Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Two more cents...

Without looking at stats, which can often be misleading in this type of situation, I think the Packers finished with about the right record +/- 2 games. As has been previously stated, AR had good stats, which is partially reflective of the fact that we threw the ball a lot to catch up/keep up, but his relatively low number of INTs is encouraging. Another part of that equation is that McCarthy is inconsistent in his willingness to stick with the running game. When the Pack is successful on the ground we win; when we are unable to run, we lose (More on this later).

I think the fact that we played multiple playoff caliber teams close down to the last drive, won the games we should have won, and lost the games we should have lost places the Pack squarely in the middle of the overall NFL picture. We had some bad breaks/lapses that led us to lose a couple games that we might have won, but we finished right about where we belonged: somewhere between 8-8 and 6-10. In the long run, it is better for us to have a worse record if we do miss the playoffs so we get better draft picks.

I will not get into what are needs are, because they have been and will be discussed at length in other posts. Needless to say, our needs are obvious and we have the capability to fill them if we so choose.

Back to the non-personnel part of the Packs struggles: It seems to me that part of the Pack's problems on offense (sputtering on many drives) is our inability/unwillingness to commit to a running game. Some of this has to do with our O Line, but another part has to do with play calling. McCarthy, it seems to me gives up on the run too easily, if it doesn't work early. Case in point is last year's divisional playoff and NFC championship game. Against the Seagulls, we ran, and ran, and then ran some more. We dominated the entire game and won easily. One week later, granted against a monstrous front 4, I think we ran the ball maybe 4-5 times in the first quarter before McCarthy jumped ship on running the ball as a legitimate game plan. This was in freezing, windy conditions with a QB who clearly wanted nothing to do with playing that day. Would we have been successful running against Strahan, et al? Maybe not, but I think it would have been wise to try a few more times. Perhaps then the Fearsome Foursome would have had to think more about pinning their proverbial ears back and going after Brett. When I look back at that game, it wasn't much different than this entire season. Play a quality opponent close, and then lose at the end with unclutch plays.

So apart from personnel changes, I think McCarthy needs to use the quality he has in the offensive back field, even if we have a couple of 3 and outs in the first quarter. Running = winning.

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