2020 Week 3 - That’s What Cheese Said

Hear what the head coach and some key players had to say about the Week 3 victory against the Saints. 

The Packers went marching into the Superdome on Sunday Night Football and left victorious.  Green Bay is now 3-0 and perhaps most importantly, 3-0 in the NFC, holding the tiebreaker against a team it might meet again in the playoffs. 

Without stars on both sides of the ball in wide receiver Davante Adams and defensive lineman Kenny Clark, the Packers roster still made plays, with both Allen Lazard and Kingsley Keke having career nights. Inside linebacker Christian Kirksey also left mid-game, with former seventh round pick Ty Summers putting on the communication helmet and filling in admirably.

“It’s always encouraging when you’ve got some guys that maybe haven’t gotten the time that they’d like to go out there and execute,” said Head Coach Matt LaFleur of his young players. 

In Keke’s career outing, he tallied two sacks (the first two of his NFL career), one pass defensed, and one forced fumble. It was a performance LaFleur expects him to build off of moving forward. 

“I thought Keke did a great job. He used his hands well, he shed well, he was obviously disruptive on the quarterback,” LaFleur said. “It was a good step in the right direction and now that he’s done that one game, he’s gotta build upon that and that’s the expectation.”

Summers, who had played every one of his 2019 snaps on special teams, ended up leading the defense in total tackles with nine after subbing in for Kirksey. He looked fluid and athletic on the field, building off the performance we had last seen during the 2019 preseason. 

 “At practice you can tell he’s dialed in,” said Keke of Summers. 

“There’s a lot of key players that step up for us, that make key plays for us; that changes the momentum in the game.”

One of those momentum-swinging plays came from defensive captain Za’Darius Smith who forced a key fumble with the recovery to give the Packers back the ball in a tied game. 

“‘Z’ is consistently one of our best defensive players,” said LaFleur. “I think he’s one of the best defensive players in the league. He’s a guy that you have to account for on every play.”

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers agreed. “That’s what good teams do. They close it out,” he said of the defense getting the offense the ball back for the go-ahead score. 

Each week a new player seems to emerge on offense. Week 1 it was Davante Adams. Week 2 Aaron Jones had a career day. Against the Saints, Lazard and Robert Tonyan put together impressive outings to secure a Packers victory. 

Lazard hauled in six receptions for 146 yards and a touchdown, with a career-long of 72-yard catch. Tonyan caught all five of his targets for 50 yards and a touchdown of his own. 

“He definitely is a guy that has earned everything he’s gotten in this game,” LaFleur said of Lazard, calling him a “consistent” and “high-level” player for the offense. 

It also may have been a confidence-boosting night for second-year pro Jace Sternberger who’d struggled with drops through the first two weeks. Sternberger caught his three targets for 36 yards, keeping the chains and the play clock moving.

“The big emphasis going into this season was our third down conversions and we’ve been so much better on third down. And again, that’s a credit to our guys,” said LaFleur.

Against the Saints, the Packers converted 5-of-11 third downs for a 45% success rate. The team also had an 80% success rate in the red zone on Sunday night. 

“Certainly you’d love to put up those types of numbers every week,” LaFleur said. “I think a big reason we’ve been able to generate points is number one, we do a great job of taking care of the football. Our quarterback is as good as anybody ever.” 

The Packers through three weeks have yet to turn the ball over once, which is a first in franchise history. 

“Today’s win is a complete team effort,” said Lazard, adding that this team has a lot of confidence moving forward. “To be able to come out with a win, especially on the road, even though there’s not fans here, it’s still huge. Still being able to build off that momentum. Being 3-0 is a lot better than being 2-1.”

Rodgers also mentioned the flow of the offense and reiterated how much more comfortable he is playing in the second year of LaFleur’s scheme. He emphasized the flow multiple times throughout his presser, from the scripted start to the rhythm the offense is able to get into as the game progresses. 

