Confessions of a Polluted Mindset 2020 - Packers Level the Lions

The Weekly Packers Brain Drain from Jersey Al.

Raven Greene:

If you're a frequent reader here, you likely know this writer is a big fan of Raven Greene. The Packers defense is just not the same when he is not in the lineup. He does so many things for this team and as I've expressed before, he may be the surest tackler on the team. If he gets his hands on the ball carrier, he's taking him down. There is no slipping out of his grasp and he doesn't lower his head and just blindly throw his body at a ball carrier ala _______. (You fill in the blank)  Getting back to things he does, did you realize he's the last blocker in the backfield (closest to the punter) on the punting team? As the ball is snapped, Greene's job is to pick up the first would-be punt-blocker who made it through the line. I find it rather strange that a defensive back would be given that job - it's a testament to his versatility and abilities. This may be a stretch, but it's certainly possible Greene's absence contributed to the Lions' success with screen plays.

 

Vernon Scott:

On CheeseheadRadio last week, I suggested that Kamal Martin and Vernon Scott would likely pick up some of Greene's snaps. Martin inexplicably only saw 12 snaps, but Scott did pick up 16 and made his presence felt with some big hits. I have no idea if he's comfortable enough with scheme and assignments to steal some of Will Redmond's snaps, but I sure liked what I saw  from him on Sunday. So did Ben Fennell:

 

 

Kamal Martin:

Speaking of Martin, I totally get that he's a rookie, he's missed time due to injuries, and he can be overly aggressive at times, but damn it, the guy plays with the fire this defense needs more of. 

 

EQ:

Is Equanimeous St. Brown really the best type of player to use as your outside man on kickoff returns? (Maybe it's because he's comfortable with the sideline since he tends to head there after a catch instead of taking a hit?) Ok, that was a bad joke and a bit snarky, but shouldn't your outside guy be a bit more willing to be physical and attack from the sideline in?

 

MVS: 

What a performance! He made important catches beyond just the touchdown and was a perfect six catches on six targets. When I saw that I wondered if he had ever had a perfect game like that before. After doing the research, he has been two for two in a game before, but has never before had a perfect game when targeted three times or more. If he can continue to learn from Davante Adams, who may be the best at shutting out the rest of what's happening and focusing solely on the ball and catching it, MVS could reach that potential I saw for him before the Packers even selected him.

 

Aaron Jones:

Wrote about this last week... another game, another ignored facemask on Jones. Three games in a row now.

 

Blitz with a Plan?

The Packers blitzed 16 times against the Lions - a huge number for them. But it wasn't the number of blitzes that impressed me. It was more the fact that it looked like they actually had a plan to open a lane to give the blitzer a clear path to the quarterback. I mention this because too often when you watch back Packers film you'll see blitzes that get absolutely no pressure. It just looks like a free for all with Packers players running into each other or five one-on-one battles that nobody wins. This past week, you saw Savage get a sack on a schemed blitz and there was also this play. As the Lions get ready to snap, you can see Lowry shift towards the outside and Martin into the gap created. At the snap, Lowry takes an outside path, taking the guard with him. Lancaster takes a path that pulls the center with him. Martin shoots the huge lane created and pressures Stafford into a bad throw (or a throw away). Pretty simple stuff, but something I've seen other teams doing a lot more than the Packers.

 

3-Man Rush:

Of course, the antithesis of blitzing is the dreaded 3-Man rush. While I can't claim to be 100% sure on this, I don't remember a single 3-Man rush by the Packers in this game.

 

Kenny Clark:

One of the best things about Kenny Clark that no one ever mentions is his vision. No matter what chaos he's involved in at the LOS, he always has his eyes in the backfield tracking the ball. You saw him blow up an attempted screen against the Eagles. You saw him blow up a flea-flicker against the Lions. He's always pursuing the ball along the LOS. I think it might be his best attribute.

 

Situational football:

I showed you the late 2nd and nine shot attempt in yesterday's "3 plays..." post. I absolutely hate that decision in the situation it was taken in. Let's review: It's the fourth quarter and the Lions execute a 15-or-so play drive to pull within 7 points of the Packers. After the kickoff, the Packers start out at the 25 yard line with 6:30 left in the game. The Packers run four plays. After the fourth play, Rodgers tries to draw the Lions offsides before using a timeout with one second on the play clock. This leaves them with a 2nd and nine on the Lions 34 yard line with 3:47 left in the game. What should have happened next is two more running plays, which would have run the clock down to about two and a half minutes. It would have been a comfortable field goal for Crosby, putting the Lions two scores behind with around 2:20 left. And that's if they don't make a first down. If they do, the game is essentially over. Instead of taking the easy first down to Lazard, Rodgers goes for the Davante shot, a much lower percentage play. The Packers were extremely fortunate that Mason Crosby bailed them out twice. First by hitting the 57-yard field goal and then by making a touchdown-saving tackle on the kickoff return. If those two things don't happen, the result could have been very different. That second and nine throw was just BAD SITUATIONAL FOOTBALL. That is all.

