9.10.17

DAK CAN'T SMACK CARDIAC PACK OFF TRACK.

That was an interesting Sunday afternoon.

In the first half, the Packers defense had trouble getting off the field, including Dak Prescott flipping the field on a third-and-thirteen on the opening possession.

It's a sixty minute game.  The Packers rallied from fifteen points down to take their first lead early in the fourth quarter.  Cowboys answered with a field goal, then forced a punt.  Then Damarious Randall executed a pick-six.



Yes, that's the same Damarious Randall who was banished to the locker room during the victory over the Bears two Thursdays ago.  "It was Randall’s first pick-six since intercepting Oakland quarterback Derek Carr in December 2015 as well as a step in the right direction for the former first-round pick after being sent to the locker room against Chicago a little more than a week ago."  If memory serves, that was part of another rally that turned a close game into a rout.  Mr Randall was also flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct, tossing the ball at Mr Prescott.  Sometimes the X and O is the least important part of coaching.

Then the Cowboys ran most of the clock off and Mr Prescott sold an excellent play fake, into the end zone on a keeper,  Cowboys up by four with 73 seconds to play.

This morning, though, there are Monday morning quarterbacks suggesting he should have taken a knee at the one, setting up a first and goal.  That's being too clever by half.

But 73 seconds is plenty of time when Mr Rodgers and his supporting cast know what they are doing.
“Very proud of Aaron Jones,” [head coach Mike] McCarthy said. “He earned the opportunity to start today and he produced. That’s what you look for. This was his first chance to take a big load in the run game, and I thought he played outstanding. I love his running style.”

So does Rodgers, who had no qualms with the rookie being his pass protector in the backfield with the game on the line. Rodgers (19-of-29, 221 yards, three TDs, 122.9 rating) even called Jones’ number on the final drive, giving him a handoff out of the shotgun that he took 15 yards into field-goal range, smartly getting out of bounds with 39 seconds left.

“I told him before the game, I have absolutely zero worries about him back there,” Rodgers said. “He’s a great kid. His vision as fantastic.

“That’s stuff you can’t coach,” Rodgers continued, regarding the cut to the sideline that both moved the chains and preserved Green Bay’s lone timeout on the final possession. “You love the instincts there.”
The Packers moved into touchdown-pass range, and executed the same play twice.

Aaron Rodgers to Davante Adams for the lead.  Note the receiver in a position to high-point the ball.



Strategic play calling: earlier in the series, same players, different play.  "Rodgers’ opening 14-yard back-shoulder pass to Davante Adams did more than that. To hear Rodgers tell it, the first play set up the last one, the TD toss to Adams near the end-zone sideline with 11 seconds to go."  If you're a rookie defensive back, do you anticipate them going back to the other shoulder because that previously worked, or to some other receiver instead?
The Packers actually ran the same exact play one snap earlier, on first-and-10 at the Dallas 12, with Rodgers missing Adams low on the back-shoulder fade. As Adams went back to the line of scrimmage, the two decided to try the pass again.

This time, Rodgers put it higher and Adams caught the touchdown, his second of the day.

“I came back and let him know, ‘Do it again. Let’s go back to it,’” Adams said. “He gave me that look and I was like, ‘Let’s do it again.’ He threw it over there and threw a perfect ball. I didn’t really have to do much.”
Sometimes, it's the body language.  "Rodgers said Adams gave him a look with his eyes when he came back to the huddle that told him to go right back to him."

New cheerleaders, same body language.


Retrieved from Dallas Morning News.

And yes, that's the same Davante Adams who was in the concussion protocol after being smacked by a Chicago Bear.  "Adams said he was cleared from the protocol on Friday afternoon. Still, nobody would’ve faulted Adams if he’d preferred to sit out a week and gather himself."

Unfortunately, because of the intrusion of National Anthem politics into football's pre-kickoff rituals, we have to consider a further self-destruction of the Dallas Cowboys.  Owner Jerry Jones appears to be taking Our President's advice, and threatening players who do anything other than stand at attention with a firing.  That provoked ESPN's Jemele Hill to suggest that people boycott the Cowboys ... as if the anthem protests aren't doing that already ... and ESPN have benched Jemele Hill.

The Packers, on the other hand, have been locking arms and standing for the Anthem.  On one of the local fan shows, receiver Jordy Nelson explained that the team is looking for a way to call attention to the reality as many of the young men have perceived it: difficult circumstances and disrespect from officialdom (and we could add to that taking on the risks of concussions and a shortened life with shattered mental faculties) without appearing to be disrespectful to the country.

That might be part of how team players learn to believe in each other, and we'll see if Mr Jones does more damage to Cowboy morale than another big Packer comeback did.

And yes, there was another big Packer comeback, four years ago.


Unattributed Green Bay Packer photograph.

Aaron Rodgers was not the quarterback that day.  Next man up, and of late the rookies have been rotated into games from the beginning.

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