things year in and year out. The "Game Balls" for this game are hard to find other than Nelson. Instead I look at the last 8 weeks of absolute joy, a spot in the NFCCG despite a Defense like that, and a hell of a ride this season. The Packers were exposed and had they played the Patriots in the SB just rewatch yesterday's defensive effort and that's what would have happened in the SB. You CAN'T put a defense like that on the field this deep in the Playoffs and expect to win every week.

This team is to far away defensively to try and fix it with the draft. Aaron Rodgers just turned 33 and even Mark Murphy has to notice time is beginning to run out. Take a few weeks away from 'Titletown" Mark and evaluate what the hell is really going on. The Defense has been mostly bad for 6 years in a row. The draft hasn't really given the Packers much in the last 2 years, and those players that were such great finds in the 4th and 5th rounds before are old and moving on. Lets PLEASE try something different.

Game Ball/Lame call...Having to watch a warrior like TJ Lang ride off in that cart. Obviously overcome with emotion of coming so close yet ending so far from a SB. Perhaps playing his last game in GB after playing through the last few injured. Give this Defense 11 TJ Lang's and we'll win a SB every year.

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fthisJack's picture

January 23, 2017 at 08:26 am

hard to find impact players when your picking in the late 20's year after year so i think you start with a new DC and go from there. i think FA on D are a must this offseason.

resign Lang and Tretter. Mathews is making a lot of money for what he brings these days.....be better off spending that money elsewhere. you could get 2 decent players for what he is making. Peppers needs to retire. resign Perry. upgrade the CB position, DE, OLB, ILB positions through draft and FA. let fat Eddie walk and take a comp pick and draft a RB. draft is loaded with quality. Starks gone. 83 isn't ever going to get it....move on from him.

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rdent's picture

January 23, 2017 at 11:23 am

One columnist wrote this morning that all 7 rounds of the draft wouldn't be enough to fix the Packers D

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carusotrap's picture

January 23, 2017 at 12:01 pm

"hard to find impact players when your picking in the late 20's year after year so i think you start with a new DC and go from there. i think FA on D are a must this offseason"

But this contradicts itself. Going with a new DC doesn't get you FA on D or a better draft. 95% of the comments here agree that we don't have the players on D. So why are we talking about Capers? Ted is responsible for the personnel philosophy, and there is NO argument for him staying. Then if you want Capers gone, OK, but a new DC with the same limited personnel approach is almost sure to yield the same results.

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Big_Mel_75's picture

January 24, 2017 at 08:14 am

Scares me that Murphy is just happy with the status quo as he doesn't want to make a change and have it be the wrong guy... I think if he picks Wolf or Brian G it will be fine.. Just need a sprinkle of right price free agents to put this team over the top. Resign Lacy, Lang, Hyde, Cook. Bring in a DB, OLB, maybe MLB and draft some good kids and lets get back to SB!!

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pacman's picture

January 23, 2017 at 07:59 am

When the offense heals (Nelson, Adams and now Montgomery) we are pretty good there. Offensive line hasn't shown to push anyone around but they do protect AR. But Lang might be done now. If he needs knee surgery, he's not coming back for 2017.

Defense - injured, slow, just plane not good enough. Unless we find out that CM is much more injured than we know, it's time to renegotiate or cut him. Who can we bring back on the defensive side....? I'm still thinking and that includes coaches.

Last time we had an embarrassing failure, it was in Seattle and MM cleaned house. That was just 2 mistakes. There might not have even been 2 good defensive plays yesterday. Totally unprepared, out coached, out everything.

Either Atlanta is that good or we made them look that good. If they crush the Pat's, I'll feel a bit better. If Pat's win, that means we are worse than I thought.

Unfortunately, I don't see how we turn this around in one year. On the positive side, we can't get much worse on defense.

Finally, either spend money to win or sell the team to somebody who will. Obviously, not gonna happen. But 2 SB for 2 HOF QB's is not acceptable. At least Favre went to 2.

Time to hibernate.

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Razer's picture

January 23, 2017 at 08:06 am

...Time to hibernate...

Ha, ha. The weeks get long now until we get to the draft. I too see a long sleepy period

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dobber's picture

January 23, 2017 at 10:32 am

Still, the predraft time is my second favorite time of the year. I'm looking forward to all the speculation and window-shopping.

