Sunday, August 22, 2010

Green Bay D: If it Looks Like a Duck...

(AP Photo/John Froschauer)

If it looks like a duck, and, of course quacks like a duck, can you really believe that it's a defense?

Granted, many of the Green Bay Packers 'varsity' defensive players watched the game from the sidelines in the game against the Seattle Seahawks, but the players unlucky enough to be on the field to try to stop the Seahawk offense certainly demonstrated themselves to be birds of a different feather than the Packers' high-flying offense, whose 'varsity' squad was a powerful force on the field on Saturday night.

Now perhaps it was just Green Bay's defensive coordinator, Dom Capers, playing his cards close to his vest. Or maybe it was just a talent-pool test to see who's heads will soon be on the chopping block. But with a sorry performance in last week's outing against the Cleveland Browns, one would think that the Packers would show up in Seattle with something to prove defensively.

Instead, they just layed an egg and made Seahawk quarterback Matt Hasselbeck look like a Hall of Famer, which he isn't. Not only did the defense polish Hasselbeck's dome nice and shiny for him, they allowed Seahawk running backs to soar like eagles too.

But the sky didn't really start falling until Green Bay's special teams flocked on to the field. If the defense played like quacks, Packers special teams were outright honkers as they fouled up almost every opportunity of the evening, giving up monumental field position. Seahawk return men looked like they were working for Donald Trump, gobbling up huge chucks of real estate on almost every return. One half-expected there to be a twenty-story luxury multiplex planted on half of the field by the end of the game. Certainly the special teams mess needs to be addressed and the Packers need to find some real answers very soon, with Mason Crosby and the field goal unit being the exception; they play well and were just showing off on Saturday.

It was a good thing Coach McCarthy threw in running back Brandon Jackson toward the end of the game to pound out a touchdown and make a statement for the win, or the Packers would have surely pulled a defeat out of the jaws of victory.

Now, it was a bit shameless that the Seahawks kept their starters in the game for the whole first half, while Air Rodgers and the Packers starting offense only played a few downs. But that situation did give Green Bay's sophomore quarterback Matt Flynn a lot of very valuable playing time against a busy Seattle defense which put hard pressure on him. All in all, Flynn seemed to manage the field quite well and you could almost see him developing right before your eyes. And despite his two turnovers, he did move the Packers down the field and looks like he would be able to lead the team should Rodgers fall to injury.

Also nice to see were some of the unknown Packer receivers getting some solid reps in against Seattle's starting defense. They made some nice catches, missed a few, but showed effort and heart. And with the likes of Driver, Jennings and Jones on the roster, these second-tier receivers are not likely to see a whole lot of action in the future.

The Seattle Seahawks are not that good of a team and would have suffered greatly had the Packers potent offense not left the field so early. 27-24 is not a realistic score, therefore, for a regular-season matchup between these two teams. Had this game been played in October, the score would have been 48-30, at least, and the Seahawks would be the ones with egg on their faces.

Player of the game: Packers starting offense.

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