Well, it is the middle of the week and while I am thankful that the Packers host the Lions this time around, a brutal away stretch after the bye week has me wondering about a few things. But let me start with this disclaimer. I am a Packers fan, always have been and always will be. I do not root for any other team at any time except the Green Bay Packers. OK, once in awhile I am tempted by “The enemy of my enemy is my friend” but that just means I cheer against the enemy…not for the enemy of my enemy, if that makes any sense (likely not). So here are three things I am concerned about as the Packers begin the downhill stretch toward season’s end. And believe me, it is coming fast.
1. Where is Eddie Lacy?
OK, to me there is no question that James Starks is the better running back right now. Going into the bye week, coach McCarthy even alluded to it, saying he planned to “go with the hot hand”. But then Starks got injured and still outperformed Lacy against the Panthers. So I am at this point not looking for the Eddie Lacy that can start on this team…gotta be honest, I don’t think he is coming back any time soon. But we need to have an Eddie Lacy that can at least perform well enough to spell Starks from time to time. I am really concerned that we are not even getting that! This makes me tend to think that Jeff Hayes is absolutely right and it is time for Alonzo Harris to get his shot. James Starks knows how to come on at the right time, but this team needs a backup running back and right now…we don’t have a serviceable one.
2. Where did the sacks go?
The Packers were killing it in sacks through the first few games of the season. Then, they came up against the Chargers and Broncos, two teams that had major questions at O-line, and the sacks all but disappeared. Where the A gap had been pretty sound, during the Panthers game, Cam Newton was able to scramble right through it up the middle for a huge gain. I think being banged up in the secondary has a lot to do with it but also it seems that teams have “figured out” the Packers’ defense that used to present not just matchup problems, but also alignment problems because teams couldn’t figure out their set. Julius Peppers had a frustrated day last Sunday and it showed on the field and off. This could be healthy if the team gets it together but if they struggle against a team like the Lions…not good.
3. Speaking of “figured out”
And speaking of “figured out” since before the bye week, teams have figured out that with the Packers reciever corps…all they have to do is apply steady, gap-sound pressure and keep Aaron in the pocket and they will have a good day against the Packers. The teams with better rushers tried to get the big hit with overloads and stunts and Aaron abused them. But teams that can cover reasonably well and have lines that play disciplined first, rather than with their hair on fire are getting to Aaron. Couple that with question number one and our offense is questionable in general.
So the Packers couldn’t ask for a better team to help them get on track. The Lions lost Suh this past offseason and have had little pass rush since. We just have to hope that they can’t cover or even solid, disciplined pressure could give us trouble. And remember, this Lions team is one that has some play-makers on offense, and they know the Packers as well as anyone. But the Packers know the Lions too so it goes both ways. I just hope Green Bay can begin to answer some of these questions, not just for the game this week, but for the long haul.
I think they will get it done and when it comes down to it, I am just gonna believe in my team because they are my team. But what questions are bothering you about this Packers team? I only mentioned three…chime in in the comments below or back on our Facebook Fanpage.