It’s a good time to sit back, take a long view of the Green Bay Packers’ mixed season to date, and indiscriminately heap scorn or praise on the deserving parties.
More Should Be Done About Head Hunting
Concussions are devastating – just ask Sam Shields. The league must do more. Each (deemed intentional) helmet-to-helmet hit should earn an ejection. The first one should also merit a one-game suspension, the second a two-game suspension, the third docks you four games, the fourth eight games and so on. This count should attach to a player for his entire NFL career – as most of these transgressors are repeat violators. The injury danger warrants a unique penalty system. The present policy of fining millionaires for dirty hits accomplishes nothing.
Ripkowski Not Active, But Impressive
Aaron Ripkowski is still being used sparingly in his second year, but every time he’s involved he catches your eye. He looks like he’ll more than fill the shoes of John Kuhn.
Rodgers Goes Backwards
What’s to say about Richard Rodgers? He overachieved in his sophomore year (58 catches, 510 yards, 8 TDs), but his extreme slowness (4.87 40-yard dash time) should have been viewed as a disqualifier when Ted Thompson made him the team’s third round selection in 2014. His third year has been dreadful – and it also looks like the “trust factor” between him and his namesake QB has disintegrated. Nine catches for 84 yards in six games is unacceptable – hurry back, Jared Cook.
Where Has Montgomery Been?
We can’t say that Ty Montgomery has “stepped up” his game. Until two weeks ago, he had never been afforded the chance to establish any kind of game with the Packers. What we’ve seen the past two weeks apparently is and has been his game. Twenty catches out of 21 targets! Speed, shiftiness, and toughness have been features of his rushes and after-catch yardage. These last two games are enough for me – he’s the real deal. Which begs the question: why was he not thrown to even once for the first four games of the year? Finally, if he had these talents all along, might not putting them to use earlier have flipped the outcome of the Vikings’ loss? Or does Mike McCarthy think he just “stepped up” during practice between the Giants’ and Cowboys’ games?
Gunter Brings Something Different
LaDarius Gunter’s game against the Cowboys was so awful I wasn’t sure we’d ever see him again. When Terrence Williams had the big 42-yard pass play against him with seconds to go in the first half, though, he had a bit of bad luck. What I saw was Gunter stepping on Williams’ foot as the ball was coming down and losing his balance, which allowed all those yards after the catch. Just four days later, and due to a swath of injuries, Gunter got an unexpected chance for redemption and he made the most of it. What I especially like about him is he’s the only Packers’ defensive back who seems to enjoy roughhousing with receivers at the line of scrimmage — and who’s big enough at 6’1” and 202 pounds — to do it effectively.
Statistics Are Not As They Appear
Statistics are useful to football analysts, and I especially like to look at who’s getting how many targets as a receiver. What I’m seeing, though, is receivers (presumably the nearest to the ball) being recorded as being a target even when balls are intentionally thrown way out of bounds to avoid sacks. In the Bears’ game, the stats say that Aaron Rodgers threw 56 passes, and the target total for the team’s receivers was also 56 – even though Aaron threw at least three passes away in the first half alone. Jordy Nelson wasn’t thrown to four times and Jeff Janis wasn’t thrown to five times in that game – despite what the stats say.