Confessions of a Polluted Mindset - 2019 Game 4, Packers - Eagles

The weekly Packers Brain Drain from Jersey Al.

The Defense: I started last week's post out by saying the Packers would be 0-3 without this year's version of the defense. Game four, where the Packers defense played like last year's defense (no QB pressure, poor run defense), certainly proves that point.

Line of Scrimmage: You can point to a lot of things that lost the Packers this game, but overall, the primary one was losing the battle up front on both sides of the ball. The Packers' defensive front seven (really front six or five - more on that later) got totally manhandled by the Eagles offensive line and Tight Ends (0 sacks, 0 TFL, 2 QB hurries the entire game). Note I added the Eagles' TEs because they were both on the field for almost 70% of the Eagles' offensive snaps. Dallas Goedert, especially was a blocking demon - responsible in many cases for keeping the "Smith Brothers" away from the ball carrier. As evidenced by Preston finishing with 1 solo tackle plus one assist and Za'Darius not even showing up on the stat sheet, the Eagles had a damn good game plan for handling those guys.

Front Seven/Six/Five: Looking at snap counts, The Smiths, Gary and Fackrell took all of the edge snaps as expected. The more interesting thing to look at are the inside linebacker snaps. Blake Martinez took all 62 defensive snaps and BJ Goodson only seven. So for the majority of the game, the Packers played with one inside linebacker. Even if you assume the Packers always had four players up front ( a safe assumption, I think), that means the Packers were playing dime (6 DBS) for the majority of the game. That's just daring the other team to run and run they did. The uneven LOS numbers also meant the Eagles were able to get offensive linemen and tight ends blocking downfield against DBs, which lead to some big plays in the run game. It's not unfair to say Pettine and LaFleur did not do a good job of making adjustments this game, but perhaps the absence of Montravious Adams and Raven Greene handcuffed them a bit. Both of those players were sorely missed in the run defense.

Line of Scrimmage - Offense: The Packers' offensive line were pushed around like weak younger brothers in this game. There were no holes for Packers running backs to exploit, as the Eagles did not give up any ground at the LOS and were disciplined about staying in their lanes. It got so frustrating, LaFleur was afraid to run the ball even one time when the Packers were near the Eagles goal line towards the end of the game. Four plays from the one yard line and you throw it four times? WTF? The inability to run the ball got me so frustrated in the second quarter, I made this suggestion (only half-jokingly) on twitter for what they should do for the rest of the game.

 

Pass Target Locations: So last week I pointed out how infrequently the Packers were throwing to the middle of the field this year, only 20% of the time in the Broncos game, for example. Either the Packers analytical staff did their own research or LaFleur reads CheeseheadTV, because guess what - Rodgers threw between the numbers 24 out of 34 times, a much more logical 70% rate.

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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 (53)

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Cartwright's picture

September 29, 2019 at 06:58 am

Surprised Kevin King did not get a mention. If there was one positive for me it was his improved play and one of the reasons the game was kept within reach.

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mrtundra's picture

September 29, 2019 at 08:34 am

King really did have a nice game. Then,he tweaked his groin. I hope he is okay. I think we win this game if Davante didn't sustain that toe injury. If he were in on the last series I think he would have found a way to get open. You know Rodgers would have been looking for him. It would be hard for the refs to not call DPI if it happened to two of our receivers on that last offensive series. MLF and ABM have some adjustments to make if we want to beat the cowboys. GO PACK, GO!!!

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Lare's picture

September 29, 2019 at 07:27 am

If you lose the LOS offensively, defensively & on special teams and don't get any turnovers (while giving up two) you're not going to win many games.

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Leatherhead's picture

October 01, 2019 at 10:39 am

And yet, if we had converted on both first and goal situations, we would have won this one. Two plays. 14 points.

Being -2 in turnovers reduces your win % to less than 40%. Technically, not converting a 4th down is a turnover on downs so we were -3, really, and you don't win more than about 25% of those.

So despite EVERYTHING.....we were only two plays away from winning this game.

