Monday, September 9, 2013

The 53 - Packers lose to 49ers in 2013 opener

Last year the Green Bay Packers opened the season with a home loss to the San Francisco 49ers and closed the season with a playoff road loss to the 49ers as well.  Unfortunately 2013 started just the way 2012 ended for the Packers with a road loss to the 49ers.  Here are my thoughts along with updated rankings to The 53 following the Packers/49ers season opener:

 The 53
1. Aaron Rodgers (QB, 1)
2. Clay Matthews (OLB, 2)
3. Randall Cobb (WR, 6)
4. Morgan Burnett (S, 7)
5. B.J. Raji (DL, 4)
6. Jordy Nelson (WR, 11)
7. T.J. Lang (G, 8)
8. Jermichael Finley (TE, 5)
9. Josh Sitton (G, 3)
10. James Jones (WR, 9)
11. Sam Shields (CB, 10)
12. Tramon Williams (CB, 12)
13. Evan Dietrich-Smith (C, 13)
14. David Bakhtiari (T, 17)
15. Nick Perry (OLB, 15)
16. Casey Hayward (CB, 14)
17. Datone Jones (DL, 18)
18. Tim Masthay (P, 19)
19. Eddie Lacy (RB, 16)
20. Ryan Pickett (DL, 20)
21. Don Barclay (T, 21)
22. Johnny Jolly (DL, 32)
23. A.J. Hawk (MLB, 22)
24. C.J. Wilson (DL, 23)
25. Brad Jones (MLB, 24)
26. Mike Daniels (DL, 26)
27. M.D. Jennings (S, 25)
28. Jerron McMillian (S, 27)
29. Micah Hyde (CB, 28)
30. James Starks (RB, 43)
31. Mason Crosby (K, 38)
32. Brett Goode (LS, 29)
33. Jarrett Bush (CB, 30)
34. Ryan Taylor (TE, 31)
35. Jarrett Boykin (WR, 33)
36. Robert Francois (MLB, 34)
37. Jeremy Ross (WR, 35)
38. John Kuhn (FB, 37)
39. Marshall Newhouse (T, 36)
40. Greg Van Roten (G, 39)
41. Davon House (CB, 40)
42. Chris Banjo (S, 51)
43. Jonathan Franklin (RB, 41)
44. Andrew Quarless (TE, 42)
45. Seneca Wallace (QB, 44)
46. Jamari Lattimore (LB, 46)
47. Mike Neal (OLB, 47)
48. Andy Mulumba (LB, 53)
49. Sam Barrington (LB, 49)
50. Nate Palmer (LB, 50)
51. Lane Taylor (G, 52)
52. Brandon Bostick (TE, 48)
53. Josh Boyd (DL, 45)
2. Clay Matthews (OLB): Bill Barnwell of, one of my favorite football writers, usually reviews bad coaching decisions in a weekly article called "Thank You For Not Coaching".  I presume that Packers head coach Mike McCarthy's decision to accept a penalty that gave the 49ers a 3rd and 6 instead of a 4th and 1 at the 5 yard line with the score tied 7-7 early in the second quarter will end up in that column.  I am not sure Barnwell's thoughts yet but here are my thoughts.  Following McCarthy accepting a penalty to set-up 3rd and 6 instead of 4th and 1, Matthews committed a personal foul tackling 49ers quarterback Colin Kapernick out of bounds.  A scuffle ensued. Somehow 49ers offensive lineman Joe Staley got an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and Matthews was not ejected despite the fact that Matthews punched (a weak attempt but a punch nonetheless) Staley.  As we know now, the officials erred in replaying the down because of the off-setting penalties occurred after the play was over so it really should have been 4th and 2 from the Packers' 6 yard-line.  Obviously if McCarthy declines the penalty none of this ever happens because the 49ers face a 4th and 1 on the Packers' 5 yard line.  Odds are the 49ers go for it and most likely pickup the first down but if the Packers stopped the 49ers in that spot, they give themselves a huge boost in confidence instead of giving the 49ers two chances to go six yards.  Obviously McCarthy is a quality NFL head coach but some of his in-game decisions continue to perplex me.

4. Morgan Burnett (S):  Despite not playing against the 49ers, Burnett moved up three spots thanks to the horrible performances of the safety tandem of M.D. Jennings and Jerron McMillian.  Even with Charles Woodson on the roster last season, Burnett was clearly the best safety on the team.  Although Jennings and McMillian showed flashes last year, they could never put together consistent performances.  When the Packers cut Woodson, I was shocked that the Packers did not bring in another veteran at safety given the uneven play of Jennings and McMillian.  Hopefully once Burnett returns that will elevate the play of the other safeties, otherwise general manager Ted Thompson is going to rue not only cutting Woodson but failing to replace him with a veteran.

9. Josh Sitton (G): The 49ers have arguably the best defensive line in the NFL but that still does not excuse the three penalties (one for illegal hands to the face and two for holding) that Sitton committed.  This off-season the Packers flipped Sitton to left guard and T.J. Lang to right guard, which still makes no sense to me since both guys were so comfortable in the positions they finished at in 2012.  Despite flipping sides, on paper the Sitton/Lang combo still forms the best pair of guards in Green Bay since Mike Wahle and Marco Rivera, now we just need to see it in live action.

37. Jeremy Ross (WR): The Packers handed Ross the return job on a platter but after week one they might be looking for another return man.  In the preseason the Packers gave rookie running back Johnathan Franklin a shot at returning kickoffs but Franklin was underwhelming.  If the Packers think Franklin can hold onto the ball, they might as well give him another shot because Ross averaged just over 13 yards on kickoff returns, which is the definition of underwhelming so Franklin can't do much worse. 

42. Chris Banjo (S): Less than a month ago the Packers brought Banjo in as essentially a camp body with an outside chance to make the practice squad.  Not only did Banjo make The 53, but if Burnett is out against the Washington Redskins next week, the Packers should consider giving Banjo some snaps on defense in place of Jennings or McMillian given how much both struggled last week.

48. Andy Mulumba (LB): Every NFL team has a 53-man roster but a silly NFL rules prevents every player form being active for each game.  Two of the seven inactive players (Morgan Burnett and Casey Hayward), when healthy, will always be active.  The other inactive players (Sam Barrington, Brandon Bostick, Josh Boyd, Nate Palmer, and Lane Taylor) will have to show something during practice each week to be active.  I highlight Mulamba because he was active this week but will battle with Barrington and Palmer on a weekly basis to be active gameday.

Make sure to check back for my full breakdown if Thompson makes any significant roster moves this week, otherwise check back next Monday for my thoughts on the Packers/Redskins game.

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