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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 (75)

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Pack88's picture

December 16, 2020 at 07:03 am

Al Totally agree with the 2nd and 9 comment!!

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dobber's picture

December 16, 2020 at 09:10 am

A lot went wrong on that play (the ball needed to be thrown to the pylon to keep the DB from having a shot at it), but I would argue that's the same kind of play that gets called "gutsy" if it connects.

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Tundraboy's picture

December 16, 2020 at 01:41 pm

Likewise. Abosolutely hate it. Downside of Rodgers aggressiveness going to Adams too often, but it happens with others as well.

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HighPlainsDrifter's picture

December 16, 2020 at 07:06 am

Al, Thanks to you and the entire CHTV staff for making it a point to post new content early in morning every day. CHTV has always been a high quality site, and I believe that the current combination of writers and podcasters is the best ever. Thanks again for the information and entertainment.

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Turophile's picture

December 16, 2020 at 08:31 am

I second that...... and will add that the 'polluted mindset' pieces often bring a new perspective on things, subtle stuff that most of us would otherwise miss.

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JerseyAl's picture

December 16, 2020 at 09:09 am

Thanks for the kind words and I agree on your assessment of the writing team - strongest group we've ever had by far.

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RCPackerFan's picture

December 16, 2020 at 07:30 am

Raven Greene:
Our defense is simply better when Greene plays. One of the problems however is that he has missed a lot of time these last 2 years. Packers better hope he can come back for the playoffs or else they better hope they can find a suitable replacement. Which i think should be Scott...
It is no stretch to say that the screens worked because Greene wasn't there. One on of the plays in particular Redmond was there, but rather then attack and blow past the blockers he stopped which allowed the blockers to block him out of the play. If Greene was in there, that doesn't happen.

Vernon Scott:
Scott needs more playing time. He needs to be playing in front of Redmond. Redmond may know the defense but he struggles. He takes poor angles, isn't aggressive at the point of attack. He isn't physical. Scott does all of those things well. We can sit here and say "well, Scott is a rookie 7th round pick". Who cares. Just watch him on the field and we know he can play. Its time to get him on the field and allow him to do what he does best.

Kamal Martin:
Like Scott, i don't get why Martin isn't playing at minimum double what he is playing. He brings speed, energy and hard hitting ability. I honestly think its time to get Martin on the field at the expense of Kirksey.

EQ:
Not exactly a special teams demon. But I like his ability in the offense to contribute.

MVS:
IMO this was MVS's best game. His aggressiveness going after the ball with his hands, showing strong hands, was really impressive. The one thing I do wonder, is if they need to script more plays to him early to get him a touch early. Finley used to be that way. Get him a catch early to stay more engaged.
There were 2 plays that really stood out to me though. The first was the TD. That has been a play that Rodgers and him have not connected on so many times. The back shoulder throw. But not only that but he came back with very strong hands. That is a play that if he can add that to his deep speed, what are CB's going to do? They have to play the deep ball, but if he can add that he will be very difficult to defend. The other play that stood out was the 3rd and 14 play. He just made a great play.
A play that stood out after the game was the Defensive holding call. During the game all we heard from the announcers that was a very late call. Well seeing on twitter the actual play, it was a great call. If they don't hold MVS, he likely has a deep play or potentially a long TD.

Aaron Jones:
Yeah but the Packers get all the calls...
Last weeks one was the worst of the 3. I don't get how a running back running through the middle of the defense can get his facemask pulled enough to either slow him down or completely spin him around and not get a flag.

Blitz with a Plan?:
An aggressive Pettine is a better Pettine is a better defense.
When our CB's can play tight coverage and not really give up a lot of room, they should blitz more often.

3-Man Rush:
I don't remember a 3 man rush in the last 2 games to be honest. I question how much is from influence of LaFleur. At the beginning of the second half they said one of the things LaFleur said was that they need to play tighter coverages. They did that in the 2nd half. I wonder if he has influenced the defense to be more aggressive.

Kenny Clark:
Clark is a stud. Plain and Simple. He won't always get the stats, but just watch him play. he is all over.

