The guys at PackersNews.com give their predictions for the Week 15 showdown between the Green Bay Packers and the Carolina Panthers. (Dec. 15, 2017) USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin
GREEN BAY - The day after the Green Bay Packers beat the Cleveland Browns 27-21 in overtime, coach Mike McCarthy praised his wide receivers for playing through contact to generate extra yards.
McCarthy said the perimeter group broke 17 tackles in total.
“That’s a huge day,” he said Monday. “I thought our guys did a great job in that area.”
As it turns out, the uptick in broken tackles is credited to a goal set by the wide receivers after the injury to quarterback Aaron Rodgers. It was their personal challenge to gain more yards after contact to assist backup Brett Hundley.
None of the broken tackles was bigger than two by Davante Adams on the game-winning play. He pulled away from an arm tackle 2 yards beyond the line of scrimmage and spun away from another defender to race into the end zone for a touchdown.
“When Brett stepped in there, we took it upon ourselves in our room to make sure that we do something a little bit better,” wide receivers coach Luke Getsy said. “So each and every week it’s been an emphasis. We went into that Cleveland game knowing that it was going to have to be a big part of what we do. They’re an aggressive-style defense. We were going to get guys in space and we had to do our job. So yeah, we definitely emphasized it a lot last week.”
Near miss: A mental mistake by Hundley turned the ball over on downs at the Browns 12-yard line midway through the third quarter. What was supposed to be a toss to the left devolved into a 2-yard loss when Hundley turned the wrong way and was swallowed behind the line of scrimmage.
But it was nearly perfect, according to running backs coach Ben Sirmans. The Browns bit so hard on a pull by left guard Lane Taylor that running back Aaron Jones had just one player between him and the end zone.
“It was him one-on-one with the safety,” Sirmans said. “We looked at it on Tuesday, which is too bad, because it was blocked perfectly. It would have been a one-on-one with him and the safety, where my money would have been on him, so it could have easily been a touchdown.”
Perhaps McCarthy will give the play another chance this week.
Old coach: Before he earned his first job in the NFL, Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers spent a dozen years as a college coach. He never spent more than three years in the same place, and his resume included stops at Hawaii, San Jose State, California, Tennessee and Ohio State, among others.
During that time, Capers came across a defensive player named Ron Rivera, now the head coach of the Panthers, and another two-way player named Richard Rodgers, assistant defensive backs coach.
“I recruited Ron Rivera out of high school,” Capers said. “I’m dating myself here. There’s two guys on the Carolina staff that I recruited out of high school: Ron Rivera and (Packers tight end) Richard Rodgers’ dad.
“I’ll tell you, Ron was such an impressive guy coming out of high school. He went to Seaside High School in Monterey. Everybody had great, great things to stay about him. He grew up on Fort Ord. His dad was a military guy. Very impressive home visit going in with his family. The discipline that he grew up with, and I think he’s just a real high-character guy and he’s done a tremendous job.”