Packers vs Texans Preview: NFL Season Crossroad
Legendary senior writer jclombardi talks about the Packers and season crossroad.
Photo credit: AP/ESPN.
COMMENTARY: After the Packers lost to the laughable rebuilding Colts and their hot dog rookie QB Luck, the entire week had the Packers sports press business spinning their public relations machine (jobs) to sell their fluff news. PFT summarized the real Packers week:
At 2-3 with a tough game against the Texans on Sunday night, these are not particularly happy times for the Packers. Tight endJermichael Finley recently complained about his lack of chemistrywith Rodgers and also suggested that Rodgers is playing scared, one player feels the refs are out to get the team and McCarthy is warning against the team taking on a loser mentality. A win would cure most woes, but that’s not going to be an easy task for the Packers this week.
Meanwhile, we discuss the professional early season NFL question, "What is wrong with the Packers at this crossroad, the problems, and the game plan to win this game?"
1. Stop playing down to competition: Fans, you should review this interesting NFL.com video where the commentators talk about an old Packers issue, i.e. the need for consistent mental and physcial toughness throughout a game.
2. Loss of key personnel to injuries including WR Jennings, RB Benson; and ILB Bishop. Teams with quality depth win modern NFL games. Besides, injuries are never a good excuse and coaches know it.
3. Game plan & season adjustments: Lombardi at NFL.com added that the Packers need to adapt and adjust plans to changing conditions to win, e.g. Patriots. He concluded:
[The Packers]...still has quarterback Rodgers. But the Packers will need to fix some of their problems if they expect to go deep into the playoffs. It will be hard to become more physical with their line. It will be even harder to find the right back. It wouldn't, however, be hard for their players to become more consistent. Tight end Jermichael Finely has to catch the ball regularly, veteran receiver Greg Jennings has to get healthy and the Packers need to find ways to further utilize Randall Cobb. The challenge for coach Mike McCarthy is to combine his creative process and his attention to fundamentals. As long as Rodgers stays healthy, the Packers have a chance. But it won't be easy, because it is hard to change during the season.
4. Leadership--"old dog & learning new tricks": QB Rodgers got quoted about Packers leadership:
I understand that people will be watching, not just the media, but teammates and coaches on how we're all going to respond to this. This is a good opponent coming up. We know the kind of game we need to play in order to come away with a victory.
5. Winning game plan--NBC's covers game plan to beat Texans [adapted]:
A. Fill gaps against run--Texans do it with a perfect blend of a well-executed zone blocking scheme, where the line tries to stretch out the defense laterally while opening up running lanes, and Foster’s ability to anticipate the hole and burst through it. The Packers must contain the Texans’ running game or else they’ll never get off the field B. Productive 1st two downs--Because of penalties and poor execution, the Packers got into bad positions on 3rd downs. The Packers need to find ways to be successful on the first two downs to put Rodgers in better positions. The Packers need to test the Texans’ [soft] secondary C. Stop DL Watt--he is fast and relentless. On passing downs, Watt moves inside to left defensive tackle. That should match him up against the Packers’ best offensive lineman, RG Sitton D. Big plays--the Packers should come out firing away in a no-huddle, spread offense. They need to execute big plays attacking their weak secondary to score early and often to dominate the tempo of game E. Stop sloppy plays and units play to win--the Packers must stop being sloppy with sacks, penalties, dropped passes, and dropped interceptions. Units can win--an "A" for Vince Lombardi 's teachings about the intangibles including effort and passion to go with talents, e.g. Matthews, McMillian, Bishop, Benson, and Walden.
PREVIEW: For fans and the Packers nation, we have faced this crossroad in many Packers seasons, especially on prime time television. Remember, the Packers did bounce back from a 3-3 start in 2010 to win the Super Bowl, but they need to show their mettle on the road against the unbeaten Texans in front of the nation on "Sunday Night Football." We can hope for the best outcome against the writing on the wall. Good luck Pack!