Through two weeks of the NFL season, one thing is readily apparent while watching the 2014 Green Bay Packers – they are NOT ready for prime time.
Before you get mad, let me say this: "They are not ready for prime time RIGHT NOW."
They may be ready in weeks 16, 17 and the playoffs – and that’s what matters. But right now? This is a mediocre football team, with an above-average (but not great) offense, and a below-average defense.
So – Sunday – the Packers got lucky. Four-leaf clover? Box of Lucky Charms? Knock on wood as many times as it takes – that’s how the Packers pulled this one out.
We saw the majesty of Aaron Rodgers to Jordy Nelson, no doubt. But we also saw sacks, a complete lack of a running game, a huge first-half deficit, an embarrassing referee challenge, and a game-tying touchdown called back.
So, I guess it’s better to be lucky than mediocre.
Firstly, let’s discuss the challenge early in the second half. On a CLEAR catch, via replay, on the sidelines, Packers head coach Mike McCarthy waited, and waited, and waited some more – and then challenged the play.
It was pointed out to me that he didn’t have the replays – that’s done from his coaches who sit upstairs.
But I’m pretty sure he hired those gentlemen. Regardless, there is no excuse to THROW AWAY a timeout early in the second half of a close game. You want to do it in the first half? OK … timeouts aren’t as valuable. But in the second half? You HAVE to be smarter than that.
Which leads us to the luckiest play of them all. The touchdown that wasn’t for the New York Jets. Now, Jets’ head coach Rex Ryan swears he didn’t call timeout. Whether he did or not, it doesn’t matter – the play ended up not happening.
But you know what? IT DID HAPPEN. WE ALL SAW IT. And just like that, the game could have been tied, and the Packers probably would have needed the extra timeout they threw away so cavalierly.
This Green Bay Packers team is NOT ready for prime time. Will they ever be in 2014? I can’t answer that right now (although I have a sinking suspicion I know the answer), but on Sunday, it didn’t matter.
I don’t know if the Packers had Lucky Charms for breakfast Sunday. But a Packers win Sunday afternoon? It was magically delicious.
Mitch Nelles, aka Thunder, is a long-time resident of the Milwaukee area with some serious Wisconsin roots.
Born and raised in Boston himself, Mitch brings a bit of a coastie attitude to his fandom. He moved to Wisconsin in 1990, where he attended Nicolet High School and the University of Wisconsin. His grandparents and entire mother’s side of his family were born and raised in Milwaukee (yes, serious roots).
Mitch has worked for the Wisconsin State Journal, Milwaukee Bucks and 540 ESPN in Milwaukee/100.5 ESPN in Madison, serving as the co-host of “Homer & Thunder” for the past eight years.
Also very active in the community, Mitch has emceed and auctioneered events for Make-a-Wish, Variety of Wisconsin, Russell Wilson’s personal foundation and The Guest House, just to name a few.
Mitch was in the crowd when the Red Sox won the 2004 World Series, when Wisconsin played in the Final Four this past April and when Ron Roenicke inexplicably pitched Shaun Marcum in Game 6 of the NLCS in 2011.