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To Recap Week 5: Winning is For Winners

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The Packers beat the New York Football Playing Large Mythical Figures featuring A Petulant Man Baby by a score of 23-16 this week, and as good as we should feel about winning, to be honest it’s kind of a mixed bag. Let’s open it up and see what we got…

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Defense

I owe the defense an apology. This past week I said publicly and often that Odell Beckham Jr was going to put up 12 catches for 175 yards and 3 td’s. I also thought that Victor Cruz would have a big game. That was BEFORE Damarious Randall was ruled out.

The makeshift secondary of Ladarius Gunter, Quinten Rollins, Micah Hyde, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, and Morgan Burnett did their jobs to a degree that not many people expected. Everybody knows the problems that Beckham Jr has brought upon himself over the past few weeks, but the stage seemed set for a redemption game this week. Beckham seemed contrite and understanding of what his team needed him to do. Given the Packers track record in situations like these, it was difficult to be confident.

The secondary played out of their minds this week. OBJ had 5 receptions on 12 targets for 59 yards and a touchdown. Math is not my best subject, but that is roughly 274 less yards than most people had him penciled in for. Gunter ended up guarding him most of the game with safety help over the top, and it worked. Most of his catches were short crossing or out routes, and he never got the big play that the Giants were clearly gunning for all night. The touchdown (or incomplete pass, who really knows in the NFL) was only caught because Manning threw the ball 3 feet above everybody else’s heads. Dom Capers really used the bye week to figure out the best gameplan this time. I don’t know what to do with that.

The front 7 dominated once again. The Giants only managed 43 yards on 15 attempts, for an average of 2.9 yards. Granted, they haven’t really faced a premier running back yet (other than a clearly ailing Adrian Peterson), but they are on pace to be historic.

Mike Daniels and Kenny Clark moved the Giant’s offensive line around like foosball players. Clay Matthews came back in a limited role, but when he was in the game he was as effective as he ever has been. Capers was moving him all over the field again, which is honestly probably the best way to use him at this point in his career. He’s a beast, and if teams can’t figure out where he’s coming from, they can’t defend him.

There are several other players who deserve credit for their performances on Sunday. Kyler Fackrell continues to improve and show that he will be an impact player. He caused the Giants only turnover with a strip sack of Manning, and was in the backfield all night on run plays. Nick Perry is still on his mission to get paid, and with consistent performances like he’s had so far this season, the Packers are going to have a very difficult time not bringing him back.

To close, this defense is my boo, and my bae. They are my boobae.

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Aaron Rodgers

Rodgers is perplexing, and not in a good way. It’s clear that he is still the most creative and intelligent quarterback in the league. Every game this season he has made plays that were missing last year. But he goes through droughts during games that could have so many causes that it takes a spreadsheet to keep track of them all. Don’t fret, I’m not going to Excel you to death, but I will present to you my opinions about why he struggles so badly at times:

  1. Personnel groups–Mike McCarthy is the absolute master of finding things that work and setting them on fire. During the first drive of the game, the Packers ran out different packages and groups pretty much every play. What was the result? A beautifully executed and successful drive that took up over half of the quarter. Then the laminate on McCarthy’s playcard must have melted off, because he didn’t do that again for the rest of the game. There is only so much Rodgers can do with the same receivers in the same formations forever and infinity.
  2. Lapses in fundamentals–Rodgers may be the best quarterback in the league when it comes to improvising. He has made more out of broken plays than a lot of quarterbacks make when things go right.  Over the course of his career, these have become his calling card. The problem with this is that now every time the pocket looks like it may collapse or a defender gets within a few yards of him, Rodgers goes into panic mode. The Packers run a lot of timing routes, and if the throw is early, the receiver is at a disadvantage. Additionally, Rodgers’ mechanics are frequently not optimal because he is rushing through his delivery. Look at his back foot when he gets pressured. He has a tendency to throw the ball before it’s set. Sometimes he leaves his feet completely when he throws. It’s quarterback 101. It’s fixable, which is good news. And it’s gotten better since last year, which is better news.
  3. Skip Bayless made a deal with Satan.

There are enough glimmers of hope to maintain my optimism. Rodgers isn’t broken. He’s working his way back from mediocrity. I have faith that he’ll be back to normal sooner than later.

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Eddie Freaking Lacy

I will personally massage his ankle with liniments and salves this week if it means he doesn’t miss any time. He could have ran for 200 yards on Sunday if McCarthy wouldn’t have forgotten his existence for entire periods. Look, I understand the whole preservation strategy. Lacy is a large guy, and he takes a lot of hits. The Packers want to save him for the end of the year. Theoretically, it makes sense. However, it’s a fine line they are walking here. If they don’t use Lacy, the ball goes to James Starks. My intention here is not to sound like a mean person, but Starks is a shred of a fraction of the player he was 5 years ago. He’s just not very effective anymore. So giving him the ball is a risk. Lacy provides a better chance of winning. It’s true, he is a big running back. But the last I checked, he is a professional athlete. Other big running backs (Marshawn Lynch and LeGarrette Blount come to mind) have had good to great careers with a larger workload than the Packers give Lacy.

Lacy had 81 yards on 11 rushes for an average of 7.4 yards per carry.  I don’t know how much more needs to be said. Those stats speak for themselves. Give the guy a cheeseburger, then make him work with resistance bands for 3 hours. (Spoiler alert: I have no idea what P90X is.)

 

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The Entire Offensive Line 

The best starting offensive line in the NFL. Do not argue with me about this, you will be wrong. Aaron Rodgers could have filmed an entire insurance company infomercial at times while the line gave him a clean pocket. Lacy had holes big enough to ride Mike Daniels through, if he so chose.

Ted Thompson looks like a genius. Re-signing David Bakhtiari for what will turn out to be an inexpensive deal in a few years, then cutting Josh Sitton in favor of Lane Taylor both seemed insane at first. Now it’s clear that Thompson knows more about GMing than we do. Go figure.

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Wide Receivers

Randall Cobb had his best game is 2 years. 9 receptions for 108 yards, including one that sealed the game even after he took a cheap hit that folded him up like a fireplace bellow. He didn’t get in the end zone, but he kept drives alive all game. Cobb is clearly at his best when he’s in the slot with Nelson on the outside. The Packers did that a lot throughout the game, and Cobb was there to bail Rodgers out several times. Thankfully he says he is okay, so hopefully he can continue to do what he does best.

Davante Adams also had a great game. If you live long enough, weird things happen. He had 5 receptions for 85 yards and a touchdown on a beautifully thrown pass on a go route. Adams also made a great play when he caught a poorly thrown pass and basically crab walked for an extra 8 yards. His performance this year hasn’t been out of this world, but it’s much better than last year.

Jordy Nelson caught a 2 yard touchdown at the end of the first drive of the game, then apparently lost feeling in his hands or lost a contact lens or thought he was fertilizing a field with large football shaped pellets. He dropped 2 passes and caused one of Rodgers’ 2 interceptions. It’s a bit disconcerting, but there’s no indication that it was anything more than an aberration. Not to be confused with Abbrederis, mostly because nobody has seen him for months.

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The Ripper

He’s a bearded freight train being conducted by an angel.

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Next Week

Skeletor Jones brings his team to Lambeau. It is not clear if Dez Bryant will play, but either way he won’t catch the ball.

 

Thank you for reading. James Korsmo is Lead Humor Writer at Titletown Sound Off. You can follow him on Twitter @jksub20. For even more Packers content, follow us on Twitter and Like us on Facebook.

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By James Korsmo

I love my family, the Packers, beer, and nachos. More or less in that order. @jksub20 on Twitter.

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