Confessions of a Polluted Mindset - Run to Win

The Weekly Packers Brain Drain from Jersey Al.

 

The Running game - Back in 2011, when Aaron Rodgers won his first MVP and the Packers aerial attack was at its height, our own Corey Behnke coined the phrase, "Why run when you can win?". It became the CHTV mantra for a season where the Packers offense ranked fourth in NFL history.by NFL.com. Well Aaron Rodgers, while still one of the best in the game, is no longer 2011 Aaron Rodgers and the WR corps does not match up either (2011 = Jennings, Nelson, Jones, Driver, Cobb). A decade later, the first two games of this season perfectly illustrate the new reality for the Green Bay Packers - You MUST Run to Win".

How much more insane does it now seem that the Packers didn't really give Aaron Jones much run (pun intended) last week?

King in the slot - Going back to his rookie season, I've always maintained that King is fine with the play in front of him, but when he has to flip his hips and then track both the receiver and the ball in the air, he invariably does neither well. Giving up big plays is not something that just started last season. He's done it every year. Some have said make him a safety but he's not nearly a good enough tackler. While that could also be a problem playing the slot, the Packers can mitigate that by making it a situational thing (play him in the slot on more obvious passing downs). I'd certainly rather see him there than giving up 50 yard touchdown completions.

Change for the sake of... what? After the Packers offense dismantled the Lions on their first drive with what seemed like the perfect formula, surely they would continue with that approach until the Lions showed they could stop it. But noooooooooooooo! Let's get cute and show the breadth of our playbook. Let's force a deep throw (not open) on first down. Then we'll trot out the five wide empty backfield look on second down (why???), and then be forced to try a third straight pass and end up taking a sack on third down. The propensity to outsmart one's self is seen all too often with the offensive minds on this team.

 

 

Rodgers - Davante Adams on his own saved at least three errant Rodgers passes from being incompletions. It was a strange passing day for Rodgers - he made some incredible throws, and some awful ones, mostly on what you would consider easier passes to complete.

Receivers - Are other Packers receivers mostly just decoys at this point so Adams doesn't get doubled? Is Lazard just a blocker? At least Cobb finally got his number called.

MVS - Anyone else think MVS seems to have lost a step? Or are defenses just assuming he's going to run go routes and are playing to that? Whatever it is, he's not getting separation on the go routes and Rodgers has overthrown him regularly on those attempts.

Amari Rodgers - He just has not looked good returning punts. He looks very tentative instead of just catching the ball and running upfield. But as long as he doesn't fumble, I won't complain too much.

Kylin Hill - He, on the other hand, seems to have quickly learned that being tentative does not work. He was much more decisive than last week and the results showed.

Stokes - The young man took some big steps Monday night. More than anything, you can see the guy is a competitor. He NEEDS to deny completions, he WANTS to become a shut down corner, and he has a great example to follow in Jaire.

 

__________________________

"Jersey Al" Bracco is the Editor-In-Chief, part owner and wearer of many hats for CheeseheadTV.com and PackersTalk.com. He is also a recovering Mason Crosby truther.  Follow Al on twitter at @JerseyalGBP

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14 points

Comments (98)

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

September 22, 2021 at 07:05 am

Nice observations Al, as usual.

10 points
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Lphill's picture

September 22, 2021 at 07:29 am

Is it just rust from no pre season snaps , we will see as the season unfolds , can King cover Samuel in the slot ? I doubt it .

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JerseyAl's picture

September 22, 2021 at 07:33 am

Yes, I meant to mention that. "Situational use" will also include taking that week's opponent into consideration.

5 points
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stockholder's picture

September 22, 2021 at 07:31 am

Nothing about the DL? MVS looked slow. But he has in the past too. He better pick it up. I don't agree on King. I'd move Alexander,King and stokes all around. I liked Alexander playing the slot. Much better then Sullivan. The defense came alive. And they did tighten it up after NO. Amos has to many Tackles. That was never the case for a SS in 2010.

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nostradanus's picture

September 22, 2021 at 07:47 am

Good points Al

Run to win: yes my thoughts also, the other part of that equation is that you also run to keep the other teams offense off the field, ball control man!
The Packers best defense right now is to just play keep away!

Receivers: they will get theirs but this was a get right game and you feed your stars Adams-Tonyan-Jones.

MVS: He looks like he could have used some pre-season action. Rodgers missed him on at least 2 easy TD’s!

King: he has some value just not as an every down outside corner, brutal just brutal!

Stokes: the kid has the “it” factor, you can see the speed, talent and competitiveness, him and Jaire are going to be a great duo eventually!
And speaking of Stokes, I wonder if Barry had to give his face an ice bath after smashing it into Stokes helmet💥 😀
ND

6 points
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Razer's picture

September 22, 2021 at 07:54 am

Didn't see the game - only the highlights. I am glad that we won but I am not sure what I am really seeing with this team. Barry and this defense look to be following the standard Packer defensive formula. Thank God for Goff's small hands.

Many are googly-eyed over Rodger's circus throws. I am not sure why he is throwing to a sliver windowed Bob Tonyan or how it was caught but is this our new offense? Everyone seems to be talking about climbing on Rodgers's back for the ride and yet we all know where that ride will stop. As long as Rodgers is happy and doing what he wants all is good.

Time to go out to San Fran and get schooled on defense and eat some humble pie.

5 points
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PeteK's picture

September 22, 2021 at 09:30 am

Ouch, razor burns!

3 points
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Razer's picture

September 22, 2021 at 10:29 am

Yeah - sorry. I just keep seeing this scene being played out repeatedly.

5 points
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mnbadger's picture

September 22, 2021 at 12:17 pm

I whole heartedly agree and will continue to agree until we beat not one but two physical opponents. That's why we struggle with the vikings, thankfully they've got second-cousins at qb to increase our chance of winning. GPG

3 points
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scullyitsme's picture

September 22, 2021 at 10:15 am

The reality is you climb on Rodgers back as far as it takes you because the defense isn’t taking us anywhere. If that’s a loss in the nfc championship then that’s farther then we’d of got without him. If you think we’re going better than 8-8 with love and this defense your delusional

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Razer's picture

September 22, 2021 at 10:33 am

You first point about getting on Rodgers back picks up on the reality of which I speak. You last point about Love is apropro of nothing

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Handsback's picture

September 22, 2021 at 07:59 am

I have a different slant on the Packers defense problems….where is the safety plan that was going to make a difference? Specifically Savage! Amos is all over the field, but not Savage.
Also, the Pack went away from the run again. Too many possessions with three passes and a punt as well as not running out the clock but using long passes when they were up 3 scores. Maybe they can’t run the ball yet, I don’t know.

