Wow, the first game of the regular season is in the books, with a thrilling win over the visiting New Orleans Saints. I have made it clear, I cannot stand the Saints as I live among them, and some of their fans are like a virus out of control. Thankfully, the Packers shut them up tonight and the “Who Dat” nation will finally be quiet! There were plenty of positives and a whole bunch of negatives tonight. Lets look at a few players who light is shining bright and who’s light may be burning out!
STUD: Forget Mr. Rodgers neighborhood, this is Mr. Rodgers operating room, and Aaron Rodgers is the top surgeon in the United States. He dissected the Saints (27 of 35, 312 yards and 3 TDs) like a frog in 7th grade biology. He put the ball where he wanted all game long. His receivers got open throughout the game, but the few times there was no seperation, Rodgers squeezed the ball into tiny windows. I loved his sarcasm post-game, saying “What would have happened if we had off-season workouts? Could we have started any faster and scored more points tonight?”
DUD – Our RB by committee will be a one man race if Ryan Grant keeps running timid and Starks keeps running angry. Both guys had decent nights, but Grant played around with the ball, looking slow and scared. The screen pass in the first quarter was ridiculous, eventhough Grant made a good catch on a low pass, he had three offensive lineman looking back at him and getting ready to plow his way, and Grant slowly drifted outside the blockers and got hit by a CB after five yards. On the replay, you can see Lang and Wells blocking a CB and safety with plenty of room around them. Anyway, he better shape up soon or Starks will win this timeshare.
STUD – This stud feature has to go to our top two WRs because Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson both had excellent nights getting open and hanging on to the ball. Jennings (7 rec. for 89 yards, 1 TD) and Nelson (6 rec. for 77 yards, 1 TD) seemed wide open at times, with the Saints playing their CBs deep afraid of getting burned.
DUD – Charles Woodson had a less than stellar night in coverage but his biggest goof was the upper cut he threw to David Thomas’ chin. Thomas kept shoving Woodson after the play and Woodson throws a punch immediately. It was a bone-head move for our top CB to make with any opponent, much less a high powered offense that is already slaughtering you.
STUD – Our pass rush was pretty good, except for the prevent defense they so haphazardly played in the fourth quarter, but Jarius Wynn showed me something I have not seen from him in two years. He may be starting even when Neal returns, because he showed power to compliment his speed on several plays. He stuffed short yardage runs, blew up the 4th and 1 play action pass in the second half, and also recorded one of the three sacks. Excellent game by the young DE!
DUD – I have had him as a stud throughout the pre-season, but Tim Masthay had a night to forget. He only punted four times, but out kicked his coverage on the first, giving up an untouched return for a TD. He then shanked one out of bounds which was better but not good. He did finish with a beauty at the two minute warning that Jarret Bush caught at the 1 yard line, got a knee down, but slid into the end zone giving the Saints a touchback.
STUD – Oh my goodness, Randall Cobb is a bad son of a gun! He not only caught 2 balls for 35 yards for one nifty TD, but he tied the NFL record with an unbelievable kickoff return for 108 yards. He juked the first defender at the 10, spun out of a tackle around the 25, and turned on the jets the rest of the way. I haven’t had Tourettes moment like that in a while, screaming “no you idiot” to “holy %@*&” in a span of two seconds. It was the first kickoff return in like a decade, so big things are expected from this kid.
DUD – All of the WRs played well, except for James Jones. He had one catch for one yard, and was nonexistent for the entire game. I have to believe he must still be lingering from his knee sprain, but they should have sat him out for the game then. They have to get Cobb on the field more and I think Jones is the odd man out. I think he is on the trading block after Cobb’s explosion.
STUD – Secondary tackling was a big plus, with Tramon Williams making some very nice open field tackles, and Morgan Burnett filling in on the run nicely, leading the team with 14 tackles. Before Williams got hurt, he was playing well. Burnett was one of the first guys to make contact with Ingram to stop him at the 1 yard line to finish the game. They had plenty of tackle opportunities to tackle since they let them catch everything, but pretty good fundamentals there.
DUD – LB coverage was awful, allowing 15 catches to RBs and TEs, but mostly Sproles abusing AJ Hawk for 7 catches and 75 yards. He spun Hawk around several times, and got the pass interference call in the end zone with time expiring. Walden had one nice pass breakup against Graham, but got worked over on others. I knew the Saints would get their yards passing, but 112 yards to the RBs concerns me.