ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 28: Jay Ratliff #90 of the Dallas Cowboys celebrates after a sack in the fourth quarter against the Carolina Panthers at Cowboys Stadium on September 28, 2009 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Eight games into the season, the Packers lead the league in sacks allowed, and it's not even close; their 37 sacks allowed is seven more than Kansas City, who are in second in this regard, nine more than Washington, who are third. They have already allowed three more sacks than they allowed in all of 2008, and with Dallas coming to town on Sunday, there seems to be no end in sight.
That the team is 4-4 is vaguely impressive, given that no team in the top-eight in this category are above .500; near miraculous, is that Aaron Rodgers, the benefactor of a banged up offensive line, has the fifth-best passer rating in the league. But with a secondary and a pass rush that has recovered from a sluggish start to help the team to a four-game win streak, the Dallas Cowboys are likely licking their chops at getting their turn at the Cal product.
On Sunday, Rodgers was sacked six times by the lowly, (at the time) win-less Buccaneers, and threw three interceptions.
What's better for the Cowboys, and a fairly dark harbinger for Green Bay, is that after the loss, the team can't seem to agree on the reason for the bloated sack totals. To the untrained eye, it would seem obvious that the trouble lies in an injury-riddled offensive line. Head coach Mike McCarthy, who seems now to be firmly in the hot seat, has another idea.
“It has to stop,” McCarthy said in the Wisconsin State Journal, to the agreement of Green Bay as a whole. “You can’t sit here and keep taking sacks. That’s a reflection of coaching and playing. It’s something that’s been coached, it’s something that’s been trained, and it keeps showing up on Sundays. (Look) at Tampa Bay’s quotes all week. That’s all they talked about, was sacking the quarterback and it happened again today. It has to end. We cannot continue to have the numbers that we have in sacks.”
“I thought he had plenty of time to throw,” McCarthy continued. “I’m real curious to see the film because either they’re doing a hell of a job covering us ... I mean, there was time and time again that our receivers on crossing routes versus that coverage."
At the risk of overlooking the old "any given Sunday..." truism, this doesn't augur well for McCarthy, or the Packers, or certainly Aaron Rodgers, who is beginning to resemble David Carr, circa 2002.
The Dallas secondary has come on of recent, shutting down Philadelphia's big-play threats completely last Sunday; the pass rush grounded Donovan McNabb four times, and haven't had a game with less than three sacks since week two. And somewhere, Gilbert Brown is convinced that the sky is falling.