Monday, November 03, 2008

Maybe Olivia Newton-John had it right: let's get physical!!!

The rap on the Packers, going back to the NFC Championship game loss, is that when push comes to shove -- which is really what football is all about, right? -- the team doesn't hold up well. And, in fact, that seems to be proving itself out this season. The Pack played the Titans tough for about 3-3/4 quarters (is that redundant? quarter-quarters???). But down the stretch and in overtime, the defense -- which had played so well -- folded up like a bad card table.

They allowed the Titans to rush for 178 yards, with 54 of that coming in the last two possessions. Dallas rushed for 217 yards, Tampa Bay for 178, and Atlanta rushed for 176. The Packers can't consistently stop the run, especially with the game on the line.

That's one of the reasons we're sitting at 4-4.

Another reason is the offense's inability to score touchdowns once it gets into the red zone. The Packers converted only one of four such opportunities yesterday into a touchdown. That's setting yourself up for failure, particularly against teams that are Tennessee was.

With two turnovers by Aaron Rodgers (an interception on an ill-advised long pass and fumble on a sack) and an inability to finish drives, the Pack could only come up with one touchdown and three field goals despite crossing into Titans' territory eight times. That's not going to get it done in a tight game. The Pack needed to get up by 10-14 points early and then have the Titans' one-dimensional offense try to to get back in the game. Instead, the Packers squandered opportunities both on offense and defense and Tennessee was never behind in the game.

This next Sunday the Pack has to travel to the HumpDome and play the ViQueens, with whom we now share second place in the division. It's always a tough place to play, and you can be sure that the 'Queens will be playing as smash-mouth football as possible. Teams now know that that's the way to beat the Pack: keep the game close, be as physical as possible on both sides of the ball, and sooner or later the Pack will let up.

That's a tendency the Packers need to change. The coaches can preach it. But it's up to the players to get an attitude on every play, right down to the last click on the clock.

C'mon guys! Let's get physical!!!