Rodgers, Packers will be up Against a Familiar foe in Crennel

In the midst of what could've been just the fifth undefeated season in NFL history, the 2011 Green Bay Packers failed to improve on their 13-0 record in a week 15 contest against the Chiefs. 

Cold, bone-chilling climate in Kansas City marked the first loss of the season for the Packers who went on to finish the 2011 season 15-1, and it was also their first loss in a year. The 19-game win streak had come to an end, but the ultimate goal of home field advantage remained ahead of them and the loss, well, in the rear-view mirror.

That was the last time Aaron Rodgers and the Packers went up against a Romeo Crennel-coached team, who at the time, held one of the best passing attacks in recent memory to just 14 points. It was a hallmark showing for Crennel's Chiefs, a team who he was initially the defensive coordinator for before becoming the interim coach after Todd Haley's firing. His debut was knocking off the offensive juggernaut that was the Packers in 2011.

Crennel now resides in Houston as the defensive coordinator, inheriting a Texans team who would normally have J.J. Watt at their disposal for what may be one of their most important games of the season. They'll travel to Lambeau Field to try and spoil the Packers' season - more than it already has been - and put an end to any hopes that they can "run the table" while in the process, try to salvage their own season at 6-5.

"They're gonna throw a lot of different stuff at you," Rodgers said on Wednesday on Crennel. "He's done a good job of always mixing his schemes up."

A big part of the Chiefs' domination in their 2011 match-up was controlling the time of possession. They held onto the ball for over 36 minutes while the Packers had it for just under 24. Crennel was capable of limiting a high-powered offensive five years ago, but now that this rendition of the Packers is beginning to find their identity on offense and poses as a completely new challenge for Crennel, the question is, can he do it again?

"He's done a good job over the years playing against him of being able to mix his coverages up, his pressures up," Rodgers admitted. It'll be his third meeting with the Texans and his first since throwing six touchdowns against them in 2012. "Week-to-week, there's not always a ton of carry-over. They're gonna come up with specific schemes and coverages behind it that they like against different opponents."

The Packers are coming off of a clutch Monday night victory to keep their season alive for another week at 5-6. Meanwhile, the Texans are looking to rebound after their first loss at home this season after starting 2016 5-0 at NRG Stadium. They'll likely have a newfound sense of motivation heading into Green Bay, and even more so against a secondary unit that has been below average for a good portion of the season.

"I don't think we're out of the woods yet. We're just one game better than we were last week. I think it's important to keep that focus, there's still a lot in front of us."

For the secondary, they'll be up against Brock Osweiler, the $72 million-dollar quarterback who currently ranks in a dead-last tie for lowest passer rating (72.2) in the NFL as well as most interceptions thrown (13).

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Zachary Jacobson is a staff writer/reporter for Cheesehead TV. He's the voice of The Leap on iTunes and can be heard on The Scoop KLGR 1490 AM every Saturday morning. He's also a contributor on the Pack-A-Day Podcast. He can be found on Twitter via @ZachAJacobson or contacted through email at [email protected].

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Comments (13)

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sheppercheeser's picture

December 01, 2016 at 05:30 am

Boy, if we could duplicate the effort and play keep-away from Houston and keep their offense on the sidelines, we have a fighting chance at a victory. I believe that once again, we will live or die via our defensive effort.

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NickPerry's picture

December 01, 2016 at 06:53 am

To keep with RC's thought process all week long I'd hope the Packers stay with a similar Offensive attack with the quick passing game. With Rodgers hammy he's not going to run as much if at all. It will be important for the Packers WR's to beat their man off the LOS so he can get rid of the ball quickly. Rodgers actually surprised me some last week when he opted for the sure shorter pass for a 1st down instead of taking a shot downfield. Cobb, Adams, and Nelson all had some nice gains by the end of the game. Houston is excellent against TE's so if Cook IS a difference maker he should come up with more than last week. This will be game 3 since coming back so hopefully Cook and Rodgers have been working hard at practice.
More Montgomery please. Get him the ball early and often, get him involved. The Packers could use his quickness.
Finally give the damn ball to Michael more than once. Starks 2.7 YPC or whatever it is can take a backseat for a few plays to see what Michael can do. Not 1 or 2 plays then to the bench. Give the guy an actual chance to see what he can do.

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RCPackerFan's picture

December 01, 2016 at 07:46 am

I hope they do as well. It is what is working the best for them. So keep doing it.

