Confessions of a Polluted Mindset 2019 Game 1, Packers - Eagles (part 2)

The weekly Packers Brain Drain from Jersey Al.

Just a few more things on my mind I didn't touch on in Sunday's Polluted Mindset.

Eagles TEs: Thursday night the Eagles made heavy use of their tight ends as blockers in the run game, especially Dallas Goedert. The Eagles completely neutralized the Packers big playmakers, the Smith Brothers, and ran their way to victory at Lambeau Field. Za'Darius Smith had nothing but goose eggs on the stat sheet, and you can get an idea of what his night was like from the video below, the first play from scrimmage for the Eagles. One can only hope that the knee injury that almost kept him out of this game was a major contributing factor to Za'Darius's struggles.

Pettine: I've been a fan of Mike Pettine since the day he walked in the door at 1265 Lombardi Ave. Most impressive in his time here is what he was able to cobble together last year with a paucity of talent. The infusion of new blood had this defense riding sky high until they came crashing down to earth Thursday night. In short, Pettine was out-coached by Doug Pederson as the Packers were out-smarted and out-physicaled at the line of scrimmage. Now comes a different challenge for Pettine - come up with a game plan to control Zeke Elliot while not diminishing the overall defense by selling out to stop the run.

Rodgers: We've seen a bit of the old Aaron Rodgers the last two weeks - escaping the pocket, extending plays, making difficult throws on the run and basically doing it all on offense. The Rodgers that for years had been Mike McCarthy's crutch has resurfaced - we can only hope LaFleur can throw away those crutches and walk on his own at some point.

Jimmy Graham: My God, is there some logical reason why Graham doesn't go up with two hands for jump balls in the end zone? 

Kenny Clark: I'm thinking he must have had some lingering injury/fatigue from the Broncos game. We simply have never seen him backed off the LOS or washed out of plays like he was Thursday night. 

Cowboys: The Saints showed the world how to stifle the Cowboy's run game with speed and physicality. Plus, their super-talented and aggressive secondary just did not allow any big plays downfield. The blueprint has been drawn - the question is, do the Packers have the talent on defense to play the same way?

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"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.  

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Comments (35)

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Nick Perry's picture

October 02, 2019 at 06:44 am

"The blueprint has been drawn - the question is, do the Packers have the talent on defense to play the same way?"

When comparing the Packers and the Saints defenses I actually like the Packers defense quite a bit better than the Saints. I think the Packers secondary is better and as a whole so are the Packers pass rushers. The Saints have a better GROUP to play on the interior of the D-Line where the Packers have Clark. Lancaster and Lowry just haven't been very good, especially Lancaster.

The Packers CAN play the same type of game the Saints did against Dallas. If Alexander can lock down Cooper who I think is one of the most OVERRATED WR in the game today, hold Zeke to say 100 yards or less then I think the Packers can keep this close. The Smiths have to take advantage of Tyrone Smith being out and disrupt Zak. They also HAVE to stay disciplined and not let him run loose and escape the pocket over and over again. Especially when in man coverage. And for the love of GOD please put Josh Jackson on the field in place of Redman! Redman has been TERRIBLE. I thought when Jackson was on the field the Packers defense was better.

Last... The Packers really need Bulaga to play. Lawrence will eat Light alive! They also need anyone, someone to take a step forward to help fill the loss for Adams AND continue to step forward when Adams comes back. I HATE the Cowboys. I hate how they ALWAYS show the goofball Jones hugging a bunch of men when they score but hardly ever show him when Dallas is getting their ass kicked.

Let us hope we see NONE of Jones...OR, FOX starts showing those pictures I love of a bummed out and pissed off Jerry Jones. Pettine's a smart guy and I still believe in the Packers defense 100%. Thursday Night games suck. The ONLY thing they've done is make more $$$ for the NFL.

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Razer's picture

October 02, 2019 at 06:56 am

...I HATE the Cowboys. I hate how they ALWAYS show the goofball Jones...

So with you on this Nick. Would love to see the Packers beat up the Cowboys in their castle. For my money, if our D-line can play lights out we have a good chance.

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RCPackerFan's picture

October 02, 2019 at 07:21 am

Completely agree about Redmond and Jackson.

Depending on what happens this week with King and Brown, Jackson may get more action at CB. If that happens I'm not sure what they do for the hybrid ILB/3rd S spot. I think I would rather go with 2 ILB's honestly. If Goodson isn't ready maybe even use Summers. Summers. Summers has good instincts. Just keep him in there on Run downs.

Alexander has to shut down Cooper. If he can shut him down, that will help the defense out a ton.

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fthisJack's picture

October 02, 2019 at 09:21 am

i agree Nick. i was shocked when he made the 53. even in preseason he was constantly out of position and giving up big plays. whats the word on Campbell?

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Tarynfor12's picture

October 02, 2019 at 09:33 am

" Thursday Night games suck. The ONLY thing they've done is make more $$$ for the NFL."

Agreed but the fact that they are played and every team plays one, being prepared should be given more attention. The Packers played as though they didn't realize they were playing Thursday until 10 minutes before kickoff.

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Razer's picture

October 02, 2019 at 06:46 am

Let's please stop talking about Jimmy Graham. He hasn't been much since his New Orleans days. Can't (won't) block to save his soul and now is marginal at catching. We will be post Rodgers before Green Bay sniffs real TE play.

I too like Pettine but I can't see a 3-5 defense that doesn't have strong trench play and little at ILB making a sustained impact. Kenny Clark is being double teamed and burned out. Lowry, Adams, Lancaster and Keke may give you some rotation, but these are not going to hold up against the better O-lines - even the average O-lines in the league. And who are our linebackers? Like the 10 year drought at safety, the Packers have ignored the middle linebacker position for a decade. I like what Gutekunst has done but we are another year out on defense.

O-line: Has anyone seen Billy Turner show any promise? Almost every Rodgers scramble or improvisation gif shows our RG getting pushed back or thrown aside. I don't want to think of potential implosion on the right side of the line but Bulaga is already breaking and Turner never made it.

In reality, Gutekunst will need another year and NO free agent or draft mistakes to get us enough talent to play with the better teams.

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Tundraboy's picture

October 02, 2019 at 10:42 am

Very hard for me to disagree with anything here, but I certainly hope that we get better TE play, and it's right under our nose, rather than Post Rodgers.

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Minniman's picture

October 03, 2019 at 05:14 am

Razer, I (and many) somewhat agree and think that the Packers have overachieved a little thus far this year - relative to the talent infusion. I know that some here will disagree with me but the 2019 Packers fortunes are at the whims of the injury variables. Their best "starting" 11 on both sides of the ball is definitely a contender (fragile, not solid) - but championship standard football is a war of attrition and consistency (with a timely smattering of luck).

To your point about Bulaga, If Marcedes Lewis isn't anchored to Bulaga's right shoulder against Dallas early (they will obviously try and test him) then MLF risks planting the first seeds of doubt in him - Dallas have an exceptional LB corps (Smith and Vander Esch) who will dismantle the Packers ground game if not planned for.

I see a lot of rub routes and short yardage misdirections and movement from the Packers if they are to prevail this weekend.

Also a real bell-weather game for Rashan Gary with Z-Smith dinged up.

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RCPackerFan's picture

October 02, 2019 at 07:08 am

Pettine:
Sometimes a coach can do anything and nothing will help. But it seemed like in this game that Pettine was slow to react to what the Eagles were doing. He kept using 2 DL and a 3rd safety for the majority of the game.
I know he likes using that 3rd Safety but I don't think Redmond should be that guy. IMO he should have changed some of the personnel faster.

Rodgers:
Off the top of my head Rodgers had 1 bad throw. And it wasn't the interception. It was one that should have been intercepted but the LB dropped it. Rodgers was closer to vintage Rodgers then anything. It feels like to me that this offense is about to take off. Even without Adams I think the offense will get rolling sooner then later.

Graham:
Jimmy had his best game of the year. But there were 3 plays in which he absolutely could have done better. The 2 passes to him in the endzone and the RPO play on 3rd down. The 2 passes to him he has to come down with. And on that RPO play he needs to give more effort, or any for that matter.
I will say though that it feels like they have found a role for him in the offense. And he is a threat over the middle again.

Clark:
I think the combination of a high playing percentage the first 3 games and then the short week for the Thursday night game all contributed to him and the other DL not playing up to their level. Also something that hasn't been mentioned a lot is that the Defense was on the field a ton against the Broncos. And on a short week they just didn't have it. The DL was getting pushed back a lot more then normal. The good thing is they have a mini bye before the next game.

Cowboys:
Cowboys will be without their premiere LT. Packers have 3 Edge players that could take advantage. Saints did give us a blue print on how to slow down the Cowboys offense. Packers need to keep the chains moving on offense. The more they are on the field the better it will be for the defense.

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Razer's picture

October 02, 2019 at 07:43 am

...Pettine was slow to react to what the Eagles were doing. He kept using 2 DL and a 3rd safety for the majority of the game...

I agree that Pettine was slow to react but it may have been that we don't have the personnel to change our approach. I am not a fan of using our safeties or extra corners to play linebacker. We don't have enough safety/corner personnel who can do it without compromising the secondary. And, we don't have a Harrison Smith who can actually play this role and still do his job. Get 3 quality d-linemen who can play their gaps and win at the LOS and we are not discussing this.

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RCPackerFan's picture

October 02, 2019 at 08:27 am

It seemed like to me that after he put Goodson in more and after Redmond went out and Jackson came in the defense improved.
They didn't use enough 3 true DL imo. This was after we were getting gashed up the middle.

Now a few things will help. Getting Adams back will help. And once Burks and maybe Campbell can come back that should help as well.

I do think apart of the struggles was based on it being Thursday.
And Za'Darius reportedly had a bad knee. That could affect his game for sure.

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dobber's picture

October 02, 2019 at 07:44 am

Dallas has played games against the 32nd, 28th, 26th, and 25th ranked defenses (in yards allowed) and the 31st, 28th, 26th, and 6th ranked offenses. The sample size is still small, but growing. We'll see what they really are on Sunday.

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RCPackerFan's picture

October 02, 2019 at 09:04 am

Very good points.

They went up against a good team and didn't do much in it.

I think the Packers will be selling out more to stop the run. Shut down their run game and their offense should be able to be stopped.

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Tundraboy's picture

October 02, 2019 at 10:38 am

Exactly. I'm not throwing in the towel, injuries and all.

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JerseyAl's picture

October 02, 2019 at 08:00 am

Note to all commenters - you can now expand ALL comments and replies by clicking on "show all" one time on any comment. That's one issue resolved - they will be working on others.

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Razer's picture

October 02, 2019 at 08:06 am

Thanks Al. I like the new interface - it is getting better all the time.

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Guam's picture

October 02, 2019 at 08:17 am

Want to add my thanks as well Al. Appreciate the constant work to improve the site.

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MaggieLoney's picture

October 02, 2019 at 08:20 am

Looks good, Al!

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jasonperone's picture

October 02, 2019 at 08:22 am

Amen!

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RCPackerFan's picture

October 02, 2019 at 08:24 am

Thanks Al,

Would it be possible to change the sizing of the Reply and thumbs up/down area. It would be nice to not have to scroll as much. The spacing between posts is just to big.

Overall I like the redesign though. it looks nice.

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CJ Bauckham's picture

October 02, 2019 at 10:31 am

I second the request to make the reply/thumb buttons smaller. However, thank you for all the work you guys are doing and I appreciate that y'all are continuing to adjust things based on our feedback

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flackcatcher's picture

October 03, 2019 at 06:00 pm

Thanks Al.

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GBPDAN1's picture

October 02, 2019 at 08:12 am

If King and Bulaga can play, our chances of winning this game increases immensely (obviously). If King plays, put Gordon in at ILB to help stop the run. He usually had good games against Dallas when he played for the Giants. Then it's up to Alexander, king, Savage, Williams and Amos to cover.

Without Adams playing WR, giving Rodgers more time to throw becomes even more critical. Having Bulaga back is huge. Today we will see the first injury report. Fingers crossed for some good news. Beating the Cowgirls is a beautiful feeling. Go Pack

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albert999's picture

October 02, 2019 at 09:10 am

King needs to be traded tomorrow

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Guam's picture

October 02, 2019 at 08:30 am

I have been concerned about the D-line depth since they cut Daniels. I fully understand the financial reason for releasing Daniels, but the Packers now have Clark and a bunch of pretty average d-linemen. I think they were counting on M. Adams and he has not been able to contribute due to injury. I hope Gute is beating the bushes for a run stopper that can be had on a one year contract.

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Razer's picture

October 02, 2019 at 08:49 am

Totally agree Guam. If we are working the draft for additional talent we are a couple of years out. Gutekunst has his work cut-out

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4thand10's picture

October 02, 2019 at 09:37 pm

This^.
Guam, I agree. Getting bashed rushing 4 ( 2 dL, 2 OLB) . I’m not even sure if they have enough DL to run a base ( 3 DL, 2 OLB). I was begging for Christian Wilkins to get drafted, but there were too many other needs. But they should be beating the bushes looking for another DL. Clark...as good as he is cannot continue the snap count he has been without another DL.

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egbertsouse's picture

October 02, 2019 at 08:48 am

I’ve never been a fan of Pettine and his small, soft defense. It is too reliant on turnovers to stop drives. It may work when you play guys like Cousins and Flacco who are handing out turnovers like candy on Halloween but it fails when you play the Bradys, Wentzes, and Mahomes. This defense reminds me of KC’s, reliant on your QB to score 40 points to beat better teams.

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albert999's picture

October 02, 2019 at 09:12 am

They figure out run defense and get lock down corner and ILB and this defense would be unreal

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Since'61's picture

October 02, 2019 at 09:12 am

The Eagles had no answer for Davante Adams in Thursday evening until he went out of the game with an injury. Without Adams the Packers could not move the ball one yard to score a game tying TD. Why? Because the Eagles knew they could ignore the Packers run game and focus on Rodgers and the remaining Packer receivers.

Graham had 2 chances to make a play and came up empty. The other 2 downs the Eagles focused on Rodgers to keep him from rolling out or running it in.

The Eagles game exposed the lack of weapons on the Packers offense. If the Packers had a WR to compliment Adams the Eagles run game could not have kept them in the game. Kudos to coach Pederson for neutralizing the Smiths. It was enough to keep the Packers defense honest in defending against Wentz’s passing.

Against Dallas the Packers will need to stop Zeke and pressure Dak Prescott. They will also need to play with a lead which will help take Zeke out of the offense. The Pack also needs to find their run game against Dallas and keep the Dallas offense off the field. Thanks, Since ‘61

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Point-Packer's picture

October 02, 2019 at 10:59 am

Right. Because every Packer WR not named Davante Adams is "just a guy".

Aaron Nagler - "they just need to play". Sure, if you want to lose. Huge mistake not getting a viable #2 in FA this past year from Gute.

And to all those Geronimo lovers, I told you so. Guys a #3 or a #4 who gets 4 snaps on every other team. Green and Gold glasses situation.

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Cartwright's picture

October 02, 2019 at 12:02 pm

Gmo's caught almost every ball thrown to him and continues to make spectacular catches but for some reason hasn't seen his share of chances. Expect this next game to be different and he comes up big.

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Point-Packer's picture

October 02, 2019 at 10:57 am

Graham is the most overpaid player in the NFL who is not a Viking starting QB. Two hands, bro. You nothing close to OBJ.

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Leatherhead's picture

October 02, 2019 at 11:22 am

I think that any path to the playoffs depends on how healthy Rodgers is down the stretch and into the playoffs, so that's the #1 thing for me.... Are We Protecting Rodgers?

I, personally, don't think we are. He's getting sacked and hit at a higher than league average rate, and we're throwing a lot, so that adds up to a lot of physical contact on his body.

The Eagles offense looked like how I hoped our would look: Two TEs, running the ball a lot, having an efficient 16-27 night with three TDs, no turnovers, no sacks. That's what I was hoping for before the season started. Now, I'm afraid we're just going to throw, throw, throw and that we'll break Rodgers and be finished by Thanksgiving. I hope not. I'd rather lose a game or two by stubbornly running and protecting my QB than win a couple now and have him broken when we really need him.

If we don't stop the run on defense, nothing else matters. Run stuffing means every body has to stay in his gaps, even if it means just making a pile. You can't get pushed out. We're not doing that....we're getting moved.

A glance at the rosters of both teams tells an interesting tale: The Packers heaviest people on defense are Clark and Lancaster, but the Eagles offensive line is loaded with 330 lb road-graders. That's an extra 100 pound of muscle at the point of attack and it makes a difference, especially when you get a little tired from being on the field all the time.

I think this team is built for the air on offense and defense, and that we've prioritized speed over size, and what I saw against the Eagles was us getting moved out of our gaps by larger guys.

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jlc1's picture

October 02, 2019 at 03:55 pm

Hard to see how the Packers were tired and the Eagles weren't. And hard to see how, if Jersey Al is right and he usually is, the Packers get physical the way the Saints did with the Boys. No, our guys looked like boys last week. Both in the lack of physical play at the line, at the point of contact (how many missed tackles and extra yards by the runners?) and in their over pursuit beyond obvious gaps. So yeah, Pettine has work to do on at least that last one, the rest of it is up to the players.
With Adams out I don't see how even Rodgers playing in Dallas can pull this one out. Ten point loss or more.

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