I swear I’ve done this before. Haven’t I?
Well, in the event this post comes off a bit creaky, I’ll apologize in advance.
So I know we haven’t updated this site in awhile. We hope to change that soon. As of now, though, we aren’t sure. Either way, that’s another post for another time.
For now, if y’all don’t mind, I’d like to offer some quick thoughts on the Green Bay Packers’ often stirring, often shaky 45-38 road win over the San Diego Chargers earlier today. Some of these thoughts will fall into the broader spectrum of things that have been going on throughout the season because, well, we haven’t written anything all season.
Again. Sorry. But…um…enjoy!
- Yes, 8-0 is 8-0. And, throughout the season, I’ve been the first one to say that wins are wins and they’re always a good thing. This one felt different somehow. This was the first time this season that a Green Bay victory left me wanting more. It’s true San Diego (4-4 overall) was a desperate team coming off an embarassing loss, thus ensuring it’d fight until the bitter end. But, no matter what the circumstances, there’s simply no excuse for damn-near coughing up a three-score lead in the final 10:27 of a game. None.
- And why did the Packers nearly cough it up? Because, simply put, this defense is not playing at a championship level. The unit can’t get after the quarterback, struggles to tackle and leaves receivers way too open way too often. Those faults were all on display in this one.
- There’s been much hand-wringing – rightfully so – about the lack of pass rush. Is Clay Matthews hurt? Is B.J. Raji gassed from playing roughly 400 percent of the defensive snaps? Is it a schematic issue? All of those three things play factors, of course, but really, the issue is this: this team banked everything on Mike Neal seamlessly filling the void left by Cullen Jenkins. When Neal got hurt, it left the team with only two reliable pass rushers: Raji and Matthews. Big, big difference between having three reliable pass rushers and two reliable pass rushers. Opponents have simply decided to key in on those two and take their chances with the Frank Zombos, Erik Waldens and Jarius Wynns on this roster. Those players aren’t terrible, of course, but they just aren’t good enough to get to the quarterback consistenly. We’re eight games in – I think it’s fair to say that by now.
- The defense sure is good at coming up with turnovers, though, huh? Three picks, two returned for scores – scores that, really, were the difference in the game. It’s something the unit’s been able to do throughout the season. A major positive (okay, so that’s an understatement. Again, I’m rusty).
- In the end, relying almost solely on their collective ability to take the ball away is what’s worked so far for the unit. I just continue to worry about what happens when the Pack draws an offense – more specifically, a quarterback – who doesn’t give them that chance. Is this defense gonna be able to carry the team in a big game when Aaron Rodgers struggles, something that you have to think will happen at some point this season?
- Wait, on second thought…WILL Rodgers struggle at some point this season?
- I ask that because, simply put, I’ve never seen the quarterback position played as well as Rodgers is playing it right now. He had some flubs today on account of holding the ball too long, but other than that, the man is poetry in motion back there. Every single week, he’s hitting throws that no one – no one - else in this league could hit. That touchdown throw to Jordy Nelson at the end of the first half, for example? Sick, sick, sick. He instills a confidence in you, as a fan, that Brett Favre never did. You just feel like he’s never going to risk a game-changing mistake for a game-changing play. He takes his shots, to be sure, but they seem like SMART shots.
- And, with the weaponry at his disposal, it’s almost too easy for him at times. The big three of Jermichael Finley, Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson (16 catches, 195 yards, three scores combined today) are so good, there’s seemingly no way for opponents to take them ALL out. And, in those rarest of instances when all three are contained? Well, there’s James Jones coming up with a 21-yard touchdown snag! Pick your poison, ladies. Pick. Your. Poison.
- What I’m trying to say – sorry, there’s that damn rust again – is that this offense is so freaking talented, I just don’t think there’s a defense that can hold them down for four quarters.
- And that’s why today left me wanting more. This offense is powerful enough to turn goat piss into gasoline (damn you kids who won’t get that reference!). The defense does not have to be a shutdown unit (it’d be nice, though). It just has to allow, say, 20-24 points a week and we’ll be fine. With half a season in the books, I have yet to believe it can do that against a top-flight offense.
- Prove me wrong, fellas. Prove me wrong.