Confessions of a Polluted Mindset: A Packers Brain Drain

Random thoughts swimming around in the Packers' section of my brain.

Losing to The Bears Still Sucks.

Mike Pettine. What Mike Pettine has done with this talent-deprived and hospital-ward-crowding defense is actually pretty remarkable. With a few key pieces (safety, edge rusher) hopefully added for next season, I feel the trajectory is up for this defense. I only hope he gets the opportunity to be back with the Packers.

Joe Philbin: There isn't any way the Packers would seriously consider giving him the head coaching job, is there? Maybe if TT was still the GM...

Next Head Coach: What the Packers need more than anything is an offensive coach that can convince Rodgers to do some things differently. Like Mike Holmgren had to rein in Brett Favre for his own good, someone needs to pound into Rodgers' head that taking the quick, easy completion is not a bitter pill to swallow, but rather the medicine to get him back to winning games as a Packers quarterback.

Offensive line: While it's tempting to say safety or edge rusher are the Packers' biggest needs, with Pettine's (assuming he's back) ability to get the most out of what he has to work with, I'd rate upgrading the offensive line (two guards and a tackle) as the move that would have the biggest positive impact on this team next season. Open some more consistent holes for Aaron Jones, protect Rodgers better, and all good things will flow from that.

Injuries: As of this writing, the Packers have 15 players on Injured Reserve. Nine were full-time starters. I know that injuries are part of the NFL, but does any other team have this consistent an issue year after year after year? 

DBak: David Bakhtiari not making the Pro Bowl is just a farce. I would only put Tyron Smith over him in the NFC.

3rd down efficiency: While not a perfect indicator, look at where the Packers ranked in 3rd down efficiency the last five seasons and how their season went:

2014: 3rd in NFL, 12-4, record, Lost in Conference Championship (Seattle)

2015: 27th in NFL, 10-6 record, Lost in Divisional Playoffs (Cardinals)

2016: 3rd in NFL, 10-6 record, Lost in Conference Championship (Falcons)

2017: 13th in NFL,  7-9 record, no playoffs

2018 (so far) 22nd in NFL, 5-8-1 record (so far), no playoffs

The only year that doesn't fit the pattern is 2015, which of course was the season miraculously saved by several Hail Marys.

 

__________________________

"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 (121)

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Jonathan Spader's picture

December 19, 2018 at 05:10 am

I don't feel as desperate about the OL as most of CHTV commenters. We have a lot of competition and people who now have years of experience on the PS and real NFL snaps. Bahktiari is as you said the best or second best LT in football. Linsley is an above average center.

We have possibly Bulaga, Murphy, Amichia, Bell, Taylor, Light, Madison, McCray, and others with experience competing for Guards and RT. That's a lot of bodies without adding from FA and the draft. Yes the OL has been beaten up but I don't view it as much of a need as OLB.

Our pass rush came from Pettine's creativity and not from talent. We have Williams and Brice at safety neither of which is a playmaker. OL take time to groom in the NFL we do need to continue to draft and develop them. I just see them being 4-6 round picks rather than 1-3 personally. Hard to say what Gute will do.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

December 19, 2018 at 05:43 am

Jersey Al already has suggested signing OG James Carpenter, probably a $5M to $6.5M guy, depending on how desperate for OL other GMs are. I gather that Carpenter's floor is a passable starter to something around average just from reading PFF and gang green nation. The Jets just put Carpenter on IR, but I don't think it is serious.

Anyway, signing one OG and draft an OT fairly high and grabbing another OL in the 4th would be one prescription. We can hope Cole Madison returns, but Gute probably has a better idea of Madison's intentions.

Here's a nice article on the Jets OL and includes pretty detailed analysis of Carpenter (go down to the second graph).

https://www.ganggreennation.com/2018/12/4/18125691/2018-new-york-jets-of...

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Minniman's picture

December 19, 2018 at 04:21 pm

TGR, in advancing your line of thinking, I think that the argument is there to swing for the bleachers on a number of FA's at a number of positions this year, then revisit draft strategy.

That said, I'm in the camp of BPA each and every draft.

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packerbackerjim's picture

December 19, 2018 at 05:34 pm

BPA is generally the way to go, depending on who is doing the evaluation. I trust Gute has a much better than average skill set than previous GMs.

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Hawg Hanner's picture

December 20, 2018 at 11:57 am

Ah, Cole Madison. What is the story there and can't one of the reporters covering the Packers track him down for an interview?

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stockholder's picture

December 21, 2018 at 10:33 pm

Marpet Tampa Bay , Spain Tenn.

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HankScorpio's picture

December 19, 2018 at 06:40 am

"We have possibly Bulaga, Murphy, Amichia, Bell, Taylor, Light, Madison, McCray, and others with experience competing for Guards and RT."

They tried that in 2018. It failed miserably. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

Years of heavy focus during the off season on improving the defense while largely ignoring the offense have caught up to the Packers. They must approach this off season with their priorities flipped from years past. The offense needs to be the focus of the talent acquisition. That is not limited to OL but a big swing at improving the OL is a must for this off season.

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Dzehren's picture

December 19, 2018 at 08:07 am

Good point. You can add TE to the list as well. Graham is in slow motion, M Lewis will not be retained and Lance Kendricks is not a play maker...

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dobber's picture

December 19, 2018 at 09:39 am

Agreed. Just because you have numbers doesn't mean you have quality.

This team needs quality...

...and availability...

...preferably in the same players.

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CheesyTex's picture

December 19, 2018 at 10:30 am

Amen, Scorpio! Bulls eye.

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GLM's picture

December 19, 2018 at 10:23 am

That's not a very impressive list of linemen...Taylor, maybe. Brian is done, as far as I'm concerned. Counting on a return from him would be unwise.

