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Bart's Credit/Blame: GB at ATL

Bart Winkler
September 18, 2017 - 11:23 am
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The Packers fell to the Falcons 34-23 in a game that seemed promising for a few moments, if only to quickly spiral out of control. Three things that I think deserve more credit and well as more blame now that our Monday Morning quarterback show is in the books:

CREDITS

Ty Montgomery - You've got yourself a legit running back in Ty Montgomery, Packers fans. While he was outproduced in the running game by his counterpart Devonta Freeman, Ty put on a show out of the Packers backfield proving again for another week why he is already one of the most potent dual threats in the league. His 3.5 yards a carry is an improvement on last week's 2.8 average, but he only had ten carries as the Packers were forced to abandon the run by the second half. Nearly half of those yards came on the first drive which was clearly the Packers best drive of the night. The Packers, for years, have seemed like the running game is something they are trying to convince themselves that they want to even do in the first place. But their first drive showed a great run/pass balance and Ty was a huge part of it. Add to that six receptions for 75 yards and a score both in the passing game and on the ground, and the issue of whether running back is an issue has quickly become a thing of the past.

Kevin King - Four passes thrown his way, zero completions. And a great open field tackle that I'm not even sure most Packers are capable of making. I figured the game plan coming into this week on Julio Jones was either going to be Davon House or a team effort of some kind, but if they were to play last night's game again I'd love to see King start on Jones. Julio Jones is essentially the reason that the Packers drafted Kevin King, so I think the Packers should have done whatever they could have done to have him ready to take on the Falcons' #1 receiver from the get go last night. Rookies have to play big minutes in today's NFL, and there is no longer any reason to not have him learn by fire. He showed something other cornerbacks simply haven't in their time on this roster. This weekend, the Packers have the Bengals, and that is a game they have already won. Seriously, the Packers are already 2-1, even if the game hasn't been played yet. They are not losing that game. So my suggestion would be to let King shadow A.J. Green the entire game. Let's see how King does against a premier receiver for a full 60 minutes. Treat it as a learning experience, you have the flexibility. Kevin King is your number one cornerback. Possibly by default, yes, but let him go be that number one guy you drafted him to be. And that should start this weekend.

Clay Matthews - It's easy to hate on Clay Matthews, I get it. He's making a ton of money and not the superstar he was a few seasons ago. I was surprised how many people that called in this morning had negative things to say about Clay. He wasn't perfect, sure, and he will get burned in the run game by those quicker than him, but I thought he was at least a spark on a defense that needed it. He had two tackles for losses, a quarterback sack and a half, and got to Matt Ryan a total of three times. Clay Matthews was far from the problem on defense last night. In fact, he probably played his best game that I can remember in nearly two seasons.

 

BLAMES

Martellus Bennett - We all love Martellus Bennett. He is a great guy, his soundbites are magic, and he truly cares about things outside of football. But I fear that Packers nation feel too quickly for the new kid in school. Before the first preseason game was played, Bennett was already one of the team's most popular players. But you have to be able to produce on the field. Last week he had the late hit penalty that I was not fond of, even if it drew the support of Aaron Rodgers. This week he had several drops which affected the rhythm of the offense. He was spectacular as a blocker in both the run and pass game, so I'll give him that, but he needs to be able to do the main asset of why he was brought here, catching the football. And he was the culprit of a penalty - whether it should have been called or not - late in the first half that quickly lead to the deceleration of the Packers chances at winning. He's built up a lot of equity with fans, the media, and his teammates, but he needs to be more productive to live up to his massive personality that we love so much.

Ted Thompson - In the second week of the 2017 NFL season, the Packers started Kyle Murphy and Justin McCray as their tackles. You've got to have better foresight than that if you are Ted Thompson. It's a battle of attrition every year and the guys on the offensive line feel it as much if not more than anybody. It is a position you can not have afford to not have depth at. Yet, we saw both TJ Lang and J.C. Trettor walk this offseason. The Packers were able to get away with not having Josh Sitton last season, but they haven't been able to strike lighting twice this season by being able to cover for their offseason decisions. For what it's worth, Murphy is showing that he is a capable full game backup. But McCray at this point can't be trusted for more than a quarter. And both of them got scorched on the play where Rodgers allegedly lateraled the ball right into the possession of the Atlanta Falcons. Bulaga and Bakhtiari need to get healthy, quick, or soon Aaron Rodgers will be joining them on the injury report.

The NFL - Refs that can't get in position quick enough for an Aaron Rodgers led offense is not a good look for the league, first and foremost. Second, teams are able to do this WR pick play for years but you're going to wait until the Green Bay Packers borderline do it twice before you start to throw down the hammer and enforce it? And what is this new trend where the Green Bay Packers have to be the team to open up an opponent's stadium on a Sunday Night, now for the second straight year? The Packers are not going to make it to the Super Bowl if the road in the postseason doesn't go through Lambeau, and this Falcons/Packers game is going to go a long way towards determining where a potential but likely playoff matchup between these two teams will be held. It's already a disadvantage for the Packers to play in Atlanta in the first place, why make it even harder by making them open up a new stadium in front of that crowd? You want to play this game on a Sunday Night, that makes perfect sense. But don't serve it up as the stadium's opening game and essentially guarantee that the Falcons and that crowd will be able to feast on the opposing Packers.

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