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Gut Reactions Week 13

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Gut Reactions Week 13

  • Season. Over.
  • The Packers played five games in November - and won one.
  • Mike McCarthy's decisions to run the fullback dive at the end of the game and THEN kick the field goal made zero sense. Yes, the FB dive worked last week - much closer to the goal line. You have a quarterback who's on fire throwing to a ton of talented receivers and tight ends - and you run John Kuhn? Pitiful. And to then kick the field goal, when your special teams have been awful all game and your defense has been terrible at the end of every single close game this season - well, it was positively Mike Sherman-esque.
  • Can someone please give Tramon Williams a lesson in down and distance?
  • And while they're at it, they may want to explain what bump and run coverage is.
  • I think it's fair to say that, at this point in his career, when the game is on the line, Aaron Rodgers can't win it for you. Absolutely an atrocious decision on the throw to Driver at the end.
  • Bob Sanders should be fired. But we knew that already.
  • What we're finding out is that Mike Stock should be as well. On the heels of his idiotic statments to Bob McGinn, his teams played just about as bad as 'professionals' can play in every phase. And how do you not have Crosby kicking it into the endzone right from the beginning of the game? It's not like he has trouble booting it into the endzone whenever he's asked to do it. Why are you fooling around with 'angling' the kick?
  • Speaking of special teams - Thompson REALLY screwed up when he cut both Jon Ryan and then later Tracy White. You would think the fact that they cut White to keep Lansanah would mean that Lansanah could get on the goaline defense team ahead of Desmond Bishop - who was terrible again today. The fact that he can't just makes me think Thompson really, really fucked up.
  • Sorry for the cursing there, but man am I pissed.
  • So your 2008 Green Bay Packers can score a lot of points - but can't stop anyone on defense or cover anyone on special teams. Sounds like the formula that got Mike Sherman fired. At least Ed Donatell had the excuse of having minimal talent. Bob Sanders has Charles Woodson, Aaron Kampman, Ryan Pickett, Al Harris, AJ Hawk, Nick Collins - and just gave up 51 and 35 points in the last two weeks. If he's not gone at the end of the season, something is seriously, seriously wrong.
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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (39) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Brucej400's picture

It sounds like the team is feeding off of the poor decisions of the management and coaches. Pride is a killer, along with not admitting to making mistakes. BJ

keeley's picture


dustybricks6's picture

jackson and grant should have been splitting carries the entire season.

As far as the defense in concerned: complete overhaul. no one should be safe in the off-season. Whatever it takes to change the entire dynamic of that unit should be done.

Donald's Designated Driver's picture

The bottom line with play calling is that you just can't fucking win. No matter what. Last season McCarthy called a pass at the one yard line and Favre threw a pick (returned for a TD) and McCarthy is the biggest fucking idiot in the world. (WHY THROW THE BALL AT THE GOAL LINE!?!?!?!)

I don't think a dive is ever (ever ever ever ever ever) a bad call on the goal line. Sometimes you get the yard. Sometimes you don't. But I can't even imagine a situation where its a "bad call." Similarly, you are at home late in the fourth quarter, you gotta take the points. That was the right call. If McCarthy went for it and came up short he would be crucified (and rightfully so) by the same fans that are calling him an idiot for taking the FG.

The failure was giving up a 45 yard kickoff return and a 50 yard pass.

Ron La Canne's picture

Can anyone explain why a team with only one receiver, Steve Smith, is allowed one on one coverage at any time? He should have been doubled all day. Sanders - Moron!

Where the hell is pressure on defense coming from? Aaron Kampman is the only guy worth keeping. O line - salvage what you can and go to the FA market and fix it.

MM you need to be fired too. Your play calling on the last drive was horrible.

Donald's Designated Driver's picture

Oh, and I don't think the season is over by a long shot. Not when the Vikings and Bears are the main competition.

dustybricks6's picture

frankly, i don't think we'd know what to do with the playoffs even if we got there. Let's lick our wounds and FIX the problems. And TT, I don't want to hear about "your guys". I want to hear about "the guys", "the best guys". Spend some money, work the draft. Fix this very potent, very underachieving team.

dustybricks6's picture

For those older fans, exactly how bad was it to be a packer fan in the 80s? I fear I've been spoiled for far too long...

packeraaron's picture

dusty - trust me - this is nothing like it.

