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Frustrations Mounting

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by PackFanNChiTown, Dec 15, 2008.

  1. PackFanNChiTown

    PackFanNChiTown Bear Fan's Bane

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    Frustration reaches boiling point

    Communication breakdowns rattle team chemistry

    By Rob Demovsky
    rdemovsk@greenbaypressgazette.com

    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The quarterback chewed out his tight end, who then got chased down by his irate head coach. Defensive teammates nearly came to blows, and the coaches called an impromptu meeting on the sideline to quell emotions.

    That’s what became of the Green Bay Packers, who bordered on implosion at times during Sunday’s 20-16 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars that eliminated them from playoff contention and assured them of their first losing season in Mike McCarthy’s three-year run as coach.

    A season’s worth of close, frustrating losses finally turned ugly at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium.

    The root of it all, according to several of the interested parties, were so-called “miscommunications” — a catch phrase not used readily around the Packers since their 4-8 start to the 2006 season.

    “You shouldn’t have these kind of communication problems in Week 15,” Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said. “Attention to detail, that’s all it is.”

    The first blowup came late in the second quarter, when the Packers had a chance to take a double-digit lead. Leading 10-7 and facing a third-and-goal at the Jaguars’ 5-yard line, the Packers were in prime position. They had the benefit of a Jacksonville timeout with 1:28 remaining to set their play call. Yet somewhere between McCarthy’s mouth and tight end Jermichael Finley’s ears, the call was lost on the rookie tight end. He didn’t know where to line up and went from one side of the formation to the other. With the play out of sync even before the snap, Rodgers dumped the ball off to his other tight end, Donald Lee, who barely got back to the line of scrimmage.

    “We should be set and ready to go there,” McCarthy said. “Not being lined up initially factored into the (result of) the play. That’s why we’re kicking field goals instead of scoring touchdowns.”

    When the field-goal unit came on, Rodgers gave Finley an earful.

    “It wasn’t just Jermichael,” Rodgers said. “There were multiple plays where we had either the wrong formation, or part of the call was left out or guys didn’t hear something they should have or I didn’t say it.”

    Finley stayed on the field to block for Mason Crosby’s 23-yard field goal, but on his way to the sideline, McCarthy met him on the field and followed him toward the far end of the bench, where Finley was supposed to join the kickoff unit. When he got there, special teams assistant Shawn Slocum waved off Finley.

    Finley, who earlier in the season angered the coaches when he said he wasn’t be used correctly and also criticized Rodgers, again deflected the blame.

    “It was really just miscommunication with the play call,” Finley said. “It wasn’t on me at all.”

    When asked what McCarthy said to him, Finley said: “Just to get down there on kickoff. He said, ‘We’ll fix it tomorrow.’ But we needed this game.”

    Halftime apparently didn’t provide enough time for players to cool down because the first time the defense took the field in the third quarter, trouble resurfaced.

    On the Jaguars’ second-play from scrimmage, they went with an empty backfield formation. With the Packers in the base defense, no one lined up near receiver Reggie Williams in the slot left. Cornerback Al Harris noticed Williams was uncovered and pointed vigorously for someone to pay attention to him. The play went to the other side and resulted in a 35-yard completion from David Garrard to Dennis Northcutt, but on the way back to the huddle Harris approached Poppinga and appeared to yell at him. Poppinga didn’t back away, and it looked like he barked back at Harris.

    Harris would say only that it was “an animated discussion,” while Poppinga also tried to downplay the situation. Defensive coordinator Bob Sanders said he may have been late getting the play call relayed to his players.

    “The bottom line is we’re both competitors,” Poppinga said. “Stuff like that is going to happen on a team, especially two guys who want to win. Well all of us want to win, so sometimes you have a little conflict. To say that conflict is a bad thing is not true. I think conflict solves things, and it brings teams closer together.

    “Regardless of how it looks, seeing something is a perception. The reality of it is I don’t have hard feelings against him, and he doesn’t have hard feelings against me. Things weren’t unraveling. It wasn’t a frenzy. If anything, it lighted a fire in us. You can make it out as big as you want it to be, but it’s not as bad as it looks.”

    At the conclusion of the series, which ended with a Jaguars punt, Sanders and assistant head coach Winston Moss called together the entire defense on the sideline.

    “We settled them down,” Sanders said. “We just tried to make sure everybody’s on the same page. We said, ‘Hey, everybody stay together,’ which they were. We had a miscommunication on the drive before.

    “Everybody’s fighting as hard as they can to win the game, so in the heat of the moment, everybody’s working as hard as they can to try to do things the right away. We just calmed everybody down and got everybody back together. We’ve got a lot of competitive guys.”
     
  2. retiredgrampa

    retiredgrampa Cheesehead

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    Yeah, we've got competive guys, but why not take it out on the opposition, for a change. The main problem is that the players have NOT been shown what to do in certain circumstances...and that's on our so-called coaches.
     
  3. NelsonsLongCatch

    NelsonsLongCatch Cheesehead

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    Finely has had a few miscues this year for a guy who hasn't produced at all. I can the frustration mounting, but hopefully they join together to beat the Bears!
     
  4. PackFanNChiTown

    PackFanNChiTown Bear Fan's Bane

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    Living in Chi-town I would love more than anything for the Packers to beat the Bears Monday! That would be a nice culmination to an otherwise very disappointing season...
     
  5. NelsonsLongCatch

    NelsonsLongCatch Cheesehead

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    i also agree... even more, I am hoping the Viqueens just win Sunday, making Monday's game irrelevant... i would hate for the packers to lose their top-10 pick
     
  6. PackFanNChiTown

    PackFanNChiTown Bear Fan's Bane

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    Winning Sunday will be challenging with Pat Williams being out but it's doable. I agree tho, if they win Da Bears are playing for nothing except pride, just like us. (whatever pride one can salvage from this season anyway).
     

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