Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Bucky Five: I'm Confused

1. What the Hell is Going On Around Here? - All week I've been saying that if the Packers somehow beat the Dallas Cowboys, we are all going to jump right back on the bandwagon and start thinking playoffs, and that is exactly what is happening. Is this team the Super Bowl contender that we thought they were at the beginning of the year? No, and far from it. Might we might have a legitimate playoff team on our hands if the Packers can keep winning games like this, something that seems a little more likely based on how unimpressive their schedule is the rest of the season.

This win wasn't exactly one that we'll remember for years based on the execution, because the Packers didn't really play that well overall. They are still a team lacking discipline with the penalties, and Rodgers still gets sacked way too much for whatever reason. But they made the plays when they needed too, especially on third down, and their defense was spectacular. I still don't think this team played much differently against Dallas than they did in any of their losses, but what matters is that they way they played was good enough to beat the Cowboys on this given day. It wasn't pretty, but believe it or not the Packers are right back in the playoff hunt, and that's something we can all get behind.

2. Oh, Those Penalties! - Mike McCarthy may or may not have "lost" this team, I don't know, but one thing that he can't do is get this team to become more discipline. Twelve penalties for 100 yards is not acceptable, especially with the kind of fouls we are racking up. False start after false start, too many acts of unsportsmanlike conduct, and every decent Ryan Grant run brought back by a holding. McCarthy's teams have been some of the most penalized in the league throughout his entire tenure, and he's gotta do something about that. Even if the Packers do claw their way back into a playoff race, there are a lot of quality coaches out there and could probably do a much better job of keeping this team in check, and keeping the penalties down. I'd rather see McCarthy improve and keep his job, but we can't keep being penalized like this. I guess it does help when the Cowboys try to match us, as they had ten fouls for 67 yards themselves. By the way, McCarthy vs. Wade Phillips won't go down in history as one of the greatest coaching matchups of all time, I can guarantee that.

3. Rodgers Silences the Critics - Okay, so he still did hold on to the ball a little too long at times, although he was much improved in that category. And he needs to do a better job at picking up blitzes and realizing when there is the possibility of him being blindsided. But he played exactly the way we need him to play, and he stepped up and won the big game. Rodgers outplayed the hell out of Tony Romo, finishing with 189 yards in the air including yet another touchdown to Spencer Havner. He was also five for 15 on the ground, including a short run for a score. The biggest thing though that Rodgers did was make the plays on third down, and that ultimately kept the Cowboys off the field and led the Packers to a victory.

4. I Need More Out of Ryan Grant - This has nothing to do with any kind of fantasy implications - although I did need more out of him that way, and yes my apologies for bringing up my own fantasy team in a post - we just need more out of Ryan Grant. He's not terrible, but he's not quite the guy I thought he would be after his breakout rookie campaign. I just don't really trust the guy to make the big play, or even the small one for that matter. There was a point in the game when the Packers had the ball four yards away from the end zone, and you knew that Grant wasn't going to get those four yards if his life depended on it. I'm not saying it's time to look elsewhere, but Grant needs to improve if he's going to be the back of the next three to five years.

5. Good Luck Chuck - We've been talking lately about how the Packers have wasted the opportunity of having Charles Woodson, because he has been incredible the last few years and the Packers, well, they haven't been. Who knows where we'd be without the guy, and he definitely made his presence felt again on Sunday. Two forced fumbles, a sack, and a game clinching interception makes him the for sure player of the game, and most likely the NFC, if not NFL, Defensive Player of the Week. Each of those turnovers was instrumental in the Packers victory Sunday, and we might not win that game without him. Guys like Woodson are why you build part of your team through free agency Ted, let's stop sitting on that salary cap room and bring in some more of these guys.

So a big 17-7 win for the Packers, and next up is a matchup against the San Francisco 49ers. After today, I'm feeling a little better about our odds in that game, and maybe for the rest of the season. What a difference one game can make.


Wegs said...

Two quick things from the game:

1. 5 sacks without Aaron Kampman. Be a football player and quit crying about the scheme, it can work.

2. One aspect that continues to get overlooked is that of the special teams' play. Today they played pretty well, in our losses they have not. We do have other problems, but if they can sure up their special teams play, the Pack has a chance to win every week.

Winks said...

Great point about Kampman. Let me come up with an extra point here for The Bucky Five.

6. The Replacements - Without Aaron Kampman, the Packers looked like they actually knew how to play this 3-4 scheme they are running. Brad Jones was effective in relief, and Clay Matthews continues to become a star. Also, when Colledge got hurt, Evan Dietrich-Smith played well, and TJ Lang didn't suck either. Nice to see the young guys step up, and it will be interesting to see their role from here on out.

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