“I say it a lot but I just feel so much more comfortable in the offense this year. And I think Matt has really settled into the rhythm of the play-calling and it’s made my job a lot easier,” said Rodgers. 

Part of that efficiency is a credit to the offensive line, the unsung heroes of the offense. Rodgers made sure to point that out, too, saying he’s only been sacked twice in three games. 

Despite all that went well to get the Packers to a 3-0 start, LaFleur knows there’s plenty for the team to improve upon, too. 

“I think there was a lot of good on both sides of the ball, and then there was some stuff we definitely have to clean up if we want to be the team that we think we’re capable of being,” he said.

Unofficially, LaFleur said the Packers missed at least 13 tackles against the Saints, with five coming on one Alvin Kamara play alone. 

“As a defense we can still fix up some things,” Keke said, pointing out tackling specifically. 

“We will continue to work on those fundamentals and need to see improvement,” said LaFleur.

Still, this is a Packers team that could get two of its best players back for Monday Night Football against the winless Falcons. It’s also an offense that’s put up 41, 35, and 37 points through three weeks, making it the first team in NFL history with 35 or more points and no turnovers through each of the first three games of the season. 

While there certainly is work to be done, it’s also been a record-breaking start to the season for the NFL’s most historic franchise. 

 

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Maggie Loney is a writer for Cheesehead TV, podcaster for the Pack-A-Day Podcast and Pack's What She Said, and hosts a weekly live show called Happy Hour through Game On Wisconsin. Find her on Twitter at @MaggieJLoney.

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Comments (41)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
Packer_Fan's picture

September 29, 2020 at 12:43 pm

The offense is doing well:
- Scheme is getting players open.
- Offensive line is doing well
- Rodgers is throwing on time and with accuracy.
- Lafleur is calling a good game and with good game plans.
- The offense is avoiding third and long (which seemed to happen all the time with McCarthy) and that helps to keep to keep the offense going.
- The offense starts with the short passing game, gets the defense overreacting and then Rodgers takes his shots down the field. Everything is working!!!

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Archie's picture

September 29, 2020 at 12:56 pm

Not much being said about Gary. Hope he's ready for ATL.

Looks like the three youngsters will play ILB until Kamal Martin and Kirksey get back which may be about the same time.

KeKe is blooming!

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murf7777's picture

September 29, 2020 at 01:57 pm

Not much info is a good sign because if it was major we would know already....fingers crossed!

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

September 29, 2020 at 12:59 pm

Turnovers are always a huge part of the game. The fact that the Packers still have not turned the football over is outstanding.

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croatpackfan's picture

September 30, 2020 at 05:11 am

Well, does the possession loss on downs counts as turn overs?

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Since'61's picture

September 30, 2020 at 09:19 am

No, turnover on downs is a matter of how the team chooses to play on 4th down not a forced error by the defense. A team can run a play or punt or attempt an FG. All of which are plays. If loss of possession on downs was considered a turnover than punts and missed FGs would also be considered turnovers.

However the fumble by Taysom Hill, that is a turnover.

Thanks, Since ‘61

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Coldworld's picture

September 29, 2020 at 01:31 pm

What is going on with Greene? Six snaps last week? Hybrid is a pivotal role in our D too!

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dblbogey's picture

September 29, 2020 at 02:05 pm

I was wondering about that too. I also was disappointed that Rashan Gary seemed pretty quiet again.

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Coldworld's picture

September 29, 2020 at 02:52 pm

Gary had an ankle issue in the first half and didn’t return.

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WestCoastPackerBacker's picture

September 29, 2020 at 04:40 pm

Someone asked the coach this and he said Greene was ready, but didn't say why they played Will Redmon more. And Vernon Scott only played ST I think. Hoping Greene is okay.

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jannes bjornson's picture

September 29, 2020 at 10:48 pm

Pettine probably thought Redmond could match Kamara's take off and movement, but that was an epic fail.

