Confessions of a Polluted Mindset - Packers Thoughts on March 3 2021

The Weekly Packers Brain Drain from Jersey Al.

 

 

Joe Barry:

We finally got to hear from Joe Barry yesterday as the coaches emerged from the Packcave to bless us with some words. My Takeaways:

Barry confirms that the Packers will remain a 3-4 BASE defense, but reiterated how it doesn't really matter as in today's NFL, 90% of the time you're in sub packages (nickel, dime, etc.)

Says he feels like you can never have too many nickel corners on the roster. It sure sounds like you're going to see the same DB-heavy packages Pettine employed. 

Barry said he spent a good 13-14 hours in total between 2 formal interviews with LaFleur and other phone conversations. Since LaFleur said he interviewed nine different candidates, that's a lot of hours he put in. 

Barry promises his players above all, will tackle, get off blocks, take the ball away and play with relentless effort. If only!

 

Maurice Drayton:

As the first time hearing him speak, it was no surprise when he revealed that he was raised by the son of a Marine turned Minister and a schoolteacher mother. Drayton is direct, gets straight to the point and doesn't ramble on with his answers. I'm glad we got to hear him speak as himself before Packers PR teaches him the ways of waffling coach speak. 

Asked about JK Scott and Hunter Bradley's performances, Mo made reference to his figurative "Truth Room," where he will tell players exactly what the deal is. Of Scott and Bradley he specifically said, "they understand that their backs are against the wall."

I'm loving this guy.

 

DL Help:

From what I've seen so far with my draft research, this is a very down year for top DL talent. Don't expect the Packers to be looking there in round 1.

 

Andrew Brandt:

Speaking of people I love (and hold in high regard), Andrew Brandt put out an article on SI.com where he explained some of the intricacies of the NFL Salary Cap and debunked some common myths and misconceptions. But the best thing I got out of the entire article was a fascinating tidbit - revealing some of the things they had to do back then to be able to carry over unused cap money into the next year. Basically he had to put unattainable incentives in contracts to be sure he "used" all the money available to the team in that year. Crazy. Oh, and I'm still waiting for Brandt to write his book with all the behind-the-scenes stuff that went on, especially with Brett.

 

 

Poll

So, JJ Watt is an Arizona Cardinal...

 

How do you feel about JJ Watt now?

Lost respect for him - All about $$$
9% (5 votes)
Still a Wisconsin favorite son.
24% (13 votes)
Didn't like him then, no different now.
0% (0 votes)
Really don't care.
67% (37 votes)
Total votes: 55

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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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5 points

Comments (65)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
Since'61's picture

March 03, 2021 at 08:15 am

Al - your last sentence about Joe Barry is the whole deal. Let's see if it happens.
I have always preferred straight up people, especially as coaches and other positions of leadership. Drayton has already put the message out there to JK Scott and Bradley. Good start for him.
As for DL help it usually takes 2-3 seasons for a DL to make a significant impact. Clark is as good as an example as anyone.
Can't wait for Brandt's book.

JJ Watt, ditto for me.

Good job again Al. Stay safe. Thanks, Since '61

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Coldworld's picture

March 03, 2021 at 11:42 am

I continue to believe that we can help ourselves a lot on D line by playing more stout players. Not rejecting a draft solution, but we had players available who could have helped. Not stars just stouter. They were also cheap. For the most part Pettine elected not to use them.

I think my overriding point is that I believe that we can be better with better usage and a similar system and at a relatively low cost. The key to this is Barry using DL personnel better. That helps the ILBs and D bavks as well as the rush ... which feeds back into the loop.

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PeteK's picture

March 03, 2021 at 12:54 pm

I thought that Lancaster could be that player as he glimpsed stoutness, but he got driven off the ball too many times. Also, Pettine used 2 down linemen very often which created double teams. I'm guessing he probably had to because our nickel and dime coverage was weak as Sullivan was exploited in the unmentionable game.

