|Is that a Walkie-Talkie?|
The team has two division wins under it's belt...a championship belt, at that...and this week off comes in a pretty advantageous time. It's almost in the middle of the season and allows for reflection on a good chunk of a season. It also should allow the coaching staff to survey what went well and what needs to be improved upon as they head out on the remainder of the regular season and into another playoff run.
This latest win over the Vikings was one that left more than a few fans scratching their heads. With Christian Ponder taking the reins from an ineffective Donovan McNabb, it seemed that fans were licking their chops and expecting another blow out win for the Packers in the Humpy Dome. "Christian Ponder was picked WAY too high!" Yep, I said that too but now I'm not so sure. Don't get me wrong...it's one game and he's not a Pro Bowler but he looked like he knew what he was doing for the most part. Aside from pondering the obvious, let's look at a few things from the game from a Packers perspective.
- Putting away a game - This is something that the Packers haven't really been the best at doing however, they ran the ball down the Vikings throat and salted away the clock when they needed to. James Starks ran hard and secured two first downs in that final drive which allowed the Packers to assume the victory formation. This was a great sign going into the bye as it's hopefully something the team, and more importantly, James Starks, can build on during the bye.
- Chuck - Yeah, he hates being called Chuck, but CWood is still a beast and a tremendous leader. He got two interceptions and almost had a third (which ended up being caught for a touchdown). He's having another great year and with the loss of Nick Collins and the pass defense being torched at times, this team needs his steady hand back there to guide them through the tough times. To see their leader playing as well as he is can hopefully propel this defensive backfield to play a little more inspired in the second half of the season.
- Mason Crosby - Love for the kicker? Absolutely! THIS GUY has been great this season and it's another win for Ted Thompson as he has secured his services with a five-year deal in the off-season. He's been perfect on all of his kicks and added to it with another 4 field goals (including a 58-yarder!) and three PAT's. With a final score of 33-27, his field goals were crucial to this latest win and you can be guaranteed that he'll be depended upon down the stretch.
- Randall Cobb - Yes, he brings excitement and a presence the team needed on special teams but he had a bad game. With a dropped pass (that would have assuredly been a first down) and a muffed punt he struggled on Sunday. Additionally, he's been bringing the ball out of the end zone on kick-offs a lot more than expected which is has me holding my breath at times. Sure, he had the 108 yard kick-off return for a touchdown against the Saints but unless you get past the 20 yard line, it's not worth it. Plus, with the Packers offense playing as well as they are, why risk a fumble or injury?
- Pass Defense - These guys are still giving up a lot of passing yards and the Ponder was able to continue that trend on Sunday. It was disappointing to see a rookie putting up the numbers he did against the reigning Super Bowl champions. The loss of Nick Collins was rough...devastating even...but these struggles can't be completely attributed to his injury. Tramon Williams has been banged up and will hopefully be able to recover during the bye and Morgan Burnett broke his hand in practice leading up to the game. With his hand in a cast, there's no way he'll be able to snare any interceptions. Peprah needs to play inspired defense and the rest of the team needs to join him if this team is going to make another Super Bowl run.
- Nick Collins - This isn't something that came out of the game but in his first comments following his neck surgery, Collins eluded to the possibility that his career may be over. He's got a long way to go before anything can be determined but he mentioned that it's been discussed. As fans we always assume that if a guy can play, he'll play but Collins has three small children and another due shortly. He'll do what's best for his himself and his family but if that means he has to retire, then we can be disappointed but happy that his kids will have a father instead of him gutting it out and tragedy striking.