Situational football:
While it technically should have probably been thrown to Lazard I don't fault him for taking a shot there. He was a bit off on his throw, but I think it did hit Adams in his hands. That connection has been almost spotless the last few weeks. There are always a number of plays a game that we can look at and say, we should have went here or there. Rodgers has been very good about taking what the defense has given him. I'm fine with him taking a shot there when he had the matchup. Its not like he passed up Lazard to throw into double/triple coverage.

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dobber's picture

December 16, 2020 at 09:14 am

"Scott needs more playing time. He needs to be playing in front of Redmond. Redmond may know the defense but he struggles. "

Redmond played slot snaps on Sunday after Sullivan got hurt (or played S with Amos or Savage walking up). He's more of a coverage CB/S tweener than Scott or Black, who look like box safeties to me.

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RCPackerFan's picture

December 16, 2020 at 10:08 am

If that is the case (I hadn't heard that, and I'm not saying you aren't right), I truly hope they move Alexander to the slot and put Jackson at the other Outside CB spot. Jackson is better then Redmond and should be on the field.

I'm not a fan of Redmond. If they are just going to plug and play from Greene to Redmond, it isn't going to work. They are not the same types of players. Maybe Redmond would be ok in a deep safety type of role. He isn't Greene though.

I would rather see Scott in there. He has a nose for the football, and is willing to hit.

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Coldworld's picture

December 16, 2020 at 10:30 am

Jackson has been horrible in the middle. There is a difference between Redmond playing in the slot than playing Hybrid, which is what you appear to be describing. Redmond in fact is willing to hit, but just not good at completing. He is much better in coverage roles. Thank Pettine for that one. Jackson will tackle, but apparently struggled reading coverages and was shifted to external duties only. Scott should be in the Hybrid role if anywhere in the absence of Greene.

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dobber's picture

December 16, 2020 at 10:41 am

The coaches must view [Alexander on perimeter + combo of safeties in slot] > [Jackson on perimeter + Alexander in slot]

If you go to the screen pass video from Al's "3 plays" yesterday, you see Amos and Barnes in the box. Redmond is the other standup defender in the picture. Redmond is clearly responsible for the RB and Amos passes off Hockenson to Barnes in coverage.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

December 17, 2020 at 06:14 am

In a vacuum, that's not a bad idea. However, moving Jaire to slot means the safety can't shade to one side to help King, who needs help regardless of what many fans seem to believe about him. Given Jackson's problems with speed Pettine is going to give him frequent safety help over the top, so now King is on an island or the Packers play two safeties deep.

Jaire is fearless but I am not sure I want to see him that close to the LOS, the traffic and the big uglies.

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gkarl's picture

December 16, 2020 at 07:31 am

ST have a problem and EQ isn't the answer, since he was drafted he's never been labeled as that type of ST guy. As Al has noted we need some speed and tuffness on the edge for kickoffs and gunner on punts. I would give MVS a try, zero ST snaps LW. How much worst can it be and he's one of the fastest on the team and is willing blocker on offense, so he should be tuff enough to handle ST. Maybe get Alexander some ST reps as well. I know... don't risk starters on ST but if you want to fix the problem for a SB run it might be worth a try.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

December 17, 2020 at 06:20 am

EQ only played two snaps on STs against DET and just 33 ST snaps all season long. Seems like GB knows he is not good on STs.

Starters don't typically play STs much. Not sure what LW means.

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gkarl's picture

December 17, 2020 at 08:54 am

TGR

LW=last week. I realize starter don't/shouldn't play ST much but we have a problem with ST. Yes EQ is not not a good ST player and I think the coaches realize that. I'm suggesting maybe get a couple of starters some ST snaps to try and fix some of the problems with that unit.

We have a chance for the SB this year I would hate to see that chance undone by a ST gaff again. I can't forget Seattle. This late in the year one way I see to improve the unit is to some of your best players/starters out there. I think it a risk worth taking right now.

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CoachDino's picture

December 16, 2020 at 07:55 am

Great stuff.
I sure hope NL talks to Arod about that, he has to know better. Hope it's not for stats/glory. I have no idea what he was thinking.

Hey if he had a shutdown defense maybe, but even then it wouldn't be the "computer" move

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Razer's picture

December 16, 2020 at 08:24 am

...Hope it's not for stats/glory...

This is my worry with Aaron Rodgers. Hearing him in interviews, I get the impression that 'legacy and records' are a big driver at this stage. I get it - he is a star and ego comes with this package. This year, his success is our success and those 2 and 9s are part of the price.

