What We Learned Against the Seahawks

imagesIt was not at all surprising to watch Seattle’s offensive and defensive fronts dominate the Packers in the 2014 season opener, just as they did in Week 3 of 2012. Nor was it surprising that a key starter for the Packers went down early in the game – that has almost become regularity. But what was odd about the Packers’ 16-36 loss in Seattle was the lack of resilience during the second half of the game, as well as the tendency to commit the same errors that they have for the past five seasons.

Let’s start with the positives. Clay Matthews was fresh out of the gate with great pursuit of ball carriers, though the veteran pass rusher failed to tally a single sack all night. Eddie Lacy showed some initial burst in the first quarter (before Bryan Bulaga exited the game) and Mike McCarthy did a nice job inserting James Starks into the mix as a change of pace and much-needed breather for Lacy. For the first quarter, the Packers ran in stride with the Seahawks, leaving doubt that this opener would be anything like the Super Bowl beat down just six months ago.

In actuality, beating last year’s Super Bowl champions was not the insurmountable feat that some described – though still a task that requires close to flawless execution. Unfortunately, the Packers showed signs of sleep-walking early on, which included committing stupid penalties and missing many tackles on defense and special teams.

Forget the questionable fourth-and-five call by McCarthy early in the game. Green Bay committed fundamental mistakes that added up throughout the contest. DuJuan Harris – a bad fit at kickoff returner to begin with – gave the offense consistently poor starting field position by choosing to bring deep kicks out of the end zone. Shawn Slocum and the coaching staff then made the switch to Micah Hyde, which should have happened during the second week of training camp.

Even more inexcusable were the forced timeout to avoid a 12-men-on-the-field penalty and the undermanned defense on a Marshawn Lynch nine-yard touchdown run. A noisy road game atmosphere is never easy to play through but McCarthy’s crew had four whole months to prepare for it.

One of the most concerning aspects of Green Bay’s loss is not related to injuries or even the type of Seattle smash mouth football that doesn’t bode well for the Packers. Instead, it is the talent gap between Seattle and Green Bay’s personnel that has become increasingly obvious. While it’s true that Brad Jones played arguably the worst game of his career, the inside linebacker simply wouldn’t be a starter on the majority of 3-4 defenses around the league.

The Packers have a relatively easy opportunity to redeem themselves at home against the Jets in Week 2 but face three straight divisional opponents after that. McCarthy has made a name for himself in Green Bay with his ability to routinely beat NFC North opponents. In order to continue that trend, his team will need to shore up both the offensive and defensive line as well as eliminate the mental mistakes that cost them dearly in Seattle.

About Mike Davidsen

Mike Davidsen grew up in the north suburbs of Chicago and graduated from Indiana University with a degree in Finance. Mike has been a Packers season ticket holder all of his life and just recently became a shareholder. Mike joined GPN in May 2010 and specializes in draft analysis.


What We Learned Against the Seahawks — 3 Comments

  1. I liked the article you made the points that packers fans don’t want to face. Is Mike Mccharty really the same coach who won the super bowl? He passed so much in that game, so imbalanced play calling hurt the packers. I agree with the talent Green Bay has its awful compared to too defenses in the NFL. Shot I argue the Jags have a better put together 3-4 scheme and the Saints. Who ever is keeping guys who should go and letting guys go who should stay needs to be questioned.

  2. I still think McCarthy is a big part of the problem with his play calls. He uses telegraphed runs which result in 4 yard losses on 1st down. He has his RBs taking the ball flat footed from shotgun off-set i formations, which leaves them no choice but to run east/west as the defenses are in the backfield when they get the ball. He uses no misdirection. Bevell used misdirection most of the game and beat us with it constantly. But our O-line and D-line are not comparable with better teams either. Brad Jones wouldn’t make most 3-4 teams’ roster, let alone be a starter. And it kills me to see our LBs line up 5-7 yards off the line when they’re the ones expected to make plays. You can’t get penetration on run plays from 5 yards off the line. Capers has to go, the sooner the better. And McCarthy should be right behind him if he can’t let his OC do his job and call plays. Add TT to the list for drafting all this subpar talent, refusing to use FA, and not fixing holes when players are injured.

    The only thing I’d disagree with is that the Jets will be “relatively easy”. Every team in the NFL can beat every other team with a few plays and momentum changes. We can’t take any team lightly. Every team in the NFL now knows that we have no RT, can’t stop the run, and can be beaten.

  3. I agree. We tend to play down what I think may have caused us the win over the last two years; Packers penalties, silly one in most cases, have caused us field position. Most of the yardage we have given up, have come with a follow on score, to which we have fallen to a loss. A new play book has proven useless, if individual assignments are blown. Clearly, the Pack was not ready for Seattle. To say we are disappointed with the coaching staff, will be an understatement; but I do not know how to fix it at this stage of the season.

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