A 24 – 15 victory doesn’t sound bad, but if you were a Cheesehead watching the Green Bay Packers outlasting the hapless Jacksonville Jaguars you weren’t too proud of the good guys this week. Mike McCarthy said after the game that all wins are good wins, and philosophically that is true, but the Packers did not play well at all Sunday and were fortunate to run their record to 5 – 3.
The Packers went into the game pretty banged-up, missing six starters including their two top receivers. Aaron Rodgers still had talented weapons like Randall Cobb, who caught the first touchdown pass of the day, but the offense struggled all day as they were out of synch and could not get their running game going. With Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson on the bench, Cheeseheads hoped to see Jermichael Finley pick up some offensive slack, but that was not to happen. Finley continues to disappoint with his dropped passes and silly antics. He has so much potential, yet so little production.
Also disheartening was the Packers’ running game. McCarthy tried and tried to get it going against a very porous Jacksonville run-stopping group, and yet there was nothing there. So little goes right when the Packers choose to run the ball, it is difficult to see exactly where the weaknesses exist. Running back Alex Green is young and inexperienced. The offensive line is obviously geared toward pass protection rather than running. If I were McCarthy I would be looking at the assistant coaches for answers as to why this group can’t get the job done. Someone isn’t performing and that is for sure.
A blocked punt by Davon House was recovered for a Packer touchdown, which allowed the Packers to take a 14 -12 lead at halftime, but the offensive problems continued in the second half. I counted four dropped passes on the day. The special teams weren’t very good either, as a missed field goal and an unconverted trick field goal play had Cheeseheads scratching their heads. And, the officiating was horrible… again. It was ugly.
Fortunately, the Packer defense showed up in the second half although there was some miscommunication there, too. Charles Woodson broke his collarbone last week and is out for six weeks. I thought Morgan Burnett had a very solid game and, hopefully, some of the other young defensive secondary players like House, Jerron McMillian and Casey Hayward will benefit from the experience gained during Woodson’s absence.
So the Packers are 5 – 3 at the midway point in the 2012 season. They have soundly beaten two of the best teams in the league, Chicago and Houston, and have struggled against bottom dwellers like the Colts and the Jaguars. This team is inconsistent. We are also snake-bit by a rash of injuries and plagued by horrible officiating, which is a reoccurring nightmare this year. It is a mixed bag of goodies and goblins that takes us into the second half of the season.
Next week the Arizona Cardinals invade Lambeau and the week thereafter the Packers get a well-needed bye. Arizona is not a powerhouse, but the Packers don’t seem to play well against weaker opponents this year. The Packers need a win to avoid falling too far behind the Bears in the Central North.
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