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GLM's picture

December 19, 2018 at 10:26 am

You could add McCray to that list of maybe's. He showed some promise before his injury.

Madison...who knows? What the hell was his disappearing act all about? Looks like a poor scouting decision to me, though I had high hopes he could help on the line.

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FTS Messamore's picture

December 19, 2018 at 11:18 am

Bulaga is worn down by injuries.
Murphy was released.
Amichia is with the Ravens PS.
Bell is a free agent.
Taylor is serviceable, helps when your in the middle of Bahktiari and Linsley.
Light is a rookie.
Madison hasn't reported to the team.
McCray is inconsistent, lost his starting spot to Bell.

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Rossonero's picture

December 19, 2018 at 12:25 pm

Jonathan:
Amichia got cut a while back and is now on the Ravens. We may never know if Madison will ever play football again, and even if he does report to the team in 2019, it'll be nearly 2 years since he played at all.

Bell is mediocre at best and originally was poorly rated in PFF in years past.

Bulaga is nearing the end of his contract and given his injury history, is probably gone.

I like Taylor and Light and think McCray is just OK.

Overall, the line is very mediocre after you get past Bakhtiari and Linsley. Mediocre is not good enough.

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Jonathan Spader's picture

December 19, 2018 at 12:47 pm

Rossonero look at the post above you for Amichia :).

Health was the biggest detriment to the OL in 2018 and I should have stated that clearer. I still think that the Packers will get their OL together for 2019. I don't think it's the reason for Rodger's poor 2018. I don't see the OL fixing our offense. Rodgers can't hold the ball for 8 seconds the way he did when we had Lang and Sitton in their prime. He needs to help out his OL by getting the ball out quicker and not taking unnecessary sacks.

Most OLs are mediocre in the NFL look at KC, Saints, Seattle, MN, etc. The OL in Dallas is considered one of the best and their offense isn't great.

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Coldworld's picture

December 19, 2018 at 05:28 am

While I agree we need new blood on the O line, I think it is a mistake to place this above the desperate need for pass rush. Given something on the edge, our interior becomes a real force and our secondary can focus resources on coverage. Being able to disrupt without blitzing is key to almost any good defense.

We may have found a guard in recent signing Brown. We may have one we drafted this year but never turned up, but we can’t rely on that. That leaves a high pick on an OT. We have enough picks to do both. Any OT pick will need time to develop so I expect Baluga to be our starter in September regardless.

Safety is interesting. Rookies typically don’t blossom there. Maybe a FA target and also are candidates for development in our crowded secondary CB group, but with injuries, this would need to wait till the off season.

Totally agree on the comments on Head Coach needs. Philbin and Pettine. As to injuries, I think we may need to change our strength and conditioning set up. May be bad luck, but we seem to be consistently unlucky if so.

As to Pro Bowl, well to expect that to be an accurate barometer of current year performance has always been foolish, particularly for non scoring positions. Adams, Clarke and Bakh are certainly completely justified on merit.

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HankScorpio's picture

December 19, 2018 at 06:51 am

The stars are lining up to grab an edge rusher in a deep draft for 2019. I don't think they should overthink things and pass that up with their pick that looks to be in the 10-14 range. Outside pass rush is too hard to find to pass up an opportunity when one jumps into your lap.

Having said that, the Packers are tied for 7th in sacks. That's more in spite of their outside pass rush than because of it. But you don't have a "desperate" need for pass rush when you're 7th in sacks. You'd always like to get better at everything but there are bigger needs than finding more pass rush. Such as finding guys that can neutralize opposing pass rush. The Packers have allowed the 4th most sacks this year.

2018 represented a fundamental shift in the organizational needs. We've been conditioned for so long to dream about better defensive talent but as things sit now, the more pressing needs are on the other side of the ball.

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CheesyTex's picture

December 19, 2018 at 10:34 am

Scorpio, I hope Gute is reading your stuff.

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Jonathan Spader's picture

December 19, 2018 at 12:59 pm

A lot of those sacks came from Rodgers holding onto the ball especially on 4th down. Our high draft picks were spent on Dom's D. I want to see what Pettine can do with an OLB with talent. Look what he did with Fackrell.

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JimR_in_SoCal's picture

December 19, 2018 at 03:39 pm

I think he was talking about sacks our defense earned.

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Jonathan Spader's picture

December 19, 2018 at 07:51 pm

Jim

"But you don't have a "desperate" need for pass rush when you're 7th in sacks. You'd always like to get better at everything but there are bigger needs than finding more pass rush. Such as finding guys that can neutralize opposing pass rush. The Packers have allowed the 4th most sacks this year. "

Read both the 1st and last sentence. He refers to both sacks our defense earned through Pettine's scheme over actual talent on the roster. He also refers to our OL giving up a ton of sacks. I'm just saying it's partially on the injury ridden OL partially on the QB.

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NickPerry's picture

December 19, 2018 at 05:36 am

The question is how many of these positions (RG, LG, RT, OLB/Edge, TE, & Safety) Gutekunst tries to fix in FA. I haven't really studied who will be free agents at the end of the season but a I took a quick look at some of the players at Safety, Guard, and TE and saw several possibilities. I'd also imagine WHO the Packers go after in FA will depend on WHO the HC, OC, and DC will be.

BTW...HHCD still hasn't been extended and after watching a few Redskins Games after the trade, Gutekunst IMO did the ABSOLUTELY right thing in getting something THIS year for him. Sure was strange what happened to him after his first few years in GB, but thank God Thompson isn't still GM. I'm sure Ted would have given him a Nick Perry type contract had he still been GM.

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stockholder's picture

December 19, 2018 at 07:42 am

Gute must go with the strength of this draft first. (Defense) Does Pettine want to come Back? He might want the packers HC/or another Head coach job first. Did you every think Randall was a cancer because of Dix? I'm beginning to think that was the case. For years we heard Capers defense depended on the safeties. ( I'm seeing signs that is not the case.) Capers just reached the point, he sucked. TT had one thing in mind. Sign your own. He even failed at that.

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dobber's picture

December 19, 2018 at 09:41 am

Pettine has gone on record as saying he doesn't want to be an NFL HC again. Whether that's real or just his trying to not ruffle feathers as he came to a DC job with a HC (MM) who was essentially a lame duck is up for debate.

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Coldworld's picture

December 19, 2018 at 05:23 pm

If we appoint a new head coach, Pettine and the new appointee will have to be on board with the choice for this to work. Personally, any HC candidate that would not want Pettine would not be on my list. The problem may be more complex the other way around though.

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dobber's picture

December 19, 2018 at 08:56 pm

Let's not assume that Pettine is the only man for the job. It could be that we've been so dulled by Dom that anything looks better. Don't get me wrong: I agree that Pettine's done an admirable job and I'd be pleased to see him back, but I'm not convinced that there's nobody else who could do his job, or even better.

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JimR_in_SoCal's picture

December 19, 2018 at 09:12 pm

Well said, dobber.

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Kb999's picture

December 19, 2018 at 06:06 am

A lot of holes to fill. It should be a busy off season.

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4thand10's picture

December 19, 2018 at 09:29 am

Guts has already been active which gives me hope. Way more activity than I’ve seen in the past. Author is absolutely right about Pettine. The D is definitely on an upward trajectory. When Pettine gets all of “his guys” in there I’m confident it will be good. I was never confident with Capers.

Touching back on the activity...they picked up a DL from the Raiders, an OL from Ravens, a running back from Washington....it’s going to be a busy draft and an active training camp.

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jeepingmakooi's picture

December 19, 2018 at 10:05 am

All three of those guys plus the wr they grabbed can all be productive players on this team.

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HankScorpio's picture

December 19, 2018 at 06:16 am

"I'd rate upgrading the offensive line (two guards and a tackle) as the move that would have the biggest positive impact on this team next season. "

Yes! They must bring in at least 3 new players that have a legit shot at starting and playing well. That means 2 vets and an early rook, IMO. Rodgers has been sacked 44 times so far. Some of that is him holding the ball too long. But not all of it. Further, they need to get better opening holes for Jones & Williams. A full makeover of the OL is the top priority of roster moves this year and only trails finding the next HC in overall importance of the off season.

Lane Taylor has been mostly getting a pass as people have focused on RG/RT. But he's played poorly enough that they should find some legit competition to push him, at the very least. I fall in the club that say RG is the biggest positional upgrade need on the roster. I'd prefer moving on from Bulaga but at the very least, they need to sign a legit backup swing OT to cover his inevitable games missed.

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Coldworld's picture

December 19, 2018 at 05:25 pm

Taylor has being playing injured, which doesn’t help. I wonder if our injuries and lack of proven depth have caused him to play when he might not have in prior years.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

December 19, 2018 at 06:30 am

I don't watch college ball and I am not a draft guru. Based on what I've read so far, the talent in this draft is concentrated in DI and Edge, so for now that is where it appears we should go with our first pick. Need and available talent seems to coincide.

Still, every draft is different. Should there be the next Ryan Ramczyck sitting there at pick 27 to 32 (this is the range for the NO pick), such a player should be pretty hard to ignore. The trick is to avoid another John Michels. Clifton was taken 44th and Earl Dotson 81st, but waiting too long lowers the odds for tackles.

The draft gurus will educate us later.

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HankScorpio's picture

December 19, 2018 at 06:59 am

Because the draft is deep in edge pass rushers, I would not look a gift horse in the mouth with that first pick. After that, I hope it is all offense until day 3. There is no positional group on offense that could not use more talent, with OL being the most glaring need.

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Coldworld's picture

December 19, 2018 at 05:35 pm

I would take a rusher first, a rusher on day two, potentially a safety too in the top four rounds. The rest would be a tackle prospect and a guard or two in the 5th or 6th, depending on Madison’s status. I would take some late flyers on rushers too.

We don’t need a WR in my view. We have plenty of potential in that group including the IR even if Cobb goes. Could say the same at CB if we resign Breeland. We don’t need to draft a running back, so that leaves plenty of picks to pick up a TE or two if required, trade up or simply take a few BAPs.

Overall, I don’t see this as being an offense heavy draft from a need perspective at all, out side of the O line, even before FA.

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dobber's picture

December 19, 2018 at 09:50 am

This will be my first post where I voice my wish that FA came after the draft. The draft is such a free-flowing thing that it forces teams to either roll with it, or pay to try to craft it. Imagine if you could draft players, see what you got, and then say: OK..time to spend to supplement what we didn't get with players with NFL track records. I suspect you'd see much more true BPA in the draft process.

As it is, teams buy players, play a game of supplementing through the draft/finding the best players, and then salvage bits off the scrap heap after the draft. Maybe that would make the off-season a little less dramatic...who knows? But I suspect the quality and depth of teams would improve--meaning on-field play would get better--if rosters could be crafted this way.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

December 19, 2018 at 07:47 pm

You mean this year? Pretty sure you've written this before. I know I have and I thought I stole the idea from you!

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dobber's picture

December 19, 2018 at 08:54 pm

Yeah, this season...I've beat this drum for awhile.

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Pizzadoc's picture

December 21, 2018 at 01:20 am

I wonder if the vets bargained for this in the CBA? I would.

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The TKstinator's picture

December 19, 2018 at 06:52 am

Yes, TGR!
Value vs availability vs needs vs salary cap. All these variables are what make it fun for us armchair guys to discuss front office maneuvers.