Mr.Man's picture

I think the failures in McCarthy's judgment were (A) not trying at least one pass from first and goal on the 7 (although maybe he was afraid A-Rodge was shook up after the personal foul) or not trying at least using one obvious passing formation as the Panthers were generally the more physical team all game, and (B) not squib kicking the ensuing kickoff. Really, it was more a game where crap execution lost the game. Crap punting. Crap special teams coverage. Random crap pass coverage. Crap pass rush (both of Kampman's sacks were coverage sacks). Crap snap by Wells (did he have a concussion before that play?). Too much crapping to win.

packeraaron's picture

DDD - couldn't disagree more. Look at the play again - they aren't on the goalline. And you can't link to a post here at CHTV calling McCarthy an idiot for throwing at the goalline last year because it doesn't exist. And "taking the points" is loser talk. Take the points when your defense hasn't had a stop to win a game all year? Level with me. DDD is really Mike Sherman, isn't it....

MC's picture

But at least our team is completely "Ted's Team" now. No more pesky talents like Corey Williams hogging up roster space. (That was sarcasm, btw. I've felt that -- ever since Ted took over -- it was his mission to purge the team of anyone NOT drafted by him.)

Oh well, at least we used the dead space created by Nick Barnett's injury to add some shining diamond in the rough to the rost...oh shit, we didn't. Or did we? Who knows any more.

Donald's Designated Driver's picture

I didn't visit this site last year, so I'm not sure what was spoken here about the goal line pick. But are you denying that McCarthy was largely castigated for it basically everywhere else?

If McCarthy would have passed down at the goal line---and it didn't work---tell me with a straight face that your wouldn't be bitching about "abandoning the run." (Like last week, when calling 17 out of 38 runs was insufficient).

Cliff Cristl had a good take on Monday morning quarterbacking. Essentially, his attitude was that he could never criticize play calling because coaches spend hours and hours pouring over film. Studying the tendencies of every single player on the opposing defense. Trying to get an edge. At bottom, there is so much going on behind the scenes that the average journalist (and certainly the average fan) has no idea about, it is an act of hubris to second guess play calling.

Now, I'm not the absolutist that Cristl is. I do believe there is a time and place for second guessing the play calling. But it takes very special kind of delusion to think that after every single close loss, the team would have won if only *I* had been calling the plays. Get real.

Last week, the yo yos at Packergeek were up in arms because McCarthy wasn't running the ball enough ***when the team was down by three scores***. This week McCarthy is criticized for not passing the ball when the Packers are at the ***one yard line***. What planet are you people from?

...And kicking FG and taking "the lead" was the right call. It's not like McCarthy shies away from being aggressive on fourth down. Quite the opposite.

You've got to be able to count on your defense holding the other team to at most a FG. So who's the scaredy cat? The guy that freaks out and tries goes for it at the goal line because he has no confidence in his defense. Or the guy who stays with the game plan, makes the smart call, and counts on his pass defense (which has been stellar all year long) to keep the opposing offense in front of him. If that makes me Mike Sherman (lame insult by the way), then so be it.

Stanislaw's picture

Dude, if you want everyone to take you and your opinions seriously, then chill out. Any jackass can give knee-jerk, frustrated ripostes - be a zen master because in the end you (and all of us) have NOTHING to do with a professional team's win or losses.


packeraaron's picture

DDD - Cristal was right about MMQBing. That's why it's a good thing I don't post "Gut Reactions" on Monday's. I don't get your continued obtuseness when it comes to the title of these weekly missives. On gameday, I allow myself to be as irrational as any other fan. On Monday - I try to be as rational and objective as possible. That ok with you?

Mrs Nagler's picture

Gosh. Bit heated here. Perhaps nobody should post after ANOTHER hideous and painful loss. Wait until the morning. We'll all love each other again. Love and light. Love and light.

