I’ve spent the last two days digesting the Packers’ playoff loss (and that’s much more time than I spend digesting anything else. I poop like 3 or 4 times a day. I’m a machine.)
I don’t even know how to describe that game. It was equal parts exhilarating, gut-wrenching, frustrating, and finally, heartbreaking.
Their pass defense was a joke. And not a Patton Oswalt joke, but a Jay Leno joke. Kurt Warner had four incompletions- four! And they didn’t even have Anquan Boldin. That’s pathetic. There’s nothing worse as a football fan than watching a defense flail helplessly as the other team carves them up time and time again.
Actually, there is one thing worse: when that same defense goes into Prevent mode, as Green Bay did on the final drive. I’ve done extensive research on the topic and found that not once in the entire history of organized football has the prevent defense worked. That includes the NFL, NCAA, CFL, Pop Warner, WLAF, XFL, and the games my classmates and I played at recess in sixth grade.
In case there are any NFL defensive coordinators reading, I just need to reiterate this one more time:
THE PREVENT DEFENSE DOESN’T FUCKING WORK, OK?
You don’t want to give up a big play, I get it. But what difference does it make when you allow a bunch of uncontested plays underneath for 8-12 yards at a time? You’re giving them the fucking field!
All caps, exclamation points and expletives- maybe I need to settle down a bit.
But in soaking in the loss, I came to an important realization: if they shore up the o-line and the secondary, the Packers have the making of a championship team.
Aaron Rodgers showed in the second half of this season that he's a star. When they lost to Tampa at home and were 4-4, I was bummed. The team, and Rodgers, look mediocre. But then they went 7-1 down the stretch, the only loss a tough one in Pittsburgh where the Steelers needed a miraculous catch in the end zone as time expired (of course, they got into the red zone because Green Bay went into the Prevent. Fuck me.).
Then, in a playoff game in which their defense deserted them, he brought them back from being down 21 in the second half and forced overtime. I mean, come on, that was amazing. Yes, he holds on to the ball too long, but if that’s the biggest knock against your QB, you’re in good hands. He’s got a great arm, makes few bad decisions with the ball, is mobile and isn’t paralyzed by fear in big moments.
If you were starting a team from scratch and could take any QB in the league right now, how many would go before Rodgers? Maybe Manning? Brees? I wouldn’t take Tom Brady right now. He’s equal to, or maybe a bit better than Philip Rivers. And that’s it right?
So if you look at it, the Packers are set at QB, WR (Jennings and Driver), TE (Finley) and I still think Ryan Grant can be a good back. They need to fix the o-line, no question. And obviously, apart from Charles Woodson, the secondary is a disaster. The run defense is good.
If there's one thing we know about the NFL right now, you need a QB. The days of someone like Trent Dilfer managing a game and getting to a Super Bowl are over. You need a star QB. Look at the QBs of the 4 teams who got first round byes: Brees, Favre, Manning and Rivers. That's no coincidence.
I'd much rather need to fix an o-line and secondary than have to worry about finding a star QB. We have that already.
I already can’t wait for September.