10 points
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Razer's picture

September 22, 2021 at 08:25 am

...Also, the Pack went away from the run again. Too many possessions with three passes and a punt as well as not running out the clock but using long passes when they were up 3 scores...

Why indeed?! I cannot fathom that this is a Matt Lafleur offense, a guy who wants TE's and H-backs. Rodgers is going to run the offense the way that he wants to run the offense and if teams are going to give him a 2 high safety look... well, we'll just see about that. This was a rebuilding Detroit Lions. Good defenses are going play to Rodgers' tendencies and bait him into stupid play. Just ask Sean Payton and Kyle Shanahan.

5 points
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scullyitsme's picture

September 22, 2021 at 01:56 pm

Your point that you don’t like Rodgers is heard, mine that we would be at best 8-8 without him is reality, So my advice is stop worrying about Rodgers problems because he has a hell of a lot more upside for this team. He’s not what’s holding this team back, he’s holding a crappy team together, especially on defense, just like he’s done for the past 10 years. Spoiled packers fans, just like the GM they can’t wait to get rid of a all pro QB so we can be mediocre. They only way we won’t be mediocre is to fix the defense. Something gute or Thompson has never been able to do.

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Swisch's picture

September 22, 2021 at 02:11 pm

The season before LaFleur came on board as head coach, the Packers were 6-9-1 with Rodgers.
Rodgers is an enigma.
He does a lot of good things, and sometimes great things.
However, there may be ways in which he hold the Packers back. He may not be the same guy internally who led the Packers to a Super Bowl more than a decade ago.
It's not only an intriguing discussion, but an integral one to the potential of the Packers.
If Rodgers has his heart in it as far as leading the Packers, I'd go with him all the way for this season through thick and thin.
If Rodgers is resentful and reluctant behind the scenes, I'd ship him out before the end of the month for a first-round pick, a top defender, and whatever else we can get.
The key is for Gute and LaFleur to make the right assessment, and the right call, right away.

1 points
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barutanseijin's picture

September 22, 2021 at 02:33 pm

I’m all for trading him, but likely to get less in return than what Packer fans are expecting.

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Razer's picture

September 22, 2021 at 03:50 pm

You have me wrong Scully. Rodgers is the only thing propelling this team and I think most of us know it and acknowledge it. Which isn't to say that he can't be better by working with the coaches and gameplan to overcome the way opponents are playing his offense.

Our defense is a continuing failure of our front office and its valuation of the positions outside of the secondary - which they can't seem to figure out as well.

2 points
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jurp's picture

September 23, 2021 at 07:20 am

8-9 or 9-8 would get us better draft position for one year, just like a poor record did in 2008. Two years later we won it all. History can repeat, you know.

Rodgers is a diva who does only what he wants to do to get his stats and adulation; the rest of the team is secondary.

0 points
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Coldworld's picture

September 22, 2021 at 08:51 am

Savage was quiet, but he also was doubtful to play after hurting his shoulder on the interception he had wiped out the previous week. Given we only had 3 safeties active and Black is a box guy at this point, I’m thinking Savage played in a coverage role out of necessity and it’s more a question of his limitations being planned for and his role adjusted to protect the shoulder.

7 points
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flackcatcher's picture

September 22, 2021 at 07:04 pm

Yes, it showed in how Gray had him positioned Monday night. It is not an accident that King was in the slot. (Folks forget how thin the Packers are at safety...)

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dobber's picture

September 22, 2021 at 08:30 am

Defenses know that MVS will hurt them most deep. They'll let him run short/intermediate, but -- yes -- it appears that CBs are turning and running with him. Remember last year in PS (by report) and early on, it seemed that #12 had issues gauging those deep routes with MVS. Now, if he'll just show that improvement we've been hearing about for the last couple years and show that he'll hurt defenses underneath, too...

For many teams, King is a mismatch against slot WR. He might not be quick enough to handle many, but he's big enough to disrupt them out of plays if he'll step up and body them off the snap. In this case, it's a lot like hockey when you've got a cementhead beating on that small, quick, playmaking C the other team relies on. Eventually, you get in the C's head.

I agree with you on the run game. I haven't gone back and watched the game again, but it seemed like the Packers got their best run through the B and C gaps on Monday night. I think that's less Dillon's bread and butter and better for Jones. Until the IOL gels and controls the line better, Dillon's effectiveness will likely be muted--unless they start moving more laterally and giving him the chance to pick a gap, but I always cringe when I see play calls that have big backs running laterally.

Even though they surrendered ground yards to Detroit and Philly, San Fran's DL and ILBs are good, and they'll control the inside gaps and pursue to the edges well. LaF will have to be creative in getting this run game going, and it will be important that the Packers play from ahead.

6 points
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Coldworld's picture

September 22, 2021 at 08:55 am

The frustration regarding the MVS improvement is that it isn’t going to come on go routes. LaFleur has to use him in a more varied fashion. The one time they did, he was wide open and Rodgers threw it in the dirt behind him. Honestly, I think the long bombs were as much about keeping Detroit honest and making space for Jones, Tonyan and latterly Cobb last week.

4 points
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scullyitsme's picture

September 22, 2021 at 10:22 am

MVS is just what he is, all the big hype here all off season was ridiculous. He’s a deep ball guy that can’t run good routes, no short area quickness, that said, he has value. Rodgers missed him twice as noted here. That’s his one and only job in this offense and will always be.

0 points
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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

September 22, 2021 at 03:02 pm

MVS looked wide open deep at least twice against Detroit. I hadn't noticed any diminution in speed. Guess I will look for it next week. AR overthrowing MVS is nothing new.

