Aaron Rodgers after the game against the New England Patriots at Lambeau Field. The Packers won 26-21. Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports photograph
Blogging Dirty: In regards to the Falcons’ miserable pass defense, most of the blame needs to be placed on the pass rush. While the secondary can be susceptible to the deep ball or conceding a PI at inopportune moments, the consistent inability for the front 7 of Atlanta to generate any sort of pressure leaves our underrated corners to cover for impossible periods of time. Atlanta didn’t record their first sack until week 3, and have only improved in recent weeks due to the ability of our individual young players (such as Kemal Ishmael and Desmond Trufant) to create turnovers themselves. This was a defense that was meant to show multiple looks and confuse QBs, and create turnovers via scheme. Instead, we often see linebackers covering wide receivers and ends dropping back into coverage ineffectively. Starting CB Robert Alford has missed several weeks and is set to miss the rest of the season, so depth is a concern in any 3 WR sets.
Matt Flynn fumbles the ball after getting sacked by Atlanta Falcons safety William Moore (25) in the second quarter at Lambeau Field. Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports photograph
Aaron Rodgers has consistently killed Atlanta with his ability to slide out or step up in the pocket and, given our struggles against teams with less than mobile QBs, I don’t hold a lot of hope we can slow down the offense. That said, defensive coordinator Mike Nolan’s ‘amoeba’ defense has been effective in occasional bursts so, while I think it’s unlikely, the best hope is an interior pass rush that pushes the pocket and forces Rodgers to roll out early or stand in and make a tougher pass. Worth noting is that DC Nolan is one of the most sought after firings amongst Falcons fans.
For a team with such a high octane offense, it’s understandable that the defense and special teams would be overlooked somewhat. However, the Packers seem to have a lot of their energy provided by defensive or return touchdowns, and look to be underrated in those phases. Who are the unsung heroes of your defense and ST that Falcons fans will see Monday?
Lombardi Ave: I’m a huge Casey Hayward fan. I truly think he could emerge into a premiere corner in the seasons ahead. When he is on the field he greatly increases the chance for a turnover or a big play. In a limited amount of playing time this season he has 2 fumble recoveries, three interceptions along with a touchdown.
Micah Hyde celebrates after returning a punt 75 yards for a touchdown against he Philadelphia Eagles at Lambeau Field. Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports photograph
Enough really can’t be said about the transition to safety and the spark Micah Hyde brings to the return game. Not only does he have 51 combined tackles, a sack and 2 interceptions, he also a 75 yard kickoff return for a touchdown as well. At only 23 years-of-age the ceiling could be very high on the fifth round pick. While we are on special teams I have to give praise to the play of Mason Crosby. Over the last two seasons he has only missed 7 field goals. He missed 11 in the 2012 season alone. Quiet a remarkable turnaround for such a mental position.
What will the final score be once Jon Gruden is done drooling over Aaron Rodgers on Monday night, and who will be the key performers that influence the outcome?