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Kubyskins12's picture

September 29, 2019 at 07:29 am

Yeah I think the Packers coaching staff and Rodgers was reading CheeseheadTV because all of sudden Rodgers was throwing the ball in the middle of the field and hitting jimmy G on quick passes. What do you know Rodgers starts utilizing the middle and he starts looking like the old Rodgers. It’s just disappointing that are D keeps getting their ass handed to them in the run game. They need start using more middle linebackers maybe give summers some snaps until Burks gets healthy or if there not confident in him they need to pick up or trade for someone. This formation with 4 or 5 linemen and 1 Middle linebacker is not working. I’d rather use multiple linebackers. I think it’s easier for o linemen to block d linemen that are right in front of them then to get there hands on middle linebackers off the ball. All I know is we need to try something different in the run game cause if we keep doing same things the cowboys will destroy us!

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jannes bjornson's picture

September 29, 2019 at 11:33 am

Ducks on the pond for a team with a running game. Inviting the run and consuming the time of possession. I agree, at least try to see what Summers can get done.

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4thand10's picture

September 29, 2019 at 03:21 pm

Id rather see more of a base....3 DL in the middle and Smiths on the edges. So 5 on the line and 2 ILBs 4 DBs ...force the other team to beat the pressure. They did it last year with subpar players and it was working. I dont think we carry enouth DL for that type of rotation but i believe with teams running 2 TE sets it would be more effective in some situations.

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Hawg Hanner's picture

September 29, 2019 at 06:27 pm

For all you guys who want to give Blake Martinez a big contract, just look at the film. Sure he tries hard but he is in no way worth a big contract. Not a lot of talent, just a plugger, "just a guy".

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Rak47's picture

September 29, 2019 at 11:55 pm

Yep! Because just a guy leads the NFL in tackles every year so it would easy to replace that production with just any other guy.

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Minniman's picture

October 01, 2019 at 08:50 am

In fairness to Hawg, Martinez is "a piece" of the puzzle, but he's certainly not "the piece". He's neither Jaylon Smith, Roaquan Smith or either of "the Devins" from this years draft.

In fairness to Martinez, he is better with a quicker playing partner at ILB to do the swarming to the ball (which Burks and Raven Greene seemed better equipped to do).

His virtue is reading the plays and directing the swarming traffic

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wildbill's picture

September 29, 2019 at 07:44 am

All this crying about their run game. Two turnovers, plus a turnover on downs, two bad special team plays all added up to us getting blown out. BUT WAIT!, we could have easily won this game against a very good opponent . Pettine has stated, and I concur, that the NFL is a QB league. The Broncos and Queens all ran big on us and we got those wins. Our worse issue was no pressure on a top flight QB, and our own mistakes! You just take away our turnovers and we win this game, opponents rush numbers be damned!

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murf7777's picture

September 29, 2019 at 10:12 am

I’m with you...we were -2 in TO’s, the deciding factor of the game.

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Malland56's picture

September 29, 2019 at 02:25 pm

Well we would have maybe won if Rodgers would have went under center on 1st an goal on the one and we ran the damn ball the first 2 downs. Jonesy could have leaped over it no problem like he did earlier this season. Stupid play calling on that series of downs. Stupid!

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

September 30, 2019 at 02:14 am

I agree with the gist of your comment. GB was not blown out though: the game was decided on the last play of the game, after all.

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tincada's picture

September 30, 2019 at 07:09 am

It's not crying about their run game. How can you cry about something you obviously don't have. But I'm here to to help Mattie Melted Ice out. Bring this guy on Jasen Bracy Jr. He won't blow the cap space and can most likely outperform the current running tandem.

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Lphill's picture

September 29, 2019 at 07:47 am

Let’s try Ty Summers inside ,can’t get any worse.

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Archie's picture

September 29, 2019 at 08:07 am

Can't run the ball and can't score 7 when in the red zone. Add to that ST giving up field position and you have a formula for getting run at all night, your WRs banged up and your defense over-exposed. Oh yeah, that's exactly what happened.

I think getting Adams back on the DL and letting Gordon play more at ILB will be good enough to balance out the defense some. If the Pack can score in the red zone and STs not give away field position, I kind of like our chances to finish above .500, maybe even qualify for the play-offs. Of course that assumes12 stays healthy and 17 gets back soon. We need a bigger HB who can find the holes like Howard did against us. That should be a priority in next year's draft along with a TE and another top young WR prospect. Need a 3 down ILB too. Another OT too. Probably can't fill all those needs but should fill 3/4 of them.