I had hoped that MVS would shine in the intermediate areas of the field and be a more complete receiver. So far, camp reports haven't been prescient. Still, he is a fine fifth round pick. [GB has had some fine 5th rounders: Jones, Linsley, Hyde, Newhouse and Giacomini (?), Aaron Kampman, KGB, Dorsey Levens, and some other guys like Hillenmeyer and Corey Bradford.]

1 points
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jlc1's picture

September 24, 2021 at 02:06 pm

Newhouse? I have a different take on whether he was good with the Pack.

0 points
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Guam's picture

September 22, 2021 at 08:10 am

A couple of observations: (1) The DL was awful in the first half. That includes Clark, but Lancaster was the worst. If the D-line doesn't improve, the Packer defense is in trouble. If Lancaster doesn't improve quickly, at least give Slaton and Heflin some playing time and let them develop. (2) The special teams were more than adequate. Punting and place kicking were very good to excellent. The coverage teams looked much better organized and were decent. Al already mentioned his spot on comment about the two returners.

If Drayton can keep the special teams at the present level, they will be a huge improvement over the last several years. I don't worry about the offense with Rodgers at the helm. The defense will determine how far this Packer team will go.

11 points
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dobber's picture

September 22, 2021 at 08:31 am

I suspect the best help for Heflin and Slaton with regard to being active and playing is a full off-season in an NFL training room. That's usually the biggest issue for first-year players on the lines: getting strong enough to hold up to regular snaps against veteran OL/DL. Maybe Heflin's activity level will translate early on...but it's hard to tell if he doesn't get a chance. I don't see what they have to lose at this point.

6 points
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Guam's picture

September 22, 2021 at 11:44 am

Your last sentence is the issue dobber. Lancaster is not playing well, PFF graded Keke out as the Packer's worst defensive lineman and Lowery is being Lowery. Why not give the young guys at least some spot play?

6 points
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PeteK's picture

September 22, 2021 at 09:42 am

I was not satisfied with special teams. Two holding calls on Hill's excellent kick return and Detroit kick return to set up a go ahead field goal before the half ( maybe Crosby's fault for kicking it only to the 8 yard line).

6 points
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Guam's picture

September 22, 2021 at 11:46 am

They certainly weren't great, but I believe they are better than they have been. After the last few years, I will take it.

3 points
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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

September 22, 2021 at 03:18 pm

I don't get the love for the STs. They weren't as bad. GB allowed a 33 yard KO return and Detroit averaged 27. Their punter averaged 53.5 with 2 inside the twenty, and a net of 52.5. GB grossed 46.7 and netted 43.3 even though Bojorquez put 2 inside the 20. Bojorquez had a 46 yarder (OOB), a 56 yarder to the Detroit 9 that IIRC was nicely pinned near the sideline but was returned to the 19. Bojorquez had a third punt that went 38 yards to the Detroit 9 and was fair caught. Good coverage, though IIRC it was a nice high floater with very good hang time.

Crosby is good. Bojorquez looks like a significant upgrade over Scott. Hill looks better than everyone who returned kicks last season. PR looks shaky. Teams - coverage and blocking - still look shaky.

STs have improved the specialists. The rest of STs? Not so much. Better than last year.

4 points
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Fabio's picture

September 22, 2021 at 08:15 am

I have some doubts:
1) We are a team that must be able to execute the game, but against the strongest teams we often don't succeed (SF is a great test bench !!) If we don't do it we have the quality of the receiver body to make up for this ?? (with Adams doubled?). What I have seen leaves me with many doubts.
2) We don't have a good secondary (excluding JA), but the real problem remains the defensive line and the LBs. We never manage to put pressure on the opponent Q consistently and always leave too much time for execution. We are also not good at stopping the race. Is there really a solution to this or (although I hate Barry's choice) does DC have little chance of succeeding ???

AR is no longer what it was in 2011, but despite everything I believe it remains our only hope of victory.
PS I don't understand why Dillon is never used when we have to earn 1-2 Yard, but above all I don't understand why he is never used in I formations with FB and HB in front of him

Greetings from Italy Al! come back soon

10 points
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Savage57's picture

September 22, 2021 at 08:25 am

What has me stoked about Stokes are his ball awareness and hand fighting skills.

He's able to track and make plays on the ball via his seeming strong spatial awareness and having the hand and arm strength to prevent a completed catch.

The book is short, but at least it's being written.

15 points
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HarryHodag's picture

September 22, 2021 at 08:39 am

The Packers will not make the playoffs with the defense as it is. You can blame Kevin King all you want, but the d-line isn't very good and the linebackers are mediocre at best.

9 points
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Razer's picture

September 22, 2021 at 08:58 am

A simple truth that has just never seems to be addressed. Front office sticking to a philosophy that has defined modern Packer teams and set the ceiling for success.

2 points
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ImaPayne's picture

September 22, 2021 at 09:31 am

We dont know? Played all of two games. One a blow out the other against the worst team in football. By game six we should see if your correct.

2 points
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dobber's picture

September 22, 2021 at 10:06 am

It's a good thing the regular season ends in January, then.

2 points
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Leatherhead's picture

September 22, 2021 at 06:32 pm

It’s the same guys that have made the playoffs the last two years.

1 points
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Tundraboy's picture

September 23, 2021 at 10:27 am

Unfortunately that was last year this year is a new year, and altogether different.

0 points
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TXCHEESE's picture

September 22, 2021 at 08:39 am

I thought both the OL and DL for Detroit looked pretty stout. Their lack of skill position talent on offense and the back end on defense tilted the contest to the Packers. If they develop the youth throughout the season, they will be a much tougher out next time around.
Green Bay's best chance is to click early and play from ahead. That allows the defense to send additional pressure. It's going to take some time for the youth on both lines to gel and contribute. I do wish they would give Slaton and Heflin some or all of Lancaster's snaps. He's purely a backup....for a good college team.
I think in SF, we will see a lot more pre-snap motion, mostly because I'm not confident, GB can just line up and run it at them and be very successful.

7 points
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ImaPayne's picture

September 22, 2021 at 09:29 am

LIke any other theam they have the ability to find some experienced corners and not force two rookies to play at the same time. Blame their GM and Owners, not the coach.
Had they had experience it would have been closer but goeff is awful

-2 points
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Coldworld's picture

September 22, 2021 at 12:26 pm

I’m not seeing MVS being slow, I am seeing him being played assuming he will go deep. The lions corners aren’t good but I do not believe that they are slow.

