One thing that is good about embarrassment – if something embarrasses you enough, it forces you to fix whatever it is.
Well, there was plenty of embarrassment to go around for the Packers during Sunday’s game against the Eagles, but the defense was certainly the most shining weak spot.
There are plenty of players on both sides of the ball that deserve to be called out, but I am going to focus on the defense, because everyone knows why the offense isn’t performing up to par (that A-rod guy is still out.)
House and Jennings should be clear why – if you go back and look at their game against the Eagles (and much of the rest of their careers), they look thoroughly confused most of the time. On the play where Riley Cooper gashed them for a touchdown, you can tell that M.D. Jennings has no idea where the ball is, and Davon House looks like he is just running along with Jennings in case a ball gets tipped to him. He was not even looking the direction of the play.
They both looked fairly foolish and it was clearly our most embarrassing moment on defense. The problem with defensive backs is that they can play awful 80 percent of the time and we curse their names, but then occasionally they come up with a big play. House is known for getting burned multiple times in a game but then coming up with a late game interception that helps close out a game, and then we all forget.
I view Jennings the same way – he gets burned a lot and occasionally has a big play that makes us forget that he was burned. He should rightfully have had the game saver in the infamous “fail mary” game against the Seahawks. But a player cannot be judged on one good play per game, he needs to be judged on sixty minutes of play. Jennings and House have had plenty of time to establish themselves and they aren’t getting it done.
I am giving up on Nick Perry, not because of bad play, but because of injury. It seems like he goes down with an injury in nearly every game he plays, and of course there was his injury in his rookie year that kept him out almost the entire year. I had high hopes for him after he was picked in the first round of last year’s draft, but my patience has all but dissipated after continually waiting for his debut.
We are also missing the Tramon Williams and Casey Hayward of last year. Williams had a chance to come up with two interceptions Sunday, but dropped them both. Either one of them could have changed the momentum of the game or denied a scoring drive by the Eagles.
Casey Hayward was in talks for defensive rookie of the year last year after his ball hawking season. He finished last year with six interceptions and so far this year he has none. As a TEAM, last year the Packers finished the year with 18 interceptions. This year, they have a mere three interceptions thus far.
What happened to the big plays on defense? There’s been very few stripped balls, interceptions, big hits, or good tackles. One theory is that defensive coordinator Dom Capers spent all of training camp working on the run defense, which has performed well above expectations so far. Or he spent all offseason focusing on stopping the option offense, and forgot that sometimes we have to defend the pass as well.
At this point, I feel like somebody needs to be held accountable. Is it Capers? Or is it more on the players? I don’t think Capers deserves to be fired – yet. After all, he has been able to greatly improve certain aspects of the defense, and some of the blitz packages he creates are pretty brilliant. But at this point, I think he needs to at least FEEL like his job is on the line.
This should be a very interesting week, seeing what coach Mike McCarthy does to rectify the team issues.