Till then, what about playing Gary at ILB? Maybe even RB in short yardage situations. And we also need to figure out how to get more out of our TEs and WRS not named Adams.

All that said, the offense is getting better. Its biggest problem seems to be poor run blocking. Maybe the ZB scheme doesn't fit our personnel? If the TEs can't block, use 6 OL instead. And why aren't they feeding the ball more to the FB. Put him and Gary in at RB, along with 6 OL, on those short yardage plays. They can't live w/o a run game and they really can't live w/o a short yardage threat. Get creative. Keep it simple but get creative ala Mike Ditka and the Fridge!

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4thand1's picture

September 29, 2019 at 09:04 am

I said the same thing Archie, put a big guy in the backfield with a head of steam and let him get you a yard at the goal line.

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Pauly's picture

September 30, 2019 at 09:43 am

What about playing Fackerel at ILB or Ty Summers?

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ThxJackVainisi's picture

October 01, 2019 at 08:49 am

Thinking a team can fill 3 of 4 needs a month into the season is unrealistic at best.

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Handsback's picture

September 29, 2019 at 08:21 am

I'm not sure BJ Goodson was ready to play except for spot duty. I don't think Pettine's system is that easy to learn and execute. This was a game of attrition by the Eagles and they won anyway. Very few CBs and and reliable pass catchers. Why Green Bay couldn't look at their two guys going to catch the ball, Ertz and Jeffery, and make sure they weren't going to hurt you? The Eagles didn't get many yards passing but when they did, 3rd downs/TD it was through those guys and a couple times the RB.
So I guess what I'm saying, if you allow the run, at least shut-down the pass.
On the other side of the ball, they had limited CBs....obvious passing situation. Seems like again, haven't seen any replays, that the short passing game should have been better implemented to keep the chains moving verses the short running attempts.
The Eagles are to be congratulated for winning that game. I think it was a coaching and how to attack issue verses getting beat one-on-one.

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JerseyAl's picture

September 29, 2019 at 09:16 am

Goodson played 25 snaps against the Broncos, so not being ready wasn't it. It was a game plan decision. I agree with you that the Packers got out-coached in this one. Rodgers still almost pulled out a win - Deja Vu.

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stockholder's picture

September 29, 2019 at 09:06 am

While I believe they should play the 4-3-4 . Their just not ready for it. Adams will be back. Burks and others. So Don't change a thing. Ride it out, and don't put two rookies together. Yes I'm talking about Gary. Gute wanted him more then Wilkens or any DT. He dumped cm3 and Daniels.( Refusing to believe they would have helped.) He wanted changes and we just have to ride with them. Until he finds those Men with Honor. The fight in the trenches will be trail and error. Several plays kept the eagles in this game. Along with a few Refs. The ability of the offense did come to life. But the improvement of it depends on the Wrs. MVS, Allison, and Shepard must show more. Much more.

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PeteK's picture

September 29, 2019 at 11:36 am

Daniels has 1 tackle and is now injured.

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stockholder's picture

September 29, 2019 at 01:16 pm

(Refusing to believe they would help!) Daniels is rotating in Detroit! ( 8 Mil. saved.) Gute's rolling the dice with Adams.( Whats so hard for you to understand about that?) Adams is now hurt. It took him 3 years to improve. Would Daniels have helped? OR is the 5th round pick backing up Adams, what you wanted. When Gute selected Gary, nobody thought he would play OLB. Comparing the DTs and the Nts of the draft, to Gary. And Being that Gute let Daniels go. The packers now must rely on baptism by Fire. I was only pointing out that some felt Daniels could have still been needed. Not what he was doing for Detroit. That the reason you get the best Dt/Nt you can; is not to develop. But to win in the trenches!

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4thand1's picture

September 29, 2019 at 09:06 am

The frustrating thing is we lost a game we should have won.

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murf7777's picture

September 29, 2019 at 10:18 am

I think you can say that about most games.

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PeteK's picture

September 29, 2019 at 11:38 am

Yes, so true. Eagles were a beat up team.