I agree with you on Rodgers. His passing accuracy was improved but it wasn’t consistent and certainly not at his peak. The positive is that he is seemingly shaking off the rust.

I’m more concerned about the reads. Rodgers isn’t getting truly clean pockets, but he doesn’t seem to be using half the options, just looking to 2 or 3. Open players are being overlooked too often. It’s hard to knock the use of Jones—it was clear he had Detroit’s number, but it masks the fact that it took until the second half to really click with Adams (who did what he did in the first, as you say, largely thanks to great hands). This O is still rusty and Detroit’s defensive limitations somewhat obscured that.

Defensively, surely Stokes is now CB 2. It’s not about winning every time, no CB will, it’s about winning enough. Stokes did and has the tools to cover some mistakes. King does not. But why on earth would Barry think he does when playing off man? He never has and there is copious evidence of that!

The same logic applies to Lowry and Lancaster. It’s clear that they are not up to the job. As with King in off man, this isn’t new, it’s been well proven and documented over time. Playing a known losing hand is idiotic, yet Slaton and Heflin are under it not used respectively. At some point you go with the players you are t certain won’t be up to the task as opposed to the ones you know are not.

I do accept that the complication on the DL is Keke. He has not bad but awful. If he’s not troubled by lingering injury he’s looking like a bust at this point. He makes Lowry look good in comparison. That is a big problem. It only adds to the logic of activating Heflin.

I have consistently questioned Garvin. He seems like a player who is always invisible but whom his peers see potential in from closed practices. I’m always suspicious of those, but could it just be confidence. He had an impact play on Monday. Could that be a turning point? That would be a huge benefit.

4 points
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stockholder's picture

September 22, 2021 at 10:14 am

Ke Ke- Has The extra weight gain messed him up? I Say yes.

-1 points
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PewAuKeeFan's picture

September 22, 2021 at 08:47 am

"MVS - Anyone else think MVS seems to have lost a step?"

I thought so too... it looked more like MVS had lost a step and not AR overthrowing. I based it on the defender easily keeping pace with MVS. It is possible that the CBs were really fast... but that seems improbable.

2 points
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RCPackerFan's picture

September 22, 2021 at 09:04 am

The Running game -
Packers learned a very valuable lesson in week 1. This offense and Rodgers Needs the run game. They have to remain balanced. But with the run game its not just ground and pound. Its the motion. They have to be creative and keep the defense on its heals.

King in the slot -
While King maybe isn't the most ideal slot CB, I think he could be effective there. There is more help in the middle of the field, so the odds of him getting burned deep are less. I think our best line up at CB is with Alexander, Stokes and King. Stokes is better outside which means King needs to play inside some.

Change for the sake of... what?
Hopefully another learning experience? That they have to stick to the run. Good things happen when they involve the running backs.

Rodgers -
The TD throw to Tonyan was insane. The deep throw to Adams was incredible. The 3 throws to MVS were awful.

Receivers -
For our offense to really take off, we need the other WR's to get more involved. That will require Rodgers to put a little more trust in them. Cobb finally got involved. The spot he will be needed is on 3rd downs. He gives Rodgers someone else that he fully trusts. I'm hoping to start seeing Rodgers getting involved in the offense.

MVS - Anyone else think MVS seems to have lost a step? Or are defenses just assuming he's going to run go routes and are playing to that? Whatever it is, he's not getting separation on the go routes and Rodgers has overthrown him regularly on those attempts.

Amari Rodgers -
I agree about his PR. I hope we start seeing him on offense some.

Kylin Hill -
His long KR was awesome. It really gave the offense a spark. I think he can also contribute on offense. With them using multiple RB's more often he could come in and keep the offense going.

Stokes -
He may get burned at times, but he has the speed to make up for it. He also has the awareness to stop completions. IMO Stokes could be the piece our defense needs to take a big step. If he can lock down WR's opposite of Alexander, our defense will be a lot better! What that will do is allow the CB's to play more coverage and will allow Barry to call more blitz's.

2 points
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stockholder's picture

September 22, 2021 at 10:28 am

I'd make King move to Alexander's vacated position. He'll turn the other way. Changing some bad habits. And using his right hand.

0 points
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x24's picture

September 22, 2021 at 09:07 am

Only related... can we all agree that ESPN MNF broadcasts are awful?

Listening to 3 talking heads yap over one another about Marty McFly while live plays elapsed left me yearning for sportscasters from ANY other network

12 points
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ImaPayne's picture

September 22, 2021 at 09:27 am

This is happening a lot. Some other game the announcers werent even talking the play, they were on some other issue while the game was going on.

6 points
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mnbadger's picture

September 22, 2021 at 12:27 pm

I switched over to the manning brothers purposefully talking over the game. Peyton is a great listen, Eli is still clinging tightly to P's coat tails. I really liked the fact that they brought in many extras for a few minutes only. Gave a quick quip or two and moved on. I watched the entire second half that way. It was either that or turn off the volume. GPG

3 points
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ImaPayne's picture

September 22, 2021 at 09:26 am

Al, IMO the run game is designed to keep our own defense off the field. You got Rodgers and Adams and a slew of receivers and you want to run the ball when its a pass first league. That can be the only reason they are doing this.
I remember McCarthy spouting once, we dont need a good defense when we have Rodgers putting points on the board.
Our D exist to slow down the other team and make it take time to score, not to prevent them from scoring. Why else would our corners play off the line and give up 8 yards before the snap?

-2 points
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Ferrari-Driver's picture

September 22, 2021 at 09:30 am

The old basics of the game that we all played when we were kids has remained "essentially" unchanged.

When your line gets pushed back...BAD

When your line pushes the opponent back...GOOD.

11 points
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Tundraboy's picture

September 22, 2021 at 07:10 pm

And that is the root cause of our problems. Campbell and Stokes will improve the D but we are not winning a SB until we have more DL talent. We can not control the line when it matters most.

2 points
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Leatherhead's picture

September 22, 2021 at 08:14 pm

Yeah, the reason we didn’t win theSuper Bowl last year was our Dline. It had nothing to do with turnovers or offensive misfires in the red zone.

