Sunday, November 4, 2012

Halftime Report: Packers 21, Cardinals 7

Summary: A 14 point lead, but this was a frustrating half to watch at times. Although Rodgers and Co. seemed to get their act together mid-way through the second quarter, it was another flat, out-of-rhythm start for the Packers offense, marred by drops, unnecessary sacks, and a bizarre interception. As astute couch analyst David Liedl said, it looks like the Packers offense just makes things too complicated at times. 

Nonetheless, the defense has been stalwart for the most part and kept the Cardinals at bay long enough for Rodgers to regain his mo-jo on way to a 3 touchdown first half. And hey, we seem to be running the ball well, too.

We'll win if... the defense continues to keep the pressure on Skelton and prevents big plays down-field to Larry Fitzgerald and Andre Roberts. A healthy balance of an effective running game and a consistent passing attack should keep this one a two-score game the rest of the way.

We'll lose if...we see "bad" Rodgers and a Packers offense that can't move the ball consistently, coupled with a defense that takes their foot off the pedal and allows the Cardinals to hang around. Even then, it looks like it'd take a lot.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Keeping Tabs on the TEs: DJ Williams emerges as viable H-back

Finley had a big first half, but was limited to no
catches in the final two quarters. (image via)
Maybe it's because I played the position throughout high school, and then again in interhall football , but I love tight ends. The perfect combination of strength and speed, they can do it all. So with the Packers now carrying an unprecedented 5 TEs on their roster, I'm paying attention. What follows is the first in a series of weekly assessments focusing on how Green Bay utilizes its plethora of TEs.

Jermicahel Finley - Finley started off the 2011 season hot. He caught 3 passes for 53 yards in the first half alone. The Packers used him in-line, from the slot, and split out wide, and it certainly looked like he was going to be a central part of the offensive attack.

But with Packers offense essentially off the field for the 3rd quarter and out of attack mode in the 4th, Finley's receiving production went static.

Nonetheless, I thought he played well in other areas of the game, too. I unfortunately don't have the technological capabilities of some more advanced blogs, so I wasn't able to DVR the game, but I do remember him making some nice blocks. Not bone-crushing pancakes, but plays where he utilized good positioning to do just enough. And that's really all they're expecting from him. Watch Starks' 17-yard TD run for an example:

It may not seem like much, but Finley's impedance of Saint's DE Jeff Charleston is probably the difference between an 8 yard gain and a touchdown. 

All in all, it was a solid showing by Finley in his first regular season action since going down with an injury in Week 5 of 2010. He didn't necessarily "redefine" the position, but there's no reason to doubt that he will be an integral part of the Packers' passing attack throughout the year, and one of the most productive tight ends in the league.

Monday, September 12, 2011

So about those Panthers...

I, along with the rest of Packernation, was under the assumption that the Green and Gold would be able to stroll into Charlotte next week and come out with an easy win against the hapless Panthers. You know, the same Panthers team that went 2-14 last season and is now relying on an unpolished rookie QB, who completed only 42% of his passes and recorded a passer rating of 64.9 this preseason.

But that was before this afternoon.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Packers bend (a lot), but don't break against Saints

The Packers defense stood stout when 
they most needed to. (via LA Times)

That's the only stat that matters from last night's action. Not the fact that the Saints owned the Packers D in-between the 20s, or New Orleans' ability to convert 64% of their third downs, or even Drew Brees' 419 yards passing.

I repeat: 20%.

It's the percent of times the Saints were able to score a touchdown after making it inside the Packers' 20.

The Packers defense, on their heels for much of the game, nonetheless found their resolve at just the right moments. There was Walden's third-down sack that held the Saints to a field goal on the opening drive of the second half. There was the pressure put on Brees that forced an incompletion on 4th and 1. And, of course, there was the way the game ended.

The last drive was a perfect testament to how the Packers defense played the entire game. After allowing Brees and Co. to march 77 yards down the field in only 1:03, the Packers made a goal-line stand for the ages, stone-walling rookie back Mark Ingram on a run from the 1-yard line with no time left on the clock.

The Packers sure as heck did a lot of bending. But more importantly, they didn't break, holding on for a wild 42-34 victory to open up the 2011 season.