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Turophile's picture

September 29, 2019 at 09:16 am

Thanks for the follow up on the areas on the field being targeted. After Al posted the targeted areas last week i was wondering if that trend would continue (which it didn't).

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Ref hater's picture

September 29, 2019 at 09:51 am

I think the Packers need to teach their oline how to bear hug the dline men from behind, and tackle them and lay on top of them like the iggles were doing to them!! It's hard to play good run defense when all the run stuffers are held or tackled on every play. The refs sucked in this game, any time the Packers oline even looked at the refs funny it was a penalty! The nfl wanted the eagles to win. The refs made sure they did!!!

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Turophile's picture

September 29, 2019 at 01:35 pm

Every team has fans who things there is a referee and NFL office conspiracy, against their team and for whatever other team.
Every. Single. Team.

What does that tell you ?

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Barnacle's picture

September 29, 2019 at 10:29 am

Special Teams are poorly coached for the 12th year.

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PeteK's picture

September 29, 2019 at 11:40 am

Mostly Crosby not kicking the ball deep into end zone and then kicking it out of bounds.

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murf7777's picture

September 29, 2019 at 04:34 pm

I’m sure the coach told Crosby to kick it out of bounds.

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Slim11's picture

September 30, 2019 at 07:52 am

I suspect this is Crosby's final season in Green Bay. His kicking is clearly on the decline. That said, Ficken couldn't beat him out. Gutekunst has shown a willingness to spend draft capital on ST players. I won't be surprised if the Packers draft a kicker next spring.

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Leatherhead's picture

October 01, 2019 at 10:32 am

It's not the coaching, it's the overall strategy. Special teams players are very often young, inexperienced, rookies or UDFA types and yet we continuously put them in a position where they can negate the efforts of higher-paid, better, veterans.

Stop the Madness. Accept reality. Minimize the impact of special teams.

1. Fair catch anything you can. Never return a punt. Just catch it, don't turn it over, and don't take any block in the back or holding penalty that just backs up the offense.

2. Go for two-point conversions regularly.

3. Don't kick any long field goals, unless it's to win the game.

4. Punt less, go for it on 4th down more often. If you're in that area between about the 30 and your own 45, you should really consider going for it. Statistically, you'll get a first down on some of those....probably around half or so. And that will allow you to keep possession, keep the opposing offense on the sidelines, and possibly score a TD.

Sometimes you're going to fail and give your opponent a short field, but the reduced number of possessions will ultimately mean you'll give up fewer points.....unless you're no good converting 4th downs.

All of these would minimize the time on the field and the impact of special teams, especially on returns. Make Punts Boring Again. Just catch it and give it to the offense.

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cheesehead1's picture

September 29, 2019 at 10:50 am

The GB players/coaches are the reason we lost, not the refs. Let’s see how they rebound on the road, big big test.

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Qoojo's picture

September 29, 2019 at 10:56 am

I mirror your sentiment about defensive front line. Thinking afterward, I only recalled seeing Martinez as the sole LB, then pondering if they played pass defense the whole game. What we are seeing is never wanting to gamble by playing run defense, and getting caught by a big pass play. Death by a 1000 cuts.

With Green out, they don't have the safety that can play hybrid LB. Thus, it's dime/nickel all the time, so run run run. But the double tap Thursday night was that the Eagles could successfully pass too.

The packers have no run game as shown by the failure at the 1 yard line. I can understand not running right with Light as RT, but you still have to try a run. Oh and those wide slow poorly blocked runs by Jones have to stop. It's like watching the Cobb runs that everyone figured out.

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ShooterMcGee's picture

September 29, 2019 at 11:19 am

I was unpleasantly surprised by how our lines on both sides of the ball were dominated. I don't believe that is something we can fix. I have also stated many times that the weakness of the Defense is ILB. It's absolutely ridiculous that we have 1 starting caliber ILB on the team. Usually d-lines occupy the blockers and linebackers fill the gaps and make the tackles. Obviously that is not the case on our team.

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4thand10's picture

September 29, 2019 at 03:34 pm

Sure it can be fixed, gotta just play more base with 3 DL in the middle and the smiths on the edge. I had a feeling this year we would be short on the DL rotation to do that. I mentioned as much when the Christian Wilkens pick came up and i mentioned it again after Daniels was let go.