-1 points
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jlc1's picture

September 24, 2021 at 02:08 pm

Yes to all of the comments above. Some games might be won other than in the trenches but that is where all seasons are won.

0 points
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ImaPayne's picture

September 22, 2021 at 09:34 am

If Sotkes is so good why is King playing. Because if we bench him, it makes the GM look bad and proves Rodgers point. Someone needed to be fired.

-2 points
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PeteK's picture

September 22, 2021 at 10:41 am

Oh oh, the name spelling Gestapo will be coming for you!!! Correct your mistakes quickly!!

1 points
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Coldworld's picture

September 22, 2021 at 12:28 pm

Bad for picking Stokes?

Ask Barry why King is playing and the. Why he had him doing so playing off man.

4 points
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Dragon5's picture

September 22, 2021 at 09:38 am

Al,

While the score will dictate usage, do you anticipate Dillon to be used A LOT more this week to wear down a physical SF defense and keep AJones fresh? Catch 22 here is outside can now be exploited with Sherman gone and Varrett out. Talking heads wanted a physical RB after the SF beatdowns; they followed suit drafting Dillon...now I guess we find out.

7 points
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Razer's picture

September 22, 2021 at 01:12 pm

...Talking heads wanted a physical RB after the SF beatdowns; they followed suit drafting Dillon...now I guess we find out...

Good points Dragon. In my mind the questions are whether Matt LaFleur utilizes the run game as prescribed and if Aaron Rodgers will execute this approach. If Rodgers ignores the gameplan, I would expect LaFleur to call him on it.

1 points
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nostradanus's picture

September 22, 2021 at 10:00 am

MVS: other teams know that he is just a one trick pony. All opposing cornerbacks have to do is turn around and run as fast as they can to keep up with him. He is no threat underneath And not a good run after the catch guy on short to medium passes.

1 points
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Leatherhead's picture

September 22, 2021 at 12:23 pm

Run more, pass less.
MVS is gonna be fine, It’s a long season.
Offensive line played pretty well
Rodgers not in mid season form yet.
Stokes looked good last week.
Stop returning punts.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxx xx.

Spofford, at Packers.com, quotes LaFleur as saying the object was to take away Goffs reads with coverage and make him take the check down. He threw 20 times for 105 yards, which is 5 yards/attempt, which isn’t very good.

7 points
7
0
Fabio's picture

September 22, 2021 at 12:33 pm

I agree on the idea of ​​running more, but I have the feeling that against strong Ds (like SF's) we will never have enough production (at least so far it has been)
I hope I'm wrong, but that's the real problem. When we manage to race then we also have production from our WR, but we can never set the game in the opposite way. It is no coincidence that every time we fail to race, we do not have good productions from our WR. Maybe it's all related to the level of offensive talent we have. (it's just my feeling - on Sunday we will see and I hope to be very wrong)
Go Pack Go
Greetings from Italy

1 points
2
1
Leatherhead's picture

September 22, 2021 at 04:11 pm

I think you’re overestimating SF defense. I think we’ll hang 30 on them.

2 points
2
0
Fabio's picture

September 22, 2021 at 04:52 pm

I don't think they have a big secondary, but they sure have a big O-line and at least a big LB and that usually puts us in a lot of trouble. However, I also hope that we will give him 30 !!
Greetings from Italy
GPG

1 points
1
0
croatpackfan's picture

September 22, 2021 at 04:42 pm

Lions put a lot points on SF, they were near to equalize the score. Many was telling that it was garbage time, but Lions played almost same group of players as against Packers.

I believe that this season SF team is not that strong as 2019 team. But, we will see...

0 points
0
0
Fabio's picture

September 22, 2021 at 04:55 pm

I reviewed the game .... and I assure you it was garbage time. The match never took place !!
Greetings Croatian from the other side of the Adriatic

3 points
3
0
PeteK's picture

September 22, 2021 at 10:32 am

I don't follow the MVS debate, he had 2 steps on the defender and ball was over thrown. We saw that early on last season and then finally they connected. We'll need that earlier this season, like next Sun night. A balanced attack is always preferred. Run the ball on first, complaint is that we're predictable, pass on first , we pass too much. Are the Packers trying too hard to be unpredictable, and do we have a good enough line to gain at least 3 yds even if defenses know a run is coming. Dillon might be the ans to that.

6 points
7
1
Swisch's picture

September 22, 2021 at 11:12 am

It does seem that the running game is a big part of the NFL these days, and a necessary dimension for consistent winning, especially in the big games. I guess another way of saying it is balance.
However, it does seems important to emphasize the short passing game as a help to the running game. That's the basis of the West Coast Offense, isn't it? The short passes can be in effect the same as running plays.
In any era of the NFL, this basic idea of being able to utilize the short passing game seems ever relevant.
***
The first game of the NFL season between the Cowboys and Bucs seemed to illustrate this excellently.
Although the Cowboys appeared unable to get much out of their running game against the formidable Bucs defense with its magnificent front seven, they were able to go over and around and in between these defensive linemen and linebackers with play calling featuring shorter and quicker passes.
As Cris Collinsworth seemed to say, the Cowboys were able to take the Bucs front seven largely out of the game.
Maybe Mike McCarthy as head coach of the Cowboys is adapting better to the current NFL than Aaron Rodgers.
***
So in the Packers opener when the Saints defense took away our running game early on, we still could have gone with short passes to outsmart it.
Of course those short plays have to be creative with pre-snap motions and post-snap misdirections, with a variety of screen passes, and also using the field horizontally with jet sweeps and various outside passes.
I doubt the Packers are really committed to developing a masterful short game to frustrate aggressive defenses who take away the long pass. I suspect the problem is the reluctance of our quarterback to play that way when necessary.
What this means to the Packers and us as fans is that Rodgers will probably light it up against softer defenses, but get stuffed by tougher ones. The tougher ones usually show up in the playoffs.
***
An immediate application of all this is that even if our running backs get stopped against 49ers this Sunday, we can still use the short passing game to have the same beneficial effect as a running game.
(Plus, when we do run, use Dillon over Jones if he is more effective. When teams take away our best running back in Jones and our best wide receiver in Adams, we have to be ready to go with other guys on the team. They're good, too. Don't just force the ball to Jones and Adams as some sort of misguided obligation.)
We all know Aaron Rodgers is a great passer, but he may need to be more of a craftsman overall to be a great quarterback.
That seems to be a secret to the success of Tom Brady and Bart Starr.
Sometimes less is more. The small ball sets up the long ball. The small ball keeps our shaky defense off the field. The small ball exasperates defenses and exhausts them. Most of all, the small ball wins games when the other team is geared up to stop the long ball.
Maybe I'm missing something huge in all of this, but it seems so simple. It does require a quarterback with patience and artistry and humility, though.

