Saturday, August 23, 2008

Packer-Broncos Preseason Halftime Notes

Fell asleep at 8 last night (ah, sweet married life), woke up at 3 am, and am now watching the tivo'd NFL Network broadcast. First off, thanks for repeatedly telling us about the outcome of the game during your broadcast, Rich Eisen. Yeah, I know it's on a few hours tape delay, but come on.

Second, I hope nothing is seriously wrong with Sitton. He limped off the field in the first quarter. Now they're saying it's a knee issue and he definitely won't come back. Crap. I have absolutely no faith in Tony Moll, who apparently is the current backup at RG. (Although if Wells ever fixes his "trunk", Sptiz will shunt back to RG.) Collins and Woodson left too, but Woodson came back, and Collins' injury just looked like a bit of a neck stinger.

Third, about half of the "bad" runs the Packers had in the first half can be directly linked to the ineptitude of the fullbacks. Hall and Kuhn kept getting schooled by the Broncos' very solid linebacking crew, Hall especially. Should it be this hard? I know Hall is a converted LB, and it's only his second year in the league, but he's not even getting in their way. He looks really bad so far.

Fourth, this is another game that makes you worry about the defensive line depth. The Broncos offensive line is getting a lot of push, and their backs are finding gaps with regularity. On passing downs, besides an occasional Kampman rush, the Packers are generating very little pressure. And I haven't noticed any blitzes, despite all the fanfare about blitz package installation. As many have noted, how can you expect to be good at something if you never practice it? Anyhow, I guess this sort of bendy defense is what we should expect from the Packers if they're missing two of their best five defensive players (Hawk and Pickett). Also, Barnett's looked bad on several plays in space so far.

Fifth, I feel bad about those two throws on Trammon Williams at the end of the half. Single coverage on Marshall is a tough match-up in both instances. He definitely interfered with him on the first play, but on the second he was there, and would likely have made the play if Marshall hadn't pushed him off at the last instant. He needs to learn to adjust to those types of receiver pushoffs-- they're almost always uncalled. (E.g., that's how Michael Irvin got into Canton.)

Sixth, not a great two minute drill by the Packers at the end of the half. Far too many plays where the Packer receiver got close to getting out of bounds but didn't make it. Players need to learn-- in a two minute drill, unless it's fourth down, getting out of bounds is way more important than getting a few extra yards.

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