Caution: Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear… the Green Bay Packers could use this snifter of verbiage to help explain the debacle at the hands of the Cincinnati Bengals on September 20th.
What happened to the stiff Packer defense from the week previous that stuffed the Bears at every chance? What happened to the Green Bay offense that readily marched their troops down the field against a very stout Chicago defense? Nowhere to be found.
Apparently, everyone at 1265 Lombardi Avenue read all of their recent Press clippings and believed that they could actually walk on water! Reality check… the Cincinnati Bengals came to play, and play they did.
Between gashes by the Adrian Peterson impersonator Cedric Benson to the left, to the right, and up the middle were passes to wide open receivers. If that weren't bad enough, once those Bengal receivers caught the ball, they were two or three Packer whiffs away from huge yardage. If ineptness was a badge, the Green Bay defense would become Eagle Scouts by game's end.
Dropped passes by the wide receivers. Running backs who couldn't penetrate past their own line. Dropped passes by the wide receivers. Slants that didn't materialize. Overthrows by the quarterback. Oh, did I mention dropped passes by the wide receivers?
But let's not just pin this one on the players… it takes two to tango, and the Green Bay Packer coaching staff – particularly the Offensive Coordinator – was the two-left-footed dance partner.
To stop the barrage of sacks, seven players, the five offensive linemen plus fullbacks and tight ends, were left to block the oncoming defense… it didn't work, and its sum effect was to eliminate any check-down passes for Rodgers. Instead, when trouble arose, deep downfield passes were the only option left – and they didn't work. That's on Head Coach Mike McCarthy and Offensive Coordinator Joe Philbin. They cut their own throats on that move.
Not sticking to the running game… that's also on them.
The zone blocking scheme… or actually the hybrid version of the zone blocking scheme that the Packers use, or should I say abuse, has done nothing in the three years of its implementation but eliminated the running game early in each contest. The only person to ever have used the scheme successfully has been its creator – and he is not on the Packer payroll as a coach or even a consultant.
Vince Lombardi was once taped saying “What the hell is going on out there?” Those words were never more truer than they are today!
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