6 points
9
3
jlc1's picture

September 24, 2021 at 03:53 pm

I think it is somewhat inaccurate to say that Rodgers is unaware of the value of the short pass. Quick passes out to Adams and MVS are a staple. Last week there were a couple of TE screens that went for good yardage. Screens to Jones and Dillon also got called and executed. So just because he threw a couple of bombs that failed I don't think means he won't throw short. He does. But that said you are right there needs to be balance with the running game.

0 points
0
0
JohnnyLogan's picture

September 22, 2021 at 11:10 am

The offense is similar to last year's, best receiver in football, great running back and QB, two mediocre receivers and once the young OL gets some experience and Bakh is back this team will probably score 30 points a game on average. But will it be enough?... Not with this defense.

Just rewatched the game. The DL is atrocious. On the 46 yard pass to Cephus where King got beat, there was a five-man rush. Lowry, Clarke, and Keke never got within fifteen feet of Goff. Clarke was single covered so the Clarke is always double covered excuse doesn't work here. Gary got the closest but was never a threat. Cambell rushed but was easily handled by Williams. Goff had all day, enough time for a mediocre receiver to burn our awful corner. King wasn't his usual ten yards off the receiver either, he was right up in his face. Didn't help.

Oh, and P, Smith dropped back fifteen yards in coverage, covering no one. Thanks, Joe Barry.

Just an awful DL. Keke did nothing the entire game. Gary is one-dimensional, he either rushes or protects the edge, but he doesn't do either particularly well. And how do you continue to trot out Lowry and Lancaster? They provide no pass rush and get pulverized in the run game.

At ILB Cambell looked better than Barnes but neither can cover anyone out of the backfield. Barnes looks slow to diagnose plays.

The edge players provide no pass rush at all. Smith, Gary, and Garvin scare no one. Gary may still hopefully break out but sure hasn't looked anything special so far this year. I'm convinced that Gute is desperately looking to add a DL and edge rusher but it will have to be a major trade or a lucky pickup.

Something must change. This may be the worst defense the Pack has had in ten years of bad defense.

1 points
4
3
Swisch's picture

September 22, 2021 at 11:44 am

It does seem as though the Packers defense -- at least thus far in the season -- needs a lucky play (e.g. a wet football in the rain slipping out of the hands of the quarterback) to get off the field.
As I remember it, I kind of cringed when the defense celebrated so ostentatiously after recovering a fumbled snap. It was embarrassing to be so gleeful over such a lucky play after such a dismal performance to that point of the game.
We can hope that not playing the starters in the preseason has held the defense back, and allows for the possibility of improvement -- especially with having to get used to a new defensive coordinator.
I don't know, though. Is the job of defensive coordinator just too big for Joe Barry, or does he only need more time to get his system in place?
***
To me, the two major questions for the Packers are whether or not to go all in with Joe Barry and Aaron Rodgers for the rest of this season.
If Gute and LaFleur think Barry is overmatched in his position, let him go sooner rather than later.
If Rodgers doesn't have his heart in it for the Packers, then trade him before the coming of October (perhaps with a top defender as part of the return).
Gute and LaFleur probably already have a good idea of the answers to these two questions -- although the game Sunday night against the 49ers could be conclusive.
I guess there's a third question, though, as to whether Gute and LaFleur have the guts to make tough decisions.

2 points
4
2
JohnnyLogan's picture

September 22, 2021 at 12:00 pm

Highly doubt either of those scenarios, Swisch. They won't trade Rodgers or fire Barry during the season. The real focus should be on improving the defensive players.

The offense will be good, especially when Bakh is back and Rodgers starts utilizing Cobb and Lazard. This is still a powerful offense.

It's all about the D. I've said this is the worst D in ten years but there is still a lot of hope for this team. The safeties are good and Jaire blankets half the field. Hope that Stokes is the real deal, that Z. Smith comes back healthy and hungry to improve the pass rush, find a decent run stuffer, and this could be at least an average D. That's all we need at this point for a shot at the SB.

3 points
3
0
tincada's picture

September 22, 2021 at 12:17 pm

"The real focus should be on improving the defensive players." Isn't that what Jo Bob Barry was supposed to be doing during camp and pre-season? And I don't want to hear excuses about it being a new scheme. It's his scheme.

Here we go again, NFC N and out 3 years running.

1 points
2
1
Leatherhead's picture

September 22, 2021 at 12:01 pm

Johnny Logan……I think you are way off target with your “awful Dline” take. I have some questions.

1). Clark, Lowry, Lancaster, and Keke are the same four guys who’ve gone 27-7 since LaFleur arrived. How do you do that with an awful Dline?

2). Since La Fleur arrived, this defense has consistently ranked in the top ten/ above average range in multiple measures of defense. Again, how is that achieved with an awful Dline?

3). Of the league’s 32 defenses, how many of them are better than Green Bay’s?

4). Is it possible that the focus was on keeping Goff in the pocket, especially after he hurt us with runs? Especially after Jameis Winston did the same thing last week?

IMO, the Dline played well last week, except for Goffs early runs. We shut down the RBs, put it all on Goffs shoulders, and watched him fail. That’s called having a plan, and it’s certainly part of 27-7. I think this attitude that we should hold everybody under 13 points is not very well based in reality. Average last year was 24.8 points, and we held most opponents under that the last two years.

5). What do you call a defense that consistently holds opponents under league average? Awful? Or would “above average “ be a better description?