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EdsLaces's picture

January 23, 2017 at 07:50 am

We should never have to rely so heavily on a fullback to run the ball. I like Monty and Eddie,but I think we need to add a 2nd or 3rd round RB to the equation. I'd say 1st rounder but that needs to be a defensive monster. Need that LB that can get to the qb. Disappointed in the way our season ended, but in the end we just didn't have the health/talent.

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RCPackerFan's picture

January 23, 2017 at 08:03 am

Yeah, i agree... We could really use another RB.

Bring back Lacy, have Montgomery. Bring in a rookie, and should be set at RB. Let Starks go, and Michael?

Lacy was having a really good year until he got hurt. Him and Montgomery could make a really good 1-2 punch. Have to have a good 3rd RB though.

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EdsLaces's picture

January 23, 2017 at 10:09 am

I like a Rookie/Eddie combo. Michael stays and Monty goes back to WR. I think Monty is just too injury prone for RB.

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Handsback's picture

January 23, 2017 at 07:55 am

After a game like yesterday’s probably the biggest urge is to want to start over. The reality is the Packers have a very good core and needs to fill in some of the areas where they are weak. The persistent problems I see is those areas have been there for several years and either bad drafting/player development or luck keeps Green Bay from strengthen those areas.
Where are the pass rushers? I saw NE, Pitt, and Atl all put pressure on the QB. Green Bay has to use DB blitzes or 2 LBs all the time to get pressure on the QB. Guess what happens when they do that? Julio Jones goes for 180 yards. Since CM has been in his semi-impact performance, Green Bay hasn't found another guy to put that pressure on the QB. So they rely on Perry and Peppers to also blitz hoping one of them can overmatch their opponent and get to the QB.
Doing the above puts a lot of pressure on the DBs. Having Shields, lessens that and allows better coverage for the rest of the field. Now that Shields is most likely done, who takes his place? How do you get a shut-down corner?
Green Bay has two ways to go, get the players Caper's needs for his defense by FA or get another DC that uses a different style of defense to stop today's offenses. Doing the later still doesn't fix the no/inadequate pass rushers or a true #1 CB.
These last three games gave some very valuable playing time to some young players for the Packers. In the end, we'll see what players can be developed and where TT stands in grabbing a few FAs for next year's run.
If Green Bay can find a way to apply constant pressure to the opponent's QB, they can make it to the SB.

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croatpackfan's picture

January 23, 2017 at 07:59 am

I'm sad Packers lost. But, hell, I'm always sad when Packers lost. This time I was hoping Packers will overcome their shortcomings and find a way to win over Falcons (in a grind way!). At the same time I was very aware that Packers D is completely banged on every line and at every position.
Packers lost. This season is not mentioned for Packers to win. Be honest - coming to this NFCCG Packers had 7 players placed on injury list, 3 of them are starters. But lets be honest, that list should be much longer (Jordy, Davante, Geronimo, Randall, Rollins, Burnett, Michael). During game Packers lost Brice (rookie, but with some experience), Hyde, T. J. Lang, Taylor, Bulaga, Montgomery.
I wonder how would Atlanta played with 2 top WR (Jones, Sanu) serious injured, and to lose their safety, slot corner, 1 starter RB, 1 starting ILB and 60% of the offensive line...
I wonder...
Now it will be long time without football, Packers football... We will start to "fight" about draft prospects, available FA, re-signing Packers FA etc.
And for all those who are now talking about Packers DB group with odium, I want to remind that 90% of you here were talking Packers are loaded in CB group. That was the last team group we were worrying about...
We were worried about pass rush, ILB position, TE position, we were mad about Sitton, discussing about DL, doubting in Adams, fearing that Jordy will not be the old one, etc...
Mostly we were not worrying about DB, we consider them the strongest Packers group...
How little we knew!
So, accepting that, how little I know, I want to thank, first, the Packers organization, coaches and players for this very nice journey they took us through, in which we had 12 happy moments and 7 sad...
I would like to thank you, members of this portal, stuff and people who were exchanging their thoughts. It was also pleasent to be part of this "community"...
Thank you all for this season!

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pacman's picture

January 23, 2017 at 08:52 am

A very cordial, sportsman like letter to the team. A lot of truth here.

But someone needs a killer instinct and a will to spend money and win. If upper management is happy with how things are 'considering' the injuries and how we over-achieved, nothing will change. Unfortunately, history shows us it won't change GB.

Something has to change somewhere at the top.