Donald's Designated Driver's picture

PA: Fine. Have it your way. I won't criticize your totally girly overreactions. (I'm half-joking, here).

I can't go and piss off more blogs today. (Seems I've been "kicked out" of Packer Geeks.) :(

packeraaron's picture

DDD - We would never kick you out. We need all six of our readers to keep visiting daily. Seriously though - do you find the posts during the week to be similar to the gameday stuff? I would tend to doubt it. Just allow me my inner-GBPressGazette commenter. ;)

packeraaron's picture

Stanislaw - If anyone ever starts taking my opinions seriously, we're all in big, big trouble. ;)

packerwatch's picture

the season isn't over yet...hopefully chicago will win tonight. if we win out (and with only 1 team at .500 on our schedule, it's not out of the question), then we need one or two games to go our way and we'll have scraped our way into the nfc north championship...

packeraaron's picture

packerwatch - Are they in it? The math says yes. And there sure are a lot of Packer fans that seem to think this team is capable of going on a four game winning streak. I just don't happen to be one of them. This team can't win TWO in a row, let alone four.

astyak's picture

We got us some passion here. Too bad we cant get some of that on the field.

Time for some change on the sidelines.

@dusty You don't want to go to the old days. They were bad. Especially for those that were not in the motherland.

Things have changed so much since then its hard to imagine them ever being anything like that. We now have parity (I almost typed parody I'm not sure that is not truer), and there are refuges like Cheesehead TV and a whole new generation of fans that don't remember the ugly years.

Viva Title Town

Jerseypackfan's picture

Hey things could be alot worse for us. Imagine if we were Browns fans right now? Both QB`s done for the year. That honestly would make me sick to my stomach.

dustybricks6's picture

That's wonderful to hear regarding the Packers of yore compared to now.

Looking ahead at the schedule -- we have to be rooting for a vikings win tonight. I know we're knotted up with them at 1-1, but their remaining schedule is very difficult (cards, falcons, giants). While the Bears have arguably the most favorable schedule going forward and we need them to swallow as many losses as possible. The pack have a fightin' chance, just not sure we deserve it.

Andrew's picture

Goodbye Bob Sanders.

Keith's picture

Before I get into the Packers, allow me to comment on Monday Morning Quarterbacking. Why shouldn't fans discuss and debate this? If you're not going to second guess playcalling then what the heck are you doing on a blog? To say that mere fans cannot wrap their minds around everything that coaches are privy to leading up to gameday, well, that's a copout in my opinion. Now, if you take issue with Aaron's criticism, then go ahead and try to refute it, but don't accuse him of criticizing playcalling simply because said playcalling failed. That's not how Aaron rolls. The problem you make is that you re-post his criticisms out of context. There is a difference between establishing the run over the duration of a ballgame and calling a FB dive when the Panthers are physically manhandling your line. But I digress. I just can't stand complaining about someone says. If you disagree with an opinion, fine, but don't come on a forum and complain about the content. That's weak.

Anyway, here's the problem with the 2008 Packers: they get their asses handed to them by more physical teams. Period, end of story. Both of our lines just cannot get it done in the trenches. Sure, the zone blocking scheme is cute and allows our backs to break off a long run every now and again, but when you need ONE YARD, they are useless. Same goes for the defensive line, but the converse applies. The offense just did not come up big when they had to and the defense couldn't get off the field when they had to. Yeah Bob Sanders sucks, but it doesn't matter who you bring in on defense when your D-Line stands up on every freaking play and gets pushed back like they're standing on ice. And let's just say it. Hawk, Chillar, and Poppinga stink. None of them make any plays. Not once this year did I see any of these guys make a play that made me say "wow." I understand you can't have a linebacking corps made up of Derrick Brooks's, and that these guys fulfill their assignments, but in the NFL, you need guys who MAKE PLAYS. Charles Woodson: playmaker. Nick Collins: playmaker. Atari Bigby (when healthy): playmaker. Tramon Williams has a shot to be a playmaker, as does Aaron Rouse. I think Kampman is a playmaker as well, because the poor guy just has no help on the D-Line.

