Green Bay Packers Fans: Take a Deep Breath (Week 11)

Scott Tolzien

drops back to pass against the New York Giants. Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports photograph

The Green Bay Packers’ loss to the New York Giants on Sunday was as frustrating and, in some ways, heartbreaking as they come.

With it, the Packers inch farther back toward non-qualification for the playoffs. In addition, we again saw a defense that gave up big plays at exactly the wrong time, along with a fledgling backup quarterback who played well but made terrible plays at exactly the wrong time.

It’s an easy recipe for a disheartening 27-13 loss to a team that started the season looking like it couldn’t beat an egg.

And now I’m back again charged with offering encouragement for what’s to come, and bound to provide at least a few reasons why we should all relax, stay calm, and take a deep breath.

Here goes. Although, I’ve got to be honest, this is getting more and more difficult every week.

Cause for concern: The Packers defended crossing routes like a bunch of dogs chasing 27 Frisbees.

Tramon Williams avoids the tackle of Brandon Myers after making an interception. Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports photograph

Reason to take a deep breath: It took me a while into the game to realize that Sam Shields was nowhere to be found; somehow I missed that during pre-game. Of course, we don’t have Casey Hayward in the lineup at the moment, either. Those are two of our top three cover corners. Tramon Williams played a fantastic game – and I expect this will continue – but when you can get Hakeem Nicks and Reuben Randle running down the field with Jarrett Bush or M.D. Jennings trying to figure out which way they’re going, it’s a problem.

Unless the Minnesota Vikings coaching staff consists of a bunch of idiots (jury’s still out), they’re going to try to exploit that the same way the Jints did, so my guess is we’ll see “Frisbees” flying everywhere. Now it’s up to the Packers’ defensive coaching staff and players to plan, communicate and make the right calls on the field. I believe they can, especially against a less imposing offense. The last time I checked, Christian Ponder wasn’t scaring anyone.

Cause for concern: Our new-found running game fizzled when we needed it most.

Reason to take a deep breath: Hey, if you were playing against this Green Bay Packers offense, who would you defend against: Eddie Lacy or Scott Tolzien? Exactly. Tolzien had done exactly nothing to warrant game planning toward stopping him. As such, it looked like the Giants occasionally had about 14 men in the box when Lacy took the handoff.

Head coach Mike McCarthy said it was more a matter of execution; still, the Packers need to formulate ways to re-establish play-action and open up lanes for Lacy and sidekick James Starks. I think the offensive game plan this week will do just that.

Scott Tolzien

Raymond T. Rivard photograph

Cause for concern: Tolzien played well at times, but couldn’t get out of his own way.

Reason to take a deep breath: His interceptions, particularly the one Jason Pierre-Paul plucked from the air like, well, a Frisbee, were killers. Remember that Tolzien is a rookie who was starting his first-ever NFL game, against a better-than-you-think Giants defense that had a little bit of tape on him. McCarthy raves about the kid’s preparation and intelligence – I am going to have faith he learned from this game and will make the necessary adjustments.

Cause for concern: If we lose against the Vikings, the Packers probably won’t make the playoffs.

Reason to take a deep breath: If the Packers lose to the Vikings, do they deserve to make the playoffs? This is do or die time. This is when we see what this Packers team, injuries and all, is made of. These players don’t need me to tell them this – they’re professionals, and they’ll go out there and leave it all on the field on Sunday. I, for one, will be wearing my Packers colors on game day and expecting a win. You should be, too.