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Tingham's picture

December 16, 2020 at 08:50 am

Well if you dont like guys that put up big stats Mitch Trubisky is going to be available.

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dobber's picture

December 16, 2020 at 09:22 am

<<drops mic>>

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Razer's picture

December 16, 2020 at 09:30 am

My worry isn't stats. Three and outs to close out games or long field goal attempts are not what this offense wants to be known for. Rodgers can choose to move the chains and eat up the clock or keep taking the deep shot.

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jannes bjornson's picture

December 16, 2020 at 07:43 pm

They still had third down, so what?

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

December 17, 2020 at 06:22 am

the third down they still had led to a 57 yard field goal. Probabilities

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dobber's picture

December 16, 2020 at 09:23 am

Yup. The greatest star on his legacy at this point would be carrying this team to a SB victory.

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Razer's picture

December 16, 2020 at 09:31 am

Totally agree.

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Lphill's picture

December 16, 2020 at 08:21 am

Thanks Al , I mentioned Scott in another post, he can hit and his pursuit looks good, I went back and watched his TCU highlights , pretty impressive , hope to see more of him Saturday night.

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PeteK's picture

December 16, 2020 at 08:31 am

It's a shame how brittle Greene is , but at least we have some youthful choices. The same with our receivers, there has been some progression.
The Detroit game was Clark's best this season, hopefully he is peaking at just the right time because he is irreplaceable
A Jones signing seems to have taken a step back. As much as I like Jones ,maybe a less cap impact back (Bell) and a defensive free agent . They already tried to sign the Gents Tomlinson.

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stockholder's picture

December 16, 2020 at 08:27 am

This Defense is to selective. Greene isn't the answer! And none of Pettine's guys who came from Cleveland are either. I get the fit. But -- Pettines Safeties are Not the answer. Were better off with Lbs. The problem with the defense for the last 10 years has been the Tackling. Give me Martin first. Redmond is a failure. The heart of this defense needs a TRANSPLANT!

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PeteK's picture

December 16, 2020 at 08:36 am

Who are Pettiness guys? Yes, his bend but don't break scheme could be better, our safeties have been playing better and Amos was making some good hits vs Lions.

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stockholder's picture

December 16, 2020 at 08:51 am

Kirksey, Winn, and yes Savage and Amos are playing better. If Martin opened their eyes so much. Play him. If he doesn't hold up move on. Barnes needs to replace Kirksey.

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PeteK's picture

December 16, 2020 at 09:11 am

Oh yeah Kirsksey, I'm forgetting all about him already.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

December 17, 2020 at 06:24 am

And Menenga.

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Razer's picture

December 16, 2020 at 09:14 am

Winn is on IR and done for the season - torn tricep or something similar

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Coldworld's picture

December 16, 2020 at 09:19 am

It wasn’t torn. They are hoping to have Winn back before the playoffs, just taking advantage of the (better) IR rule this year.

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dobber's picture

December 16, 2020 at 10:44 am

Winn is one of Pettine's guys? He's played 40 defensive snaps, total.

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Coldworld's picture

December 16, 2020 at 01:54 pm

Winn is one Pettine fights giving snaps. Along with Martin and Scott. Winn is one who, like them, should have had more time. Perhaps he meant Lowry?

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Coldworld's picture

December 16, 2020 at 09:01 am

Al’s point is dead on:

“An aggressive Pettine is a better Pettine is a better defense.
When our CB's can play tight coverage and not really give up a lot of room, they should blitz more often.”

The thing is Pettine is on record as saying that’s how it’s designed. It’s how we played last year. The downside was we gave up big plays, so Pettine’s answer is to play softer and more zone at the back and rush less ( and seemingly from Zs comments, change the use of the OLBs that was such a success last year).

Pettine has to trust his players to cover. It’s ironic that we are actually so much better doing so aggressively throughout our backfield. He also needs to trust his OLBs to disrupt and scheme help from blitzes, as he did last week for once.

I think the problem is that he doesn’t know what to do with his DL or ILBs and has a system that relies on one individual with no back up (Greene) to hold it together.

Pettine seems to have a strong desire to stick to his people regardless of failure on the field. Although Lowry had a good game by his standards last week, he has been a liability for a season and a half yet dominated playing time over alternatives. We see the same with Redmond. Redmond is decent deep, but Pettine keeps trotting him out despite its being obvious he’s not good at the hybrid (he’s average build for a corner; talk about an uphill ask anyway) rather than play Scott (or even a true ILB).