As for our offensive skill players, Rodgers needs to work on becoming more decisive and not stare down his target. We could use a difference maker at TE. BRANDON JACKSON EXISTS, USE HIM. The WRs are fine... I just don't know why we need to draft one every year.

As for our coaches. Sanders and Stock should be gone. Case closed. Defense and Special Teams were a big weakness and they were the main reason why. While I will defend Sanders somewhat by saying the D isn't as talented as many perceived them to be (see above rant), his scheme still sucked and didn't even attempt to play to his players's strengths. I don't have too big of a problem with MM, but he is just too damn inflexible. It is mindboggling how he cannot get Brandon Jackson on the field. The guy can catch passes and can take it to the house on any play... he is that fast. MM needs to realize that he is the head coach and that he shouldn't have to stand for nonsense from his STC or DC.

Anyway, I am done ranting for tonight. I am so pissed about the way this season turned out. And for the record, in that situation I would have spread the Panthers out to open up some running lanes for Rodgers (a very mobile QB). So yeah, I would have gone 5 wide on 1st and goal. Why? Because I watch this team every week and I know that our offensive line isn't going to get a push against the Panthers front.

Oh, one more thing. Just because you're a passing team doesn't mean you can't be physical up front. Someone needs to pass this along to the Packers brass. It just disgusts me that a team that plays in cold weather in the NFC North has been pushed around this year.

Donald's Designated Driver's picture

Keith: I think I said, there is a time and a place for it. I think fans in general are prone to jump to play calling as an excuse for every single loss. It just becomes nattering. The Packers did not lose because they should have passed at the one yard line, or because they kicked a FG.

AP: Remember just 2 years ago the Packers were 4-8 at this point in the season, and were in the playoff picture until the final hours. It's still too early to write this team off.

Keith's picture

DDD: That's a fair point. A loss is the cumulative result of many plays over the course of a game. That being said, I think playcalling in situations like the one debated often serves as a nice snapshot of whether a coach "gets it" or not, if you know what I mean. I took issue with the playcalling because the passing game was humming along at that point, and running the ball kind of broke our rhythm. Not to mention that the two backs who got the carries, Jackson and Kuhn, really haven't carried the ball all that much this year, especially in the red zone. This was a must win game. Why would you put the game in the hands of either of those two?

That being said, taking the points was absolutely the right call on 4th down. You can't risk coming away with nothing in that situation. You have to think the D will hold them to a field goal, at least. Say they would have gone for it and gotten stuff on the 1. Chances are the Panthers would have played it a bit safer and we would have gone to OT. Do you really want to leave the season up to a coin flip? I know the D and ST were playing horribly, but I would rather take a chance on my guys stepping up and making a big stop than a coin flip.

packeraaron's picture

"I would rather take a chance on my guys stepping up and making a big stop than a coin flip" The problem is - those "guys" are being coordinated by Bob Sanders. And he has shown zero competency this season with the game on the line. It;s always the same - great halftime adjustments, shut them down for the majority of the second half, only to be devastated on the final drive. McCarthy, like Sherman (and Rhodes!) before him hoped his defense would all of the sudden magically find a way to stop an opponent with the game on the line. How many times do they have to fail until it's acceptable to go for the touchdown there? Because for me it was after the Falcon game.

(I'd also like to point out that I'm being ganged up on by the lawyers. It is SO not fair ;) )

Donald's Designated Driver's picture

Keith: I definitely see the case for passing in that situation. That's not really my point. My point is as early as last week, McCarthy was chastised for "abandoning the run." Are you telling me that if Rodgers throws three straight incompletions, fans wouldn't be ready to string him up for "abandoning the run" (BTW, I think I'm going to start a punk band called Abandoning The Run). In hindsight you say Jackson was untested. In an alternate universe someone else is bitching that he didn't get the ball when he was averaging over 7 yards a carry.