Like many have said, it will be an interesting, fun, busy, crucial offseason this year.

(“Fun” comes IN when the team is successful. Otherwise, the pitchforks come OUT.)

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nostradanus's picture

December 19, 2018 at 07:05 am

Of course a lot of the draft and free agency talk is all mute until the Packers hire a Head Coach, but the key is going to be building a wall around #12 and having a running game that can set up play action and grind out games late.
Gute is going to have to sign a veteran OL or two and draft several, it is a worthwhile investment especially now going against the Bears Defense with Mack and Hicks for years to come! A workhorse back is needed also with Jones in a more complimentary role

Protect the franchise!

that is all....

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CheesyTex's picture

December 19, 2018 at 10:52 am

It blows my mind to see one of the BOAT get hit and hammered, year after year, with no urgency placed on upgrading OL.

Moot points are the order of the day now that mighty Casey has struck out.

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Johnblood27's picture

December 19, 2018 at 02:12 pm

moot, Moot, MOOT!!!

you weaken your posts with errors like this, how do we place you in an intelligent position when you do not know the language?

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The TKstinator's picture

December 19, 2018 at 04:46 pm

My remote has no “moot” button.

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Jonathan Spader's picture

December 19, 2018 at 08:13 pm

Does your CHTV account have a mute user setting?

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

December 20, 2018 at 03:53 am

There's the fan friendly filter. I've never used it so I don't know exactly how things would change.

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The TKstinator's picture

December 20, 2018 at 05:48 pm

I call it the “Ol’ Triple F”!

(My mom has that same name for my old high school report cards.)

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Bart_Starred's picture

December 23, 2018 at 06:01 am

On a similar note, I’d love to see the same corrections for “your” when clearly “you’re” is implied. There also are multiple misuses of “than” when “then” should be used and “to” when “too” should be employed.

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Lare's picture

December 19, 2018 at 07:05 am

I agree with Al and others that say improving the OL is the highest priority for next season. Having a great offense line makes everyone else on the offense that much better, and probably helps prevent injuries also.

Will also help to find players that can stay healthy. It doesn't matter how good a player is if he isn't on the field.

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JimR_in_SoCal's picture

December 19, 2018 at 01:03 pm

So far this season, the Packers are scoring a bit less than 24 points per game, and giving up a bit less than 24 points per game.

I feel like the defense has generally done enough to help the team win, even with all the duct tape Pettine’s had to use to make all the back up players an effective unit.

In my opinion, the Packers must score more points per game, say, 30+ points. Like Al and many others here have said, I would hope Gute makes a big effort to build a strong offensive line. We only need to strengthen the rest of the positions on the team to the point where we can maintain the performance we’ve seen from the defense this season.

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

December 19, 2018 at 07:11 am

Pass rush is by far the biggest concern. There is no pass rush without blitzing and even then it is anemic. When healthy the interior DL does an ok job on occasion. The anemic pass rush allows average QBs to look like Pro Bowl caliber.

Pack needs 2 of their first 3 picks to be edge rushers. The other selection to be on OL. Ideally an OT but if a better guard I'd take him. The key to the draft is whether Madison is coming back and if he has been working out. I will say in 6 years of college for several degrees I never knew of a any college student to have a gun. For Madison's sake I hope thru counseling and soul searching he is doing well, but does anyone remember other students bringing weapons to school when at college?

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HankScorpio's picture

December 19, 2018 at 07:24 am

"When healthy the interior DL does an ok job on occasion"

That's Kenny Clark and Mike Daniels. And they are "ok on occasion".

Clear your cache. 2017 is over. 2018 showed something else.

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Packerpasty's picture

December 19, 2018 at 08:49 am

no, after watching some of the top teams play defense, the Packer interior D line is "O.K.'....maybe a tiny notch above but not what I'm seeing from some other teams...being Packer fans we think these two are all world...not so...just good....Clark should get better, Daniels is at his level...

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HankScorpio's picture

December 19, 2018 at 08:56 pm

I don't watch so much of other teams. Please list the ones you have seen that makes you think the Packer interior D line is "O.K.'....maybe a tiny notch above

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Razer's picture

December 19, 2018 at 08:17 am

...I will say in 6 years of college for several degrees I never knew of a any college student to have a gun. For Madison's sake I hope thru counseling and soul searching he is doing well, but does anyone remember other students bringing weapons to school when at college?...

I do not know what this refers to? Could you elaborate? Thanks

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4thand10's picture

December 19, 2018 at 09:35 am

They didn’t have enough DL to even run a 3-4 this year. There just wasn’t the depth. They were in a position that they had to live and die by the blitz which doesn’t make for good defense. Hopefully next years defense will look completely different than what we saw this year. Being short handed on DL and lack of quality at edge stressed the secondary way more than it should have been.

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Razer's picture

December 19, 2018 at 09:46 am

Well said. I like Philly's approach. Even with a 4-3 they ensured that they had enough depth to keep them fresh and wear down the opposing Oline. Packers played the crap out of Kenny Clark and Mike Daniels because those are the only two studs in the rotation. Daniels flamed out early and now Clark is heading for IR. Not going to get much push or trench domination with this formula.

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Jonathan Spader's picture

December 19, 2018 at 08:20 pm

THIS JUST IN top 10 ranking in sacks is "anemic"!!!

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Packerpasty's picture

December 20, 2018 at 09:00 am

if your a hunter, not a freshman, live in an apartment, than yes I know people who have had their guns while going to school, actually sorta common up here in U.P. Michigan...if you live in dorms you keep you firearms at Campus public safety and check them out, I believe...now if you went to school in a large urban setting, maybe not so common....

