Monday, September 22, 2014

Packers lose to Lions...anything more than that?

What's to be said in a day-after post-loss review of the Green Bay Packers loss in Detroit, 19-7? In a game in which the Packers defense came up with three turnovers, in which its offense was going against a defensive secondary that was playing its number four cornerback because of injuries and a starting linebacker lost in-game due to a self-inflicted sack dance injury, the Pack's moribund (look it up!) offense could only muster 7 points.

There was no rhythm, no pace, no congruity, nothing. The defense played well enough to win this game. The Packers offense itself gave up 9 points on a fumble recovery on the second play of the game which was returned for a touchdown and a safety. A defense that doesn't give up more than 10 points in a game deserves to win, especially against an opposing offense with the weapons the Lions have.

So, what are the problems?
Where do you begin? Aaron Rodgers -- apart from the second half of last week's game against the Jets -- just doesn't seem to be his usual outstanding self so far this season. When he's average, the Packers are average and that means they have a real chance of losing games they should win. Like this one. Rodgers says he's comfortable with the hurry-up no-huddle offense, and perhaps he is. But that offensive style only works when plays are executed. When receivers drop passes they should catch, or aren't where they are supposed to be to receive the ball, or runners aren't able to gain significant positive yards, the supposed advantage of the hurry-up no-huddle offense is nullified.

As noted above, part of the offensive woes also relate to the problems with receivers right now: dropping passses, running incorrect routes, not getting separation from coverage. Jordy Nelson can't catch every pass.

Packers WR Randall Cobb can't hold onto this 3rd down pass
from QB Aaron Rodgers.

(Photo by Mark Hoffman, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

Mike McCarthy also essentially called out last season's rookie sensation, RB Eddie Lacy, in his press conference yesterday, saying quite clearly he's got to play better.

There's great analysis, as there usually is, from Bob McGinn in today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. As McGinn notes, despite desires to start fast each season that really hasn't happened except once: "Since McCarthy and Rodgers got rolling in 2009, the Packers have started 2-2, 3-3, 2-3, 1-2 and now 1-2 for the second year in a row in five of the six seasons. The only fast start was in 2011 when the Packers went 15-1." Another more troubling stat that you may be familiar with is that going back over the last 20+ games, the Packers are really only about a .500 club. Now, a good number of those games were without Rodgers, Clay Matthews, Bryan Bulaga, Jermichael Finley and other key players. But still, are we beginning to see a replay of what happened with the Packers and Brett Favre? Where one of the best quarterbacks in the league is not getting the tools around him to win another Super Bowl? Some are beginning to ask that question. In public.

Now, we're only three games into the season so it's not time to jump ship. While I predicted incorrectly -- as most did -- that the Packers would beat the Lions yesterday, my preseason prediction had the Pack going 2-2 in this first quarter of the season. The way it sets up now, the Pack will need to beat Da Bearz in Chicago on Sunday in order to stay at .500. We'd take that, given the performance so far.

So, is yesterday's loss just early-season hiccup? Or is it an early warning indicator of something more? Something that bodes ill not just for this season but beyond? Time will tell, Packer fans. Time will tell. We'll get another take on all this Sunday at Soldier Field. Not exactly where you want to have a bounce-back game, but after poor performances Rodgers usually does just that. We'd feel pretty good after a win against Da Bearz, wouldn't we? You bet.

Check back closer to game day for our preview of Packers vs. Da Bearz.

Go Pack Go!!!