Packers need to play the tape to see the problems
The white No. 81 set against the cherry red jersey of San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Anquan Boldin will no doubt be seared into the memories of the Green Bay Packers secondary following Sunday's 13-catch, 208-yard, 1-touchdown performance in a 34-28 49ers victory in Candlestick Park.
Boldin ran around and through the likes of Tramon Williams, Sam Shields, M.D. Jennings, Jerron McMillian – anyone and everyone assigned to prevent the 49ers from advancing the ball through the air in a gameplan set up to make quarterback Colin Kaepernick win the game with his arm, rather than his feet.
When Aaron Rodgers was sacked in the final seconds before getting off a Hail Mary attempt to win the game, the members of the Packers defensive back seven positively knew a few things:
- They lost the game
- How their bodies felt
- The important, singular plays, like sacks and touchdowns
They also know where there were general deficiencies, such as …
"They just found holes in the middle of the field," Williams said of 49ers tight end Vernon Davis (2 touchdowns) and Boldin to the assembled media in San Francisco, which was broadcast back to Wisconsin after the game. "What we can do better is limit the run after catch."
Specifics, though? Not so much.
On raw audio feeds, or maybe an extended play of an interview clip, you'll often hear a player respond to a question concerning a play, or series of plays, with a somewhat formulaic response that usually begins with having to watch film the next day.
Players acknowledge it can come across as a cop out, but oftentimes they honestly don't know – or, more likely – don't remember, what was happening and where in the immediate aftermath of a game.
"You have an idea of it, but everything runs together," running back Eddie Lacy said earlier in the week. "You could put a play together here and here and you might mix one play with anther play, so when you go in and watch it yourself you figure out what play it was it's clearer.
"It just runs together. It's 'next play, next play, next play.' You go to the side and talk about it, but after that, it's (over)."
To that end, players say they don't want to speak definitively to the public on something they're either unsure of, or perhaps didn't truly see what they thought they saw.
Now, "Boldin" and the broad "81" were seen early and often by many in the Packers defensive backfield on Sunday, but film will help a player identify if they were just beaten physically by their opponent, or if there were more subtle breakdowns prior to the actual play that created an unfavorable result at the end of action.
The same can be said on the other end when things are going well, like how the four passes defensed or eight tackles for loss were created. They may not exactly know why those situations happened either.
"You have a general idea of how you did with tackles and sacks and picks and stuff like that, but if you're really just getting good coverages or a couple (pass breakups), you probably really have to dial up the game film to really see how good a game you really did have," Packers cornerback Davon House said earlier in the week.
"There are also the plays that you're not involved in, like 'Did I have good coverage on this play?' 'Was my technique good this play?' That all factors into having a good game."
In his postgame press conference, the majority of which was posted to Packers.com, head coach Mike McCarthy was able to point to several examples on how members of the secondary will be able to learn from Sunday's dissection by Kaepernick and Boldin heading into Sunday's home opener against Washington at Lambeau Field.
"I think when our safeties watch the film they're going to wish they made more plays on the ball," McCarthy said. "I know a few times the ball was pushed vertically the ball was in the air for enough time to possibly make that play.
"We'll look at the tape like we always do."
There is a saying that the film never lies. The Packers will have to wait a week to find out if breaking Sunday's loss down in the meeting rooms will prevent further breakdowns on the field.
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