Out-Muscled and Out-Manned in New York
By Brian E Murphy, PackersInsider.com senior editor
~Missing Pro-Bowler Greg Jennings, starters Sam Shields, Desmond Bishop, DJ Smith, and six first-round draft picks, the Packers were out-manned and out-muscled Sunday night on NBC’s Football Night in America for all the world to see.
On the offensive line, both edges were beaten routinely by the Giants talented defensive ends.
Aaron Rodgers rarely had time to progress through his reads beyond the initial target as Justin Tuck, Jason Pierre-Paul, Osi Umenyiora, Chase Blackburn, and many others took turns exploiting numerous holes in the Packers offensive line and blitz pickups.
On the defensive side, another guy, CJ Wilson, went out early injured. Missing both starting OLBers Clay Matthews and Nick Perry, and two starting ILBers in Bishop and Smith, the Packers were welcome medicine for what had been a slumping Eli Manning and Giants offense overall.
Aaron Rodgers was, again, too often fixated on #18 Randall Cobb. Like last week, he zeroed on on Cobb while a nearbye receiver was wide open, only to have it intercepted. Last week it was a 4th down play where Jermichael Finley was wide open, but he went to Cobb and had it intercepted.
Tonight it was James Jones who was left uncovered by Jason Webster, who saw Cobb and left his guy Jones, and stepped in front of Cobb for the interception.
The Packers really could use Jennings back. Not only to get Rodgers un-addicted from going to Cobb no matter what the defense presents, but also to add another playmaker to the offense.
Brett Favre used to have his mind made up that he was throwing it to Sterling Sharpe, no matter what happened when the ball was snapped. I have noticed some of this with Rodgers to Cobb the past few games. Of course, a five-game winning streak masked it to most eyes.
But what made Rodgers so great up until the recent interceptions was that nobody knew who he was going to. He had Jennings, Finley, Nelson, Jones, Cobb, and he found the open guy.
It might be true that with the performance of the offensive line, that he doesn’t have time to go to a second read. But that’s not always the case. And it wasn’t the case with his first quarter interception when the game was still close and expected to be a track meet, shootout.
With the blowout loss, the Packers fell back into second place in the NFC Norris, behind the Bears. Chicago had Jay Cutler back today, and welcomed the Percy Harvin-less Vikings into Soldier Field. The loss left the Vikings at 6-5, a game back of the Packers. Next week, the Packers will get a visit from the Vikings. A win by the Vikings would knock the Packers out of wildcard range.
A win by the Packers and they will stay within range of the Bears and winning the division.
First things first though. This team needs to get guys healthy, start finding a way to toughen up, and find a way to block and tackle.