Keith's picture

DDD: I understand how these criticisms may seem contradictory or conflicted, but I prefer to call them nuanced criticisms. It is perfectly reasonable to be pissed at McCarthy for BOTH abandoning the run and running the ball 3 straight times on the goal line (or whatever it was... I am frazzled right now.) The context for the former criticism is completely different than the context for the latter criticism. Let's see if I can do this quickly:

It's not like "I" want them to run 100% of the time. When I refer to the need to establish the run, it means during the course of the game. Partly to control the clock, partly to set up play-action, etc. However, when your passing game is clicking and Rodgers just led the team down the field with roughly 3 minutes left in the game, that is not the time to establish the run. At that point, ABANDON, by all means (excuse me for the hyperbole here, but you know what I mean.) The point is, at that juncture in the game, the idea is to put the ball in the end zone, and having watched this team all season, I don't have much faith in the OLine pushing the Panthers front into the end zone for a score. The Packers blocking scheme is better suited between the 20s than in the red zone. How long did it take Grant to get his first rushing TD again?

As for Jackson being untested, I mean on the goal line/short yardage situations. The guy has essentially been a 3rd down back all season. I know he had an insane average, but short yardage running is a skill. I didn't feel like finding out if Jackson had this skill in the biggest game of the year.

Nope, couldn't do it quickly. The point is, it's all about context and game situation.

One more point about Monday Morning Quarterbacking. While there is something to be said about coaches watching loads of game film and being privy to a bunch of info about both teams that goes into game planning and playcalling... sometimes a coach can get too caught up in that stuff. IMO, the best coaches are the ones who have their finger on the pulse of the game that is going on IN FRONT OF THEM, not the one they saw on film on Wednesday night. I feel like MM thought to himself, "hey, the dive worked for us last week and I saw it work against Carolina on film in week 4." Well, from the game I was watching, I was pretty annoyed when I saw them line up in that formation and subsequently run the FB dive. I just felt like you had the defense on their heels and he gave them a softball. Anyway, I think I have articulated my point on that enough.

Keith's picture

Aaron: Buddy, believe me, I feel your frustration, I do. BUT, you have to kick the FG there. I'm usually the kind of guy who likes to throw the book away and gamble a bit (for example, I LOVED it when Shanahan went for two early in the season.) I am fairly confident that when you wake up in a few hours and Rational Aaron starts typing, he will realize that MM had to kick the FG there.

packeraaron's picture

DDD- Who do you want to give the ball to to make a play with your season on the line? John Kuhn or Aaron Rodgers? It's pretty simple really.

And Keith - well, I've slept (fitfully) and awoke, got the kids to school, made it through one hell of a commute and have had my first coffee. I still think you go for the touchdown. If you have the confidence that your defense will stop them after you kick the field goal - you should have the confidence that you can stop them coming out of their own end zone.

Keith's picture

Aaron: Agreed on your first point to DDD, still disagree on the second one. If you have confidence in your defense that's why you go for the FG, because if you stop them, YOU WIN THE GAME. Under your scenario, if the D stops them, you go to OT.

packeraaron's picture

...or you get a pick six.


bucky's picture

DDD, come back, all is forgiven. . . .

Ok, I'm paraphrasing. And packergeeks is not my blog. Still. . . . .

Andrew in Atlanta's picture

Wow, sorry I was driving home thru the snow in GB and I missed all this (well, not really).
I did get a chance to hear a lot of commentary on the way home and one thing that struck me was a comment from Marty Schottenheimer on NFL Radio. He said "in crunch time, it's more about the player than the plays. You need to get the ball to your playmakers" I really have to agree. Whose hands do you want the ball in with the game on the line with minutes to go and you're on the goal line? I would think AR, DD and GJ plays in there somewhere on at least one play

packeraaron's picture

bucky - No need for him to go back to that abusive relationship. ;)

Andrew in Atlanta's picture

Oh, and you have to kick the field goal on 4th down. As I noted above, I don't like that we even had to make that choice, but you can't compound not putting the ball in ARs hands at least once (running or passing) by then potentially getting zero points.
I also think you have momentum when you get closer to the goal line on 3 successive plays in the red zone. In that case it might make some sense to go for it. But when you are stoned a couple times, I don't think you have that momentum making it all the more important to get the lead with 2 mins left.

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"The Bears still suck!"
"A school without football is in danger of deteriorating into a medieval study hall. "
"I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle – victorious."