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jannes bjornson's picture

March 03, 2021 at 02:28 pm

Some 4-2 looks would help in those situations. Shut down 1st and 2nd down, then worry about going lightweight.
Last year was the time to bag a free agent big guy. Not much on the rack this season beside Leonard Williams. They will have to pick over the bone pile once teams start shedding players.

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Packers0808's picture

March 03, 2021 at 08:26 am

Think there is any chance we would be interested in Malcolm Brown of the Saints with all the talk of DL help needed? Or too expensive because of Pack cap situation? Just a thought and hopefully legit question!

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Since'61's picture

March 03, 2021 at 10:58 am

Definitely a legit question? Don’t know if we can do it with our cap situation. Thanks, Since ‘61

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Fabio's picture

March 03, 2021 at 01:25 pm

I thought the same thing .... I hope it happens because it would be a good help for KC ..... however I always hope in Gilmoure
Greetings from Italy
GPG

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

March 04, 2021 at 02:30 am

I think so. Brown signed for 3 yrs/$15M with the Saints three years ago. He is exactly the type of mid-level free agent who is likely to get squeezed by the covid cap. He's a guy GB might be able to sign for $3M for 2021, something like 3 years, $12M. He's been a moderately above average starting NT. He is stout and doesn't miss tackles (5.6% and 3.6%), but just 3 pressures and 2 QB hits in 2020. Down to being a rotational guy now with just 33% of snaps played last year.

I pulled my hair out when GB didn't leverage pick 30 in 2015 with Brown sitting on the board. I thought Brown had a chance to be elite, that GB should either just take him or trade back and take any number of prospects I liked in the mid-thirties, like Stephone Anthony (eh, ok that wouldn't have been good), Landon Collins (didn't need him with HHCD and Burnett), Benardrick McKinney, Eric Kendricks, and I was intrigued by the PED user CB Jalen Collins (eh, that's a bust). Instead, TT took Demarious Randall.

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Big_Mel_75's picture

March 03, 2021 at 08:40 am

Barry whispered sweet words in every Packer's fans ear with the comment of " Will tackle, relentless effort... If he can get that done... man.... Been a long time coming for a Packer's D...

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Johnblood27's picture

March 03, 2021 at 09:00 am

Barry cannot tackle any opponents.

I hope his effort is relentless, but getting players to do that cannot be promised.

Coach speak 101.

I'm not from Missouri, but you're gonna have to show me...

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PatrickGB's picture

March 03, 2021 at 09:13 am

Agree. I think that we went from an “X”s and “O”s kind of coach to a rah rah type. Barry seems to be the type of coach who cares less about the scheme than he does the players executing it. Matt seems to have been pushing for a certain scheme and Barry is willing to implement it with passion.

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Razer's picture

March 03, 2021 at 09:36 am

Thank you JohnBlood27. I am getting more salesman than defensive general. I like enthusiasm but guys running around fast and furious without knowing roles and assignments isn't going to make us better. He needs to show that he can get these guys on the same page ala Todd Bowles.

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BradHTX's picture

March 03, 2021 at 09:49 am

To assume that will not happen just from his press conference answers is a bit of a stretch, don’t you think? I mean, the man hasn’t even had a single OTA with his players yet. Just because he may have “motivator coach” tendencies does not mean the opposite must be true about his knowledge of and ability to teach scheme and assignments. Let’s at least give the man a chance to do his job before assuming he’ll be a failure.

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Razer's picture

March 03, 2021 at 10:09 am

You are right BradHTX. I am just echoing the "I am from Missouri - you need to show me" sentiment. If Joe can get these players to simply do their jobs, we will be a better defense. I am curious about his in-game play calling. Mike Pettine seemed to struggle with that, particularly when the pressure was on.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

March 04, 2021 at 02:35 am

I don't disagree. I guess I do think guys running around fast and furious (i.e. swarming to the ball is what I mean) would really help this team.