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Tarynfor12's picture

September 29, 2019 at 11:32 am

I thought before the game this was one GB can steal because of the short week to GB's benefit and that Philly was hurting,short week with travel and GB defense was playing above average for the first time in years.

The play of Rodgers and Adams was the only thing that appeared to be of the same mindset as me...this game is one we can steal.

Regretfully no other aspect of the team felt the same way as they were beat (to put it mildly) in the trenches on both sides of the ball, Graham had his catch, to make some again feel he is worth having, and then proceeded to show why isn't in more glorious fashion than his catch.

Philly played inspired and hungry for a team in pain knowing that a loss would make the season a struggle.The Packers accept for Rodgers and Adams played exactly as had been in previous seasons...it's was only Rodgers and Adams offensively.

Next week in Dallas will be a real test of the makeup of this team and I hope they can muster up a performance that keeps them in the game on both sides of the ball and not just watching Rodgers trying to be heroic and then listen to how he played well in a beat down.

I'm not giving up on my optimistic view just yet, but how they rebound in Dal will certainly tip that scale a little especially with a few big boy teams on the horizon.

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PeteK's picture

September 29, 2019 at 11:57 am

Very frustrating game! Jones never even had a chance to get to the line of scrimmage on too many plays . Meanwhile the Eagles were opening up holes that could fit two running backs. In the end, it was Graham at 6' 7" that twice couldn't come up with a TD catch and another time was watching Rogers scramble. What a wasted great performance by Rogers.

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splitpea1's picture

September 29, 2019 at 11:58 am

I can't believe that MLF and his offensive staff didn't have a jumbo package or some other creative plan for these goal line situations. Did it not cross their minds that this would come up sometime during the season? I recall a similar sequence at the goal line during a game last year--only Rodgers was able to complete a pass to Davante by a razor-thin margin on maybe the third try. To me though, this isn't the way to play football; either sneak it in, slam it home, or at least be able to complete a reasonable easy pass off of a fake. I like the suggestion of using K. Clark--sometimes these defensive linemen can even catch passes if they're left alone in the end zone.

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GVPacker's picture

September 29, 2019 at 05:33 pm

Consider the following, the run defense was a sieve, special teams committed numerous brain farts add some red zone offensive meltdowns and on top of that turning the ball over twice......and the Packers still had a chance to win! After the game I kinda felt like the Aflac Duck shaking my head!

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flackcatcher's picture

September 29, 2019 at 06:15 pm

I can see the Duck screaming JANIS! even now....

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flackcatcher's picture

September 29, 2019 at 06:36 pm

Pretty much felt the same after the game. Peterson and Pettine that was quite a match up/chess match thru out the game. The mental lapses were disappointing but expected of a young team in special teams. No run game on offense, it happens when the offense lose their two best road graders. Jenkins is a work in progress who is starting two soon, and Light did better than expected against a top defensive line. But it is too soon for both, but there is no choice, Packers have to play with what they have. No depth will catch up with a team sooner or later. So both are going to have to grow up a bit faster. Losing Tony Brown really hurt the defense in this game. Without him, Pettine could not slide T. Williams into the Hybrid/DB slot for cover proposes, and the soft middle got exposed. Give the Eagles credit, they get paid too. But the Packers did shut down the Eagles in the last two drives giving the offense a chance to tie and or win. That's on MLF, he got as you say, flat out out coach. Young coach, he'll learn. Still, this lost hurts..

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Oppy's picture

September 29, 2019 at 07:43 pm

Al, if you want to see something really troubling.. look into the target maps for the last 6-7 YEARS.

Rodgers has all but ignored the middle of the field.. I suspect because of his phobia of throwing ints.. regardless of the reason, ignoring a large area of the field equates to limiting your offense, and it certainly tips off defenses. The neglect has been so pervasive for so long, I absolutely guarantee opposing coordinators roll their coverages to the edges vs. the Packers.

It's a great thing to see that the Packers have ROdgers throwing over the middle again. I hope they continue.

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GVPacker's picture

September 29, 2019 at 08:12 pm

Losing at home to the Eagles on Thursday was a bummer especially when Jack Wagon Jim Schwartz was smirking on the sidelines during the game but I don't feel as bad now since the Bucs lit up the Rams in LA ......55 points geez that's crazy!