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carusotrap's picture

January 23, 2017 at 12:13 pm

The personnel and the defensive scheme are mismatched. Ted won't change his love of all things undrafted (and his belief that he's the only GM who can judge talent...sometimes there's a reason they are undrafted, Ted). And Dom is going to keep running that convoluted D that no one except him and Morgan Burnett seem to understand.

Sounds to me like you get a new GM who then sits down with the HC to figure out exactly what kind of DC you need.

And I really doubt any of this happens.

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Couch Cleats's picture

January 23, 2017 at 08:05 am

This team just flat out ran out of healthy bodies and defensive talent. AR dragged this team into the playoffs, past the Giants and barely past the Cowboys. This was not a playoff team with any other QB at the helm.

The defense did pretty much what I expected all week when imagining Gunter covering Julio and Randall trying to cover anyone else at all, and Rollins and Burnette trying to come back from injury and etc., etc. etc . . . .

I couldn't help but think that most of the country would have enjoyed a game between Dallas and Atlanta more by the end of the first quarter.

In the end, they overachieved mostly due to Rodgers being other worldly down the stretch. Healthy or not, there simply isn't enough talent on that defense to take down the big boys at the end of the year and get another SB trophy.

All of the poor draft picks (especially the high ones) on Defense just came home to roost.

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Razer's picture

January 23, 2017 at 08:19 am

...In the end, they overachieved mostly due to Rodgers being other worldly down the stretch. Healthy or not, there simply isn't enough talent on that defense to take down the big boys at the end of the year and get another SB trophy.

All of the poor draft picks (especially the high ones) on Defense just came home to roost...

My sentiments as well. The poor and low drafting of defensive players has "come home to roost". Not sure we should expect this to change next year. There in lies the problem going forward.

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BigCheese2's picture

January 23, 2017 at 08:08 am

Our biggest issue is TT.

Dom Capers had his hands tied with sorry cornerbacks all year, but history continues to repeat itself with DC at the reigns. The rankings of our defense has been sub-par year after year, especially in the playoffs. We need to fire DC (even if it's to shake things up) and TT needs to step down.

We are watching our years, spoiled by the best quarterback to ever play the game, slip by because of terrible defensive (cornerback this year) play and lack of offensive weapons (in previous years/running back). Both of these due to lack of free agency mild aggression. I know the draft and develop ideology bodes well-- for making it to the divisional round or NFCCG and not the superbowl. I don't think you get a participation medal for "almost making it."

My question is Stephon Gilmore or Trumaine Johnson? Is CM even worth a re-sign? I'm scared we will waste money on Eddie and bring him back. We need a three-down back in the draft/free agency. One that we don't have to worry about weight and has big play ability.

If we don't make a splash, we will watch Rodgers years slip by very quickly.

Thoughts?

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Razer's picture

January 23, 2017 at 08:33 am

My hope is that the Packers are not one of those teams who have too many flaws to get there and need to hit the rebuild button. I don't think we are that team BUT we are not improving on defense and we don't appear to have enough talent to make it over the hump. Following TT's draft and develop approach is only working because of our good fortune to have Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers makes us competitive but our roster is at best a 500 club. Can we expect a big leap on defense next year, after a another draft? I doubt that any of us are confident that another draft will fix this team - especially on defense.

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fthisJack's picture

January 23, 2017 at 08:47 am

i wouldn't pay Lacey...he's fat and always hurt. let him go and take the comp pick.

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dobber's picture

January 23, 2017 at 10:41 am

I would argue that they're better off signing Lacy to a one-year deal, letting him play out a season in an early-down role/timeshare with a guy like Montgomery, and then letting him walk when he's played more. As it stands--coming off an injury--he's not likely to yield much in the comp pick equation, and he won't be an expensive re-sign. Bringing him back mitigates a need and allows the Packers to focus on other positions in the draft. You can't draft everything in one year, and who are you going to find on the market who's likely to be better and more affordable?

I know many are chomping at the bit to cut ties with him, but it makes too much sense to bring him back.

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Tundraboy's picture

January 23, 2017 at 08:30 pm

Agree. It makes no sense to let Lacy go. We have too many other needs as it is. Plus I want to see us play Lacy and Montgomery and find a 3rd back as well.

