After re-watching the Packers game, here are three plays that made me go hmmm, for various reasons.
Full Disclosure: All three plays are from the first quarter because I couldn’t stomach watching the entire game again. Luckily, there was plenty of material to work with.
This was a play the Packers had much success with early on last season. In fact, I believe I highlighted it in one of these articles as “the play that always works.” As the season wore on, teams did their homework and were better prepared for it. Now it’s more a “play that never works,” especially if you’re up against a team with a fast, aggressive linebackers, like the Bucs in the NFC Championship game or these Saints last Sunday. If you think you’re going to outrun or fool Demario Davis on this play, you’re only fooling yourself. Time to put this play away and maybe bring it back in the playoffs (hopefully?) when teams may have forgotten about it. Perhaps this is what LaFleur is animatedly expressing to Hackett right after the failed play.
Take What You Have:
At two different points in this play, Rodgers could have thrown the ball to Aaron Jones when he had a five yard cushion on the linebacker. Instead he never even looks at Jones, even when they are both in parallel running towards the sideline. Jones should have been in his direct line of sight, but instead, Rodgers is looking back to the left, as if he is hoping to complete the always dangerous “across the body” throw. Yes, Jones is not beyond the first down marker, but with a five yard cushion and a short pass, he could very well have time to put a move on the linebacker in the open field and gain the yards needed for a first down. One other thing about this play – his receivers don’t do him any favors. From the end zone angle, look at how much open space there is down the sideline. If just one of Cobb, MVS, or Tonyan would have headed back that way when they saw Rodgers heading to the sideline and in trouble, there was a big play just waiting to happen. Most concerning is Cobb, who looks like he starts to head for the sideline and then just stops and stays in the middle of the field.
You Spin Me RIght Round Baby Right Round…
And now, last and most certainly least, the saga of Kevin King. I will be the first to say I’m no expert on defensive backs, but this can’t possibly be the technique the Packers are teaching can it? To get totally turned around on a simple out pattern like this is beyond horrible for an NFL cornerback. And what exactly is King doing bouncing and skipping after the play as if he was perfectly satisfied with his performance. Does he even care? As I was watuching the game, I immediately said to myself, they’re setting him up for a deep shot later. No surprise there! Expect every team to do the same until the Packers finally throw Stokes out there. Which, by the way, I am fully in favor of. I can live with the rookie mistakes of a guy that is trying over this disaster.
“Jersey Al” Bracco is the Editor-In-Chief, part owner and wearer of many hats for CheeseheadTV.com and PackersTalk.com. He is also a recovering Mason Crosby truther. Follow Al on twitter at @JerseyalGBP.