Packers 1st Quarter Observation
Green Bay Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy approaches the season like a football game…in quarters. Once the clock hit zeros Sunday at Lambeau, the first quarter of the season was in the books with the Packers an even 2-2 (although many would say 3-1). So, what do I think of what we have seen so far?…
5 observations of the first quarter of the season:
1.) Playoffs are not going to come as easy as everyone thought
The parity in the NFL comes through every year as nearly half the teams that made the playoffs the previous year miss out. Heading into the season, the Packers seemed to be as good of a “black sharpie lock” to get back as anyone in the league. However, after a pounding from San Francisco and Seattle’s early Christmas Present, Green Bay is mashed in the middle of the NFC with the likes of St. Louis, Washington, & New York, among others. Two losses in the conference against teams you could be tied with down the road is not a good thing. Oh yeah, Minnesota appears to be better, too. In fact, out of their 12-remaining games, only 5-games (Detroit (2), Indy, Tennessee, Jacksonville) are against currently below .500 teams.
2.) The league has not caught up to Dom Capers
This was a theme that a lot of Packers fans were running with in the offseason. The 2011 made average QBs like Christian Ponder, Matt Cassel and Josh Freeman look like studs at times. This year, the defense seems to be clicking a bit more. The pressure is better and sack numbers are up, though the turnovers have escaped them for the most part. Capers is at his best when he has weapons and I think talent wise, this defense is pretty close to 2010 when GB won it all. Will they live up to it? We will find out in the final 3-quarters.
3.) I like Cedric Benson
I hated this signing during training camp. Benson was a between the tackles runner who got better the more carries he got and was not known for his pass catching ability. Well, he is finding a way to fit into the offense very nicely. In fact, it appears the Packers are sacrificing a little of the numbers they have had in the past to fit him in. Never thought I would see that. Benson still hasn’t eclipsed 100-yards but whatever…overrated bench mark anyway. His impact alone will make it harder for defenses once the passing game gets back to where (or somewhere near where) it should be.
Yup, I just wrote that and it’s pretty true! Greg Jennings has been hurt which doesn’t help consistency. Jordy Nelson has dropped his share of passes and has not been able to get open down field. JerMichael Finley has also had drop issues and balance issues, too…how many times has the “Turf Monster” gotten him? Randall Cobb has been great, like Jones, though it seems like Jones is coming up with all the big catches this year. Has anyone seen Donald?
5.) T.J Lang is the most popular offensive lineman in NFL history
I guess having Linda Cohen saying “got bleeped” on Sports Center when reading one of your tweets gets people to notice. Lang was in the 25K Twitter follower range last week, after his infamous show of emotion after the Seattle loss, he has vaulted to nearly 125K. His pro-bowl guard-mate, Josh Sitton, is far behind with just 42K people caring what he has to say.
Justin Hull is the host of the “Home Stretch” heard 2p-5p on 95.3 FM, WSCO Radio n Green Bay/Appleton, Wisconsin and Sports Reporter for WHBY Radio in Appleton, WI. Follow him on twitter (@jh1570) or facebook.