-7 points
2
9
JohnnyLogan's picture

September 22, 2021 at 01:13 pm

Leather, first I'll answer generally about the last two years. If you think, or more importantly MLF thought, we had a good defense the last two years then why was Pettine let go? As to your specific questions:

1) Clarke is good, no doubt, but do you really think Lowry, Lancaster, and Keke had much to do with the 27-7 record? Lowry and Lancaster have been bad and Keke barely played. In fact, the Packers went out and got Snacks because of how bad Lowry and Lancaster were. The 27-7 record has been the result of a league-best offense that kept the other team's offenses off the field. When we went up against another great offense, like the two times against Tampa, the D was clobbered.

2) I'll grant you the D did have some decent measurables, but mostly because of Jaire, and the two Smiths. Jaire is that good that he limits the opponent's passing game. And the Smiths, especially Z, provided a great pass rush. Maybe we'll get back to that but my comments were regarding what we have now, which is Gary, P. Smith, and Garvin. Not scary.

3) How many D's are better than Green Bays? No idea. That doesn't mean ours is good.

4) Highly doubt the focus was on keeping Goff in the pocket. Are you saying they didn't rush, even on obvious passing downs, because they were worried about Goff' running? Makes no sense. You're refusing to see the obvious after two games, this team has no pass rush,

I never said we need to keep teams under 13 points. Don't know where you came up with that. But in two games so far, against average to below QBs, with no name receivers, we've given up seven passing TDs.

5) You keep coming back to the last two years but then you prove my point. That D you're lauding gave up 38 and 35 points to Tampa Bay in two games last year while we scored 10 and 21 against a good Tampa Bay defense. We'll undoubtedly have to go through them again. You're confident that this year's D, with King, Lowry, Lancaster, and Keke as starters, with slow ILBs, and a rookie CB, will stop them? I don't believe you're confident about that at all, like most others you think the offense will score 35 and all the D has to do is keep them under that.

Sorry, I just don't see how you can defend this D the way it's been playing. Too many holes.

3 points
5
2
Razer's picture

September 22, 2021 at 01:24 pm

Well said JohnnyLogan. I expect San Fran to take full advantage of our defense this next weekend. Any good O-line will absolutely dictate the game to this Packer defense. I am only hoping that Trey Lance isn't the second coming of Colin Kaepernick. I don't want to relive those ass-kickings

1 points
1
0
Leatherhead's picture

September 22, 2021 at 04:05 pm

Why was Pettine go? Because the organization thought we could do better. Maybe he and LaFleur weren’t a good match. But it’s very plain the Packers put a better than average defense on the field the last two seasons.

Of course, you said you don’t really know what average is, you only know what bad is. I don’t understand that.

I’m also kind of baffled by the Tampa argument. First, you are factually incorrect….several times….about the score. Second, you seem to be completely oblivious to the multiple turnovers and their impact on the score

Third…..you think Tampa had a good defense and we were bad. In the Championship game, we held Brady to a passer rating of 80 and they only had 65 yards on the ground. We got three takeaways. A reasonable man might even say our defense was pretty good that day.

I know I’m not going to persuade you, so I’ll just restate what is totally obvious to me: This is a better than average defense and we will win just about every game where the offense doesn’t have multiple turnovers . When the defense has a bad outing, it’s usually connected to turnovers.

-2 points
0
2
JohnnyLogan's picture

September 22, 2021 at 04:50 pm

There's really no point in arguing the last two years. I saw black you saw white and it continues into this year. You're pleased, I'm not. In my view, so far this year, the D has been terrible against two poor offenses. But you have stats and it's totally obvious to you that this is a "better than average." defense. I'll throw just one stat at you; 21 of 32 teams so far this year have given up 4 or fewer passing TDs. The Packers have given up 7, leading the league.

This is so reminiscent of all the years where some argued that Capers was bad while others were certain the D wasn't really that bad.

I don't want to be persuaded I want to be shown. I truly hope that you're right and I'm wrong.

3 points
3
0
nygary's picture

September 22, 2021 at 06:46 pm

Do you even watch the games leatherhead. Our dline couldn't stop an old lady in a wheel chair on 2nd or 3rd and short. We get pushed back off the line of scrimmage every play. You must have gone to school with our GM because gute loves to say he also likes our Dline. You just may need glasses.

4 points
4
0
CheesyTex's picture

September 22, 2021 at 12:00 pm

Change for the sake of... what?

I'm hoping the "what" is part of a full-season strategy to hide tendencies and keep things less predictable for future games.

Think MLF is smart enough to throw "straw men" out there to make upcoming game planning more difficult for defensive coordinators. At least I hope so.

3 points
3
0
Alberta_Packer's picture

September 22, 2021 at 03:48 pm

With teams playing 2 high safeties - it's easier to cover the long ball - which essentially is MVS. Interestingly, last year A.R. consistently under threw MVS. This year - over throwing him. Perhaps by next year they will have figured out their calibration - should the opportunity exist.

The proverb you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear means you can’t create a fine product from inferior materials. This applies to Kevin King. By now, we know that he is a bad outside CB. According to PPF - King has been targeted six times this season and allowed five completions for 133 yards (26.6 yards per completion). We should not get too giddy that he may be a slightly less bad slot CB. Meanwhile the FO could have signed Casey Hayward - who is the starting right CB for the Raiders -for 2.5m this year.

6 points
6
0
Swisch's picture

September 22, 2021 at 01:05 pm

The great play King made at the end of the first half against the Lions to prevent a touchdown shows that he does have some athleticism and some skills.
I'm still holding out some hope for King perhaps being coached better and utilized better in some way or another.
That doesn't mean we shouldn't employ Stokes more often, though, or that we wouldn't be better off with Hayward.

2 points
2
0
Alberta_Packer's picture

September 22, 2021 at 01:26 pm

The ratio just doesn't work for me. For every 1 good play - there a 5 bad plays. Now if it was the other way around - King would have been a great signing. Alas, it hasn't been so.

3 points
3
0
nostradanus's picture

September 22, 2021 at 12:11 pm

Packers defense of line coach Jerry Montgomery is known as this defensive lineman whisperer. His coaching style has been revered for years in Green Bay, but I don’t see the production or the payoff.