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dobber's picture

December 20, 2018 at 09:05 am

Many years ago when I was in college, I kept my 12 ga. on campus for late-afternoon/early-evening duck hunting expeditions. What campus security at ol' St. Norbert didn't know didn't hurt them...

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albert999's picture

December 19, 2018 at 07:32 am

HC is biggest Concern
3 offensive line picks
1 TE
1 ER
1 WR

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stockholder's picture

December 19, 2018 at 08:02 am

HC is the biggest concern. But can the packers bring back Pettine. If not this defense will suck. We still have Arron Rodgers. He'll change the plays and do his own thing. Based on Arron Rodgers being an Alternate . I'd worry more about the defense. I'm not saying your wrong about drafting offense. Just the replacements won't make a difference on offense as soon as you hope. 3 OL. Don't expect any to show up and start. Guards take two years at least. 1 Te Roll the dice with Graham. But if Font is there they should take him over a OL. 1 WR. Adams was slow to achieve. No Wr is going to come in and start with Arron Rodgers. Cut Cobb. 1 ER, Yes and early. If pettine comes back, a safety can be taken lower in the draft. Wilkerson is a must sign to draft a ER. Otherwise he must be replaced first.

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Razer's picture

December 19, 2018 at 07:43 am

O-line does need a rework on both the active and depth fronts. Years ago Ted had a bunch of practice squad and fill-in players lingering but never really making the jump to quality starter. Somehow we got there again. Maybe it is all the low round picks and glass ankles but it is time to reinvest. AND, NO, Cole Madison isn't on the list. He's hunting with Jeff Janis - neither can be found.

Yes we do need pass rush. Sack stats aside, we give good teams too much time - period. I don't care how many sacks Fackrell can get against the Bills. We need a combination of players that consistently get home against the teams we need to beat.

I disagree with most about our need to use up immediate resources on a TE. We have enough, even too much, TE horsepower. Between Graham, Lewis, Kendricks and Tonyan we are tightend overload. What is the point of getting these big guys - making them run sideline routes and avoiding the middle of the field. Instead of getting more TEs, let's send our coaches to a seminar on how to use a TE. I hear that McCarthy is running a series of these.

Oline, Pass Rusher, Safety, RB depth, quick slot WR/KR and DLine stud for good measure and this team is back in business. Oh, and a HC who makes sure that all facets of the team are performing at optimal levels

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4thand10's picture

December 19, 2018 at 10:14 am

Age is catching up with Lewis....I’d let him go. Graham I’d keep because after this year he is the second leading receiver next to Adams. He almost has 600 yards. Tonyan was a mystery cause all the guy did was catch footballs...I don’t know what his blocking is but it seemed like he caught everything thrown to him that was catchable. X factor is Kendrick’s or if there is someone better avail. In the draft...IDK. The other alternative on the O is to get a extra guard or tackle that can be an “ eligible TE” ....get the right guy and Mack can be handled as long as he is in Chicago.

I look at other teams using fullbacks... Ham with MN, Devlin with NE etc.. and I don’t agree that a fullback is obsolete because elite teams are still using them situationally with success.

We have a good secondary, they were stressed this year due to lack of DL and poor OLB play. I say draft DL, move to a 4-3 to eliminate the gadget play and not have to rely on the blitz every down. Good teams can bring pressure with 4 or 5 and I think Pettine can make that happen. What Jets games and they didn’t have to rely on the blitz at all to get pressure and when they did blitz it was a bonus. We finally have a good defensive coach, I’d like to keep him.

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Jonathan Spader's picture

December 19, 2018 at 02:41 pm

Madison and Janis can't be compared and I hope they caught a deer. We don't know what will come of Cole Janis was cut.

Agree on the pass rusher completely.

TE is an excuse. How many legit TEs are there in the NFL. In 2018 Kelce was by far the best. Gronk was on the level of Cook very hit or miss. Zach Ertz took awhile to come back. George Kittle was a surprise. Engram, Njoku, Henry, Butt, Maxx Williams, there's a lot of athletic TEs out there that have yet to really produce. Hoping for another Ebron type cut that the Packers can get.

Teams can get by just fine without a legit TE. I mentioned in 2017 offseason I wanted Ebron and instead we went out and got Graham, hindsight is 20/20. Really wish Tonyan would get more looks, Lewis would get some use and Graham would be benched and/or learn to catch a football. For now Graham can hit the jugs machine with Moore.

As for MM's seminar seems like Pettine attended it because the Packers did a much better job in 2018 of stopping the TE than they did in the Capers era. Alexander was put on Burton when it was clear the Bears were trying to force the ball to a TE they overpaid.

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nostradanus's picture

December 19, 2018 at 07:48 am

The key is the Offense being able to control the ball.

Which:
A. Keeps the Defense off the field
B. Wears the other teams Defense down
C. Keeps the other teams Offense on the bench in which they have a hard time getting in sync

* Build the Wall! Around Aaron Rodgers
*Grind it out with a tough S.O.B. running back
*Sprinkle in some doses of Aaron Jones
*Take a few selected Deep Shots off play action

So for Santa Gute's wish list...
1. Hire a no-nosense Head Coach who will get Rodgers to buy in
2. Re-Build the Offensive Line with free-agency and the draft
3. Draft a true work horse RB
4. Draft a slot WR/Returner
5. Draft a TE that has the potential to Block as well as catch
6. Sign a veteran Safety to lead the young DB's
7. Draft the best Edge rusher possible

Fixed!
Super Bowl!
That is all....

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RCPackerFan's picture

December 19, 2018 at 10:47 am

So for Santa Gute's wish list...
"1. Hire a no-nosense Head Coach who will get Rodgers to buy in"
- they absolutely have to get the right HC. The next HC has to be able to control Rodgers, and get him to buy into what they are wanting.

