Monday, October 14, 2013

Recap: Packers Hold On To Win in Baltimore 19-17

After two close road losses against good opponents, it was great to see the Green Bay Packers win a tough game on the road. Unfortunately it came at too high a cost. More on that below, but first back to the game.

On offense, they did manage four scoring drives (I'm not counting the one FG after a strip sack) but early pressure on QB Aaron Rodgers killed a couple early drives, and then WR Jarrett Boykin killed a couple on his own by dropping passes and running poor routes. Boykin was so bad it seemed like he was playing for the Ravens in the first half. It got better in the second half and RB Eddie Lacy had room to run all day. They have been settling for a lot of field goals in their last two games, however it's not like they're settling for a lot of chip shot field goals and at least they're driving into field goal range in the first place. Still, it's something to keep an eye on.

On defense, I know the Ravens had been struggling in pass protection, but the Packers really got after QB Joe Flacco and shut down their running game. The knee injury to LB Nick Perry is a big concern because he's picked up his game the past couple weeks. The secondary looked bad at the end, but the biggest concern was S Jerron McMillian. He should have been on probation after his sloppy Week 1 game against the 49ers. Against the Ravens, he blew his coverage on their 4th and 21 conversion and then he surrendered a touchdown pass to TE Dallas Clark. They have to make a change, whether it means S Chris Banjo plays more or maybe McMillian is taken out of the backfield rotation once CB Casey Hayward returns (CB Micah Hyde could play a hybrid safety/CB role).

The special teams were a disaster, someone should show FB John Kuhn the famous Leon Lett video as a reminder, until Hyde had a couple of good returns mid-game and then they were pretty solid.

The big problem going forward will be dealing with all the injuries. And the fact that most of the injuries are piling up at two positions; linebacker and wide receiver. Shockingly, the early word on WR Randall Cobb is positive, but there's no word yet on WR James Jones or LB Nick Perry. All three of them are key players, though Cobb is the most important of them. In the short term, they might be able to juggle at linebacker next week but they'll have to make a roster move to add another receiver. As for the rest of the season, I have some ideas about both positions, but I'll leave that until there's official word on them later this week.

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