Not being to wrap up and tackle is an alarming trend, not only for the Green Bay Packers, but for all teams across the league. Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports photograph

Green Bay Packers stink right now, but the stench might stem from an unlikely source – the CBA


 

Vince Lombardi was never in the mood for bad tackling

Vince Lombardi was never in the mood for bad tackling

Vince Lombardi: “What the Hell is going on out here? Grab! Grab! Grab!

It doesn’t take a genius to see what’s going on in today’s National Football League – it’s an alarming rise in the lack of fundamentals being executed on the field, especially in the area of tackling. It’s fast becoming the namby-pamby league.

Yesterday’s pathetic attempt by the Green Bay Packers in the defending of their goal in front of a national television audience was nothing short of shocking, but it’s something that all Packers fans have been watching for weeks – and something that seems to have been coming for the past few years.

You can’t blame it on the injury to Aaron Rodgers, you can’t necessarily blame it on the injuries along the Packers defensive front because we all know that the “next man up” mantra means that there shouldn’t be any drop-off in the performance of the reserves.

It might be somewhat of a stretch because there’s no hard evidence in front of me, but I’m looking all the way back to the signing of the latest collective bargaining agreement and the new practice rules established through that document. Limiting the number of practices, especially the number of padded practices cuts down on the number of days when players can hit one another, when they can tackle one another. We have to ask the question – is it having an effect on the quality of fundamentally sound football players on the field?

You bet it is. If you don’t practice your craft every day, you won’t improve. If you don’t home in on the skills you need to sharpen, they get dull.

The Packers are as dull as dull gets at this point.

Consider these words written July 23, 2011, by profootballtalk.com’s Mike Florio – just days after the signing of the CBA:

This specific point was raised with us earlier in the hour by a source who agreed with Friday’s reduced-contact source, who said after the Atlanta labor seminar, The only thing the players didn’t get is someone else to play for them.”

For the sake of Packers fans reading this, we’ll consider what we’ve seen the past few years in the tackling department.

ProFootballFocus.com has nailed it with these statistics:

Packers’ missed tackles by season:

Defense Special teams
* Through 12 games
Source: ProFootballFocus.com
2013* 95 20
2012 68 11
2011 101 14
2010 81 22
2009 65 12

The pattern here is clear. The Packers’ inability to tackle this season is alarming and on par with the 2011 15-1 season when Aaron Rodgers carried a defense-less team until they got exposed by the Kansas City Chiefs near the end of that year and were one-and-done when they got to the playoffs.

Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports photograph

Yesterday’s embarrassing and humiliating performance was something fans have been harping about for weeks, something that Mike McCarthy has said will be “corrected” with each and every week – but nothing ever seems to happen.

According to Rob Demovsky of ESPN, the Packers “average … 7.9 missed tackles per game on defense, … and are on pace for 126 for the season. With an average of 1.7 missed tackles on special teams, they are on pace for 27.”

Is it any wonder why the Packers are 5-6-1? Those numbers are record-setting.

It’s because this team is soft – once again.

This is the same team that was in the top two or three of the league in rushing defense the first half of the season. What the hell has happened? Is it coaching? Is it fear that someone may get hurt in practice? Is it all on the players who seem to be playing without a sense of urgency? Is it that the number of tackling drills in practice, especially in training camp, have gone by the wayside?

How is it that this team gave up a total of 474 yards rushing through the first six games and then laid down to give up 473 over a two-game span – to the Vikings and Lion?!? These are good rushing teams, but this is not Green Bay Packers football. This is not the team that won a Super Bowl only a few years ago, the team that has dominated the tough NFC North Division the past few years, the team that, when they hit the field, always have a chance to win.

They have become the Detroit Lions of years past … a team that consistently gets outmuscled, outcoached and outscored.

If the Packers continue to play this way, they may as well mail it in and start playing for a decent draft pick. Maybe they can find someone who actually knows how to tackle.

Minnesota Vikings tight end John Carlson gets by Brad Jones during the Vikings and Packers tie game. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports photograph

We have to continue to be the Vince Lombardis of the world. We have to keep asking what the hell is going on and hold Ted Thompson, Mike McCarthy, all the coaches and every player accountable. When advertisers start walking away from this game because it’s turning into something that’s no more exciting than a game of tiddly winks, then this league is in big trouble. At this pace, that’s not far away.

