Packers: 2008 vs. 2007

After 3 straight losses, many Packers fans may be saying “what’s wrong?”  This team almost made the Super Bowl last year.  I’m sure many people will blame Rodgers.  Well, more specifically, the fact that he is NOT Brett Favre.  If Favre came back, this was supposed to be a championship team, right?  Well, I don’t know about that.

This time last year, Favre had 1500 yards, 9 TDs, 4 INTs.  Rodgers?  He has 1270 yards, 9 TDs, 4 INTs.  The big difference is the run game has actually produced more yards per game which has allowed Rodgers to throw less.

So what is it?  Two things really.  Sloppy play and no run defense.

Let’s look at penalties:
Last year through 5 weeks – 37 penalties, 269 yards.
This year through 5 weeks – 44 penalties, 419 yards.
How can you expect a team to compete with that many mistakes?  Going into week 5, the Packers were 3rd last in the NFL in penalties, dead last in yards penalized.  I’m sure with 9 for 97 yards today that number will just go up.  They are giving away 84 yards per game so far.  That’s 84 extra yards that either the offense has to move the ball or that the opposing offense gets for free.  There’s no excuse for so many foolish mistakes.

As for the defense… teams are just running wild.  The Packers were giving up the 4th most rushing yards in the NFL coming into week 5.  The Falcons put up 176 yards on them.  I’m sure they will be moving down a few spots when the final stats come out for the week.  The team is obviously going to miss Cullen Jenkins and the trade of Corey Williams is looking worse and worse every week as the middle of the line is constantly pushed backwards.  Last year at this point, the Packers were giving up just over 100 yards a game rushing.  Part of that is they were scoring a lot, but even if you score you still have to stop the other team.  This year, teams are finding that they can give up scores to the Packers and not change their offensive gameplan.  The defense is just getting pushed around, the linebackers look slow and injuries are building up.

If the mental mistakes can get cut in half, the team might be able to be competitive.  That seems to be asking a lot, however.  The announcers this week said McCarthy ran a training camp style practice to go back to basics this week.  I think he might have to go with a Pop-Warner style practice this coming week.