For those of us who watched the Green Bay Packers vs. the San Francisco 49ers, you saw a Super Bowl team. They were physical on defense, they have an ascending running game, showed lots of mental toughness, overcame lots of adversity and two critical turnovers to nearly pull out a road win against one of the best teams in all of football.
Yes, the Green Bay Packers look good to me when they can nearly beat the 49ers on the road, not playing their best game. The first half was a total grind, always playing from behind. The Packers inability on defense not stopping San Francisco on third down was huge.
Green Bay’s front seven played really well, bringing the TUDE (attitude) and physical play all day long. The secondary, especially safety was another story. With starter Morgan Burnett not available due to a hamstring injury, that left the Packers to start M.D. Jennings, an undrafted free agent, and 2012 fourth round pick, Jerron McMillian.
Both were a step slow, and both are average safeties at best. You want to see a stud safety look no farther than the opposing team on Sunday, where 49ers first round pick, Eric Reid, just under six feet, two inches tall and 213 pounds. He came to lay the wood and make his presence felt, and I think all of Packers Nation would agree, he accomplished that.
Our starting defensive backfield also includes two corners who were undrafted free agents in Tramon Williams and Sam Shields, giving the back line a total of three UDFAs as starters in addition to a fourth round pick.
Is it any coincidence the Packers front seven played well? They are loaded with first round draft picks – Ryan Pickett, Datone Jones, B.J Raji, A.J. Hawk, Clay Mathews and Nick Perry. Mike Neal was a second round pick. High round picks do not guarantee good football players, nor going undrafted means you are not a good football player.
It does, however, if you have a good scouting department like the Packers do.
I raise this fact to point out the obvious – next year Ted Thompson needs to make the area of saftey a priority, and defensive backs in general. I do not fault Thompson for drafting Datone Jones and Eddie Lacy in a safety-rich draft, I am glad we have them. However, not focusing on this position for a while is starting to show.
As for the game? Come now, all is not lost. We lost to these same 49ers last season in game one, and actually was 2-3 our first five games last season, and ended up NFC North champions yet again, making it to the second round of the playoffs.
While this one stings, it is not a knockout punch by any means. From what I saw yesterday from the Green Bay Packers, they are not hanging their heads after this one, they are seething mad. Let’s play’em again in January on our road to the Super Bowl and see who gets the last laugh.