Alex Smith

Alex Smith scores early against the Packers.

I’m not ready to jump onto the “Fire Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy” bandwagon just yet, but man, oh man are the Green Bay Packers in trouble. Yesterday’s 30-21 loss was not nearly as close as the final score indicated. Here are some quick observations on what went wrong (a lot) and what went right (not much.)

  • Ryan Grant is fraud. I anticipated a slow start and sore hammy, but this is getting ridiculous. If the Packers were paying him to run into the back of his linemen and fall down, he’d be earning every penny. But I suspect they are paying him millions of dollars to make plays like he did last year. Grant has been almost completely ineffective through the first four weeks. Teams are not respecting the Packers running game anymore and that is only making things worse for Aaron Rodgers.
  • The Packers offensive line sucks. No burst, no protection.
  • The Packers defensive line sucks. No burst, no pressure. I give them a slight pass though – they are wiped out by the third quarter due to the offense’s inability to run and hold onto the ball for longer than three snaps.
  • For all the hype that surrounds A.J. Hawk and Nick Barnett, they don’t have a lot to show for it this season. Barnett missed a few tackles on Sunday. Somehow Brady Poppinga racked up 12 tackles while being completely invisible. It may be time to see what Desmond Bishop can do.
  • Aaron Rodgers wasn’t all that sharp on Sunday. He looked truly flustered by the Tampa 2 defense and had Derrick Brooks shadowing him all day. His running ability is great, but if it’s going to get him hurt all the time, he should just stay in the pocket.
  • The Packers’ receivers seemed out of it for most of the game. Lots of dropped passes, sloppy routes. Even the commentators mentioned that they appeared to be giving up on plays. Not good.
  • Greg Jennings, however, is still looking like one of the best receivers in the game. He has developed a ridiculous double move that again put his defender on the ground – this week, Ronde Barber.
  • The Chicago Bears are right. Tampa is a dirty team. It will come back to bite them someday.
  • If Charles Woodson is playing this good with a broken toe, maybe we should break all of them and see what happens. He’s a shutdown corner, a sure tackler and the best player on our defense.
  • Kudos to Rodgers for coming back and trying to play through the pain. Hopefully that part of Brett’s game has rubbed off on him…
  • Nick Collins is finally becoming a playmaking safety.
  • Tramon Williams was solid. I continue to stand by my prediction that he will become a top-flight cornerback within two years. Overall, the Packers DBs played well on Sunday. There weren’t any Miles Austin moments to speak of.

Ugh. So it’s an ugly situation, but for the time being Packers fans have got to cut Thompson some slack. He gets nailed for not signing players like Corey Williams or outside free agents to monster contracts.

Yes, the Packers have lots of cap room, but that’s not the point. 2010 (and maybe beyond) will be uncapped years. Thank god the Packers have displayed some foresight. During those uncapped years, teams with bottomless pockets (Dallas, Washington, New England) are going to run wild, signing anyone they please.

If the Packers are going to compete and not run the risk of losing some of their own key players, they need to stockpile real money, not just cap space.

Operating under a spendthrift mandate, Thompson built a team that actually contended last year and depending on how the Packers injury situation pans out, might contend again this year. Consider the fact that the team is the youngest in the league and their recent success is astonishing.

They are building a team for long-term success.

All is not lost, but our beloved Green Bay Packers have some work to do.

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