Obviously we have the same issue at ILB proper. The thing is, if it’s broken, you won’t fix it with out trying other options, other players need playing time. So yes, some pain for a possible gain, but he seems to prefer not to risk that and let the broken record keep turning. Instead, he undermines the self-described core premise of his defense, aggression, disruption and turnovers.

Pettine has taken the good in his D and hamstrung it and refuses to risk newer players for the most part. He is undermining his own scheme, getting less from his roster than he should and playing to weaknesses in his players not their strengths. To make it worse he is removing opportunities to see if there is better talent for positions or roles (Scott, Martin, Winn pre injury) and to let that talent improve prior to the playoffs. This is why Pettine should go at the end of the year.

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Swisch's picture

December 16, 2020 at 09:42 am

It seems the key is mixing things up.
Mix up the aggressive plays with the safer plays.
Mix up younger guys with more experienced guys
Mix up where the blitzes are coming from, and the stunts used to free blitzers.
Mix up, on the same play, some tighter coverage with some softer.
On third-and-short, especially with blitzes, perhaps give our corners the challenge of tight man-to-man coverage, while having our safeties prevent the deep ball.
Predictability kills. If we blitzed, all the time, for example, offenses would figure it out and start to shred our defense.
Variety is the key, especially if it is tailored to game situations.
I'm actually starting to get kind of excited about this defense perhaps making big improvements in time for the playoffs.

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Tundraboy's picture

December 16, 2020 at 04:27 pm

I thought you would end that is why he should go now. Why court disaster?

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Swisch's picture

December 16, 2020 at 05:02 pm

I've advocated removing Pettine right away -- but since it appears he's staying, I'm rooting for him to rise to the occasion to bring out the best in our defense.
I'm not expecting a huge improvement by the playoffs -- but still a significant step forward in creativity, execution, toughness and energy.
That could be enough to get us a win in the Super Bowl, and for Pettine to keep his job.
It's a longshot, but there seems to be some signs our defense is getting better, and that there is good potential that could show itself in good measure by this season.

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jannes bjornson's picture

December 16, 2020 at 08:09 pm

He has speed at the safety spot with Savage and Redmond. They can go single high or two deep with Amos low for the TE. The glitch seems to be not letting King press. The miss with Jackson and Burks is really hurting the defense's ability to present a skilled set across the Dime. Scott is a player and Barnes, OK let Martin be the chaser, full time.

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scullyitsme's picture

December 16, 2020 at 08:37 am

Disagree on the 2nd and 9. If it’s bad situational football, blame it on Lafleur for not running the ball. Don’t blame it on AR for throwing that ball. He’ll throw that one on one to Adams, with a step on the defender, all day every day, twice on sundays. :)

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PeteK's picture

December 16, 2020 at 08:47 am

I think that was an AR and DA automatic call. Great players look at that as an easy TD. However, as Al clearly explained at that point in the game it makes much more sense to get the easy first. Then we don't have to deal with all the high drama to seal what should have been an enjoyable 4th quarter. Instead, I was doing a Tarkanian impersonation!

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JerseyAl's picture

December 16, 2020 at 09:15 am

Exactly - it's all about the situation and being smart. Pretty much any other point in the game previously - fire away. But an easy first down there is, in effect, a kill shot. Just less dramatic.

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scullyitsme's picture

December 16, 2020 at 09:49 am

If you don’t want Aaron to be Aaron then run the ball. I watched our “other” receivers against the eagles drop about 5 first downs that where easy catches, drive killers. So yes, I see your point, it’s logical normally, but you know, I know , Lafleur knows, the world knows Aaron’s taking that shot to Adams no matter what we all think.

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jlc1's picture

December 16, 2020 at 03:05 pm

I think ARod fully grasps the situation but what I love is that he is so certain of himself and Adams that he thinks that throw is hardly any more risky than the one to Lazard. Confidence is something that just got drained out of the team in the late McCarthy years and I think, over the course of a season, this adds up to a team with the kind of swagger that other teams fear. However, Crosby misses and the Lions take advantage and all this hard to prove stuff about swagger turns into a loss and nobody fears a team that loses to the Lions. Point taken Al.

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PeteK's picture

December 16, 2020 at 03:44 pm

Fully agree , but I got a new towel to chew on just in case.

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Tundraboy's picture

December 16, 2020 at 08:54 pm

Reminds me of the guy in basketball, that has to show he's the man and launches a long range 3 when there's others open for an easy shot. Fine sometimes but not when the game gets serious.

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Coldworld's picture

December 16, 2020 at 09:16 am

I think AR saw that as an open Adams and a gimme play. 9 times out of 10 it has been. This time Rodgers just under threw it.
So yes, there may have been a safer option, but I think Rodgers would have seen that throw as virtually equivalent risk for a higher reward. The amazing thing is that he is right, but that was one of the few times Rodgers wasn’t able to throw it well enough.

I can’t get too excited by this marginal underestimation of risk. That’s not to say Lazard was not the better odds play, but to point out that it wasn’t actually a high risk throw to Adams based on history. Thus the difference was small and the upside greater. I can live with this particular decision. With nearly every other QB (and receiver), I would agree with Al.

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jannes bjornson's picture

December 16, 2020 at 08:17 pm

He glanced Lazard first and could have ripped it, but Adams got the step on his guy and he released just a bit late and off point from his windup.

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Coldworld's picture

December 16, 2020 at 09:18 am

I hoped the plan for Scott was to play Greene’s position in the event of Greene being unavailable. Redmond plays well deep and is willing but he just isn’t a good fit in the hybrid role. Willingness isn’t a solution.

I hope Scott gets more time with Greene out to show whether he has the awareness and instincts that Greene has, which in my opinion, is why he makes us better.

I am dubious. Pettine refuses to play Martin despite his impact during the handful of snaps he gets. Given that the same was clear with Winn before his injury, I see little reason to expect Pettine to treat Scott any more favorably. One of the reasons that I remain in the change DC camp.

EQ came out of college not having played special teams and with significant questions about his toughness and desire and impose himself on the game. That’s why a guy with his physical abilities fell so late. I guess one could reduce that to desire to play football generally and particularly when it gets physical.

I’m getting rather concerned that there was a basis for such questions. I’m also concerned that he hasn’t seemed to master the route tree. Get the ball in his hands and you see the physical talent. Everything else about him makes me wonder if he wants it enough to capitalize on it and do the dirty work that it takes to become good and to help your team and advance yourself as a player.

To be clear, EQ has the talent to be really good. That was not really in dispute at the draft. I hoped we had a steal, but at this point I fear that the doubters about his desire and commitment may have been right to let him drop so far. I hope he proves me wrong.

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Razer's picture

December 16, 2020 at 08:41 am

I am glad that you brought up the 3 man rush because it seems that there is a shift in defensive tendencies. Maybe Pettine has been moved in a direction. Recent player acquisitions (Rush and Price) for the D-line might indicate a shift in thinking. We still have to get past our players not knowing who to cover or where to line up.

Am I the only one thinking that Aaron Jones is gone after this season? Drew Rosenhaus has not been hired to deal with the Packers and the Packers are not going to throw stupid money at a RB. Better see what we have in AJ Dillon before the draft.

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dobber's picture

December 16, 2020 at 10:52 am

"Maybe Pettine has been moved in a direction. Recent player acquisitions (Rush and Price) "

I don't think this is the case...they're similar physical types replacing guys who have gone on IR (M. Adams, Winn). Rush didn't log a defensive snap on Sunday. Price is on the PS. I don't know how much we can really read into it unless they actually start logging snaps.

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Leatherhead's picture

December 16, 2020 at 11:54 am

Razer, I doubt Jones returns. He’s been a fantastic bargain for us, Kudos to the people who drafted him. Williams, too.

I strongly believe the Packers plan is to economize at the skill positions. All our WRs except Adams are bargains. All of our TEs, except Lewis, is a bargain. Our RBs are bargains.

All these bargains allow us to spend money on Rodgers, the accomplished linemen, and Adams.

Our RB situation for next year is Dillon, Ervin, Dexter Williams, whoever we draft and/or pick up . It’ll still be a bunch of bargains playing with a really good line and QB.

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Razer's picture

December 16, 2020 at 12:38 pm

I think you hit it on the head with both the rationale and projection. And, I don't blame Gutekunst for not throwing big money into the backfield or another big ticket WR. I would have liked to see more of Dillon to see what we have in this big body.

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Swisch's picture

December 16, 2020 at 12:40 pm

It would be so good to sign both Jones and Williams, but it seems running backs are the riskiest position into which to put big money.
Still, I'd try to keep both if they are willing to accept a hometown discount,
Aaron Jones is especially desirable as his talents are so unique in that rare combination of elusiveness and toughness. Plus, he seems a willing and effective blocker.
Perhaps Dillon can replace Jamaal Williams, but Jamaal just seems so professional and productive for the Packers just about every time he has an opportunity to run, receive, and block. While not all that unique as a talent, he seems uniquely able and willing to make the right play at the right time.
If Jones and Williams like each other, maybe they both take a bit of a discount -- or contracts structured with less guaranteed money and favorable to the salary cap -- to stay together on the Packers as our continuing one-two punch.
Whatever happens, God bless both of them. They've been a dynamic duo for us!

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PeteK's picture

December 16, 2020 at 01:48 pm

He probably switched to Rosenhaus as the agent for a reason, more mula.

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Guam's picture

December 16, 2020 at 12:49 pm

Agree that Jones is gone, but I haven't entirely given up hope that the Packers could resign Jamal Williams at a very reasonable rate. Williams does many things well, but is not a dynamic enough runner to command serious dollars. He is a good fit for MLF's offense and may have more value here than elsewhere.

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Leatherhead's picture

December 17, 2020 at 08:45 am

I used to have that hope for Williams, but I’d be stunned if he didn’t get at least a three year, $10 million deal.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

December 17, 2020 at 06:58 am

The OL is great at pass blocking but it isn't good as a run blocking unit. It will be worse without Linsley and worse if Lewis retires. Jones and Williams are more talented runners than Ervin, and the jury is out on Dillon. He's big and fast, but I need to see more of him to check his vision and look at his feet and speed to the edge. LaFleur wants to run the ball more.

This does not compute.

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Leatherhead's picture

December 17, 2020 at 09:07 am

The jury is out on Dillon, if by the jury, you mean the fans. The professionals have already rendered their verdict by drafting him and paying him millions. Since we already had a starter, and a quality backup, his selection makes little sense unless it was for the near future, i.e. next year, when they won’t be here.

If LaFleur wants to run the ball more, he should. We are not in the top ten in rushing attempts despite having good leads in our games.

Please don’t malign our offensive line. I see the holes they’re making in the run game.....without Linsley. Lewis is an exceptional blocker but Tonyan is going to be our guy going forward.

In fact, as I’ve mentioned before, most of our offense is returning.. Not Jones, Williams, Linsley or Lewis, but everybody else.

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jannes bjornson's picture

December 16, 2020 at 08:20 pm

Looks like LaFluer has banned it.

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Swisch's picture

December 16, 2020 at 08:47 am

So a big question, with three games left, is how to balance our striving for the top seed in the playoffs with getting our promising younger guys on defense more plays on the field.
It doesn't have to be one or the other, but I'd lean toward an emphasis on getting our younger guys on the field more often so that they can contribute more in the playoffs.
I'm not even sure home field advantage is that big of a deal, because it seems the overwhelming key to any Packers victory is our passing game -- which would be better off in a place like the dome in New Orleans or the sunshine in Los Angeles.
Also, with the eeriness that comes from stadiums that are nearly empty, home field is an iffy consideration.
So get Martin and Scott and Gary, and any other aggressive and talented young players, a significant number of added reps.
P.S. Might Vernon Scott be the guy on special teams to run the edge?

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PeteK's picture

December 16, 2020 at 09:01 am

I'm just glad that we have CBs that are experienced. Shifting some youth in at other positions might result in big plays , but not long TDs. You make a good pt about home field advantage , but week off at the end of the season to rest up and no new injuries is usually good.

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murf7777's picture

December 16, 2020 at 11:39 am

Home field may not be as big but Brees outside of dome in the winter is odds I like.

More importantly is the bye week which is extremely important to get to the super bowl. Here is a stat to back up my statement..... Since the league instituted a seeding system in 1975, the No. 1 or No. 2 seeds have reached the Super Bowl 71 times while all other seeds got there 17 times. Only 10 of the 44 champions in that span were seeded Nos. 3-6.

We want the bye week.

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Swisch's picture

December 16, 2020 at 12:45 pm

Thanks for the replies, Pete and murf, and I agree the bye week would be good for rest -- although it can be a concern as far as rust.
I'd prefer a bye and homefield, and think we should go hard for these goals; but I'm more concerned with getting our defense strengthened.
It's worth noting though that we didn't have the bye week when we won the Super Bowl for the 2010 season; then we did have the bye week when we went 15-1 the next season but lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Giants.
That Giants game is sticking in my mind. I don't remember all that much about the game, except it seems we were physically manhandled.
In any case, we have to try to avoid a first round knockout this season by using the last three games to get as much improvement out of the defense as possible -- with a more varied approach of mixing things up from play to play, and an integration of newer players.
So focus mostly on bolstering the defense, while playing hard all the way through the next three games -- and there's still a good chance we get a bye and homefield.
P.S. Does only one team get a bye this year?

