Monday, October 22, 2012

No blues for the Packers in St. Louis

The Green Bay Packers did Sunday what they usually do when playing in St. Louis: win. The Pack beat the Rams by a score of 30-20 and it really was not even that close. The Packers dominated on both sides of the ball, despite moments defensively where an opposing team with more weapons might have lit the Packers up. More on that later.

Woodson's out for extended time
For now, the Packers are 4-3 with the Jaguars and Cardinals coming into Green Bay over the next two weekends. And just when you thought the Packers escaped the major injury bug -- although DE Mike Neal went out with a leg injury during the first half -- we learned today that future Hall of Fame defensive back, Charles Woodson, broke his collarbone with less than three minutes left in the game; he'll be out at least a month, with most reports putting it at six weeks. Ouch! In more ways than one.

If Woodson can come back in a month, his absence might not be missed all that much over this stretch, although losing a veteran of Woodson's caliber is a blow for whatever time he's not on the field. But in addition to the Jags and Cards over the next two weeks, the third week -- ninth week overall of the NFL season -- is the Packers' bye week. Coming out of the bye, the Packers travel to Detroit to take on the Lions. It would be great to have Woodson back then. But it will be even more important the following week when the Packers travel to New York to play the Giants. Woodson's presence on the field -- even if not for the entire game -- would be huge. On the other hand, if he's indeed out for six weeks, he'll not only miss the aforementioned games but also a crucial division game against the ViQueens. If Woodson's out for the full six weeks, he won't return until the Pack's second game against the Detroit Lions on Dec. 9. That's a long stretch for a young defensive backfield to cover on its own, but that group is a talented one as we're already seeing. M.D. Jennings or rookie Jerron McMillian or a combination of both will be called upon when the Packers are in their base defense to fill Woodson's spot.

Rodgers and receivers roll
While credit must be given to head coach Mike McCarthy for sticking with the running game despite Alex Green not being able to get untracked (20 carries for 35 yards), it was once again QB Aaron Rodgers and his receivers who dazzled. With starter Greg Jennings still sidelined with his groin injury, Rodgers threw for three touchdowns against the Rams, two to the amazing Randall Cobb and one to Jordy Nelson. Once again, James Jones was also one of Rodgers' preferred targets on the day. Despite being pressured a fair amount on Sunday, Rodgers was able to move in -- and out -- of the pocket to buy time and make some amazing throws. He's looking very much like he's getting his MVP mojo back, throwing for nine touchdowns in the past two games. Rodgers was 30 for 37 and 342 yards. Oh yeah.

Defense bends, doesn't break
The Packers' defense had a better showing against the Texans last weekend, but they were able to carry some of that new-found confidence into St. Louis. Despite appearances, the Pack held RB Steven Jackson in check, limiting him to 57 yards. Receivers too often were running open, and that's something the Packers will have to correct going forward. And they will.

I could give more of a recap but why do that when my favorite Packers sportswriter has already done a really great job. Check that report out here.

Then, stay tuned through the week and weekend. We'll be back with more about the upcoming game against the Jaguars.

Go Pack Go.