Green Bay Packers 27, Miami Dolphins 24. Fire away!
1. Guion coming on
The pickup of Letroy Guion had the look of an unmitigated disaster after the first few games of the year. As the Green Bay Packers stumbled out of the gate to a 1-2 start, the backup for B.J. Raji had been forced into action after Raji was lost for the season. And to put it bluntly… Guion simply wasn’t cutting it. What a lot of people didn’t take into serious enough consideration, apparently, is how long it takes a player coming off significant injury to get into game shape. Letroy injured his hamstring before training camp and had more or less gotten zero work in when he was forced into action as the week 1 starter.
Guion pretty much stunk up the joint for three weeks straight before finally coming up big in week 5. It just so happened that great performance came versus the very team that let him go, the Minnesota Vikings. So the question coming into the Miami game was did Guion just really get up for the Vikings or did his level of conditioning increase to the point of him being able to make an impact?
In back-to-back weeks Guion has made a big impact. That goal line stand the Packers were forced to make, courtesy of the special teams? Guion.
2. Holy Slocum!
Speaking of our significantly below average special teams…”What the hell’s goin’ on out there!”
Actually, nothing is going on. Nothing has been going on. Nothing will be going on.
Props to my main man DuJuan Harris for giving me a near heart attack as he casually galloped out of the end zone for his one touch of the game.
Carry on. Nothing to see here.
3. A thing of beauty
Quite honestly Aaron Rodgers could fill up the top 10 in this column on a regular basis. He continually makes plays in every game he partakes that no one else could make. Probably his best play of the game Sunday was when he scrambled right, eluded two pursuing defenders and led Randall Cobb right where he needed to for a touchdown. That was poetry in motion.
The one that I saw in my sleep though, was early in the game — a deep out to Cobb on the opening drive. If you get a chance to watch that play again, the placement is just so perfect. The defensive back, former Leon great Louis Delmas, doesn’t even bother jumping or attempting to make a play. He sees it. He knows it. He accepts it. He becomes a fan and watches it. That was for 28 yards and what would end up being the Packers longest play from scrimmage on the day.
4. Can I get some shade over here?
Seriously. Seriously? Seriously.
What’s the story on the table-holding to create shade? Have they used this tactic in Miami before? Were they surprised it was going to be warm? Is that really the best solution they could come up with to solve the problem? Anyone in Packerland out there? I’m stumped while simultaneously refusing to invest any time in finding out.
Question: If those guys holding the tables are keeping the players cool, who’s keeping the table-holders cool? Hmm? Huh? Ahhh.
5. Starks contrast
It’s quite commonplace to see quarterback Aaron Rodgers change a play at the line of scrimmage. It’s also not uncommon for James Starks to lean over to Rodgers and ask for what appears to be more clarification. After all, it’s no secret that it has not been Starks’ running ability that has kept him on the second string, it’s been his inability to know which guy to block and when. Against the Dolphins, again Starks asked Rodgers for more info before plays were snapped, but to his credit Starks might have turned in the best blocking performance of his career. He met guys in the hole with force and held up his end of the bargain, best I saw. I’m sure when Shawn delivers his always epic Total View, he’ll notice some things I didn’t on the first viewing, but Starks appeared pretty stout in pass protection.
Now to just know who to block without asking…
6. Mentor and pupil must have same clock/game management manual.
Wow. Just wow, Joe. You really are the star pupil that is enamored with the mentor. It’s so obvious.
That shotgun draw on 4th and goal from the 1 following the blocked punt? You thought that would work? The Packers defense was probably anticipating that horrific McCarthy-esque call having faced their own offense in practice and in red zone drills ad nauseum. That was such a McCarthy call and you called it against McCarthy! Against any other coach in the league, you would have totally fooled them. No one else in football would ever think in a million years… except McCarthy, that that play was even a valid option in that spot.
But that’s not even the best part. No. That came with 3:05 left in the game after the Packers used up their final timeout. This was when McCarthy’s tutelage and mentoring of Joe Philbin for all those years really paid off for the Packers — end game clock management or lack thereof. Mysteriously or not so mysteriously as we have demonstrated, Philbin decides to throw the ball on 2nd and 9. The pass is incomplete and takes only four ticks off the clock making it 3rd and 9 with 3:01 left in the game. A running play on second down would have brought the clock down to 2:21. On 3rd and 9, Philbin apparently throws in the towel to throwing the ball for a first down and instead runs it! This brings up fourth down and forces the Dolphins to punt with 2:15 left in the game, which turns out to be plenty of time for Micah Hyde to have a nice return and still leave one play before the two minute warning. Had Philbin run the ball on second and third down, not only is it possible he could have gotten a first down (after all, Brad Jones was in there), the Packers would not have had the luxury of the two minute warning, nor would they have had the very crucial play before the two minute warning.
Joe wasn’t done yet though. He called timeouts before both must-have plays when the Packers had no timeouts and were scrambling. In post-game interviews Aaron Rodgers said it didn’t matter or help the Packers. To that I say Rodgers is being loyal to his friend Joe Philbin.
Packers Nation loved you before Mr. Philbin and we love you a little bit more, as your job security is a little bit less.
7. It’s a bird. It’s a plane. No, it’s Ha Ha Clinton-Dix!
You know what I love? I love it when a player comes from out of frame and just explodes with a flash of color onto my TV screen to make a violent tackle. It’s something I have had to enjoy over the past couple years watching teams other than the Packers. Well Ha Ha Clinton-Dix explodes onto my screen multiple plays every game. It’s come to be when I see it happen I just assume it’s HHCD, but Morgan Burnett also had a nice one and Micah Hyde is getting in on the act as well.
A rookie is setting the defensive tempo in Green Bay right now and I have absolutely no problem with that. Ha Ha for defensive captain!
8. Trust in Davante
We’ve heard the Packers wide receivers talk about trust. Aaron Rodgers often talks about it, too. With his fake spike on the Packers’ second-to-last play from scrimmage, Rodgers announced to the world that Davante Adams has gained complete trust of his all-world quarterback. What balls Rodgers showed! What trust in Adams! Can you imagine if the rookie would have failed to get out of bounds? Rodgers obviously had maximum faith in Adams to get what he could and get out of bounds and he did exactly that. One can expect that Davante Adams’ contributions will only increase. Hell, you might even want to grab him off the waiver wire… assuming he’s still available.
9. A Tale of Two Halves
I really didn’t think the Miami offense could drive the field on the Packers defense and in the first half they didn’t. However, the second half was a complete disaster. With the loss off Sam Shields, Tramon Williams, and Jamari Lattimore (and with that, the addition of Brad Jones) the Packers couldn’t do squat. At the same time, it did appear Philbin saved his best play calls for the second half, so that should also be considered. At the end of the day, regardless of the reasons, the Packers defense has often crapped the bed in the second half. If this team is going to be a real contender, this practice must end soon.
10. Miracle in Miami?
I had checked out after the Packers’ touchdown to close out the scoring, but Miami brought out their version of the Music City Miracle and actually it didn’t work half bad. In fact, as I looked up and saw Ryan Tannehill chuck the ball all the way across the field in what may be the longest lateral in NFL history, I got a little nervous. However, the Packers did a good job spreading the field and were able to finish it off without issue. Whew!