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Coldworld's picture

September 30, 2020 at 10:12 am

I hope that’s right, but I doubt it. Redmond is smaller still db at his best deep. It might be true against the pass I suppose, perhaps that coverage was the thought, but 6 snaps for Greene seems too low for that alone doesn’t it?

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Matt Gonzales's picture

September 29, 2020 at 02:14 pm

Great summary. It's great to see GB get another win, and more importantly, to be able to stay in the game the whole time. There is still stuff to improve, but the Packers are playing pretty complete games so far and haven't been forced to get out of their game plan. This was a piece that was missing last year, and whether that was more on MLF or Aaron, I'm glad to see they are able to keep playing their game plan even when they get behind vs. turning it into the AR hero ball show.

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jannes bjornson's picture

September 29, 2020 at 10:49 pm

The Pack is the better team.

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MITM's picture

September 29, 2020 at 02:36 pm

Im damn proud of Ty Summers. I saw the same missed tackles everyone else did but i also saw some very nice run fits and tackles on passes for minimal gains. For a kid who hasnt lined up at LB in a game since the 2019 pre season(and for what its worth he led the entire NFL in tackles during the 2019 preseason) - you have to expect some rust ESPECIALLY against the Saints. But again, very admirable performance and im excited to see him get better every week because I bet Kirksey aint comin back any time soon (shocker!) Darnell Savage was the worst of our 2019 draft picks that took the field that day. But I keep telling myself to remember Nick Collins' first few years. Problem with that is Nick was at least big as hell for a safety while Savage looks like a child out there right now.

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Coldworld's picture

September 29, 2020 at 02:57 pm

Savage was good near the line. I’m starting to think that not having a hybrid (Greene managed 6 snaps) is causing knock on effects with the safeties either in role or in what they are having to take account of.

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Lphill's picture

September 29, 2020 at 04:04 pm

How great would it be for the defense if Keke and Summers blossom into playmakers , its very possible. Summers was long overdue for his shot inside.

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splitpea1's picture

September 29, 2020 at 04:23 pm

It would be even better if the Packers were willing to sign another rotational lineman to supplement Keke and Clark. They passed on Snacks the first time, and now Seattle seems to be very interested, although they really should be a little more worried about their pass defense. It might take Mr. Snacks a while to get in shape anyway, so it looks like we're stuck with what we've got, at least for the time being.

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WestCoastPackerBacker's picture

September 29, 2020 at 04:41 pm

I don't think they "passed" on snacks. Nagler says they offered him a deal and Snacks didn't want to come to GB.

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splitpea1's picture

September 29, 2020 at 05:49 pm

Whatever. There are varying opinions from other writers of why he didn't sign with the Packers, and we'll never know unless Mr. Harrison tells us the reason. The Packers said they made a "competitive" offer, but maybe the player didn't feel it was competitive enough and wanted more. The bottom line is he isn't here, and it would be a shame if one of our rivals were able to land him while we were not.

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Coldworld's picture

September 29, 2020 at 05:47 pm

Some of our rivals have a lot more cap to burn. It would be a bigger shame if we lost Bakh because we picked up Snacks. Everyone has a price to sign, but doesn’t mean that we can or should pay it. Much as I’d like to add that type of player if truly healthy.

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splitpea1's picture

September 29, 2020 at 08:00 pm

Bakh might price himself out anyway. It would also be a shame if we are unable to get this run defense fixed and find ourselves in the exact same position as we were at the end of last season's playoffs. You think we can go all the way with Lowry and Lancaster playing such a large amount of snaps?

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Coldworld's picture

September 29, 2020 at 06:51 pm

Then we move to Jones

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jannes bjornson's picture

September 29, 2020 at 10:54 pm

If he was that valuable an asset he would be signed to somebody's squad by now.

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Bear's picture

September 29, 2020 at 07:12 pm

We didn’t pass on snacks he turned down the offer and at the time wasn’t sure he was going to play.

