Sunday, November 20, 2011

No Pressure; Capers AWOL

Sure, it seems like Tampa Bay has never been too intimidated by the Green Bay Packers; it doesn't take a great memory to recall them being spoilers, and often making the Packers look like the choking Minnesota Vikings.

So who can blame them for not reading the press clippings about the undefeated and reigning NFL Champion Green Bay Packers, for not buying into the hype, and for coming into Lambeau Field today and playing like they expected to win?

And, to their credit, they snuck into the city and then into the stadium, and almost all the way through the fourth quarter without so much as causing a stir in the sleep of one Dom Capers, Green Bay's former defensive coordinator. What's that you say? Capers isn't the former defensive coordinator, but the current coordinator? Well, no he isn't. For where has be been? He wasn't at Lambeau Field today.

And he hasn't been with the team this entire season. Yes, he showed up last week when Minnesota came to town, but other than that Dom Capers has been AWOL from the Green Bay Packers.

Gone are the pressure packages which intimidated opposing quarterbacks and made the sacking-Clay Matthews a household name. Gone are the days when they didn't have all day to wait for a receiver to eventually get open. Gone are the days when whatever opposing quarterback happened to be playing the Packers did not earn himself a career best performance, and candidate for NFL player of the week.

Because back when Dom Capers used to be the defensive coordinator, the Green Bay Packers used to put pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Do you remember that? It used to be a frenzy of people attacking from every direction but up. It was a free-for-all in the opposing team's backfield. Heck, even the pencil-necked wiener, Barry Obama could have got in for a sack.

But now, well, there is just no pressure.

Nope. no pressure at all. Why, Clay Matthews' hair is longer than ever. It is probably even longer than Pittsburg's Troy Polamalu's. And Aaron Rodgers? Well, he's on track for breaking PeyTom Branning-dy's records. He might be the NFL's MVP this year.

As for the Packers, well, are they going to be the next undefeated NFL team or not?

Are not all those important issues? Certainly. Indeed there is some pressure there, to gain all those milestones, dontchaknow? But, of course, no pressure on the field. We got this. Right?

WRONG! The Green Bay Packers do NOT 'got this.' They have been lucky to be a mere 10-0. Why do I say 'mere?' Because it seems to this writer that the Green Bay Packers have forgotten the GOAL in football. And the goal in football is to win the next game. 16-0 means nothing. 16-0 is not a goal. Winning the next game is the only goal the Packers ought to concern themselves with and right now they are not playing with the necessary urgency and fever that they ought to be playing with. They are playing like there is no pressure on them. Remember this: complacency kills.

Though the offense is putting up points, a football team is not just a few passes. And Dom Capers had better start consistently dialing up pressure on the opposing team's quarterback or January is going to be a lonely month.

Mike McCarthy ought to make Clay Matthews cut his hair - shave his head, even. And the rest of the team as well. This team deserved to lose today because the offense played with no pressure, or urgency, and the defense didn't put any pressure on Tampa Bay.

And though Green Bay is capable of going 16-0, an undefeated regular season means absolutely nothing in the NFL. Neither do individual passing records. The best any team can hope to accomplish is to play up to its own potential and play with hunger until that is achieved. Once this is accomplished, the winning and losing take care of themselves.

This Green Bay Packer team can be so much better. Dom Capers can make them better. If only he wold show up.

This week's game ball is split between Jordy Nelson and Packer fan #88, who, when Tampa Bay's running back faked a touchdown-celebratory Lambeau Leap and then tossed the ball into the stands, batted the ball out of the stands and back at the Tampa player. Atta boy.

No comments: