Confessions of a Polluted Mindset - 2019 Game 12, Packers - Giants

The weekly Packers Brain Drain from Jersey Al.

At the game: I was in attendance for this game, perched a few rows from the roof at the 45 yard line. I had never watched a game from that far up and I have to say, I really enjoyed the "All-22" view from the middle of the field. The tickets were free and they were covered, which was a very good thing on a nasty day that kept alternating between rain, sleet and snow. 

3rd downs: I saw a stat that the Packers' average 3rd down yards to go this season is 8.2 yards. And that's just an average! I know I got tired of the stadium announcer bellowing "Third and thirteen" or "Third and twelve." Unlike the previous game against the 49ers, the Packers actually managed to convert third downs this game (7 for 13). I'm sure going up against a bad Giants secondary was a big help. Frankly, I'd feel a lot better about the state of the offense if they started avoiding so many third downs, especially the long ones.

Kevin King: Hopefully it's become obvious that the main negative with King is just how inconsistent he is. For me, and I know this is a generalization, it comes down to this. If the play (ball and receiver) is in front of him, he's very very good. If the play is behind him, he's very very shaky. 

Turnovers or bust: How apparent is it that this defense will live and die by the turnover? Without three bad passes by a rookie quarterback resulting in interceptions, I'm not afraid to say the lowly Giants probably would have covered the 7-point spread. This was a bottom-10 offense that led the Packers in time of poses sion, first downs and total yards. 

Academy Awards: Davante Adams knows how to sell pass interference calls. I'm fairly certain it's a conscious effort when he quickly determines he's not going to able to get to the ball to catch it. And boy is he good at it. 

NFL: How crazy is it that the Packers are 9-3 and there are five teams in the NFL with better records, three in the NFC? I'm only nervous because I want that home playoff game bad. 

Warrior: Is there anyone deserving of more respect on this team than Bryan Bulaga? Who else plays an NFL game (all but three plays) a week after an MCL injury? 

Rodgers: On my list of topics for this article was to touch on Rodgers' extreme aversion to risky throws. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying it's a bad thing, but I thought he was more careful than usual on Sunday. There were a bunch of passes out wide thrown short of receivers' feet that looked like throwaways when it would have been more than reasonable to complete those passes. It was just an observation I wanted to mention, but then the "Is Rodgers too conservative" narrative exploded on twitter, started by this tweet. (look at the responses).

xxx

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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 (71)

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Cubbygold's picture

December 04, 2019 at 05:54 am

That 3rd down stat was brought up on the broadcast, I believe it was worst in the league. Not sure if that's a concern or one of those fluke stats that don't really tell you anything. I'm guessing GB has had a number of 3rd and 30s that are throwing off that average.

Bulaga - I guess with games against NY and WAS I would have thought this would be the time to rest him and get his leg healthy for the final games and playoffs. That tells me that either the backup is so terrible that MLF would be scared for 12s health in doing that, or that 2 weeks of rest wouldn't have benefited Bulaga much.

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PeteK's picture

December 04, 2019 at 08:12 am

or that it's a contract year. I'll still give him credit for toughing it out, but not a high guaranteed contract.

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Cubbygold's picture

December 04, 2019 at 08:16 am

Sure, I get Bulaga's incentive to be out there. I'm asking why the coaching staff wouldn't make that call to get him rest in relatively easier games so he's in better condition for the vikings/playoff games

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Leatherhead's picture

December 04, 2019 at 01:19 pm

We only attempted 141 3rd downs. That’s 29th in the league. We convert a lot of first and 2nd downs. That’s a good thing. We are second in Redzone scoring percentage. That’s a good thing.

IMO, we shoot ourselves in the foot a lot, but we’re still a good offense. If we put it together we can score enough points to win.

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ALLGASNOBRAKES's picture

December 04, 2019 at 06:17 am

"On my list of topics for this article was to touch on Rodgers' extreme aversion to risky throws.

Thanks for bringing this up Al. I actually commented about this same thing in a response to Razer on a different article here on CHTV earlier this morning, but I couldn't agree more. IMO it's become detrimental to the offense BIG TIME.