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murf7777's picture

December 16, 2020 at 01:04 pm

Yes, only one team gets a bye. Your right about the Packers in 2010 and the NYG beat us when we were a double digit favorite. I don’t believe in the rust vs rest the Theories. NYG D front 4 out played us and stopped our great O. One major issue different this year is the NFL has greatly reduced the amount of Offensive Line holding calls. This was by design. This is the main reason for the record scoring this year. This may be the year a great O beats the great D!!

That said, getting the number one seed must be the number 1 goal. My previous stated numbers prove that your odds are far greater to reach the SB when you have a Bye. The obvious reason is because you only have to get hot for two games vs three. That is exactly why the Pats got into so many SB’s. Mainly because their record was always very high playing against the weak division they are in. Gave them 6 cupcake wins year in and year out.

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Spock's picture

December 17, 2020 at 12:51 pm

Swisch, As I recall the Giants game was the year when BOTH Philbin's son and one of the lineman's fathers died the week before the game. Most of the team went to both funerals. The Packers came out flat (IMHO because of depression) and had uncharacteristic fumbles (I believe Ahmoud Green -who hadn't fumbled all year- fumbled twice) and interceptions. I remember reporters saying the crowd was extremely muted as well.

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splitpea1's picture

December 16, 2020 at 02:08 pm

Good points, though you never know who you're going to get in the playoffs. The team I would love to see us beat at home would be the Cardinals, who have bedeviled us during the AR era with two difficult playoff losses and the firing of MM in the regular season.

Murray is a very challenging QB, Hopkins is having a great season, and Fitzgerald is aging gracefully--but I think our offense can outshine them. At any rate, it would be a fun game to watch (providing we came out on the right end this time).

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jannes bjornson's picture

December 16, 2020 at 09:19 pm

They do not want Tampa Bay.

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Qoojo's picture

December 16, 2020 at 11:34 am

Rodgers - 39 Passing TDs to 38 Punts

Hard to stay polluted with a stat like that.

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Leatherhead's picture

December 16, 2020 at 11:43 am

MVS and EQ. Along with Lazard, these guys are all part of the first year wave of WRs that Gutekunst brought to Green Bay and they have managed, in the aggregate, to keep the #2 WR position. MVS, in fact.....mostly because he stays healthy.....has caught 95 passes for 1600 yards and 9 TDS. He’s on pace to have 750 yards this year. He’s producing. Hopefully, at least one of these guys will earn a second contract. Lazard and EQ have to prove they can stay off the injury list. And EQ is not the guy I’d like as a gunner, but it’s usually the guy just inside of the end guy that you want forcing the action. The end guy is to make sure the runner doesn’t get to the sideline. You’re trying to “encourage “ the returner to take it up the middle.

On Green, Scott, Martin and the defense.....I’m putting all that under the category of “most games are not won, they are lost.” And because guys get hurt, you play backups who are inevitably going to cost you games. These good teams that can execute on offense can punish you for mistakes, and coaches want to play the guys that are least likely to make mistakes.

Blitzing.....there used to be an excellent column called the Tuesday Morning Quarterback, written by somebody named Easterbrook. Week after week he would detail how blitzes backfire and result in big plays for the offense more often than they help the defense. His position is the same as mine: Rush four. Sometimes rush six. Never five.

,

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murf7777's picture

December 16, 2020 at 01:11 pm

“His position is the same as mine: Rush four. Sometimes rush six. Never five.” Interesting point, one I haven’t thought about but It seems to have traction. In our base D, aren’t we always rushing 5?

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Leatherhead's picture

December 17, 2020 at 09:12 am

He arrived at that conclusion by looking at the data. Those 5 man rushes gave up more big plays than the four or six man rushes over a period of several years. Based on anecdotal evidence, it’s what he thought he’d find, and he did.

Easterbrook also thought coaches punted too much. I agree there too.

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PeteK's picture

December 16, 2020 at 02:11 pm

Very true, when I see a blitz and no QB sack, I brace for a big play. We have to give kudos to Pettine for not relying on that and saving it for crucial situations. ex. against Hawks in playoff game.

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Ferrari-Driver's picture

December 17, 2020 at 02:13 pm

Hey Al, I read all your articles and I think this was your best one yet. Much of what I read, I thought, oh yeah, that's a good point and I remember that now.
The face mask grab on Jones was pretty obvious and a head turner. Jones even motioned face mask while he was getting up and it seems like the the line judge should have seen and called that one.

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