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TXCHEESE's picture

January 23, 2017 at 08:23 am

I wonder how many times Ripkowski dropped his luggage during the trip. His fumble swung the momentum entirely to the Falcons. Congrats though to Atlanta. The Packers were going to need to play error free yesterday to stand a chance and that sadly didn't happen. Unless Damarious Randall is really injured; he needs to take a long hard look in the mirror. His play throughout the last few games has been inexcusable. It truly may be time to look for a defensive coordinator. Matt Ryan was hardly touched yesterday.

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pacman's picture

January 23, 2017 at 08:39 am

Not that it is not his 'fault', but Rip's fumble was a strip sack of the highest order. While he was standing up, his right arm was pulled away and the defender had the brains (and time) to stick fully his hand in there and rip it away.

Packers USED to do that but I don't recall the last time they did.

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Razer's picture

January 23, 2017 at 08:42 am

...Unless Damarious Randall is really injured; he needs to take a long hard look in the mirror...

I don't believe that I have ever seen a guy play with so little confidence down the stretch. Even at 10 yards off, he was hopelessly behind the play. Then he'd throw his hands up in despair after his assignment beat him. It was sad.

Felt for Capers who tried to cover up our weakness by playing zone which Ryan shredded. Switching to man-to-man really exposed the lack of cover ability of both our linebackers and secondary - especially when the pass rush never showed up.

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stockholder's picture

January 23, 2017 at 08:29 am

Hindsight? and Reload? Shields still suffers from headaches. He's Done! It's time to rebuild that secondary. They just don't have the corners. Too small and will always be hurt. The play is Too SOFT. The demand on them to tackle, is to great in capers defense. Get bigger and better CBs, or fire Capers. Every year one good WR destroys the team's gains. It's not about stepping up. "It's about being destroyed." No WR should ever gain more than a 100 yds. in a good defense. The packers brass has to change their ways. Forget the stats. I'm not asking them to find superman. Just make a top defense.

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Tundraboy's picture

January 23, 2017 at 08:36 am

Yes we need talent on D, but it is time for Capers to go. 6 years of saying "if only we had a GOOD Defense. Enough

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Bert's picture

January 23, 2017 at 08:50 am

Yeah the "if we only had a GOOD defense" is getting old. Ted has to realize that draft-and-develop just isn't the answer or we'll be saying it again next year too. I'm not sure that we can actually get the right players with the needed talent by opening day 2017 even if Ted does sign a FA or two. Drafting in the late twenties won't fix it for sure. I'm guessing Ted "fixes" the defense by using 6 of 9 draft picks on the defense with the usual results. Keep Dix, Burnett, Daniels, Clark and the young LBs. Not much else to work with. Not sure about Capers unless there is somebody better out there. He's pretty much average DC with below average talent to work with.

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fthisJack's picture

January 23, 2017 at 08:50 am

even when the DB are healthy his defense sucks.

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snowdog's picture

January 23, 2017 at 01:39 pm

How much effect on the D line that came from a college 4-3 program, that had to "Adjust" to a 3-4 . It just can't be a seamless Plug - n - Play .

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Since'61's picture

January 23, 2017 at 08:56 am

Game Balls: Jordy Nelson, Aaron Rodgers
Lame Calls: Rip's fumble, injuries, entire defense

The Packers took us on a great run during which Aaron Rodgers played QB as well as any QB I have ever seen for 8 games. In the end the story of this season is the same as it has been for several seasons now, too many injuries to overcome. It started with Shields and got progressively worse as the season went on. We played 16 consecutive games without a bye and that took it's toll as well. I don't want to use injuries and the schedule as an excuse but they were factors in the collapse in Atlanta yesterday especially on the defense. MM did a great job to keep this team focused and to get to the NFCCG after going 4-6. I don't believe there is another coach in the league who could have done the same given the number of injured players and without a bye week. Once again we end a season wondering when and how the defense will be fixed. Clearly the offense can play with any team in the league but the defense needs better players at the LB and CB levels. For now, it's wait 'til next year once again. Thanks, Since '61

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egbertsouse's picture

January 23, 2017 at 09:25 am

Forget CBS, go find another Vonn Miller or JJ Watt.

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BigCheese2's picture

January 23, 2017 at 11:17 am

When we acquire reliable corners that we can actually trust to cover wide receivers, we will be able to actually send more than 4 d-lineman to the quarterback without giving up a 75 yard passing touchdown... Corners are needed more than a DE/Edge Rusher.

