There’s more to Green Bay Packers’ early-season struggles than playing tough teams

Discussion in 'Green Bay Packer Football' started by Da-news-now, Jun 9, 2015.

  1. Da-news-now

    Da-news-now RSS Reporter Reporter

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    In my Surviving Sunday column this week, I opined that one of the reasons the Green Bay Packers have started slow the last three seasons is a bland and vanilla early-season scheme on offense.

    In the comments section, marpag disagreed. marpag said the Packers have started slow because they’ve played really good teams right out of the gate. “…if you ask me, blaming the loses on GB’s supposed ‘vanilla-ness’ is kind of overlooking the obvious,” marpag wrote.

    The “obvious,” according to marpag, being that even good teams like the Packers will lose to other good teams. Don’t pin the Packers’ early struggles on scheme, blame the quality of opponents.

    I see marpag’s point, but I think you have to look a little bit deeper at the “quality opponents” reason for the Packers starting slow. First, let’s look at the teams that have defeated the Packers in the season’s first three games since 2012:

    2012
    49ers
    Seachickens

    2013
    49ers
    Bengals

    2014
    Seachickens
    Lions

    According to marpag, these teams combined to go 68-27-1 (I didn’t bother double-checking marpag’s math because I hate math so we’ll just take marpag’s word on this one). When you look at it from a macro perspective, marpag is right. The Packers lost to some damn good teams early. No shame in that. No need to read too much into it, right?

    But if you examine the losses at a more micro level, the tough opponents reasoning doesn’t hold up, in my opinion. NFL seasons are full of ups and downs, even for the good teams. How a team plays in September is often very different from how it’s playing in December.

    When reflecting on a season, you have to look at how a team was playing during a specific window to get a better gauge on exactly how “tough” they were. Did they go on a dominant run after beating the Packers? What’d they do the week after beating Green Bay?

    In 2012, the 49ers waxed the Packers in week 1, beat the Lions in week 2 and lost to the Vikings in week 3. The Seachickens cheated to beat the Packers in week 3, then lost to the mediocre at best Rams.

    In 2013, the 49ers once again stomped the Packers in the opener, then lost to the Seachickens and Colts by a combined 46 points. The Bengals beat the Packers in week 3, then didn’t even score a touchdown in losing to the Browns the next week (the Browns finished 4-12).

    In 2014, the Seachickens had no problem beating the Packers in the Thursday Night opener. They rested for 10 days, then lost to the Chargers by nine points. The Lions managed to squeak out a win over the Jets after beating the Packers, but lost to the Bills the following week.

    As you can see, the teams that have beaten the Packers to start recent seasons weren’t exactly unstoppable early-season juggernauts that couldn’t be defeated. Four of the six teams that beat the Packers in the first three weeks of the last three seasons went on to lose their next game.

    Sure, these teams ended up being playoff-caliber teams, but they were beatable when the Packers played them early and the Packers couldn’t get it done.

    I’m not trying to pick on marpag. His point was one I hadn’t thought of and it forced me to dig deeper into the issue and turn it into a post (any post ideas are welcome during the dog days of the offseason). And like I said earlier, I don’t think marpag is wrong in blaming the Packers early-season struggles on playing tough opponents.

    I just think there’s more to the issue than simply chalking it up to the Packers playing good teams.

    ——————

    Adam Czech is a a freelance sports reporter living in the Twin Cities and a proud supporter of American corn farmers. When not working, Adam is usually writing about, thinking about or worrying about the Packers. Follow Adam on Twitter. Twitter .
    ——————


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  2. rpiotr01

    rpiotr01 Lifetime Member

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    Some horses are sprinters, and some take a little while to get going sh))

    I don't know that I'd put it all on the offense either. Defense hasn't had the players to line up Day 1 and set a tone. Capers has had to scheme around deficiencies, and the process of effectively setting up the smoke and mirrors takes some trial and error which leads to the slow starts.

    Maybe with Clements calling the offense we'll see a more aggressive team early.
     
  3. realitybytes

    realitybytes Member

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    another reason why the packers start out slow is because they do not use the preseason games to get into synch as a team. they use it strictly to evaluate the bottom end of the roster and experiment with different combinations of players while never using any of the plays that they will actually use during the regular season.
     
  4. Packinatl

    Packinatl Member

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    Because of the new CBA rules you are forced to do business that way
     
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  5. realitybytes

    realitybytes Member

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    to some extent, yes. but there's no reason why you can't use the first quarter to get your starters ready for the season by playing together as a unit and executing at least a handful of actual plays or at least stripped down versions of actual plays. other teams do it. that's why other teams start out the regular season looking more like a professional team and not a pick-up game. the nfl clearly is trying to force us to be more prepared for the start of the season by putting strong opponents at the beginning of our schedule. I can easily see us starting 1-2 again this season with the bears and the seahawks and the chiefs being our first three opponents. thankfully, that's followed by three fairly easy games before the bye.
     
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  6. Packinatl

    Packinatl Member

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    Usually it's first game one series maybe 2, second game 2 series , 3rd game the first half 4th game sit. Not really sure I have an issue with that. It's a marathon not a sprint.
     

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