Remember the play in McCarthy's offense called "Tampa 27"? ALL offenses have something similar but for the Packers, they KILLED teams with it with Driver, then Jennings, and Jordy Nelson. The Packers could run the same play and throw it to Adams, MVS, or even Lazard. BUT Rodgers has become SO risk-averse he rarely throws a pass over the middle unless he absolutely HAS to and then it's maybe 50-50 of it happening. You give Rodgers a choice between a wide-open receiver in the middle or a semi-open receiver along the sideline he'll throw to the sideline 9 out of 10 times. More defenders in the middle of the field equal a better chance of a deflection or interception which to Rodgers it seems is just unthinkable.

Personally, I think Rodgers is going to HAVE to start throwing to the middle of the field IF the Packers are to do anything against the better defensive teams left on the schedule or in the playoffs. Throw a pass to the TE down the seam, just like EVERY team does against the Packers. Stop IGNORING that WR or TE who flashes open right in front of you 15 yards downfield for the overthrown or underthrown pass 50 yards down the sideline.

I get it, there's a possibility of bad things happening when throwing down the middle. Tipped passes, deflections, a Safety Rodgers didn't see to make an interception. BUT with risk comes reward. Not always but enough where I'd like to see Rodgers at least TRY. Of those 4 interceptions, at least 2 or 3 have been tipped, deflected, or bounced off the hands of the receiver. Starting this week I'd love to see MLF's "Tampa 27" used moving forward. How about at least throwing the ball to that rookie TE 20 or 30 yards downfield on a seam pass? He may not know the entire offense or (GULP) a trusted receivers for Rodgers. But I'd bet my last dollar the kid knows how to run a seam route, catch the ball, or make a play if given the chance. 4 weeks to go...It's time Rodgers...

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PeteK's picture

December 04, 2019 at 08:15 am

In this game he actually did use the middle more than usual.

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Leatherhead's picture

December 04, 2019 at 11:20 am

Throwing interceptions does not help us win games.

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ALLGASNOBRAKES's picture

December 05, 2019 at 04:57 am

Neither do passes in the dirt or over the head of the WR on the sideline. I mean how many times have we watched him totally IGNORE the wide-open receiver on a crosser for a pass 40 yards down the sideline to NO ONE.

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albert999's picture

December 04, 2019 at 12:04 pm

Couldn’t agree more
Vikings and Seahawks threw over the middle all night and it works
He used to do it with Jordy and cobb all the time and we won’t go far without it

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Lare's picture

December 04, 2019 at 06:27 am

I think part of the Packers problem leading to longer yardage to go on third downs is penalties. While the Packers are 21st in the NFL for total number of team penalties this season so far (80), they are second in the NFL with 64% of their penalties by the offense (51). That averages out to over 30 yards in penalties per game by the Packers offense.

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porupack's picture

December 04, 2019 at 07:19 am

Right on point, lare. Astute observation.

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Timeout's picture

December 04, 2019 at 08:01 am

Add to that the several plays where the running back got tackled in the backfield for negative yardage along with the receiver on attempted wide receiver screens. The Giants on the other hand, had a lot of 2nd and 6 situations after running for 4 yards on 1st down.

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PeteK's picture

December 04, 2019 at 08:21 am

The biggest negative surprise for me this season is the play of the O line. I thought that the guard play last year was a major weakness, but a large improvement was due since we added two solid replacements. Maybe this is due to a new offense and scheme( zone blocking).

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Leatherhead's picture

December 04, 2019 at 10:29 am

Add that to the yardage lost in sacks and it's no wonder we're in long yardage a lot.

A two yard run into the line doesn't excite anybody, but it's better than a negative yardage play like a sack or a penalty.

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Razer's picture

December 04, 2019 at 06:40 am

I rely on Jersey Al to give me a clear and balanced view of the state of the team. You never disappoint. Like most of us, you are tempering your 9-3 enthusiasm with a health dose of critical eye. Thank You.

For me it boils down to this offense coming together - which basically means Aaron Rodgers getting 'it'. Let's face it, the defense is as good as it is going to get. The D-line isn't getting any better and there is no help coming at linebacker. If the secondary doesn't blow too many coverages we will snag the occasional turnover and give the offense a chance. SO, the offense needs to be able to control games and put up points at a higher, more consistent rate. Rodgers is the engine and he has to put the pieces together. This coin has to drop or any balanced team with a good D-line will beat us.

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Since'61's picture

December 04, 2019 at 11:02 am

I would contend that good DLs on balanced teams beat most other teams in the NFL. Thanks, Since '61

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RCPackerFan's picture

December 04, 2019 at 06:49 am

At the game:
Getting to watch from your viewpoint I'm really curious to know what you took away from the game. For example, are WR's getting open more often then we are lead to believe. Or vice versa? Do you see major openings in our defense? Things like that.

3rd downs:
Its really a simple thing. Get 5 yards on first and 2nd down and 3rd downs are manageable. The problem this year is that they have had way to many 3rd and 10's or more. This is where I'd love to see a simple play. Sometimes you just need a simple 5 yards on 2nd down to make 3rd and 5. How about getting the TE's more involved. While some of these plays may not be dynamic it helps making 3rd downs more manageable.

Kevin King:
I do believe a lot of his inconsistencies are due to him missing so many games in his young career. King is inconsistent. He can be very, very good. He can also give up big plays. He needs to cut down on giving up so many big plays.

Turnovers or bust:
This defense looks completely different when they get the turnovers. But some of that is due to the pressures they are getting. In games where they are getting more pressure they create more turnovers. In games where they don't get the pressure they get torn up a bit. Even in those games they have gotten there hands on balls which they have dropped. When they get the chance at the turnover they need to complete it. And yes I'm mostly talking about Alexander.

Academy Awards:
yeah we all had to hear all about this from the tv crew. While he is good at it, can't deny that those plays 95% of the time are truly pass interference.

NFL:
The 3 teams currently ahead of GB have some tough games. This week 2 of them play each other. Saints and 49ers. Week 17 49ers and Seahawks play each other. This is the remaining schedule for the 3 teams.
Saints - 49ers, Colts, At Titans, At Panthers
49ers - At Saints, Falcons, Rams, At Seahawks
Seahawks - At Rams, At Panthers, Cardinals, 49ers
I'm not sure exactly what we need, but loses from these teams are good for us. Looks like we will be rooting for Panthers and Rams a quite a bit the next few weeks.

All we can do is continue to win, and it will fall the way it falls. That Chargers loss is hurting a little more right now.

Warrior:
Not only did Bulaga play, but he was dominating! I'm not going to lie, I really do wonder if the 49ers game would have been different had Bulaga been able to play the whole game. Light really struggled in that game.

Rodgers:
I do wonder if a few of those off throws were due to weather. There was one for sure you could tell it slipped out of his hand.
There were a couple of plays in the game though where he was under pressure and he was able to throw downfield for completions. 1 huge play to Lazard and another was the 4th down to Allison. I think he needs to throw his guys open a little more. throw it and let them go get it. Lazard has shown he can go get it. Adams is another guy. But I'm not going to complain about Rodgers being more conservative. There is a fine line there and I'm good with what he has done.

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JerseyAl's picture

December 04, 2019 at 08:44 am

I did spend a good amount of time watching the receiver's patterns. I'm not going to say our #2-4 receivers are dynamic, but were some open early on plays when Rodgers chose to take a shot downfield on 3rd down - yes. My assessment: Davante is the first look in the progression quite a bit, sometimes to the detriment of taking an easy completion elsewhere.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

December 04, 2019 at 09:22 am

"sometimes to the detriment of taking an easy completion elsewhere"

It's getting really old and has seriously eroded my respect for 12.

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SteelyPhil's picture

December 04, 2019 at 11:31 am

You cut out the first part of Al's comment, which adds critical context. Davante being his first read could be scheme at least as much as it is Rodgers having "bad habits."

What frustrates me about Rodgers is waiting for the play clock to go down to 0 before snapping the ball nearly every other play, which leads to burned time outs and delay-of-game penalties. That's 100% on him and it is a bad habit. That he's only looking Davante's way is probably due to scheme. They should call more plays that involve Lazard, MVS, Jones, etc. as the first read and then he makes those throws.

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Leatherhead's picture

December 04, 2019 at 07:10 pm

What frustrates me is that the obvious solution of running more and quicker release patterns isn’t part of our DNA by now. It’s December and we should know what works by now.

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jannes bjornson's picture

December 04, 2019 at 08:34 pm

Did you watch Brady last week?

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RCPackerFan's picture

December 04, 2019 at 10:46 am

Yeah I was just kind of wondering if guys were getting open or not. And if they were open before Rodgers had to move or whatever.
Watching on TV you can't always see these types of things.

I would expect Adams to be the number 1 in most progressions. He is by far the best WR they have. But I do wonder if sometimes they should have other WR's as the first read option and come back to Adams later in the progression because he maybe more likely to come open later?

There was a play that Aaron Nagler posted on the twitter. He was talking about how Rodgers would have overthrown or underthrown MVS on a play where he gets open deep. That play was 3rd and 13 and he just did a dump off to Williams. While Nagler was mostly talking about MVS on that play, but I noticed that Adams was wide open about 15 yards down field in the middle of the field. The part that surprises me on that play was you could see with the technique that the CB was playing and the route Adams was running that he could have easily thrown him the ball with anticipation of where he would be before the rush got to him. Here he has his best WR gets a great look from the defense but he just dumps it off.

I love Rodgers, and he is phenomenal. But I do question things like this when he isn't pulling the trigger.

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flackcatcher's picture

December 04, 2019 at 10:53 pm

A good part of Rodgers play come from not having enough time with the WR in game conditions. This is a league wide problem that comes from not having enough time thanks to the cut down OTA and training camp. Overall, the product is sloppy, and off putting in the early part of the season, and when injuries come... So I understand why Rodgers has even become more risk averse over the course of this season. But it is a really bad look for the NFL as a whole.

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Cubbygold's picture

December 04, 2019 at 09:53 am

On who to root for in these final weeks...

Obviously SF wins a tiebreaker over us because of the head to head. An article monday talked about how SEA will win a tiebreaker over GB. Fortunately, only one of them can win their division. So unless both are going to lose two games, that division winner likely will be ahead of GB.

The same article mentions that GB wins a tiebreaker over NO if NO has another NFC loss this year. So I think a 49ers win this weekend would put GB in the 2 seed.

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RCPackerFan's picture

December 04, 2019 at 11:04 am

I haven't seen any articles yet and how it breaks down. Do you remember where you saw that at?

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Cubbygold's picture

December 04, 2019 at 11:25 am

I wasn't able to find the one I read, but this one says the same things:

http://www.wtmj.com/sports/green-bay-packers/updated-packers-playoff-sce...

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RCPackerFan's picture

December 04, 2019 at 12:39 pm

Very nice. that works.

Currently we are the 3 seed. I'm all about getting to that #2 seed. First seed while it would be nice to get there, getting the 2 seed would be the most likely.

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fthisJack's picture

December 04, 2019 at 09:54 am

i don't know what happened to the back shoulder throws that Adams and Rodgers were so good at. with such tight coverage you think that would be used more to keep CB's thinking.

also, the Philadelphia loss could be the real killer. both the Saints and Packers have 2 conference losses and the 9ers and Seahawks have one. if they are tied record wise it goes to conference record. i'll be pulling for the 9ers over the Saints this weekend giving NO their 3rd conference loss and hoping the Packers beat the Skins. a bye is major and i think if the Packers win out they will get a bye and then maybe force the 9ers to come to Lambeau!

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RCPackerFan's picture

December 04, 2019 at 11:34 am

Good question on the back shoulder throws. Perhaps some of it is the style of offense. Perhaps some of it is just timing.

I agree that I will be pulling for the 49ers this weekend.

It will be interesting to see what happens these final 4 weeks.

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Gort's picture

December 04, 2019 at 07:07 am

Poor execution on 1st and 2nd downs (including penalties) results in 3rd and long. Winning games, but the offense is still not operating at a Super Bowl winning level.

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Leatherhead's picture

December 04, 2019 at 01:33 pm

Gore, I never expected a Super Bowl. But we’re looking at a possible 12-4 and a division title and that’d be an all time best from a rookie HC. And how many points did it take to win last years Super Bowl?

We have 4 more games and if we beat the Skins and Bears in Lambeau, and win in Detroit, then we’re 12-4 and the #3 seed playing at home. Probably against the 49ers or Vikings. So I’m willing to wait a little bit on Super Bowl predictions.

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MarkinMadison's picture

December 04, 2019 at 07:39 am

"This was a bottom-10 offense that led the Packers in time of posession, first downs and total yards."

I've never done any statistical analysis, but I've often noticed when the turnover margin gets lopsided that the losing teams ends up leading in these three categories. My gut is that this is because with turnovers the winning offense is operating on shorter fields.

I was so very wrong about DK Metcalf. I said that the other day but I feel the need to say it again. It appears that he has learned how to run a route. Here's hoping that Lazard and MVS can take a step forward right now.

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porupack's picture

December 04, 2019 at 07:42 am

good observation on stats. Thanks.

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porupack's picture

December 04, 2019 at 07:41 am

All good points, Al, though I'm not sure about the Davante acting award. He gets mugged a lot once defenders know they got beat.

Glad Bulaga is getting just praise after all the offseason crap about him being glass slippers, overpaid injury risk.
Let a few of those fans own up, and give him his warrior medal.

I put Marcedes close to Bulaga as a grind it out warrior, and I've been on his bandwagon since he arrived.

On Rodgers' conservativism; agreed. We just debate endlessly about why; whether poor separation by WRs, poor routes, inadequate WR speed, or Rodgers panic against sacks and then doesn't see the field like he used to.

When watching Dusty Everly recent post on 3rd down pass plays, it strikes me that WRs were overly rigid on running a route (and kind of lethargic), even when it was clear that the defender anticipated and played that route, the WR continued, then kind of trotted when the WR realized he was well covered.

In just a few of those plays that Dusty showed, if the WR had abandoned the pre-set route early enough for Rodgers to note the change, and juked opposite where the defender was going, there was wide open field.

Its a tough dilemma. A preset and predictable route is usually a recipe for success between QB and WR, but then being overly rigid, and not having a receiver-QB mechanism for improvisation then limits the potential for significant opportunities, and the offense can become too predictable.

Is GB overly scripting WR routes? Is this simply inexperienced WRs? Is it simply a matter of time when WR and QB get that chemistry? Or, as is it simply Rodgers overly cautious in Al's mindset? Please, someone, tell me the authoritative truth.

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flackcatcher's picture

December 04, 2019 at 08:20 am

WR do break off their routes early in this offense. I believe it's because they think Rodgers is free lancing early in the play and are watching him. A lot of that is inexperience and a degree of mistrust in what he calls vs the actual play as he goes to his preferred WR. That can't be fix until next season..... (shakes head)

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PeteK's picture

December 04, 2019 at 08:39 am

I was at the game and had a great view of the whole field. You're correct in saying that the receivers are just not reading the defense and are very rigid in their routes. Yet the Giant receivers were finding the open areas in our zone. As the game progressed Rogers did start using the middle of the field and threw into tight coverage to Allison( actually made some good catches ) and Adams.

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Jared's picture

December 04, 2019 at 09:16 am

A good example of a WR who continues his route and determination is Julian Edelman.

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JerseyAl's picture

December 04, 2019 at 09:42 am

With respect to Davante, I wasn't saying that they aren't pass interference, just that he does a good job of throwing in some histrionics so the referee is more inclined to call it.

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Guam's picture

December 04, 2019 at 08:10 am

Thanks for the insights Al. This has become my favorite CHTV column.

I particularly appreciate the props for Bulaga. That was a warrior playing when his team needed him the most.

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x24's picture

December 04, 2019 at 08:22 am

It seems to me that this Packers team is dependent on opposing teams making errors. Interceptions by our defense, Rodgers capitalizing on "free plays" etc

I am not convinced that this Packers team can beat a decent team, that plays a fundamentally solid, mistake free game

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PeteK's picture

December 04, 2019 at 08:49 am

You just described the Pats of the last decade.

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Lphill's picture

December 04, 2019 at 08:36 am

I would like to see a breakdown of the Packers on 2 Nd down plays I think that’s when they have the most negative plays either a loss of yardage , a penalty or just no gain which results in a 3 rd and long . I believe this is the problem. Negative 2 Nd down execution.

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PeteK's picture

December 04, 2019 at 08:46 am

You might be right, and the main culprit is the running game being inconsistent. No fault to our backs who are fighting and grinding even when there are no holes.

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Tundraboy's picture

December 05, 2019 at 08:27 am

I hate to keep harping on the 3rd and long, 3 and whatever for that matter,but I must.

Is it just my imagination that whenever there's a third-and-long we go for a play that'll yield a handful of yards, but yet when we're third and one, and we could use that very same play we go for the deep shot.

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Swisch's picture

December 04, 2019 at 01:00 pm

It seems that on third down and longer than 15 yards, it might actually be a good idea once in a while to take a shot 40 yards down the field, especially if it's single coverage.
I think Adams and Lazard, and possibly MVS, would be able to outmaneuver a defender on such a long ball in at least some cases -- and the payoff would be huge.
The risk is minimal in that an interception 40 yards downfield is about the same as a punt. We could have a couple of other pass catchers trailing the play to make the tackle if there is an interception.

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RedRight49's picture

December 04, 2019 at 08:57 am

Bulaga is well deserving of your Warrior designation.

For him to suit up and play the whole game so soon after his latest injury is testimony to giving his all for the team!

Following his injury, in the past week Gute promoted T Yosh Nijman from the practice squad to the active roster and also signed veteran free agent tackle Jared Veldheer to the team.

Those signings sure suggested the Pack expected Bulaga to be out for a couple games so, to see Number 75 slugging it out last Sunday was a welcome sight!

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PeteK's picture

December 04, 2019 at 09:04 am

I think we're taking what the defense is giving us, but don't have the players to make the plays. Jones used to be that player , but we can see that teams are really focusing on him. My hope is that Lazard is becoming that other reliable option.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

December 04, 2019 at 09:19 am

"That's how conservative he's become."

He did actually throw the ball over the several times for good success last week. Is that a sign of things to come or is it just sign they where playing a poor defense?

I will need to see it more often to not assume the latter.

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Tarynfor12's picture

December 04, 2019 at 09:21 am

I posted this on Twitter yesterday

Replying to
@JasonPerone
Fear of throwing an INT can put your team at an offensive disadvantage more than throwing the ball into areas of risk.
The former reduces the playbook where the latter keeps it open. Naturally,who the QB is figures in greatly.

Rodgers doesn't see himself as the QB that can make those risk throws as he once did and that self belief has dwindled every year.

The lack of separation by WR's,which Rodgers and many fans use as reason for offensive struggles, may be a derivative of Rodgers FEAR of the INT and defense of WR's is easier because of it. They can concentrate on the lower risk routes they know Rodgers WANTS ONLY to throw because of the INT FEAR.

Naturally,when Rodgers does connect on a high risk pass,this is immediately discarded as unreasonable which is another issue...Most are too quick to dismiss what has become so readily available visibly and backed up by the stat of 0.4 as noted in the tweet used in the article.

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Since'61's picture

December 04, 2019 at 11:06 am

So now we are saying that the answer is to take more risks and throw more picks to prove it and that will improve our passing offense?!?!?! Really??? I'll take 31 points per game with no picks regardless of who we are playing against. Thanks, Since '61

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Tarynfor12's picture

December 04, 2019 at 11:28 am

Since '61,
That's not what I said. My entire comment is more based on the decline of Rodgers confidence in making the throws more often than not or he has placed his INT percentage in higher regard than playing as he once had or the WR's not talented enough to get the desired separation or there is absolutely a low level of trust in the WR's to come out ahead in the higher risked throws.

The success of high risk throws are paramount to winning and failure or unwillingness to throw them can be as seen equally the culprit for losing as defenses need not worry about the possible attempts of them.

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Cubbygold's picture

December 04, 2019 at 11:32 am

To be fair, Green Bay is 11th in the league in scoring, at 24 points per game. If they could put up 31 a game and have no picks, obviously everyone would be happy with that. Last week wasn't consistent with what we've seen all year.

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Oppy's picture

December 04, 2019 at 09:20 pm

It's not about asking Rodgers to take Farvian-type risks, heaving the ball wildly into double and triple coverage.

It's about asking Rodgers, who is suppose to be one of the league's premier arm talents, to throw the ball into the same windows that the great majority of NFL starting QB's utilize on a regular basis.

Nearly any game where a talking head or the fan base in general complains about the Packers' WRs not being able to get open for Rodgers, you can simply watch the (less talented) QB running the opposition offense throwing, and completing, passes to WRs with no more separation from coverage, no bigger passing lanes, than what Packers recievers are providing- particularly on routes dragging across the middle of the field.

Rodgers needs to worry less about his efficiency ratings and start trusting the NFL WRs on the Packers Payroll to make a few 'contested' catches. Somewhere along the line, Packers fans have started to believe that if there is a defender trailing within 3 yards of a WR, he's covered and simply can't be thrown to. It's the NFL. When a WR gets a step or two on a defender, especially when crossing the field on short or intermediate routes... pull the trigger, deliver the ball, and let the WR earn his paycheck.

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RCPackerFan's picture

December 04, 2019 at 12:48 pm

Perhaps Rodgers hasn't lost confidence in himself as much as he doesn't have the confidence in the WR's abilities. Perhaps he is seeing in practice that the WR's aren't routinely making plays on balls in those situations therefore he doesn't feel comfortable doing it in games?

Lets be real about what we have at WR. We have 1- 2nd round pick. 2- 5th round picks (one of which has yet to play in a game). 3- UDFA's.
The one person he does have a tendency to throw into tighter coverage is Adams. Coincidence is that he is a former 2nd round pick.

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Oppy's picture

December 04, 2019 at 09:32 pm

James Jones, during his first contract with the Packers, told the media during a locker room presser something to the effect of 'everyone knows Rodgers is gifted, but Aaron has to remember that the WRs can make plays, too'.

That was when the Packers had Jennings, Nelson, Jones, Driver, etc etc.

This goes way back. I've been watching Rodgers steadily retract into his shell for almost 8 years. It's been a very gradual, consistent withdrawl.

Remember when he was whizzing passes by multiple defenders earholes en route to connecting to jennings on a crossing route over the middle?

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Since'61's picture

December 04, 2019 at 11:04 am

Al, I was also at the game with a few of the DAVs who I work with at a veteran support organization. Although the view from that section is not as majestic as yours upstairs but at least it's covered from the elements.

In any case I think the issue with our passing game is a combination of factors. The first is the receiving corps. Except for Adams they do not run their routes very sharply. The other issue is they do not know what to do when Rodgers extends the play although Lazard and Graham are better than the others at the scramble drill. The other factor is the OL. On some plays the protection breaks down almost immediately and allows a defender through virtually untouched leaving Rodgers no time to get his progressions. Then there is Rodgers himself. I think there are 2 issues with him, first his aversion to poor decisions with the ball and secondly he is still learning the new offense with a receiving score that is relatively inexperienced at reading defenders. When Rodgers was having his best days he would discuss how the game had "slowed down" for him. Maybe with the new offense the game has not yet "slowed down" for him especially when it comes to throwing over the middle. Finally I think that Rodgers and the offense miss Cobb a lot. Rodgers always seemed to find him sitting in a hole in the defense. To me that is what this offense is missing the most. A player who knows how to get open with good hands. We need another player like Cobb but that can't happen until next year a least.

As for 3rd downs we need to get better results on first and second down and we need to cut down on the penalties. The interior of our OL is better than last year but still not as effective as it needs to be. Linsley's play this season has been disappointing to say the least.

Everything else is spot on as usual AL. Go Pack Go! Thanks, Since '61

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Lphill's picture

December 04, 2019 at 11:21 am

Al can someone do an assessment of the Packers 2 Nd down efficiency I feel this down is where they struggle the most which leads to 3 rd and long, I despise the 2 Nd toss that usually results in no gain or a loss , something MM ran on a regular , thanks

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stockholder's picture

December 04, 2019 at 11:26 am

I see several dangers in your assessments. 1. Bulaga the warrior? He's in a contract year. He's finding a way out against speed rushers. Which he can't handle anymore. Yes he's are best RT. But I say he's playing possum. 2. Kevin King; He's a good CB and good things happen when he's in there. He's a keeper. I believe that when the safety play improves. His play will be less problematic. 3. For Arron Rodgers to be more of a gambler. One must have the protection from the OL. Were Still seeing Mistakes and penalties that we shouldn't. 4. Turn-overs. Don't expect them against the better Qbs. Until they stop teams without Turn-overs, This defense isn't going to get better.

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Swisch's picture

December 04, 2019 at 12:10 pm

The big question: After debacles against the 49ers and Chargers, does Aaron Rodgers see the real need for improvement in the offense, or is he determined to go with business as usual?
We can appreciate the great turnaround for the Packers this season, and the huge role of Rodgers as a true star leading the team to nine big wins; and yet we can also acknowledge that the offense has been frustratingly choppy this season, and seemingly overmatched against the top defenses in the NFL.
Rodgers is still stellar enough to pull off the big plays that overcome flaws and result in victories; but those plays aren't going to happen enough to beat the likes of the Vikings, Seahawks and 49ers.
While we can rightly show some patience in the development of a new offense with new players, we can reasonably expect some improvement in crafting a short game that moves the chains on a consistent basis.
I would like to see an increasing artistry of formations and motions and deceptions, with a variety of players involved in various parts of the field -- and the long strikes interspersed with ingenuity.
So the key seems to be whether or not our great QB has the "vision" to embrace the little things that are necessary for big victories against the best opponents.

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MattyG's picture

December 04, 2019 at 12:33 pm

Great write up, sir!

Here is my feeling on Kevin King. He is pretty young, which is good news. But the bad news, is that I don't really see a LOT of improvement game to game. I remember when the whole HaHa Clinton-Dix vs Amos conversation was going on, a thing I was big on and still am, is the fact that HHCD is a "spectacular" safety and Amos is a consistent safety. HHCD makes big spectacular plays that show up in the stat columns, but blows coverage all of the time which doesn't always show up. Anyway, I see King sort of following that path where he can make big spectacular plays, and does, but then just isn't consistent game to game. I know turnovers are a huge point of discussion with the Packers D, but I would give up a little of the spectacular-ness with Kevin, and see a lot more consistency in coverage.

Our defense has fallen off pretty hard as the season goes on. We still have guys performing in huge ways, but the overall performance has been quite lackluster. I love the spot we are in, but I fear we may not end up with the home playoff game.

I'm very excited to see how this thing goes for the next few weeks, and I am even more excited about our performance this year. There were a lot of question marks heading into the season, but we look GOOD. There are flashes of bad, but overall the Packers are back!

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jlc1's picture

December 04, 2019 at 02:39 pm

This question of throwing over the middle might get some clarity if we define what the middle means. I suppose probably more than the hash marks but how much more? How far down the field is this middle versus something else? For instance were the two bombs to Lazard considered middle of the field? I've looked around to see if there are any stats on where each QB throws passes but have not found anything yet but if someone out there has that stat then we can really make progress on how shy, if at all, Rodgers is about throwing to the middle, whatever middle on chooses to define.

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flackcatcher's picture

December 04, 2019 at 11:04 pm

Coaches I talk to define middle as 10-20 yards beyond the LOS. Of course what the middle is depends on what the defensive formation is in, and what call the secondary has. Zone or man makes a big difference in the 'underbelly' and what areas the defense voids in their scheme.

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Oppy's picture

December 05, 2019 at 01:07 am

It sounds like you're talking about depth. When people talk about utilizing the middle of the field, they're speaking laterally. Outside the hashes, inside the hashes, etc.. not yards down field.

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flackcatcher's picture

December 05, 2019 at 08:43 am

Yes and no. Where the football is the center of play. These are football terms we are talking in that context. The middle of the field is where teams line up in their formations, the ball is the center of that pre-snap. Offensives define the edge by DE/OLB on either side. Underbelly is 5-7 yards by hybrid/ILB, and the 10-20 out of the line LOS were the boundary DB roam is considered the middle of the field of play. More vertical than lateral. Could see that in college football with the wider hashmarks squeezing offensives back in the day. Not so much today..

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Oppy's picture

December 05, 2019 at 01:25 am

There are graphical target maps which literally show the exact spots on the field the ball was delivered to- they are typically overhead representations of the field, and show spots illustrating where each ball was delivered laterally across the field, as well as depth from LOS for each of those markers. Each and every pass. They are out there.

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Oppy's picture

December 05, 2019 at 01:11 am

jlc1, this is OLD data from 2013, but it shows the type of "target maps" I'm speaking about.

Just as an example.. these are target maps showing LEAGUE WIDE distribution, but there are maps similar to this for individual QB's for entire seasons, careers, games, etc and so forth..

Notice how these maps show many data points spread from left to right? Yes, there's some "hot spots", but overall, a relatively even distribution? I have seen the maps for Rodgers over the years, and his over the last many years are thick on the edges outside the hash and mostly empty through the two thirds of the field that is "the middle".

https://grantland.com/the-triangle/pass-atlas-a-map-of-where-nfl-quarter...

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pacman's picture

December 04, 2019 at 04:56 pm

If AR stops trying to fake out the D with a hard count (not working anymore) and gets rid of the ball sooner, many of the O penalties will go away. He's a great QB and we are lucky to have him. But he is getting paid big time so he's got to learn to change too. Stop with the 3rd and 2 long throws. How many times has that worked this year? And stop underthrowing MVS.

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harmonxjim33's picture

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joshuaprice153's picture

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