Monday, December 04, 2006

Packers 10, NY Jets 38. The first half was some of the worst football I have ever watched. Phil Simms started comparing it to a college football blow out. At least the Jets took pity/forgot how they were killing the Packers in the second half.

First half: The offense struggled, but never turned the ball over in Packer territory. The blown protection was probably because RT Tony Moll is starting only his third game at right tackle and still has some learning to do. RT Mark Tauscher is the Packers best offensive lineman, and they haven't been as good over the last three games without him. Moll didn't appear to make any mistakes after the first quarter and played well. QB Chad Pennington isn't good at throwing deep passes, but is pretty accurate within 15 yards. The Packers seem snakebit on the long wide open TD passes they were giving up earlier in the year and now they can't cover anything short. CB Al Harris shut down their top receiver Coles, while CBs Charles Woodson and Patrick Dendy played well in the game. But Cotchery and Baker torched the Packers' linebackers and safeties. It is really hard to watch and see how the linebackers and safeties are only getting worse in coverage as the year goes on. FS Nick Collins looked bad on Cotchery's TD reception but was it because he is bad, the scheme is bad, or his hamstring is still bothering him. S Marquand Manuel didn't give up a TD reception, but he tried on the Jets first drive except Pennington overthrew the receiver and the Jets settled for a FG. LB Nick Barnett overpursued on every play during the game and was fooled badly on Baker's TD reception. Although the Jets threw everything short and the Packers dropped their linebackers into coverage on almost every play, LB Brady Poppinga had no pass defenses while LB A.J. Hawk only had one. The Packers even tried some zone blitzes that didn't fool Pennington at all and DE Aaron Kampman is not good in coverage. The pass rush didn't step up either, and the Packers were awful on 3rd down. There are some players who probably shouldn't be starting in the NFL on defense, Poppinga, Manuel, and possibly Collins, but the defensive coaches are outmatched by their peers and should all be replaced.

Second Half: When the offense doesn't get wide receivers involved in the offense, the offense struggles. It is too easy to stop the Packers when TE Bubba Franks and whoever at fullback, because they are not receiving threats. RB Ahman Green could be used as an effective receiver, but he is never asked to do anything except block first and then go out for a dump off pass. TE David Martin can open up the passing game, but he is still out with an injury. Once the Packers had WRs Ruvell Martin and Chris Francies in the game, things opened up for WR Donald Driver. The pass offense seems to be much better with Driver in the slot and Martin and Jennings outside. The Packers have to start spreading it out on every down. The defense had two interceptions that finally stopped the Jets, including a great play by Woodson. The run defense allowed a few big plays but that was not something that has happened much this season, and it probably was caused because the pass defense was in collapse. The 32 yard run on a reverse probably wouldn't have happened if the Packers weren't overpursing on every play. RB Cedric Houston had a 31 yard run because Barnett overpursued and effectively blocked Woodson out of the play. The pass defense was a lot better because the Jets ran so often and they stopped attacking the linebackers and safeties in coverage.

If the Packers play like they did against the Jets, then they won't beat anybody the rest of the season. This looked like a winnable game a couple of weeks ago, but without Martin and Tauscher the offense is struggling and the pass defense has completely collapsed since then. Will the Packers finally let LB Abdul Hodge and S Tyrone Culver play to see if they can start. Let play DT Johnny Jolly and CB Will Blackmon too. Right now the defense needs all new coaches, a defensive tackle to play alongside NT Ryan Pickett, a defensive end to replaced DE KGB on running downs, and two safeties who can play pass defense. Maybe Culver and Blackmon can be the starting safeties in 2007? No one will know until they have a chance to play.

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