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Spock's picture

January 23, 2017 at 02:51 pm

Good plan. We'll just go out to the "future hall of famer" Tree and pluck one! Sure would be nice for one to show up for us somehow/some way (draft/free agency) to get before next season, but those guys are rare for a reason! I still hold out hope that the new rules allowing trading of comp picks will FINALLY let the Packers move up enough to draft a real defensive gem. It will be interesting to see if TT or one of the recently financially awarded "understudies" will be the one drafting come April (or whenever the next draft is). This off season should prove VERY interesting! :)

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egbertsouse's picture

January 23, 2017 at 09:27 am

CBs, not CBS. Damn auto correct!

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al bundy's picture

January 23, 2017 at 09:59 am

Al has mixed feelings about this game and the season.
Packers did a lot, more than I expected with the lack of talent on this team, thank MVP Rogers for most of that.
Pity on those who blame it on injuries. Atlanta was missing 4 people we were missing 15 or more by the end of the game.
Pity on those who say its the youth that hasnt developed. Atlanta front four and linebackers are mostly first and second year players who arent going away soon.
No I blame it on draft and development that isnt working and hasnt worked for three years. You cant just acquire bodies.
The Giants went out and signed three top free agents who literally turned that team around.
Plan on a similar season next year or worse if Ted doenst get some real help on pass defense through fress agency. Rollins, Guntter and Randle have developed and not nicely. they were beaten all year. 429 yards yesterday alone. This is considered the worst pass D in the league. Only Ted can change that.

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carusotrap's picture

January 23, 2017 at 12:27 pm

Only Ted? Actually, only Mark Murphy can change that, because we all know that Ted will change nothing. His draft and develop philosophy is like playing blackjack with no face cards. You can get to 21, but it's twice as hard and takes twice as long, and all to prove a point.

And no, I'm not saying sell the farm. Just use every avenue available to an NFL team in 2017.

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jfajas's picture

January 23, 2017 at 11:57 am

I agree our corners are terrible, worst pass D in the nfl says it all, but the guys upfront aren't cutting it either. Was Ryan touched the entire game?
We are in dire need of 6/7 new players (2 DE, at least one DT, OLB and 2 DBs). That´s the way I see it.
The worst part: I've been saying this for 3 years (except for the DBs).
The problem is getting worse... and 12 is one year older...

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Lphill's picture

January 23, 2017 at 01:05 pm

I am proud of how they battled through injuries, I will always wear my Packers colors proudly win or lose, it was a fun ride and beating the Giants and Cowboys was great. I think going forward I would like to say goodbye to Peppers , Perry and Ted Thompson that would be a good start .

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snowdog's picture

January 23, 2017 at 01:54 pm

Perry ? He was a corner stone on the D-line . Played with heart , didn't just mail it in , even with a club no less .

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stockholder's picture

January 23, 2017 at 03:18 pm

I think your looking at the cost of keeping Perry. He's going to slow down. If you want a faster defense and better at OLB. Than why give him a multi 5 mil a year? I think he is strictly an elephant now. So that lowers the market. Datone Jones will get more offers than perry. My feeling is he goes to a 4-3-4. 5 mil a year. Which I don't think TT will pay either. Good bye Peppers, Perry, and Jones. Mathews will go elephant/OLB. They played well. Regardless the defense is broke.

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dobber's picture

January 24, 2017 at 08:59 am

Perry is too valuable to let go for many reasons...
1. has shown that he's arguably the Packers best pass-rusher and has been an ascending player the last two seasons.
2. can set the edge and play the run effectively, so he's not one-dimensional
3. has had limited high-end play, so won't be as expensive as other FA pass-rushers on the market.
4. knows the system and plays effectively in it (no "square peg round hole" problems)
5. with Elliott, Peppers, and Perry all with expiring contracts (and Peppers not likely to return) they can't let all three go and have any reasonable kind of pass rush from the outside.

I think bringing Perry back is a no-brainer.

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Koostyroosty's picture

January 23, 2017 at 07:52 pm

any Packers fan who didn't think a blowout like this was a distinct possibility either didn't watch the defense for the last half of the season or wasn't being very realistic.

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GeorgiaCheesehead's picture

January 23, 2017 at 08:49 pm

Nothing will change in GB as long as TT is around.

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4thand1's picture

January 24, 2017 at 04:26 pm

Lame call, the front office. The whole world could see the inevitable flaws on this team. TT was perfectly ok with putting everything on Rodgers shoulders, hoping he could pull out another miracle.

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