I really think they need to get Montgomery more involved.
In the 2 games he was used the most (Chicago/Dallas) he had 20 receptions for 164 yards (8.2 average), 12 rushes for 66 yards (5.5 average).
In the last 4 games he has had far fewer touches but his production hasn't dropped. He has 10 receptions for 88 yards (8.8 average), 15 rushes for 81 yards (5.4 average).
In the 2 games that he was used a lot he had 32 total touches. In the 4 games since he has 25. I understand some of it is from being on a snap count. But from everything I have heard he isn't on one anymore.

Compare Montgomery's last 4 games to Starks last 3 games. In the last 3 Starks has 33 rushes for 99 yards (3.0 average), and 13 receptions for 84 yards (6.4 average). Starks receiving numbers look a lot worse when you take out his long play against Washington where they completely blew the coverage and he ran 31 yards for a TD. Take that play out and his average per reception drops from 6.4 to 4.4.

I agree about Michael. Starks ran 17 times for 41 yards (2.4 average) against the Eagles. Take out his long rush of 8 yards and his average goes down to 2.06. Its not fair to take out his long run but it just shows that his average was really bad without it.

I would be happy to take at least 7 of those carries away from Starks and give them to Montgomery and Michael.

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dobber's picture

December 01, 2016 at 09:52 am

"I would be happy to take at least 7 of those carries away from Starks and give them to Montgomery and Michael."

I'll go further than that to say that I think Starks should be relegated to third down responsibilities and Michael/Monty should get all the early down snaps.

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RCPackerFan's picture

December 01, 2016 at 09:59 am

Honestly. I would be happy with that too.

In all honesty any reduction in Starks role would help the offense.

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Tundraboy's picture

December 03, 2016 at 09:30 am

Coupled with RRodgers role limited to a couple of Red Zone plays at best.

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Pack204's picture

December 01, 2016 at 08:22 am

It is almost as though Rodgers immobility being impaired slightly has forces him to have hang in the pocket and get the ball out on time, making those tight throws. I love the quick hit passing game it is almost impossible to stop with a qb like Rodgers and wr like Nelson, Cobb and Adams.

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RCPackerFan's picture

December 01, 2016 at 08:31 am

It also brings out some more of the creativity in McCarthy's play calling. We saw the Pistol formation for the first time after Rodgers got hurt.

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Since'61's picture

December 01, 2016 at 08:51 am

Romeo Crennel or not the Texans have not played well on the road this year. Clowney will be a good test for our OL. Like the Eagles game, this game will depend on the Packers offense keeping our defense off the field. We should be aided in this effort by the fact that Osweiler has yet to play very well for the Texans. Hopefully that trend will continue this week at Lambeau. It's difficult to address our defense at this point in the week since we don't yet know who will be available for this week's game. If both CM3 and Ryan can go we should be able to move CM3 back outside and generate some pressure with him and Perry, while Ryan can provide some solid play at ILB against the ground game. I agree with Nick and RC that we need to more of Monty and at least some Michael on our offense. The key will be maintaining consistency on 3rd downs like we did against Philly. Another big difference in the Philly game was that we were much better on 1st and 2nd down then we have been for a while. Keep the quick hit passing game going, get enough of a run game and we should be fine. Go Pack Go! Thanks, Since '61

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Savage57's picture

December 01, 2016 at 08:58 am

Whenever I see a note that the upcoming QB is struggling, I get uneasy.

The Packers have had a notorious history of helping guys in those situations have career games against them.

Not this time, OK guys?

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dobber's picture

December 01, 2016 at 09:59 am

As a side-note, Don Barclay was listed as a full participant yesterday in practice (although I think the Packers didn't have a formal practice) and Lang was still a DNP. It will be interesting to see what the coaching staff does with him: will they leave Spriggs inside or will they go back to #67?

I know what I would do...

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NickPerry's picture

December 02, 2016 at 05:53 am

MY GOD.... Spriggs did a pretty F'ing good job, if the coaching staff actually puts Barclay back in with Rodgers mobility somewhat limited I'll seriously have a meltdown.

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guzzi2000's picture

December 01, 2016 at 11:36 am

Barclay playing is a recipe for disaster, that point has been proven already this season. Have to hope Springs can hold his own or they come up with an alternative other than Barclay. Not sure what that would be.

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