The Blame Game

Joe HuberCorrespondent IDecember 3, 2008


When you hear the starting lineups at Lambeau Field, it sounds almost like a defense that a mad scientist created. 

Al Harris and Charles Woodson at corner.  Sorry Mr. Berrian, your check will still stay the same amount, but your stats won’t. 

A.J. Hawk and Nick Barnett at linebacker.  I’ll be sure to send flowers to the hospital to running backs and quarterbacks, alike. 

Aaron Kampman and Johnny Jolly on the D-Line.  It sure is nice having one man take two and force one lineman to stop Kampman...  Like that can be done.

So with these starters, the other players who start, and good reserves to keep them fresh, why are the Packers 5-7, middle of the road against the pass, and near the bottom of the league in rush yards given up?  Simple.  They stop trying.

After seeing a noticeable drop in their intensity against the Saints when they were getting trounced by Drew Brees and the New Orleans boys, I thought it to be understandable.  People tend to lay down a little bit when they are getting destroyed.  It happens. 

But then this past week I saw it again, but this time it was at a much more disturbing time.  The Packers had dominated the second half with Aaron Rodgers and the offense controlling the ball for a vast majority of the time while putting up points.  That’s typically a recipe for a win, but after they went up, the special teams and defense almost refused to step up. 

Woodson mistimed his jump on that last ball to Steve Smith that allowed the Panthers to walk in from the one-yard line for the go-ahead, and game-winning, touchdown.  Yes, the defense cost the Pack this game.  Yes, they could have stopped Jake Delhomme.  But when it comes down to it, how many of the seven losses were really their fault?

Green Bay has lost four games by four points or less this season, and I’m going to place sole blame on them for only one of them.  They are not the entirety of the problem at Lambeau. 

The Minnesota game was Rodgers' fault.  It’s his first season, so he gets a pass, but the two safeties in the one game was the difference, and one was because of an intentional grounding in the endzone! 

The D couldn’t stop Adrian Peterson from endzone to endzone, but allowed him only one TD.  The Atlanta game was a heartbreaker, especially because I was sitting in the south endzone, but it wasn’t their fault.  Guys were dropping the ball like it was a game of hot potato. 

The Titans game was certainly not their fault.  Tennessee was bottled up, and they moved to 8-0.  The Carolina game is the only time the defense has been completely at fault in the four-point losses.

In the broad scheme of things, this defense should be better.  Brady Poppinga, Brandon Chillar, Nick Collins, and Atari Bigby all played well last season, and really need to step up (except when their injured, then for our sanity, please stay seated).  Injuries have affected the defense, but not to the point where against the Panthers it was acceptable to lay down. 

Overall, the D hasn’t given many ulcers, but it’s still not acceptable to allow a TD at such late notice in the game, when you’ve been able to shut down a team the entire second half.  Will they show up to play against the Texans?  I don’t know about you, but I sure hope so.