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Thoughts After Quarter Of The Season Over

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by AmishMafia, Oct 5, 2011.

  1. AmishMafia

    AmishMafia Cheesehead

    Sep 27, 2010
    The Positive Spin

    I know we are 4-0 and have our toughest game behind us (New Orleans). There are still some tough games ahead with 2 games against Detroit. But there is a bit of uneasiness in my taking in the entire first 1/4 of the season. Our offense has been excellent, but I expected our defense to be one of the best in the NFL. It has yet to live up to these expectations.

    I am not sure what is wrong with the pass defense. Some plays its on the safeties, some on the MLBs, and others you have to blame the lack of a pass rush. There is no single reason why the Packers are giving up so many big pass plays on defense. I look for this to get better. My only reason to believe this is my trust in Dom Capers. Each of the past 2 seasons, I felt that the defense was underperforming early in the year. I look for Dom to make some adjustments to curtail these big plays. I am holding out hope that the return of OLB Zombo or the development of So'oto, House, or M.D. Jennings will give a late season boost to the defense.

    Additionally, I have this impression that McCarthy is not bothered by a slow start. I seem to recall a quote or two from him saying that you want to be peaking as a team at the start of the playoffs. Now, I don't believe that he purposely plays bad early so that the late season peak is realized, but I would not be surprised if he concentrates on skills and player development early in the season. Later in the season, he may shift to exploiting the strengths of his players. For example, if OG Lang is having trouble pulling left, MM may have a tendency to call more plays early in the season, knowing it is not going to be an effective play. His hope is that Lang will develop more skills as he gains the game experience. Later in the season, an opponent may be vulnerable to a guard pulling left, and now, Lang will have a better chance to succeed based on the early season experience.

    My expectations for this season, NFL wide, was very different. I think it takes longer for an offense to gel than a defense. Given the shortened offseason, I expected defenses to reign and offenses where timing is so crucial to suffer. The opposite appears true as we are seeing passing offenses excel. I see more teams going to a spread offense, mimicking the success of the Packers last season.

    Looking ahead? I doubt we finish undefeated. I expect the defense to start playing better. I expect the special teams to continue to show some improvement.

    • Like Like x 1
  2. 7thFloorRA

    7thFloorRA Cheesehead

    Jan 19, 2011
    I agree with some of those rookies on defense waiting to make their presence known in the late third of the season just like Starks did on offense last year.
  3. packerfan42

    packerfan42 Cheesehead

    Oct 3, 2011
    This season looks easier and easier as weeks go by, losing big teams early on in the Colts are gone, Steelers all but gone, Giants barely hanging on. Patriots/Packers shootout is fine by me.
    Ravens and their one dimention team, in Rodgers I trust.
  4. Pat4DaPack

    Pat4DaPack Cheesehead

    Aug 11, 2009
    I like what I see. Lots of points being put on the board and cant do better then 4-0!
  5. TJV

    TJV Lifelong Packers Fanatic

    Feb 22, 2011
    One of the things I liked about McCarthy when he arrived as HC is he breaks each season into fourths, so I think it’s appropriate we step back and assess the season at the quarter pole. I think that helps the team to not look too far ahead – like thinking about 16-0. Just win each quarter of the season and you’ll make the playoffs and we couldn’t have had a better example of the playoffs being a “brand new season” than last year.

    I too have been surprised that league-wide offenses are significantly ahead of defenses. Luckily for us, the Packers offense and Aaron Rodgers particularly are on an historically great pace. But we should remember last year’s Super Bowl participants were first and second in scoring defense and 10th and 12th in scoring offense. IMO that indicates defense is going to matter more by seasons end than it seems to now. And I don’t think we should overstate the Packers problems on D – while they are next to last vs. the pass, they’re 18th in scoring D and that's the most important stat. I’m not trying to put lipstick on a pig here – the D has to improve – I’m just saying IMO it’s not as bad as it may appear to some. BTW, the Packers’ D stats are likely to get worse tonight but if they win…

    I don’t have a prescription for the D to improve but I do have confidence in Capers and I am looking for added pass rush when Zombo and Neal return and if House takes a leap in his rookie season like Shields did, that’ll free up Capers to get more pressure on QBs while creating the opportunity for more coverage sacks. I’d also like to see So’oto or Lattimore to get snaps as designated pass rushers, but how we can not defer such decisions to Capers?

    On the positive side, Rodgers is the best QB in the league at the quarter pole and in today's NFL that's huge. His accuracy and mastery of the offense is nothing short of phenomenal. Cobb is the real deal on returns and as a playmaker on offense. Edgar Bennett has done a great job with the WRs - the Packers have dramatically reduced their number of drops by wide outs and I think a lot of the credit for that goes to Edgar.

    Where I disagree with AmishMafia’s post is regarding slow starts. Of course all teams want to be peaking as they enter the playoffs, but there’s a pretty good correlation between fast starts and making the playoffs. McCarthy has been aware of that since the end of his first season as HC, if not before. Here’s a quote from McCarthy before the start of the 2007 season: "Starting fast is important," the second-year coach said. "The statistics support it. I've always wanted to start fast and I think it comes down to the way we go about our business."

    The article cites the stats about the importance of a fast start. Also, I don’t believe McCarthy calls plays in-game to train players – that’s what practices are for and McCarthy knows too well how important each game is. Of course he calls plays to set up future plays but that’s different than trying to get Lang, or any other player, in-game practice.

    All in all at the quarter pole, I don’t know how Packers fans can feel anything other than very confident. It’s a long road ahead and there will be bumps along the road, but the Packers offense is more than just extremely fun for us to watch: It’s gotta scare the hell out of opposing defenses and their coordinators. One last thing: I don’t care if the Packers go 16-0. For me it’s all about championships. The Packers are on the precipice of a dynasty in an era generally devoid of them. Great GM, great HC, great QB, great weapons, playmakers on defense and a coaching staff that many fans, including this one, have underestimated. What’s not to love?

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