Confessions of a Polluted Mindset 2020 - Packers Flummox the Falcons

The Weekly Packers Brain Drain from Jersey Al.

First Drive: This might have been the Packers' best looking opening drive of the last five years or more. The "flow" (last week's catchword), creativity, variety and execution were downright perfect. 

Krys Barnes: Ladies and gentlemen, the Packers have themselves something here. Barnes' play has earned him more snaps (38 this week) and he took on the role of defensive signal caller when in the game. More importantly, he had one hell of a game. This guy plays football like his children's lives depend on it. Eyeing him as I re-watched the game today, he was ALL OVER the field doing everything you ask of a linebacker. He shed blockers to make tackles at the LOS, he blitzed and created pressure, he chased down ball carriers sideline to sideline, he dropped into coverage, he tipped a pass and more. I just can't say enough about what I saw from him in this game. What a find!

Atlanta Falcons: I have to hand out some kudos to the Falcon's defense. They lay wood on you. All game I kept wincing as Packers ball carriers got smacked to the turf with authority. Sure, they were undermanned due to injuries, but the hits were all hard and they were all clean. In his post game presser, Coach LaFleur even said he thought that might be the hardest hitting defense he's seen 

Adrian Amos / Raven Greene: This was easily Amos' best game of the year and I think it's no coincidence that it came with Raven Greene seeing 50 snaps compared to only six against the Saints. With Greene being his disruptive self in the box, I believe it freed up Amos to be able to play more of a free safety game and he was contesting more completions. At least that's my theory and I'm sticking with it.

Malik Taylor: Congrats to Taylor for pulling down his first reception in the NFL with a 20 yard catch and run on a fourth down. The next play became Bob Tonyan's second TD. While technically it was not a difficult catch, it was the type of play that other Packers have dropped because they were too anxious to turn and run upfield.Taylor made sure he secured the ball and then attacked the open space for a 20 yard gain. A big play by the young man.

Offensive Line: I know this is getting repetitious, but this group is as responsible for Rodgers' stellar play as much as Aaron is. The offensive line gave up one hurry and one sack the entire game. And Rodgers pretty much sacked himself on that one with a bad step in the turf and a stumble. Run blocking, especially on short yardage, where the right side of the line doesn't always carry their weight, is still a bit hit or miss, but it's tough to complain too much.

Matt LaFleur: How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. This year it's four, as in four different game plans for four different opponents. The days of seeing the same offense with the same scheme and plays rolled out onto the field every week are over. Week one it was the introduction of the Jet sweep and just let Davante catch everything. Week two it was the Aaron Jones show. Week three Allen Lazard was featured and the tight ends started to get some run. Week four it was all RBs and tight ends. What will it be in two weeks against the Bucs? I have no idea and that's what excites me. In LaFleur's presser, he answered a question from Ex-CHTVer Andy Herman about his vision for the offense with a straightforward, "I think the vision changes on a week to week basis." To borrow another line from that poem with reference to the offense, "I love thee with a love I seemed to lose." Well, the love is back, baby! 

 

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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.  Follow Al on twitter at @JerseyalGBP

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Comments (39)

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

October 07, 2020 at 10:04 am

Barnes continues to exceed expectations he just reset in the previous game. Taking the green dot suggests to me that he is now an established ‘starter’ and won’t be the one making way for Martin or Kirksey. I do wonder if Bolton will appear in GB in a few weeks if healthy and not picked up by another team.

Taylor is interesting. They really don’t run him on many routes. I’m wondering why. He is fast, good on STs, but otherwise so much of a mystery I think the Falcons forgot he was there on his catch. Maybe we will start To see him running some of Lazard’s routes and blocking duties? At 6’3” and 220, he isn’t Lazard but he isn’t small either.

The use of the RBs was really impressive not because of the lack of known receivers but because of how the coverage was being pulled by the run and the receivers on the field leaving space. Tonyan benefited heavily, but LaFleur’s use of the RBs was more imaginative I think.

This is a scheme that can make players better, adapt to injuries, opponents and game plans. So refreshing. It’s not always going to be enough, but it gives us a much better chance over the course of a season and the attrition that goes with it.

I share your unusually optimistic take on things for the future.

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CJ Bauckham's picture

October 07, 2020 at 01:06 pm

I thought Taylor blocked really, really well. In my mind at least, that cemented why he made the team over others

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Lphill's picture

October 07, 2020 at 02:19 pm

Bolton was released.

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Doug_In_Sandpoint's picture

October 07, 2020 at 10:19 am

Re: Falcons’ D, they did hit hard at times, but they had so many mental lapses that many of our plays looked easy. They were banged up but their second stringers didn’t seem well prepared to play at an NFL level. Coaching maybe? I guess on the brawn/brains scale you pick your poison...

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splitpea1's picture

October 07, 2020 at 10:57 am

Just inexperience on their part, probably; the Packers have a lot of schemes and weapons to account for in the new offense.

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stockholder's picture

October 07, 2020 at 01:53 pm

Re Falcons D, They did hit hard at Times/. Your absolutely Right. Williams took some big time shots. If you compare the hitting to our ILBs. This is exactly why they are the weakest link on the defense. Also; you only have to look at how many tackles the safeties have made, week in and out.

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Packer_Fan's picture

October 07, 2020 at 10:25 am

The Packers are rolling. Played well defensively in the first half. Other than that second series ending on 4th and goal, the offense played well. The Atlanta defense helped the offense alot. There were open receivers all over. And Jersey Al is right. Four games and four different approaches to the offense. The 4th down pass to Taylor when was a change of tendency to the bunch formation crossers will be really fun to watch in the next games as the defense will have no idea of how the play will roll out. Winning with a really good offense is fun to watch.

And.... It doesn't bother me that McCarthy and the Cowboys are 1-3.

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PeteK's picture

October 07, 2020 at 10:31 am

It seems that Rogers is taking what the defense is giving. However, with all the formations, movement, and different players that can catch the ball , it's a very difficult offense to defense. I feel very badly for Dequara and hope he comes back in full health. Luckily our TE position has depth. We must also include Keke as a player making the jump this year at the much needed DT position. Can we at least try a QB sneak at the goal line.

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Guam's picture

October 07, 2020 at 10:38 am

Between Barnes and the potential of Kamal Martin, the Packers may have found themselves some inside linebackers. Summers also offers depth, but needs to learn more about filling holes and tackling. Kirksey may need to return quickly or he could find himself on the outside looking in next year (cap casualty).

I love MLF's ability to adapt. This is the best looking Packer offense in a decade and with the exception of Rodgers, is without a first round draft choice. Juxtapose that with Atlanta who had ten or eleven first round draft choices on their starting offense and could only muster 16 points. Scheme, not players..........!

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Oppy's picture

October 07, 2020 at 10:58 am

Marcedes Lewis is a first round selection :)

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Guam's picture

October 07, 2020 at 10:59 am

Good catch Oppy - I had forgotten about Big Dog being a number one.

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Thegravedigger's picture

October 07, 2020 at 11:28 am

If barnes has another game like that, kirksey will be the 2nd ilb.

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jannes bjornson's picture

October 07, 2020 at 08:10 pm

Barnes knows the position. A starter and Captain for the Bruins. PAC 12 competition is very strong and feature pro-style offenses. He should carry a chip half the size of the High Sierras on his shoulder after being dis-respected by the pro personnel "brain trusts" that spout statistics, but fall asleep in film sessions, by Not selecting him in this 2020 draft. He knows the Game.

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Leatherhead's picture

October 07, 2020 at 11:08 am

1. People should use the word “flummox” more often.
2. If you’re a guy who likes to find out for yourself, I’d encourage you to focus on Barnes and rewatch.
3. Falcons are a good 0-4 team.

4. So are you saying we should play Greene more , and Savage less?
5. Taylor made a good catch, secured the rock, and started running towards the end zone. We should see if he can do it again.
6. We spend a pile on offensive linemen, and it’s worth it. If you can protect Rodgers and make holes in the run game, then you can have success with bargains at the skill spots.

7. I think the whole organization from the Board on down have made good choices. Hiring Murphy. Hiring Gutekunst and promoting him .Drafting and developing Aaron Rodgers and others. Bringing in some free agents and finding UDFA gold. This organization knows what they’re doing. Thank God you’re not a Cowboys fan.

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Coldworld's picture

October 07, 2020 at 11:27 am

We should play Greene at hybrid more than anyone. Good to see him finally looking healthy.

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Leatherhead's picture

October 07, 2020 at 12:09 pm

Who are our best defenders? If everybody is available, it’s Amos, Savage, King, Alexander, Sullivan (nickel), Smith, Smith, Gary, Kirksey (who will miss at least two more games and is replaced by Summers), Clark.......

That’s 10, and only includes one DL. I like Greene on the field, but I like Barnes, too. He’s sturdier and is about to become our leading tackler.

Savage, on the other hand, might benefit from giving Greene some snaps at safety.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

October 07, 2020 at 01:02 pm

They play 5 Backs a lot. I think between Chandon Sullivan and Greene I am happy about that and they can get on the field without pulling off Savage who can be All-Pro if he puts it together.

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Oppy's picture

October 07, 2020 at 03:52 pm

I'm not sure Savage is one of our best defenders.

On paper, you hope he is. But from what we've seen on the field, I just don't know.

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Coldworld's picture

October 07, 2020 at 04:54 pm

He has highs and lows like most young safeties

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jannes bjornson's picture

October 07, 2020 at 08:21 pm

Greene can go strong to the box and move Amos out if the competition moves in that direction. Savage needs to be given more free range to make plays and use his 4.2 8 speed. The Amos breakup in the endzone would have been a pick for Darnell who saw the play and was waiting for the ball. He had a great break on the ball to Ridley off the out cut and prevented a big play as the CB was turned in his cleats to the turf. Abrams is making plays for Gruden.
The weak link is Amos.

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Coldworld's picture

October 08, 2020 at 12:15 am

Have to disagree on Amos and on the pick.

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jannes bjornson's picture

October 09, 2020 at 09:24 pm

Savage was in motion to the ball.

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Grandfathered's picture

October 07, 2020 at 07:25 pm

Savage can play pretty fast and he seems to be at least close to the spot he's supposed to be, unlike others of the past unnamed. He can make a big play sometimes, He is an inconsistent tackler.

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Oppy's picture

October 07, 2020 at 08:44 pm

horrible pursuit angles and inconsistent tackling is frightening at a position that is often the last line of defense if an opposing player breaks free.

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Coldworld's picture

October 08, 2020 at 12:17 am

Just like Collins and Sharper at This stage in their careers. Patience.

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Oppy's picture

October 08, 2020 at 07:01 pm

I'm not saying Darnell Savage can't / won't develop, or that I'm impatient for it to happen. The OP said he's one of the 11 best defenders on this team. What I'm saying is.. exactly what I said. I don't know that he is. I think Greene is playing better than Savage right now.

Second, no, I don't agree that Savage is "just like Collins and Sharper" at this stage in their careers.

I hope Savage develops into the player we hope he can be, but in my opinion, he's not playing to the level of being one of our best 11 defenders at the moment, and I don't think his play as a rookie or so far in 2020 is like the play of a young Collins or Sharper. Sharper, for one, I always felt was an over-rated safety who made his living on poor, overthrown passes for easy picks. Collins was a generational talent and was still learning how to be a DB when he came to Green bay- he was a LB early in his college career.

I don't recall either Sharper or Collins having anywhere near as poor of pursuit angles as Savage has demonstrated so far in his early career.

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RCPackerFan's picture

October 07, 2020 at 11:17 am

First Drive:
LaFleur has this offense cooking!

Krys Barnes:
Perhaps we can thank the unusual offseason to how Barnes became an UDFA. But I'm glad he is with GB. He has been very impressive since day 1. 2 of my favorite plays from Barnes in the Falcons game is the diving tipped pass. Now it was completed, but he showed his athletic ability on that play. When is the last time a MLB did that for us? The other play was on Raven Greene's sack. It was Barnes who blitzed up the middle and blew up the RB forcing Ryan to scramble where Greene came up for the sack.
We will have to wait and see, but if Martin can come back and pick up where he left off before he got hurt, we could have 2 rookie ILB's playing for us this year.