Right now the Green Bay Packers are among a slew of teams across the league with 5 or 6 wins. This is not parity, this is mediocrity. It’s bad football … it’s bad FOR football. I’m not saying we want to go back to the days when Dallas and San Francisco dominated, but there’s got to be a swing back toward excellence.

Right now, we getting a very bad brand of football.

What’s the answer? I’m not sure, but somebody with the wherewithal and influence needs to start looking closely at the cause.

The Packers have been the epitome of this downturn, but it’s an infection that’s coursing its way across the league.

Tags: CBA Featured Green Bay Packers NFL Popular

  • Rick Giovengo

    The NFL is about coaching. Every team has good players that’s what makes the NFL so interesting; the fact on any given day a loser team can beat a winner team. That’s the NFL. What makes or breaks any team is the quality of coaching. Good coaching plan for injuries because that’s how it is in the NFL; there are going to be injuries to key players. Let’s face it the Packer organization was playing Russian Roulette at the back-up quarterback position; they had not planned for Rodgers to get injured.

    What the Packers are facing right now is a crisis of leadership. As an Organizational Psychologist I get paid to go into organizations and address performance issues; the Packers have huge performance issues. And getting Aaron Rodgers back only solves one aspect of the overall performance issues. I think now there is no denying that Aaron Rodgers has been carrying a team that has slowing been cracking at the seams. Performance problems are like an old bridge, the bridge just does not collapse, there are little things that over time start to break until the entire bridge falls into the water. Currently the Packers are an old bridge that’s cracking.

    The Packer’s performance problems can be traced back to 2011 and have slowing manifest itself into the total collapse into the water; a situation fans are starting to openly see. The leadership is in complete denial about these performance problems – many organizations suffer from similar issues, the disease of denial. It is difficult as a leader to look inside face things that you just do not want to see. Every word out of MM’s mouth are words of denial. If you keep telling yourself everything is going to be OK, you start to believe it.

    But football is a game of performance and action, not words. The Packers defense has been sub-par for two seasons now (I would actually say three, but to be fair…). The Packer organization must start facing up to the facts (and stats) for they don’t lie – people lie (or deny), facts and stats do not. The Packer organization is going to have to do some real soul-searching if they are going to be a contender with its
    current leadership. I respect the Packers as a team and as an organization, and their views on loyalty, but
    loyalty with no performance does not win games.

    • http://lombardiave.com Raymond Rivard

      Rick,

      This is a great response and you’re absolutely right on all counts. As a coach over the years, I completely understand your analysis and comparison to the failing bridge. I’ve said for years that the NFL is all about coaching. The talent level between teams is minute. Winning programs have winning coaches who can manage and put players in the best positions to be successful. Maybe the injuries have had more of an effect than we understand, but you’re right in that Aaron Rodgers is only a small portion of the entire picture. Yes, his leadership and talent has gone a long way in propping up this bridge, but even he can’t put it all back together. The Packers are going to have to take a step back and take a long, hard look from the bottom up and take the necessary steps to bring this team back to elite status. They’ve got some of the pieces in place, but they’ve fallen short in too many places to keep the bridge from falling. The next month will tell us a lot.

      Thanks for writing, Rick, and providing your insight. In fact, I would like to write a post using some of your ideas here. I will certainly credit you. Are you OK with that?

      Thanks again

      Ray Rivard
      Editor
      Lombardiave.com

  • Taryn Miller

    “The Packer organization must start facing up to the facts (and stats) for they don’t lie – people lie (or deny), facts and stats do not.”

    It would apply if basing the facts and stats on the profit/loss of each team.The stats that are displayed weekly for players individually and teams as a whole do lie and the only thing that corrects how they are taken is by watching the film.

    A QB tosses a 3 yd pass and the WR runs for 80 more,the QB is credited with a 83 yd pass.A QB falls over his own feet and a OLB happens to touch him he is awarded a sack.These are the two easiest to describe and use because of that but every stat is flawed when attempting to justify them as facts/stats that don’t lie.

    Both of these examples will look and read great in the stat column but in fact,it’s a very misleading stat that is actually a lie.Stats are big for Fantasy football fans but in the real world of football,nothing tells the truth better than film…however after watching film of the Packers season,it cannot be denied that they are lacking in talent,ability,leadership and the desire to ‘win’ one on one battles let alone the game itself.

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