Yeah, it would help if they ran fast and furious with the correct purpose.

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PeteK's picture

March 03, 2021 at 10:02 am

I thought that during the latter part of the season our tackling improved especially from our safeties. The addition of a solid all around CB, a healthy and seasoned Martin & Barnes could improve on that.

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CoachDino's picture

March 05, 2021 at 06:31 am

I agree, seemed they started to swarm and tackle better around the Tenn game and kept it through the playoffs. The only thing a coach can do is bench them for not swarming and at this level it's not happening. It's up to the players. Rashad Gary seems to lead that swarm/hustle charge. Needed Z and Preston to have done the same earlier.

CB2 and Slot DB is a much bigger issue than a guy that may play 15% of the D snaps. They need another pass rushing Dlinemen threat - that's Ok against the run. Keke might be that guy. I hope

The biggest scheme change for what I can make out is having the ability to better disguise your defensive calls.
He spoke to a personnel issue -requiring Nickel/Star DB's that can also play outside or else how can you have Jaire follow A WR1 into the slot if that leaves Chandon on the border.

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Lphill's picture

March 03, 2021 at 09:07 am

JK Scott is awful I think he finished ranked 26 th , he's even worse when it gets cold , needs to go .

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PatrickGB's picture

March 03, 2021 at 09:17 am

Yes he is inconsistent. But let’s see how he does in TC with a different coach in charge. There is no doubt that he has an incredible leg so my hope is that the off-season work helps him be more consistent.

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Razer's picture

March 03, 2021 at 09:23 am

Agree. Unlike other positions, a punter needs to come into the pro game ready to go. Why are we waiting for him to "get it". I think that Maurice Drayton gets it.

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PatrickGB's picture

March 03, 2021 at 09:42 am

Yes. Pro kickers are like pro golfers. The talent is there but the head must be there too. So my hope is that Drayton can get Scott’s head back in the game.

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CoachDino's picture

March 05, 2021 at 06:36 am

His hang time was #1 and Punt Distance around 16 (That's a pretty good combination, usually) the 26th stat (punt distance less return distance) is more a reflection of the punt return team , the same one that sucked on Kick-offs as well.

That said they are the LS and Punter, there should be competition every year to try and improve the position. As pointed out consistency was both of their biggest issue. Consistency is a must.

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Razer's picture

March 03, 2021 at 10:12 am

Joe Barry spent 13 hours interviewing for the DC job because he can't keep his answers concise. If coaching is about communicating - he'll need to clean that up. Didn't hear anything different from him that I've heard many times before from these guys unless playing fast and furious is a new scheme. He even admitted that it comes down to getting off blocks and tackling. Two things that will determine if salesman Joe can fashion a solid defense:
* Will Gutekunst get him better players (or at least fill the gaps)
* Will his players know what they are doing when they line up (hopefully, not late)

I like Drayton. Answered the questions and instituted the "truth room" scheme. No where to go but up.

Not sure If I am missing something but 17 games seems to be a thing. Puzzling how the players union is going to allow an extra regular season game for less money (lower cap) without a big fight. I am wondering if the game 17 will come with an extended cap limit (no cap reduction). Either way, the players give up a lot for more wear and tear.

Good on Watt. Will make another $30 million in a warm climate and retire in the sun. Don't be mad at a guy making good choices for him and his family. Also did us a favor by not locking up two years of big money on a team with numerous needs.

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PatrickGB's picture

March 03, 2021 at 09:24 am

Yes, Barry does seem to ramble a lot! I got the feeling that Matt and maybe some of the players thought that Pettine was too detached and perhaps Barry would be more of a players type coach who could be more flexible with the scheme.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

March 03, 2021 at 10:13 am

"Barry does seem to ramble a lot!"

To the media.

Look at Paul Chryst. He looks like a moron when he talks to the media and it's apparently because he is highly cautious to not swear.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

March 03, 2021 at 10:10 am

"because he can't keep his answers concise."