"2. Re-Build the Offensive Line with free-agency and the draft"
- they have to upgrade the OL. IMO, they need a new RG and try to upgrade RT. But I wouldn't let Bulaga go until they know they have an upgrade. They need depth too.

"3. Draft a true work horse RB"
- I get the wanting to draft a workhorse. They have a guy who can grind tough yards with Williams. They have a guy who is a threat every time he touches the ball. They need another RB, but he doesn't have to necessarily be a work horse. Upgrading the OL where they can get more holes should help the running game.

"4. Draft a slot WR/Returner"
- If we have seen one thing is that Gutekunst likes speed. I would not be surprised if he took a mid round pick on a fast slot/returner type. They need better options as a PR. Maybe Davis will be the guy but they need another guy either way.

"5. Draft a TE that has the potential to Block as well as catch"
I hope they draft a TE fairly high this year. They need to reinvest into the position the right way. Since Finley the only other higher pick they used on TE was for Rodgers. As of right now there are some good looking TE's coming out. A quite a few will be in the end of the 1st round to mid 2nd round area. So they could definitely use the 2nd 1st round pick or their 2nd round pick on a TE.

"6. Sign a veteran Safety to lead the young DB's"
- I hope they sign a good veteran Safety, and draft a Safety fairly high.

"7. Draft the best Edge rusher possible"
- Right now the OLB's are one of the best positions available in the draft. I hope they add at least 1 veteran and draft 1 high and add another later. Need to change the position.

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pacman's picture

December 19, 2018 at 07:52 am

I want to know why the promising rookie WR's don't have AR's confidence. They have gotten open deep and AR has under or over thrown them many times. They are tall and fast. They have dropped some passes but so has Cobbs. O failure this year is mostly on AR and scheme. But O line must be replenished.

Pettine has done a good job with D. One good edge guy in free agency and we are good assuming everyone heals up.

That gives us a lot of options to pick the best available player and/or trade up/down.

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Packerpasty's picture

December 19, 2018 at 08:51 am

please don't pull a TT and trade down and out to find "bargain" players..

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Jonathan Spader's picture

December 19, 2018 at 03:44 pm

Traded down to find Alexander at a bargain. Gute is not TT. I'm fine with him trading up to get some ER.

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Packerpasty's picture

December 20, 2018 at 09:03 am

they don't have his confidence because they don't run the correct routes, and I'm sure AR isn't the only QB that doesn't trust his rookies...its just that the Packers only have one quality option other than rookies...and also he doesn't trust them, not because he has ever said it, but sports bloggers and writers have said it, so it must be true..

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OldTimer's picture

December 19, 2018 at 08:56 am

I totally agree that we need to address the offensive line. We have a lot of players, but after Lindsey and Baktiari, things go down hill fast. It is time for a younger, healthier right tackle. I think you are going to have to draft one in the early rounds. I would like to see us get a little bigger over all as well.That being said, free agency will clear up our biggest remaining needs. Best player available at a positions of need. I am also fine with letting some of current questionable depth go on the offensive line and tight end position and picking up some guys from other teams practice squads to sign to our current 53. I would also look there for a large bruiser half back that can smash through a line for a few yards. We don't have that right now. There has to be some potential out there to get a look at. I would be doing that now, and I think Gute is. I also think it's Tonyan time! Sit Graham and get the kid some real time with Rodgers. This is the time to play the young receivers as much as possible with our starting quarterback in real games. I think that a new offensive next year will challenge Rodgers and give our new receivers a chance to grow with him while they all learn a new system together, instead of trying to catch up with Rodgers in this offense.

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PeteK's picture

December 19, 2018 at 09:00 am

I wish you were right about Tonyan , but if he was good the last few games would have been his time to shine.

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JerseyAl's picture

December 19, 2018 at 03:33 pm

Assuming he was given a chance. Hard to chine when your snap counts are in the single digits.

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PeteK's picture

December 19, 2018 at 04:33 pm

Hard to believe that coaches sat a player that was good.

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Lare's picture

December 19, 2018 at 06:15 pm

Like Aaron Jones, Kyler Fackrell?

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PeteK's picture

December 19, 2018 at 07:44 pm

Now we know why Williams was in for Jones. He's an excellent back ,but not durable, 20 games in two seasons. Fackrell is solid , but limited. He has 11 tackles and 1/2 sack in last four games. Two of those games were against Falcons and Cards. He saw limited time because Perry was better , when he wasn't hurt.

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The TKstinator's picture

December 19, 2018 at 08:42 pm

@OldTimer: Large bruiser half back: Lacy II, only without the weight issues?

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PeteK's picture

December 19, 2018 at 08:55 am

Hardest positions to fill are QB, LT,CB, Edge rusher. Draft is ripe with edge rushers, therefore its an easy decision who we should draft first. We have been neglecting the line , so to get value we need to draft a R tackle with lower 1st round pick who could compete at LG if Bulaga stays healthy. Also, I want Matthews back with a reasonable contract. More importantly, I feel McDaniel is the right fit for head coach. I know he comes with baggage in past history ( Cutler his QB in Denver), but his mistakes make him more mature. He would be a perfect match with Pettine , who's head coaching experience would relieve some pressure.

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JimR_in_SoCal's picture

December 19, 2018 at 01:27 pm

I really don’t want to see drafted Tackles used as Guards anymore. That just slows down their development into top performing NFL tackles.

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PeteK's picture

December 19, 2018 at 07:49 pm

Somewhat true, but I feel that at least they're playing and learning the system. Player wouldn't be playing guard that long with Bulaga's poor durability.

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blacke00's picture

December 19, 2018 at 09:07 am

Al

I'm glad that you provoked a discussion on the OL. This needs to be addressed appropriately, not low draft/ developmental projects. That can be and should be a constant effort.