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cpabandit's picture

September 29, 2019 at 10:56 pm

The defense was awful. The Packers defense has been awful for years, so what else is new? Same can be said for the special teams. When you have first and goal with what many think is the GOAT QB who has his head up his ass for the past few years at $33.5 million a year, you find a way to make sure to score. I don't give a damn who the defense is and in this game it was not a great, not even a good defense coming in to Green Bay. First and goal at the one yard line? A high school play could find a way to score. And that's why the Packers lost.

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Ryan3468's picture

September 29, 2019 at 11:18 pm

Any chance Raji can take over kick offs so Crosby doesn’t have to?

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

September 30, 2019 at 03:26 am

GB played 5 or more DBs on 95% of the plays. Philly responded by playing "11" personnel just 54% of the time. Instead, Philly played "12" personnel 40% of the time, plus they played 6 OL plus 2 TEs another 6% of the time.

Wentz to Ertz/Goedert was good for 9 recs on 11 targets for 81 yards, 7 of Philly's 12 passing first downs, and a TD. Wentz had a 133.8 passer rating when targeting his TEs. Bleeding Green Nation mentions the TEs destroying Redmond in coverage. The 81 receiving yards was half of Wentz' 160 passing yards.

While the TEs are providing tremendous efficiency as pass catchers, they are also both good blockers. 46% of the time Philly had 7 good blockers on the field (and 8 on a few plays).

GB countered with DL playing 153 snaps, which means 2.47 DL per play. There were 2.1 OLBs on the field per play. That means Z. Smith and perhaps Gary played some snaps on the DL. Either way, those are high numbers for GB, and betokens the absence of a 2nd ILB being on the field for the most part (Goodson = 7 snaps out of 62 possible). What I deduce is that GB had 4.57 guys on or near the LOS, plus Martinez/Goodson (1.11 ILBs/snap). GB had safeties play 130 snaps (2.58 safeties per play) and CBs play 170 snaps (2.74 CB/play). Alexander completely throttled Agholoar (no targets) and King largely eliminated Jeffrey (38 yds on 9 targets).

GB got outcoached, and that's on Pettine. With only pedestrian receivers (King is made to cover Jeffrey) and no Desean Jackson on the field (and probably even if he is playing), GB needed to stop the run first against Philly. The Eagles on 24-6 since Wentz was drafted when they rush for over 100 yards, and they're 7-0 when rushing for over 175 yards. Okay, some hyperbole in the 175 yd stat - most teams win with that much. The Eagles are also 1-13 with Wentz when they rush for under 100 yards. GB didn't lose because Wentz is the first good QB they played. Wentz needs a rushing attack to win. If AR couldn't win a game unless the team rushed for more than 100 yards, fans would be screaming for his head.

I put this loss mostly on Pettine and Gute: the team either doesn't have a 2nd capable ILB and does not have 7 capable big guys that can be deployed in the front 7, or Pettine is not yet comfortable playing that 7th player.

I'd also note that Philly's big three (Cox, Barnett and Graham) on the DL all played a comfy 75% of the snaps with four other players rotating in. Clark played 97%, Lowry played 87%, and P. Smith 84%, and the coming off some kind of an injury Z Smith played 76%.

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johnburgoyne@ymail.com's picture

September 30, 2019 at 08:58 am

The last two coaches have endorsed a balanced attack. Over and over we heard LeFleur talk about establishing the run. Mc Carthy did the same the last few years. The Packers practiced an inordinate amount of running plays throughout camp. But both McCarthy and LeFleur have given Rodgers the ability to override their calls. So what do we end up with? 57 passes and a loss to the Eagles. 0 for 8 passes inside the Eagles 10 yard line. Not a single run called with the ball on the one yard line. As long as Rodgers is QB the Packers will never have a balanced attack. Rodgers has an ego and confidence that drive him which is great but unless he learns to contro Rodgers, LeFleur is going to have a short tenure in Green Bay.

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Pauly's picture

September 30, 2019 at 09:46 am

Slide Fackerel over to ILB and start using Summers more on run plays. Neither can be any worse than what's happening.

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