You don't know that.

This hire is a big deal. I've traveled for interviews on premises and talked with a search team for 8+ hours several times. I've also put candidates through double digit hours of interviews with our search team.

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Razer's picture

March 03, 2021 at 10:55 am

I only know that he rambled on when asked questions during the press conference. Doesn't make him good or bad. My radar tends to go off when someone talks a lot and I have to dig to find the answer. Hope he is clear and concise with the players.

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Guam's picture

March 03, 2021 at 01:42 pm

NFLPA agreed to a 17th game in the last contract negotiation. NFL can start the 17th game either this year or next year. Curious to see what happens with the preseason games.

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Bear's picture

March 03, 2021 at 01:58 pm

We heard the same thing when they moved from 12 to 16 games....

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Minniman's picture

March 03, 2021 at 03:03 pm

I have this vision of the new sign for the "Truth Room" being placed just under the sign for the Mens toilet in the practice facility.

Drayton: "step right up and take a seat on one of these nice porcelain chairs. Can you think of one word, 4 letters, starting with S and ending in T, that describes your play this week....?"

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flackcatcher's picture

March 03, 2021 at 05:05 pm

In the NFL-NFLPA contract. This is the earliest the NFL could add the extra game. I'm with '61 on this. Now instead of 4 crappy games we'll get 5 in the 1st part of the season. Oh Joy...

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RCPackerFan's picture

March 03, 2021 at 09:23 am

Joe Barry:

Overall I liked what Barry had to say. I liked it when he said that we will have to wait to see what they are going to do on defense. Keeping us in suspense will be a nice thing. But it will be interesting to see what they do in the draft and in FA. It might give us an idea what they are wanting to do defensively.

Maurice Drayton:

Completely agree about how he was raised. I thought before he said it, that he sounded like he was raised from someone in the service.
The part i really found interesting was when he was throwing out past Coordinators and throwing out the special teams rankings for the last 20+ years.
I think he will be a good fit as the Special Teams Coordinator. Hopefully they can get him some good players as well though.

DL Help:
I would not be surprised if they find some help via the veteran cut pool. There are plenty of guys I think they will be able to find that will be upgrades over Lancaster.

Andrew Brandt:
When Brandt talks, I listen. He is a guy I respect. Its that simple!

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PatrickGB's picture

March 03, 2021 at 09:35 am

I was confused by the Drayton pick for ST coach. Why would a team promote a coach whose players did poorly the years before. After all, wasn’t he the one working with the underperforming players? He did give a good interview. I hope that he has learned what NOT to do under his previous bosses. I live in Charleston and am familiar with his Citadel roots and that’s cool. I love those guys, they are a bunch of overachievers. Maybe that’s what he will bring?

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murf7777's picture

March 03, 2021 at 03:44 pm

Because he was an under him doesn’t mean he is like him. If he was following orders and did what he was told, how can you fault that? Doesn’t mean he was agreeing with the Coach who was his boss. I’m sure he has his own way of doing things and that is something Mlf liked about him. time will tell if that makes a difference.

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murf7777's picture

March 03, 2021 at 03:45 pm

Because he was an under him doesn’t mean he is like him. If he was following orders and did what he was told, how can you fault that? Doesn’t mean he was agreeing with the Coach who was his boss. I’m sure he has his own way of doing things and that is something Mlf liked about him. time will tell if that makes a difference.

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PhantomII's picture

March 03, 2021 at 09:21 pm

I thought the same thing about the hire. I'm not going to stick up for our ST, but Gute did not have anyone on the roster that can return a punt or kickoff with skills. He needs to draft for that specifically. Swerve is okay when not hurt this year, but not a real returner type. A lot of poor angles and bunching up on kickoffs. Need to run sprints when they screw up on film. That would stop the mental errors as well as dropped balls by WR's and missed tackles. Run to focus.