The Packers are not going to able make all the changes they in one year. Make the appropriate OL and/or defensive "repairs" and start solidifying one side of the ball or the other. Not both, because you'll only do it half
assed and you end up prolonging your "reload".

This team desperately needs to develop around Rodgers. We left this go too long!

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Lphill's picture

December 19, 2018 at 09:40 am

was a big mistake passing on TJ Watt, Clay took a lot of heat this year but yet look at all the snaps he has taken, and he still gives 100 percent, I hope we keep him and just limit his snaps keep his legs fresh.

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Razer's picture

December 19, 2018 at 09:51 am

Well said about Clay Matthews. Even in last year's mess Clay kept the energy and effort high. I hope they keep him and move him inside or at least move him around.

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dobber's picture

December 19, 2018 at 09:52 am

The old adage is that you build your team from the LOS outward. I think that's the best approach for the upcoming offseason.

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Tundraboy's picture

December 19, 2018 at 10:03 am

"Offensive line: While it's tempting to say safety or edge rusher are the Packers' biggest needs, with Pettine's (assuming he's back) ability to get the most out of what he has to work with, I'd rate upgrading the offensive line (two guards and a tackle) as the move that would have the biggest positive impact on this team next season. Open some more consistent holes for Aaron Jones, protect Rodgers better, and all good things will flow from that."

Amen

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TheBigCheeze's picture

December 19, 2018 at 10:03 am

OL can be had in later rounds......GET PASS RUSHERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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4thand1's picture

December 19, 2018 at 10:27 am

I'm in a polluted football funk. Uuuugh what a disappointing year. 7th in sacks with a quality edge rusher the defense could be top 10. Daniels and Clark shore up the middle with Clark ascending every year. Our pick from the Saints looks to be 30+ range, I say after our 1st pick (edge rusher) BAP the rest of the way. And please draft players at their natural position, we don't have time (AR) to coach em up for a couple of years.

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Tundraboy's picture

December 19, 2018 at 11:35 am

Me too.

"And please draft players at their natural position, we don't have time (AR) to coach em up for a couple of years."

And please draft players who are football players. The only acceptable alternative backgrounds, assuming that they are football players first and foremost, would be wrestling or martial arts. I also want guys who are not afraid to go across the middle of the field and like to hit.

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PeteK's picture

December 19, 2018 at 04:42 pm

You just remind me about that great move of moving down because Davenport is not even a starter for the Aints

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RCPackerFan's picture

December 19, 2018 at 10:27 am

Mike Pettine:
I brought this very thing up in a column on Monday. I truly, hope the next coach brings Pettine back. A 2nd year with the coordinator and most of the defensive staff will be huge. And if they can get him a good safety and a couple of pass rushers, this defense could be top 10 to top 5.

Next Head Coach:
I hope the next coach does for Rodgers what McCarthy did for Favre. reigned him in.
The 2 things i hope the next coach does. Gets Rodgers to play more on time with the offense, and teaches him to use the RB's as actual receivers.

Offensive line:
This is definitely a need. I honestly hope they bring Bulaga back but also they draft 1-2 OT's that can play. They need to improve the depth. I want a new RG. I like McCray as a backup. I like Patrick as a backup. I want a better starting RG. I will trust Taylor to get back to his level of play. This year was a down year for him, but he was good the last 2.

3rd down efficiency:
While many things contribute to this, a common theme this year has been that Rodgers has held the ball to long and at times he has passed on the checkdown which may have gotten a first down.
He has looked to go down field way to many times on 3rd down. I'm ok with taking a couple of shots a game, but not on every 3rd down.
Hopefully the next coach will emphasize getting first downs as a priority.

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Doug Niemczynski's picture

December 19, 2018 at 10:37 am

Gute placed on IR
Entire Packer team on

IR
Incompetency
Reins

in Green Bay

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Doug Niemczynski's picture

December 19, 2018 at 10:55 am

Offense Keep:

D.Baktari - A+
D. Adams -A+
A. Jones - A+
L. Taylor - B
C.. Lindsey - B
B. Bulaga - B ( But needs major pay cut-Injuries)
A. Rogers - B-
MVS - C++
E.Q - C+
J. Williams - C+
J Graham - C- ( Possible cut)
R.Tonyun - C ( Lack of playing time)

All Rest of offense and backups suck .cut them ALL!

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Doug Niemczynski's picture

December 19, 2018 at 11:02 am

Defense Keep

K. Clark - A+
J. Alexander - A+
B. Breeland - B
M. Daniels - B-
B. Martinez B-
J. Jackson C+
C. Matthews C +( Needs major pay cut
D. Lowry C
Kevin King C- - ( Verge of being cut)

Everyone Else Sucks !!

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JimR_in_SoCal's picture

December 19, 2018 at 01:32 pm

Kevin King just needs a better off-season personal trainer to get his body ready for a full 16-game season.

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Doug Niemczynski's picture

December 19, 2018 at 11:03 am

Special Teams

Cut. Mason Crosby unless major pay cut.

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Doug Niemczynski's picture

December 19, 2018 at 11:05 am

So , we'll have 21 decent players out of 53..and that is the way we played - Half azz.

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JerseyAl's picture

December 19, 2018 at 03:35 pm

Forgot to take your meds today Doug?

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PeteK's picture

December 19, 2018 at 04:39 pm

Frustration is affecting rational thinking, understandable and sad. Lol

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Doug Niemczynski's picture

December 20, 2018 at 11:53 am

Come on Al you cant honestly believe what I have said is not the absolute truth. You have no pass rush . The safety position stinks. We need a big run stuffer. Tramon Williams is too old , Kentrell Brice makes bad decisions and Kevin King can't stay healty and somebody put all he needs is a personal trainer? Lol.

