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Thread: A good article from the Milwauke Journal Sentinal

  1. #1
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    Jan 2006
    Rochester, NY

    A good article from the Milwauke Journal Sentinal

    Broken home
    Packers plagued by same problems
    Posted: Dec. 3, 2006

    Green Bay - December. Frigid weather. Lambeau Field. Two first-year coaches meeting with comparable personnel.

    Advantage, Green Bay Packers.

    Ah, not quite.

    The Packers' 38-10 humiliation at the hands of the New York Jets on Sunday afternoon showed just how much more Eric Mangini has wrung out of his players this season than Mike McCarthy has wrung out of his.

    Mangini's offense, as coordinated by Brian Schottenheimer, was deceptive, bold, imaginative, fast-paced and utterly in sync despite the 19-degree temperature, a significant wind and little or no fan support.

    Mangini's defense, the foundation of which is his despite being coordinated by Bob Sutton, forced the Packers into two blocking breakdowns on the first series alone, throttled Brett Favre and took away Donald Driver.

    What was McCarthy doing in return?

    His defense, as coordinated by Bob Sanders, never did catch up to all of the Jets' pre-snap movement, motions and formations. The Jets' 31-point, 340-yard first half represented rock bottom for Sanders, whose unit has been failing week after week most of the season.

    McCarthy's own offense was its same old static, ineffective self. Come out throwing, never just giving the game to Ahman Green. Motion a tight end now and again. Shotgun here, shotgun there. Driver's doubled? Well, say goodbye to big plays.

    And when it came to motivating their players, well, let's just say Mangini's were there to play and McCarthy's weren't.

    Afterward, one of the participating general managers said: "What I'm pleased about is we've improved each week. We try to deploy our personnel to give us the best chance each week. We try to come out with a new wrinkle each week."

    If you guessed that was the Jets' Mike Tannenbaum and not the Packers' Ted Thompson, you win a seat for upcoming home games against Detroit and Minnesota. Lucky you, loyal Packers fan.

    Hard to watch

    The paid crowd of 70,527 was in reality about 5,000 shy of that. After booing the home side off the field at halftime, the crowd appeared to have thinned to 50,000 or 55,000 once all had settled back in for the second half. Maybe 20,000 hung around to the end of what clearly ranked as one of the franchise's most wretched showings in the Favre era.

    "I'm very disappointed, and I take full responsibility because that's my football team out there," McCarthy said. "Hell, I would have been booing, too. I have no problem with that. This is a man's league, it's a man's business, it's a man's game. . . . It infuriates everybody involved. It's unacceptable."

    The Packers (4-8), in their 88th season, began the day with a 61-20-1 record in home games in December and January during both the regular season and the post-season. With Favre, they were 34-6.

    Of those 20 defeats, the most lopsided margin had been 26 points (32-6) against Minnesota in 1986. Thus, this will go down as the worst late-season defeat at home in club annals.

    Given Cleveland's upset of Kansas City, the Packers also own the league's worst home record this season at 1-5.

    "As a team, we all have to be embarrassed," cornerback Charles Woodson said. "I mean, we didn't even compete out there in the first half. I think a lot of the same mistakes are happening over and over. We just weren't in position to make plays."

    The Jets went into their bye with a 4-4 record and a defense ranked 29th in the league. Since then, Mangini turned his defensive scheme from passive to aggressive and the Jets have allowed 45 points in the last four games. At 7-5, the Jets are in the chase for the playoffs and Mangini is in the chase for coach of the year.

    Schottenheimer, 33, has taken full advantage of Chad Pennington's attributes. Namely, his intelligence and ability to find the open man.

    Pennington's arm doesn't have half the zip of Favre's, especially on a raw afternoon like this. But it made no difference because Schottenheimer played to his quarterback's strengths, which was so critical given the loss of his best player, running back Curtis Martin.
    Pennington puts on show

    On Sunday, Pennington neutralized the Packers' pass rush with a slow no-huddle offense and his amazingly effective staggered cadence.

    As maestro, he orchestrated a bells-and-whistles operation with running back Cedric Houston shifting back and forth from split receiver to I-back, with plays designed for quarterback-turned-wideout Brad Smith flying off motion, and with various players taking advantage of lousy coverage by Woodson and Nick Barnett.

    "Al Harris and Woodson, they do a hell of a job," tight end Sean Ryan said. "Hey, you've got to find ways to have an advantage somewhere. I'll tell you. Our coaches know what they were doing."

    Meanwhile, Sanders came out with his same game plan of recent weeks, generally rushing four in the first half and blitzing in the second half. One reason Sanders couldn't blitz more was all the indecision created by the Jets' movement.

    "As the game wore on they tried to make something happen with the blitz," guard Pete Kendall said. "We're going to shift and motion. We're not just going to line up and let people know what we're doing."

    When Harris went nose-to-nose whenever possible against Laveranues Coles and clamped the Jets' No. 1 wide receiver, Schottenheimer worked on getting the ball to other people even though he didn't have his No. 3 wideout, Tim Dwight, who went on injured reserve Friday.

    To do it, Schottenheimer used a plethora of bunch formations. That, combined with all the pre-snap movement, raised havoc with the Packers' match-coverage scheme and appeared to short-circuit some of the Packers' coverage rules.

    Typical of many defeated coaches, McCarthy and Sanders insisted that almost nothing the opponent did surprised or fooled them.

    "There were some times we could have been in a little better position," Sanders said. "But everybody was in the right gap for the most part. It wasn't because of the motions and shifts. But it certainly wasn't one of our better efforts."

    McCarthy described the carnage on defense in the first half as "Pennington just out there playing pitch-and-catch with the receivers. They had a first half that was astronomical."
    Packers can't answer

    The Jets' outburst of four touchdowns and a field goal on their five first-half possessions was aided by another forgettable outing on offense.

    An early sack-and-forced fumble by Bryan Thomas.

    A third-and-8 pass to Bubba Franks for 6 that had no chance of a first down.

    A miscommunication between Favre and Greg Jennings on a promising deep sideline route.

    An underthrown bomb into the wind that was intercepted by Andre Dyson.

    When the Packers did go to Green, he ran extremely hard. But when he kept asking out of the lineup after consecutive touches, a pair of first-half drives bogged down with Vernand Morency on the field.

    An exquisite 20-yard touchdown strike from Favre to Driver plus a successful onside kick prompted one faint round of "Go Pack Go" from the faithful with the score at 31-10 late in third quarter.

    But then Green failed to gain and Favre misfired twice, bringing on the punt team. And then the Jets bullied their way for 67 of 81 yards on the ground, notched another touchdown and the mass exodus of discontented fans began in earnest.

    "I was hoping I'd never see anything like that in my career," Favre said in a rambling summation. "Where do we go from here? I don't know where we go from here."

  2. #2
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    Apr 2003
    Great article. Should be required reading for all the Chad-Bashers.

  3. #3
    I read this on the plane home today. Packer fans are really upset by this loss. We listened to a radio show on the drive from Lambeau to Milwaukee after the game. The kept saying "We lost to the Jets! We must be really bad" and so on...


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