I remember during some interview toward the beginning of the season, Packers' GM Ted Thompson said something like, "I'm confident that with the team we have, we'll have a chance to win every game we play." That prediction has been accurate. Unfortunately, having a "chance" to win doesn't really do the trick in the NFL. During the 4-12 year three seasons ago, the Packers lost a bunch of close games. They were still a bad team. Most bad teams in the league play other teams pretty close. Anyhow, the season is now officially over, and all that's left to play for is pride and an effort not to get fired (so, please continue to lay down, defense). Random thoughts on the game:
- The 2nd and 1, 3rd and 1, 4th and 1 plays were just embarrassing. First off, some Monday-morning quarterbacking-- I don't know why they chose to run, run again, and run again, to not sneak the ball any of those downs, and to run with Grant twice, and Jon Kuhn once. Grant did not look good this game. Brandon Jackson might have earned the right to take a crack, and his presence in the package, at the least, would have made the Jaguars think pass. The fullback run is great when it works. But as the Panthers showed two weeks ago, it generally won't work against physical front sevens, like the Jaguars have. Plus, did anyone see both Packers' tackles lying on their sides on the 4th and 1? They both got pushed sideways to the ground. Sweet.
- If last game was the first installment in the ongoing "Is Tony Moll a starting Right Tackle in the NFL" audition, the answer at this point is "Skaaaaaaank!" I think the play where he got beat for a sack, Rodgers fumbled, Moll picked it up, started running forward and got popped, hard, pretty much sums it all up. Well intentioned, but kind of embarrassing.
- Quentin Groves harassed Rodgers all day from his defensive end spot. Groves looks to be a legitimately good rush end-- pretty big, very fast and physical, and somewhat crazy. He was available when the Packers chose Jordy Nelson, and Brian Brohm was taken just a few picks after the Jaguars nabbed him.
- Ryan Grant looked bad, although the holes weren't really there. But he just isn't shifty, seemed to opt to settle for running into the line a little too often, and didn't look particularly powerful. Maybe he runs too tall. I wonder what the difference is between this season and last? Worse line play? No Favre scaring off defenses? The Packers are playing better defensive lines? (Grant didn't do much against the Giants, after all.)
- It was odd to see a power running team like the Jaguars throw the ball so much. I guess they did that because the Packers, once again, put on very, very little pressure. Kampman got close a few times, and Hawk got a sack on a blitz where no one blocked him. (Pretty much the only circumstance where a Packers linebacker can get to the quarterback on a blitz.) And maybe the Packers were geared up to stop the run, as Jones-Drew (another guy I was hoping the Pack would draft way back when) didn't do too much on the ground. (Though they were definitely not geared up to stop David Garrard from running.) Whatever it was, they certainly didn't adjust, as wash-out Dennis freaking Northcutt had a career day, with big catches in both halves. If there's anything that disturbs me about the defense, it's that failure to make in-game adjustments.
- I don't think anyone outside the organization can explain what Jermichael Finley is doing on the field on key downs. Occasionally first and second downs not in the red zone, yes. But he needs to EARN the right to be on the field when it really matters. He has definitely not done that yet.