We have NO backups in the offensive line. Jason Spriggs os HORRIBLE. We have no Right Guard and Beluga is good when healty, but cannot stay healthy , so he needs to move to the guard position and get a Right Tackle. The Tight Ends were NEVER used properly and no receivers beyond Davante Adams, except some glimpses of MVS and EQ.

Players like C . Matthews and M.Crosby need to be gone and I would give up on Fackerall.

See Al this is the time of year to be very,very realistic with our team. You cannot puff it up. Other teams will expose your weaknesses and destroy us.

Our Record confirms and substantiates my findings.

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JerseyAl's picture

December 20, 2018 at 11:59 am

Come on Doug, take your pills, some deep breaths and then a nap. Maybe it will help. Some of what you say is true, some isn't, but the sky is not falling - give the new regime a chance to re-work the roster and in a couple of years if they're still in a similar boat - then you can happily scream till your head explodes.

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JimR_in_SoCal's picture

December 20, 2018 at 01:08 pm

In other words, R-E-L-A-X...don’t fear the future.

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Doug Niemczynski's picture

December 20, 2018 at 02:29 pm

Well yes..that is why it is going to take at least 2-3 years. We shall see then if the players I stated up above will stay on this team and which ones will be gone.

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Doug Niemczynski's picture

December 21, 2018 at 06:25 am

Sky is not falling, but it is so foggy I cannot see the road. Sun, please come up !!

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dobber's picture

December 21, 2018 at 07:36 am

Better dial it down to 75 mph then...

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ILPackerBacker's picture

December 19, 2018 at 11:09 am

The most important area is skill position on offense. Nobody can win with the lack of talent GB has had at rb/te/receiver for years.

Jones is hurt to much and has some stat padding from defenses. We need at least one RB, need. Cobb has taken far to many snaps and the rookie WRs are still ?s. We need answers. Tonyan is less than a question mark given the snaps the coaching staff gives him.

GB literally can not ignore skill positions again. There are many good reasons SKILL gets the $$$ and OL gets low round draft choices.

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stockholder's picture

December 19, 2018 at 11:21 am

Keeping MMs staff? Doesn't sound like anyone is unhappy with Pettine. If the packers stay with the same defense, how can we keep pettine? #2 Most people complained of MMs offense. Yet no one is complaining of Philbin. A-Rod even liked the change. So the packers have a problem. They wanted to get away from MM and clean house. Gute isn't in charge here. Murphy is! I'm scared of what may happen. Why? If you bring in a new change of staff. The changes may be too much. For everyone! How can they get pettine to stay? Is Philbin going to stay? Do the packers want him to stay? A-Rod is on record for liking Philbin so far. But A-Rod just created another problem. Liking Philbin over a new OC. The final problem is Murphy getting a guy over Philbin and Pettine. Murphy could screw us, this team, and Arron Rodgers for years. If Murphy is smart. He makes sure Pettine stays. #2. I believe Philbin could work with any new coach. But a new coach will want change! (To please!) Changes that may see this team go from bad to ugly. Murphy made the changes. It's his neck. Hopefully he'll use whats above it.

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Bert's picture

December 19, 2018 at 12:09 pm

You lost me before and after the first and second #2.

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JimR_in_SoCal's picture

December 19, 2018 at 01:33 pm

Philbin is MM’s shadow. I think we should move on from him after the final game of the season.

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Doug Niemczynski's picture

December 20, 2018 at 11:58 am

Totally Agree

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Rossonero's picture

December 19, 2018 at 12:30 pm

I'm wondering if perhaps a team wants our late 1st rd pick bad enough, and there's nobody that Gute loves in the 28-32 range (where we'll probably be picking with the pick from the Saints), then maybe we can pick up additional picks (i.e. a late 2nd and 5th rounder for our late 1st rounder I'd be willing to listen to).

Draft needs:
1. Edge rusher/OLB
2. Safety
3. OT/OG
4. WR
5. TE
6. ILB

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dobber's picture

December 19, 2018 at 01:54 pm

It's not uncommon for teams to want to sneak into that back end of round 1 to get a player they covet and get the chance to keep them under the 5th year option, too.

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4thand1's picture

December 19, 2018 at 02:12 pm

I would covet any player who can stay healthy and contribute right away.

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Doug Niemczynski's picture

December 20, 2018 at 11:58 am

sorry

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Doug Niemczynski's picture

December 20, 2018 at 11:57 am

Sounds like the same ol..same ol we needed fot the oast 5 years.

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Doug Niemczynski's picture

December 20, 2018 at 11:58 am

Totally Agree

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splitpea1's picture

December 19, 2018 at 03:38 pm

Totally agree about the next coach. It's time to chuck the current offense in the dumpster and replace it one that moves the chains and creates more scoring opportunities. How many times have the Packers been stuck on 17 this season? Not good enough.

However, the Packers' "biggest needs" seem to be about half the team. I wouldn't stray too far away from the best available player approach, and if that means taking a great edge rusher with their first pick, then do it. We really, really need an impact player here.

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Doug Niemczynski's picture

December 20, 2018 at 02:34 pm

Does anyone know of the specific date that the Packers can start interviewing potential new head coaches?

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dobber's picture

December 20, 2018 at 02:38 pm

I believe they can interview anyone not under NFL contract (this includes college coaches) at any time. Otherwise...

https://www.sbnation.com/2017/1/10/14038902/nfl-teams-hiring-new-head-co...

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Lare's picture

December 20, 2018 at 03:09 pm

Yes, and new for this year they also have to interview a minority candidate from outside the organization.

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Doug Niemczynski's picture

December 21, 2018 at 06:23 am

Thanks!

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