Adrian Amos / Raven Greene:
Greene makes the defense better! Plain and simple. The defense is just different when he is on the field. Hopefully he can stay healthy because he is a key player to this defense!

Malik Taylor:
That was a really good play by Taylor. Hopefully it will propel him into more offensive production.

Offensive Line:
The OL deserves a ton of recognition. They have been great all year. This is the part that hasn't been talked about enough honestly. The OL play.

Matt LaFleur:
Ben Fennel posted on twitter a ranking of the top offenses to study each week. First is Chiefs. 2nd is GB. Followed by Colts, 49ers, Cardinals. And he has some others he likes too. My comment to him was "2 years ago where would GB rank on the list? Crazy how much has changed in the 2 years!" His response to my question was that 2 years ago he was using the film as a fire starter...

LaFleur has come in and completely changed this offense. This offense is fun to watch. You don't know what to expect. It doesn't rely on players to win matchups every single down. The motion has added so much to the offense. There was one play in particular that the broadcast crew highlighted. When they had the jet sweep motion and they ended up handing off to Jones. Well Deion Jones eyes were on the motion just long enough that Aaron was able to get past him. The motion just adds a little bit of deception that throws players off for a split second which throws off the defense.
The part that I do love is that he attacks defenses based on their weaknesses. Whether its throwing deep, doing underneath stuff, running the ball. It doesn't matter.

The Illusion of Complexity is here to stay in GB!

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Thegravedigger's picture

October 07, 2020 at 11:30 am

Yeah man. If you rewatch the game you see greene all over the field hitting recievers on quick passes and stuffing backs in the hole. Hes an agressive dude.

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Grandfathered's picture

October 07, 2020 at 07:32 pm

The OL was not getting a push in the running game against Atlanta as they had in games 1 and 2. The pass blocking has been great.

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Tabattttt's picture

October 07, 2020 at 11:30 am

I was so excited to see barnes after the draft. Dont watch college but can't help but root for a guy that seemed to only go undrafted cause of his size. Should be fun once kamal is back and we maybe have 3 legit good inside backers

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jannes bjornson's picture

October 09, 2020 at 09:31 pm

He was undrafted because of the inbred nature of the NFL scouting departments. Some work the hotel lounges for Happy Hour and the free buffet and watch film in triple vision, some play Nitendo and scour the stats sheets for some version of veracity off a t-test or some other bullshit. Luckily for the Pack, Sam Seale pushed for Barnes. For him not to be drafted , was a crime.

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stockholder's picture

October 07, 2020 at 01:58 pm

Barnes best play of the game? Don't agree with the fact they found themselves a LB. Still feel the ILBs are the weakest part of the defense. That ball would have been INTERCEPTED IF BARNES DIDN'T KNOCK IT AWAY.

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Coldworld's picture

October 07, 2020 at 03:55 pm

Linebacker dropping interception? If that was grounds to bench one then some of the greats wouldn’t be.

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Oppy's picture

October 09, 2020 at 12:17 pm

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jannes bjornson's picture

October 09, 2020 at 09:37 pm

Delusional.

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Lphill's picture

October 07, 2020 at 02:24 pm

I agree Al about the solid O line play but I think they do better in pass protection then run blocking but with Lewis in that elevates their run blocking.

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jannes bjornson's picture

October 07, 2020 at 08:26 pm

More inside zone than outside running in that game against Quinn's group.

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Ferrari-Driver's picture

October 07, 2020 at 07:46 pm

Al, Great article.

I liked the last paragraph the best when you spoke about the difference in each game plan and how well each one worked and emphasized different players and plays.

Matt LaFleur is such a soft spoken gentleman he reminds me of a Bart Starr with his kind and considerate exchanges with people. It's heartwarming to see such a fine person be so successful.

I grew up in an era where we had guys like "Leo The Lip Durocher" who was known for his famous "nice guys finish last" comment. I hope LaFleur continues to prove Leo wrong.

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Tundraboy's picture

October 07, 2020 at 10:09 pm

Best looking balanced offense I have seen in a very long time, like too far back to mention when. Seemed effortless , reminded me of the 60s. Absolutely loved Jamal's game and attitude.. Best part is not knowing anymore what they'll do. How refreshing.

GPG

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