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splitpea1's picture

September 29, 2020 at 08:01 pm

But now he's changed his mind and is visiting Seattle? What's wrong with reconsidering the Packers' offer (whatever it was) ?

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HighPlainsDrifter's picture

September 30, 2020 at 02:40 am

I love how split/eg pivots to the "other writers" excuse when it is pointed out that he was wrong about the Packers "passing" on Harrison. The bottom line is that if Harrison had anything left he would have been signed by another team a long time ago.

Amateur GMs such as split/eg are so willing to blow up the salary cap. They would sacrifice any chance to resign a key player like Bakh just to throw money at whatever demands someone like Harrison has. Next split/eg will be advocating signing Earl Thomas, another over the hill player no other team wants.

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jannes bjornson's picture

September 29, 2020 at 10:52 pm

The money is going to Bhaktiari. He picked up Winn, who may be a steady guy if his body holds up. Keke is the DE off the pass rush and he fills gaps fast for the run. When Kenny comes back, he will create even more trouble.

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Coldworld's picture

September 30, 2020 at 10:15 am

What I like about Winn is that despite very limited snaps, you could see his desire. We could do with his mindset in that group I think.

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Lphill's picture

September 29, 2020 at 04:05 pm

Also I think Sternberger will become a key part of the offense.

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WestCoastPackerBacker's picture

September 29, 2020 at 04:42 pm

Whatever combo of Tonyan and Sternberger with a pinch of Big Dog is fine with me!

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Leatherhead's picture

September 29, 2020 at 06:38 pm

I’ve followed the Packers for over 50 years and I think this is one of the very best teams the Packers have put on the field since the merger in 1970. How do you top an offense that never turns it over and rarely punts? The 96 team had a stronger defense, IMO. But this is still one of our best. Really good HC, top shelf quarterbacking , A good Oline, excellent RB situation........

This is a good team that could....go.....all.....the ..........way. We’re favorites to go 4-0.

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packer132's picture

September 29, 2020 at 08:34 pm

I also have followed the Packers for 50 years and have seen some great teams. I am hoping for a good year also, but its only been 3 games. Defense needs help if you are going to call this team one of the best since 1970.

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Since'61's picture

September 29, 2020 at 10:37 pm

The defense needs to get some of its players healthy. Hopefully Clark, Kirksey, Gary and Martin are all back after the bye week. We know what Clark means in the run game and in getting pressure up the middle. Kirksey and Gary bring good speed to our front 7 and Martin has plenty of upside.

Those 4 guys plus our depth should help our defense become more solid and faster. I hope we get to see them play as a healthy and complete unit. Thanks, Since ‘61

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Packers0808's picture

September 30, 2020 at 07:21 am

I think we have a good chance on D Line with the tandem of Clark and Keke going forward!
!

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croatpackfan's picture

September 30, 2020 at 05:09 am

"It’s also an offense that’s put up 41, 35, and 37 points through three weeks, making it the first team in NFL history with 35 or more points and no turnovers through each of the first three games of the season. "

Packers scored 122 points in the first 3 games of the season. So they scored 43, 42 and 37 points in respective games. And that is the new record, not 113 total points.

Sorry for correction!

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Leatherhead's picture

September 30, 2020 at 08:19 am

9 defensive points.

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Since'61's picture

September 30, 2020 at 09:23 am

Absolutely correct Leatherhead. Hopefully more defensive points to come as well. Thanks, Since ‘61

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SwedeBayPacker's picture

September 30, 2020 at 09:28 am

This is how we do it, as a team. Even without our star receiver, everybody else is ready to step up. Keep your Macks, your Kamaras and your Bosas. We're the Pack.

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Yoda's picture

September 30, 2020 at 11:55 am

Powerful and one with the force, Keke is.

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Yoda's picture

September 30, 2020 at 12:50 pm

Like his hair, I do. Great warrior, he is.

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