Jclombardi reviews Packers’ NFL power rankings & midseason report cards.
NFL Power Rankings: Packers
Aol Fanhouse: 16. QB Rodgers has a lot of talent as a passer and the offensive line is bad. However, Rodgers needs to make an adjustment and get rid of the football much quicker; otherwise he’s only adding to the weakness. At 37, the Packers have allowed more sacks than any other team.
USA Today: 17.
Fox: 18. FIRST-HALF BLESSING: Aaron Rodgers is still able to walk after eight games behind this horrid offensive line. For that, Packers fans should be very grateful, or this deflating 4-4 start could be even worse. FIRST-HALF CURSE: The Curse of Brett Favre and his season sweep over his former team is beginning to permeate the Land of Cheeseheads.
SI.com: 18. While he’s playing behind a Green Bay offensive line that has had the worst half-season of any positional unit in the NFL (37 sacks allowed), Rodgers isn’t helping matters with his penchant for holding the ball too long. Then against the Bucs he got wild and tried to force some throws. With three of their next four games at home, the Packers still have time to make a wild-card push. But the turnaround had best start this week against Dallas, and it must include No. 12 playing better.
Midseason Report Cards:
1. ESPN: A. Video NFC North Report—Grade C. Issues—offensive line; transition to 3-4 Capers defense. B. NFC North Report–Disappointments: Offensive line; LG Colledge; LB Kampman; LB Hawk; Surprises: LB Chillar; Outlook—2nd half of season could devolve into referendum on futures of GM Thompson and HC McCarthy.
2. FOX—Grade C. A. Making the grade: This season has become more disastrous on some levels. The Packers lost the Favre Bowls against Minnesota and were embarrassed against previously winless Bucs. Green Bay’s four victories come against teams with combined record of 7-25. B. Most valuable player: QB Rodgers. Playing behind a leaky offensive and even though he has gotten sacked an NFL-high 37 times, Rodgers still has a quarterback rating over 100. C. Biggest disappointment: OLB Kampman. Packers’ management made a terrible talent evaluation when projecting that Kampman could make the successful shift to 3-4 outside linebacker. Overall, Green Bay is tied for 29th in sack production with 13. D. Health status: The offensive line is a mess with C Spitz on injured reserve and LT Clifton battling season-long ankle problems. E. Second-half forecast: The season is probably lost if Green Bay doesn’t defeat visiting Dallas on Sunday. The seat is getting uncomfortably warm for HC McCarthy and GM Ted Thompson, especially after Brett Favre extracted his revenge on the Packers.
3. SPORTING NEWS—Vindication for Favre. In 2008, the Packers opted for an unproven Rodgers over an unretired Favre. In hindsight, what was the point in wanting an early answer? His current team was willing to welcome him even after training camp and their 7-1 record is proving that the Vikings got it right. And the Packers got it incredibly wrong. So wrong that, the Rosencrantz and Guildenstern who are running the Packers could end up suffering a similar fate.
4. YAHOO–Grade C. Issues: Offensive line; RB Grant; & 3-4 transition defense.
5. NBCSPORTS: Grade B-. Best attribute: The Packers were under intense scrutiny prior to the start of the season when they traded Brett Favre to the Jets, but they have survived the storm and put a solid product on the field. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers has won over his teammates, coaches and Packers fans. The receivers are an elite group, and the defensive backs, most notably Charles Woodson and Nick Collins, are outstanding ball hawks. Needs improvement: The running game that was so strong a year ago has fallen on hard times. The Packers rank in the bottom third of the league in yards per game and yards per rush. It’s easy to blame running back Ryan Grant, but the holes have not been there. On the other hand, the Packers have regularly struggled to stop their opponents from running the ball.
6. NBCWASHINGTON: Grade C. What they’ve done well: Forget Favre. Green Bay has a great asset in Rodgers. He is a quarterback who can win games because he finds big-play receivers like Jennings and Driver. If only the Packers could protect him a little bit, then this team would have a chance to contend for the playoffs. The Packers have shown significant improvement on defense as they are giving up 283.4 yards per game ranking 4th in the league. Needs improvement: The play of the offensive line has been disastrous. The Packers have given up a league-high 31 sacks and to his credit, Rodgers shows no signs of shying away or changing the game plan. The poor offensive line play is having a significant impact on the running game.
7. FANIQ: Grade So-So. The Packers at least looked like they were losing to the good teams and beating the bad teams…but then they lost to the Bucs and ruined our hopes of a team going 0-16. At .500, they’re a mediocre team and 8-8 looks like “at best” for this team.
8. DESERETNEWS: Grade C. They are poorly coached and can only beat below-average teams.