Sep. 23, 2016
NFC Title Review, Packers Perspective
Believe it or not, I have nothing against the Falcons, and never really have had an issue with Arthur Blank's franchise. Julio Jones is my favorite non-Packer NFL receiver, and whom I believe is the best in the NFL. OLB Vic Beasley Jr. is the next Von Miller, and the city of Atlanta has no major sports championships since before Desmond Howard returned a kickoff for a touchdown in Super Bowl 31 (MLB-Braves 1995). In other words, what I am about to say literally is of no offensive connotation to what the Falcons have accomplished, it is more of a frustration towards what the Packers still have lacked.
To those of you saying that the Packers making it to this point in the season is a success are fools, or are way too positive and need a reality check (maybe you support Trump too? that's for another day). Anyways, this is NOT a success. Getting blown out like that is awful, and is yet another loss to add to the list of playoff catastrophes led by Aaron Rodgers, Mike McCarthy and Ted Thompson. And, remember when in August Teddy Bridgewater of the Vikings was lost for the year? That was the point when Green Bay was favored for EVERY game. In other words, should have went 16-0 according to the Vegas sportsbook. Granted, the NFL is mysterious and the Packers were due to lose one or two, but being 4-6 in week 11 is still unacceptable. Management has to answer for that, and all of those problems showed up this afternoon.
I'm going to say this quick, the potential of a Super Bowl run was hiding in the first quarter, and it wasn't just "all Falcons" until it was 17-0. The Falcons scored a touchdown right away, then the Packers drove well into Mason Crosby's range right after. Then, Joe Suck jinxed him by saying he made his last 23 playoff field goals, and he missed. Then, the Falcons got a field goal, and the Packers were on the move again. Rodgers handed the ball to Aaron Ripkowski around the 26 yard line, and Ripkowski got a first plus more only to fumble to the Falcons (which should have been ruled a safety, since the defender rolled into the endzone). Look, the Packers could have easily been tied 10-10 after the first two drives by each offense, and those two plays cost the Packers the chance at winning. That's when it got out of control.
Still, Matt Ryan could have been playing with Julio Jones, my grandmother, and my seven year old godson and still been able to complete passes against this "defense" Ted Thompson put together. Ted, I will say this right now, the Packers would be the Jacksonville Jaguars without Aaron Rodgers. And Mark Murphy, CEO of the Packers, if you don't let Thompson go, please, please, please, please, please let go of Dom Capers (cover). There is no reason that there is no pass rush AND no pass defense. Receivers like Aldrick blanking Robinson are wide open against us, while Matt Ryan has seven seconds to throw a pass. It's so unacceptable, and I will be providing my answers for the Packers later.
The Falcons had nine drives, and scored on seven of them (and no three and outs). They scored more than 40 points, and nobody in the playoffs has a victory when allowing 40. The biggest NFC Championship comeback is 17, and the Packers let it grow past that. Also, the Packers have 13 players on the roster who are undrafted. There are seven rounds in the NFL draft, and somehow we have room for 13 players who weren't selected in the 256 NFL picks? How do we expect to have any competitiveness if we didn't have Rodgers?
Yes, every Packer not named Aaron Rodgers was hurt in some way (and Aaron had the flu), but that isn't an excuse. The Giants, Cowboys and Falcons were not battling these injuries, so why are we facing them? And why do we face these problems every single season? I don't know who is in charge of player training, but I feel like that guy has been on the team too long and it needs to change before next season. Dom Capers needs to go too.
A very small part of me wishes that the Packers finished the season 8-8 and the rest of you were able to see the failures of Ted Thompson and Dom Capers in a clear light. This is by no means Aaron Rodgers' fault (he had three of his four top WR hurt), and I wouldn't put it on Mike McCarthy either. The 4-6 start and the blowout today are on Thompson, Capers, and the medical training staff. I will be analyzing what went wrong this season in depth, and what we need to do. I'm one of those people who believe that nothing but being number one is failure, and especially this year it seems to hold true. Ultimately, we should have been here, and in recent years we screw up at this point. This season has been the same since winning Super Bowl 45.
One year and 13 days until Super Bowl 52.