Kenny Clark - 1st Round - slightly above average

Dean Lowery- 2nd Round 👎

Kingsley Keke - 5th Round 👎

Tyler Lancaster 👎

TJ Slayton rookie 🤞

Jack Heflin rookie 🤞

Montravious Adams 👎

Snacks 👎

Jerry Montgomery has not coached up any of these guys to be anything but average to below average 👎

9 points
9
0
mnbadger's picture

September 22, 2021 at 12:32 pm

that's an awesome take Nostrwhatever! GPG!

3 points
3
0
JohnnyLogan's picture

September 22, 2021 at 12:48 pm

I'm not sure that's as much an indictment of Montgomery as it is the inability to draft well. "Coaching up" players is a nebulous term. How do you coach up a guy like Lowry who gets flattened regularly by opposing linemen? "Listen, Dean, push back harder! Get up, Dean, come on, you can do it!" Naw, the list you provided, aside from Clarke, is not close to top-end NFL caliber talent.

5 points
6
1
Alberta_Packer's picture

September 22, 2021 at 04:09 pm

IMO Lowry would have had a hard time pushing a shopping cart. And the only time he seems to get in the offense's backfield - is if he goes offside. Ever since the departure of Mike Daniels - Lowry has been exposed as a very pedestrian DE. Might as well place a big stuffed animal on roller skates - at DE - and save 7m/yr.

3 points
3
0
Alberta_Packer's picture

September 22, 2021 at 02:19 pm

As good as the FO have been at drafting O-lineman - they have been as poor in drafting D-lineman. To date it's been a dog's dinner of different types, sizes and athletic abilities. So might as well insert Slayton and Heflin - because how much worse can they be than the present crew? As for Clark - I always thought that he was an over-pay. Plus, I suspect that his groin, once again, is bothering him. Regardless, he hasn't fulfilled his new contract.

4 points
4
0
PatB's picture

September 22, 2021 at 03:12 pm

Lowry was a 4th-round pick. He is not bad by 4th-round standards, a solid backup who at times looked like a marginal starter. The problem is that we're paying him like an impact player.
I hadn't really looked at it this way before, but a bunch of these guys appear to be on downward trajectories. That's not a good look for their position coach.

6 points
6
0
barutanseijin's picture

September 22, 2021 at 02:18 pm

Week in week out, this column is the best thing on this site.

1 points
2
1
Thegreatreynoldo's picture

September 22, 2021 at 04:24 pm

There seems to be some disagreement on the quality of Clark's play against Detroit. PFF gave him a very good grade, and his season grade increased from 75 to 81.9. PFF noted 3 run stops and 5 pressures.

1st and 10: Clark with a solo tackle after a gain of 3. (TD drive).
1st & goal: GB 9. Clark: solo tackle, gain of 1. (same TD drive).
1st/10 @ GB 47. Clark/Campbell tackle after a gain of 2. (FG drive).

3 tackles, 2 solo in the first half. Detroit ran the ball 14 times for 60 yards in the first half.

1st/10 @ Det 42. Clark/Campbell on a tackles after a gain of 6. (Downs)
2nd & 4 @ Det 48. Lowry/Clark on a tackle after a gain of 3. (Downs).
2nd & 10 @ GB 34. Clark after a gain of 2. (Downs)

ESPN play by play stats. NFLGSIS and ESPN Box Score only gave Clark 5 tackles, 4 solo.

My initial reaction was that Clark had a bad game. Those stats sound better than I had given Clark credit for. While I am not a slave to PFF, I don't think they are that far wrong very often. I suspect I saw some poor play from someone lined up at or in the vicinity of the NT area and assumed it was Clark since I didn't pick up the number.

I do sit 15 feet or more from the television - hmmm, wonder if I can make that an excuse to seriously upgrade the 40" TV for something enormous? :)

5 points
5
0
Alberta_Packer's picture

September 22, 2021 at 03:47 pm

I think that Clark probably remains the most double-teamed player in the NFL. But he may also not be 100% due to a recurring groin problem. I shudder to think what the D-line would be without Clark. As for the rest of the line - I've seen opposing RBs and TEs, at times, completely nullify them.

5 points
5
0
splitpea1's picture

September 22, 2021 at 03:52 pm

I should've added Hill to the buy list in the stock report. He did a good job utilizing his blocks to gain the extra yardage. Wouldn't it be great to see him having a return like this late in a close game where maybe a field goal would win it?

Now Amari should have just darted forward to gain as much yardage as he could, because it appeared like he had some room straight in front of him. Why go sideways?

3 points
3
0
TXCHEESE's picture

September 22, 2021 at 04:35 pm

Agreed, much easier for the cover guys when they can get an angle on the runner. When the runner is coming straight at you, you eventually have to break down, causing that hesitation moment, where you get juked by the runner.

5 points
5
0
croatpackfan's picture

September 22, 2021 at 04:51 pm

Nice and informed conclusions, Al, as always...

2 points
2
0
Tundraboy's picture

September 22, 2021 at 06:45 pm

After that 3rd down pass to Dillon, I actually thought for a moment that Rodgers would hand off to AJ on the next play but No, the 1/2 yard pass to Cobb for a 1/2 yard! Some things never change.

0 points
0
0
croatpackfan's picture

September 23, 2021 at 07:52 am

RE MVS

After I read again your article Al, I believe that there is another explanation. AR will never throw to MVS if he is just half step in front of defender. AR, despite all his positive words regarding MVS during the TC, does not believe him to catch contested ball. I suppose that is the reason for that overthrown pass. It is logical that after 16 seasons in NFL, opponent's DC noticed that AR will not throw the ball to some of his receivers if they are not at least 2 to 3 yards away from defender. It makes their job easier. Just put the fastest defender over MVS and follow him as close as that defender can and MVS is out of question.

The other 2 throws, one to sideline and one in redzone (pardon, goldzone), were thrown behind. My take from that is that the both throws were on the spot where you can expect DA to be, not much faster MVS.

So, I do not think MVS lost his step. I believe AR is still reluctant to throw even easy contested throws to MVS. There are 16 seasons of AR tendencies. Every good DC will use that info in preparation to prepare his D for AR. That is my humble opinion...

0 points
0
0
KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

September 23, 2021 at 10:18 pm

Appears LF is pissed at his old friend Kyle Shannihan for pursuing Aaron Rodgers according to reports (SF GATE) and they are not talking.

0 points
0
0