Ah…..good sweet cathartic internet hate. It doesn't get much better than this. This is the core of blogging really. Yes, the euphoria after a win is great, but it’s moments like these that God and Al Gore came together and gifted us with the interwebs…..well that and feeding every vice known to man except gluttony.
If there is one thing that a awful, awful loss in primetime can do is allow for some good and pure internet hate to clear the pallet. It gives us an
honest…errr... wildly different perspective on the team and leads to actual discussion of what the strengths and weaknesses are rather than allowing a fanbase to slip into group think. Make no mistake, what we witnessed on Sunday night was this sort of loss and allows to unload all that hate that’s been building through our ugly wins as of late. And this post may be the best place do it for the next few days before we turn our attention to the rival Minnesota Vikings.
So let’s name names and point fingers shall we? The line for nominees is drawn at five, but there will be a healthy honorable mention section.
RT T.J. Lang – There was a high outcry for Marshall Newhouse in the gamethread as well as the recap thread, but as I was doing some drafts of my nomination case for Newhouse Lang kept coming through more. See, I could of told you early in the week that Newhouse was going to fail miserably in New York this week (in fact I did). This was easy to see. Newhouse failed in New York last year too…and again in Green Bay in the playoffs against New York. He didn't get any better in the offseason and NY didn't get any worse…why should we expect any different? Yet, Newhouse’s failings can be covered up if the other side of the line holds on to some degree. Lang couldn't. Lang was worse than Newhouse (you read that right). Why? Because the Packers were sending more help to Lang than Newhouse which left him out to dry. MM isn't stupid, he knows Newhouse can’t cut it…he probably know s that better than me…but he still sent the help to Lang more often than not. Why? Because Lang was double strength awful. So you want to blame Newhouse for a bad game? Well look first to Lang because it was Lang’s failure that put Newhouse in a position to fail as spectacularly as he did against the Giants.
QB Aaron Rodgers – It’s tough to be efficient at QB when you are constantly under pressure. It’s tougher still when your receivers are getting beat at the line and can’t get free. Put two together and you have a bad night. Still, Rodgers just seemed off. Worse is his growing dependence on Randall Cobb. Yes, Cobb is a beast and a playmaker…the Packers need to get him the ball as often as possible. You know what though? The offense works best when the ball gets spread around and the defense doesn't know where you are going to go next. Right know Rodgers is forcing the ball towards Cobb whether he’s open or not and that leads to interceptions. His last three have been the result of Cobb targets . James Jones and Jordy Nelson are good A-Rod…get them the ball too! Oh, and Jermichael Finley hasn't been an outright failure the last two weeks too, you should look his way once in a while as well. Finally it would be nice to see Rodgers make a few more check down throws rather than wait for the big play and take a sack or run it and a hit. Moral of the story? Rodgers is getting sloppy with his decisions and his body and that’s not a good sign.
LB Erik Walden – It’s time for Walden to go have the meeting with the Bob’s. On Sunday he did not tackle well. He did not play coverage well. He also supplied his usual pass rush (aka…none). Each week he looks more and more like a liability for the Packers defense. It will be a massive disappointment if Moses does not outright replace him as the starter by the end of the season.
LB A.J. Hawk – There is no middle ground with Hawk this year. Apparently there is no okay….either he is impressive and playing some of his best football, or he is so awful it makes you wonder what he is doing out there. Like Walden, Hawk hangs around because he can tackle well and shut down the run. Anyone who watches Hawk the last few years knows this, they also know he struggles in coverage and can’t blitz to save his soul. So here he was this week letting Ahmad Bradshaw blow past him and get knocked on his butt by one of the Giants’ offensive linemen again and again. Look A.J., we do not expect you to suddenly turn into Brian Urlacher….that ship sailed about four years ago. We do expect you to shut down the run and bring some physicality in the middle. You can do that, we've seen you do that this year. Tonight you didn't and basically got owned.
DE B.J. Raji – Where was B.J. Raji tonight? Did anyone see him? Apparently he had three tackles, but I don’t remember any of them. He didn’t get any pressure and he certainly didn’t log any sacks. Raji was drafted in order to cause havoc up the middle, but so far he has been outplayed by Ryan Pickett. In fact, on more than one occasion it appeared that Raji lost his NT spot to Pickett…which is sadly the right move for the Packers. Pickett can hold down that middle and two gap with the best of them. Raji just seems to be taking up space. Which is okay, but disappointing for a guy with his talent and pedigree.
CB Tramon Williams – Williams struggled at time, but was able to make some key plays. That said, he did basically fail in tackling for the night. Missing some coverages is okay as long as you get the guys to the ground after they catch the ball. Williams was not able to do that which hurt on more than one occasion.
Any offensive lineman not named Josh Sitton – T.J. Lang got his nomination. Marshall Newhouse is going to be a fan favorite. Evan Dietrich-Smith and Jeff Saturday should not escape scrutiny though. This was a week where the middle of the line needed to hold up, and too often they couldn't. Look, it’s understandable to see the Giants’ win on the edge. It’s the New York Giants and they have more starting DE’s than anyone in the league….including arguably the best young DE in the league. The only way to keep the offense moving in that situation is win in the middle of the line. To give Rodgers a chance to step up and escape….and both of these guys failed miserably at this. EDS looks less and less like a starting caliber guard with each passing week. Saturday just looks like a square peg for a round hole….either he’s washed up or just doesn't fit with the Packers.
K Mason Crosby – As much as many are down on MM for calling Crosby’s number early in the game…it is not at unreasonable as many may think. The defense was spotty even early in the game and getting points on the board and possibly a lead was key more than field position. The other factor is that the only way to get Crosby out of his funk is to send him out there and deal with it. He can’t hide on the sidelines forever. That said, he also have to get the ball through the damn uprights. Every miss is another brick in the wall ending his career in Green Bay once the season is over….and maybe even before that.
RB James Starks – He had an acceptable run average this week (4.4) and led the team in rushing with a whopping 35 yards, but he wasn't that much better than Alex Green once again. Worse, Green seemed to do a better job of hitting the holes. The good news for Starks is that he’s still better at falling forward and getting those one to two extra yards. Still, there just is not much difference between the two….which is nothing but bad news for Starks because at least Green has a fallback position on the roster (third down back).
LB Frank Zombo – Where in the hell was Zombo? Zombo is supposed to be a starting caliber OLB. That means he should have more tackles than Jarrett Bush. That means he’s suppose to be able to handle a one on one match up with an offensive tackle….and a one on one match up with a tight end should be an advantage – not stop him cold. Not much was expected of Zombo yet somehow he still finds a way to disappoint.
S M.D. Jennings – After weeks of improving play Jennings found a way to remind us all why he was benched for Jerron McMillian. Jennings often appeared lost in coverage and struggled to make tackles. He also drew penalties (and probably will get fined this week) for a head to head collision with a defenseless receiver. That’s sloppy and inexcusable play. It doesn’t matter that Jennings is one of those young and inexperienced guys out there, he should know better.
We could probably go on and on with honorable mentions, but this is a pretty robust list as it is. If you feel someone was left off then please feel free to write them in. The main rule is no coaches. This is a players only award for failing to execute on the field. Heck, name me as the Dud for not trotting out Newhouse, but coaches aren’t to be nominated…no matter how bad a playcall was or the scheme appeared.
Have fun and let’s vent as much as we can now so our hate can be properly focused toward the Vikings in a day or two.