September 13, 2005
Pack Fall to Detroit 17-3
The Packers 2005 season began on a seriously depressing note this Sunday with a hard-to-swallow 17-3 loss in Detroit. This game marks only the second time in the last ten meetings of these teams that the Lions were able to win, and they won in a dominant fashion. While the defense showed both promise and immaturity, the offense looked simply anemic. The less than outstanding Detroit defense managed to hold the Packers to their lowest point total since Brett Favre took over as starting quarterback.
New starting guards Klemm and Whitticker did not live up to the traditionally high standards associated with Green Bay's offensive line, and the offense clearly suffered as a result. Few holes were opened up for the running game, as Ahman Green managed to gain only 58 yards on the ground. Brett Favre was also sacked four times for a total of -31 yards. The Packers attempted to combat this pocket pressure by frequently running short passing routes to allow Brett to release the ball quickly. While this strategy was successful at times, it was clearly a bit too predictable and conservative, as the Packers managed to score only three points.
In order for the Packers to maintain their reputation as a feared offensive unit, they are going to have to provide much more consistent protection for Brett Favre. Games are won and lost in the trenches, and Brett simply needs more time to survey the field and be himself. The Packers offense can pose a serious vertical threat, but not without time for routes and coverages to develop. Oh by the way, the Packers most consistent deep threat, Javon Walker, is done for the season with a leg injury.
On the defensive side of the ball, there was a vast improvement over last season in terms of tackling and overall run defense. Mark Roman exemplified these improvements by racking up ten tackles, several of which were in the open field. Furthermore, highly acclaimed running back Kevin Jones was held to a mere 87 yards on the ground, with a game-long rush of just seven yards. Good run defense is something that Packer fans have not enjoyed for some time now, and it was very refreshing to see.
What was not refreshing was the return of our perpetual secondary offender Ahmad Carrol. What is it going to take for this kid to learn that he simply cannot commit four penalties a game. While some of the calls were admittedly a bit close, there is no excuse for Carrol's consistently embarrassing play. YOU CANNOT PUT YOUR HANDS ON THE OPPONENTS' FACE. How hard is that to understand? If I were Mike Sherman, I would have benched Ahmad some time ago in favor of the even-tempered Joey Thomas. That move could be made on Wednesday, when Sherman announces the starters for next week. That seems unlikely though, since Sherman seems hopelessly enamoured with last year's underacheiving first-round pick.
If the Packers lose the the Browns next week, I don't even know how to finish this sentence. They just better not lose to the Browns next week. Guys, clean up the penalties, block your asses off for the man Brett Favre, open up some holes for Ahman, and keep your heads up. I am confident in the impending success of the offense, and I am hopeful for the continued improvement on defense. But that might just be the cheesehead in me talking. I stick by my prediction of a 9 and 7 season record.
Posted by abai0001 at 3:54 PM