Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Week 8 Pack Fan / Bears Fan

This was a statement win...and that statement is, "YUCK". Yes, it was a terrific defensive win but it just seems like the offense has been taking steps backward while the defense claws it's way forward despite the seemingly continuous succession of injuries. Sense a theme? To the videotape...

Pack Fan
  1. D-FENCE!: What more can you say about this unit? Say what you want about the Jets Offense, the Packer Defense has been cobbled together since the second week of the season. Hell, you could make a case for the unit never having been full with Al Harris and Atari Bigby starting the season on the PUP list. Three more turnovers and a number of key defensive plays in crucial times carried the entire team.
  2. Tim Masthay: Player of the game consideration for this guy this week. Five punts inside the 20, no punt return yards against and a long of 55 yards. Had Brett Swain not kicked one, there's a good chance that six of his eight punts could have ended up inside the 20. After recent special teams issues, especially in the punting game, this was a huge boost for this team and the poor starting field position for the Jets probably won this game for Green Bay. When your coach is so pleased with your play that it made him want to cry tears of joy, you deserve a gold star.
  3. Howard Green: This guy spent 30 HOURS trying to get to Green Bay after being claimed off waivers from the Jets on Wednesday. He arrived in time for practice on Friday and to make the flight to New Yark for the game. He was able to give the defensive line a huge boost by spelling BJ Raji and using his rather large frame to plug up the front line. To come in and play a big role and give this team some much needed depth was critical. Coming in from the Jets didn't hurt either so credit Ted Thompson, as well,with bringing him in. Bringing in a player who has been recently the week the teams are playing is not a new strategy but finding someone that could provide strong play and depth is a fairly rare occurence. Aaron Nagler put it best earlier (sic), "That Howard Green pickup will turn out to be Grady Jackson-esue."

Bears Fan

  1. Whether it's the play-calling or everyone seemingly on different pages, it's somewhat troubling. What's extra puzzling is the fact that they seemed to be poised for a break-out season after the pre-season. As many have said, the aforementioned play-calling seemed bland and extra conservative on Sunday. It's hard to be too critical when it worked and got the team a win but with a depleted defense, one would think the better strategy would be offensive aggression. It didn't help that a potential touchdown bounced out of James Jones' hands and Quarless continues to struggle with catching the ball. Perhaps the coaches found something they were able to exploit on the defensive side but I can't imagine that strategy working against the Cowboys this coming weekend.
  2. Third Down Conversions: Another week, another poor conversion rate. This time, the Packers converted only two of fourteen opportunities. It's been well documented that the loss of Finley has really affected the passing game, especially on third downs but this team has had almost three weeks to find a solution to this issue. It's time to get past this as an excuse. Maybe the solution is more screens or plays over the middle which have been lacking lately, maybe it means more diverse play-calling. Whatever it is, McCarthy needs to figure it out because after the Bye, the schedule is not easy and this team will need the offense to stay out on the field longer...and third down conversions are a huge part of that.
  3. Injuries: Driver does not look right at all. He dropped his one target of the day and wasn't seen after the first quarter. According to McCarthy he's now got a secondary injury to that quad. The first one was a bruise but he now has a strain. He's not practiced in a of couple of weeks so opefully the by week will allow him to rest up but it's not likely that he'll be much of a contributor in the upcoming Dallas game. Andrew Quarless left Sunday's game with an injury but according to McCarthy, he'll be practicing all week. However, unless he starts contributing, it won't really matter. Ryan Pickett tested his ankle prior to Sunday's game against the Jets so hopefully the additional week will allow him to hit the field against the Cowboys on Sunday and add depth to the defensive line. Anyway you look at it, this team will be limping into the bye week...Sunday's game will determine how bad that limp will be.

Looking ahead to Sunday night's game versus the Dallas Cowboys, it's easy to say the Packers will roll since they will be without Tony Romo but John Kitna threw for over 350 yards in last week's loss to the Jaguars. On top of that, the Dallas defense is very athletic and after the rambling apology by Jerry Jones on Sunday, that easily could have embarrassed this team and charge them up for this upcoming primetime game. The Packers should still win this game but the conservative offense needs to be opened up. Brandon Jackson seems to be getting better and if the team can start using the play-action passing game, this game could be over early. If not, then we might be looking at another nail-biter.

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