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Handsback's picture

March 03, 2021 at 09:27 am

Immediate Dline help will probably come from FA. I don't see any rookie in Green Bay's range making an impact. Short may be a target if he gets passed over by a few teams.

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Razer's picture

March 03, 2021 at 10:57 am

...Immediate Dline help will probably come from FA. I don't see any rookie in Green Bay's range making an impact...

Both you and RCPackerFan are singing in the same choir. I like the tune.

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dobber's picture

March 03, 2021 at 09:32 am

"From what I've seen so far with my draft research, this is a very down year for top DL talent. Don't expect the Packers to be looking there in round 1."

All it takes is 1. The RIGHT one, but one.

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PeteK's picture

March 03, 2021 at 10:11 am

Also, we have a star in Clark and hopefully an improving Keke, so we need a solid gap plugger.

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BradHTX's picture

March 03, 2021 at 09:55 am

My feelings about Watt aren’t covered in the poll answers given.

Very disappointed they couldn’t sign him because I do think he would be an impact player and it would have been a great story — as a Houston resident, what he does for the community can’t be overstated and it would have been wonderful to have him play out his career in green and gold.

But for what the Cardinals gave him? No effing way. Disappointed he didn’t choose us, a favorite, for less money vs only a possible contender in maybe the toughest division in the NFL, but I don’t begrudge him making the best business decision for himself.

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Ferrari-Driver's picture

March 03, 2021 at 10:07 am

Al, great job on that one.
I sure hope the special teams turn it around. Organizations like the Patriots and Ravens have been rated near the top year after year. It seems to be effective on special teams it used to be "Reckless Abandon and rip them apart", but nowadays it has evolved into a more sophisticated approach than it was in the "old days".
Your comments on Maurice Drayton sounded like music to my ears: "A Marine father" and "A School Teacher Mom"...sounds like a recipe for success.

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stockholder's picture

March 03, 2021 at 10:12 am

P. Smith will be back and you made No mention of it? Joe Barry just opened Pandora's box. Keeping the 3-4-4 will lead to his Down - fall. Just like Capers, and Pettine, Barry all but guaranteed; No help is needed. Poor Clark. Management just keeps playing Russian Roulette with this DL. My draft board just changed. Win Now only is a state of the mind. Just because guys make big money. Doesn't mean they don't need help. Ignoring a S.O.S. has kept this team from going to the Super-Bowl. I suggest Rodgers needs to give his Jock strap to Gute. Face masks are Gute's specialty. I'm now sure he'll stink up this draft like his last one.

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PeteK's picture

March 03, 2021 at 10:26 am

I don't know how they can get under the cap without releasing Smith. Yes, it wasn't the best draft. However, there were good contributions from Barnes, Dillon, Runyon, and Martin all of who will probably be starters this season. Also, some minor contributions from a host of players. All of this while drafting late for a very good team and a possible future QB.

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Guam's picture

March 03, 2021 at 01:39 pm

The Packers can get under the cap without releasing Preston, but he will have to renegotiate his contract and take a pay cut as well as the Packers reconfiguring a number of other contracts and pushing dead money into 2022 and 2023. It will also leave the Pack with little ability to sign free agents unless they get really aggressive about converting salary into amortizable money.

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jannes bjornson's picture

March 03, 2021 at 05:50 pm

Move CAP forward when the value moves up successively. P.Smith would be a trade chip, but as Stock said Packertown likes status quo.

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jannes bjornson's picture

March 03, 2021 at 05:51 pm

Close, but no cigar T-shirts now available @ Packer Pro Shop.

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JohnnyLogan's picture

March 03, 2021 at 11:14 am

Read a disturbing fan post on Twitter that Barry's defensive players ran around confused. I don't understand how he would interview for 14 hours... did other candidates get that much time to impress? And saying his players "will tackle, get off blocks, take the ball away and play with relentless effort" is silly. Has any coach ever not promised that? He likely said the same thing before starting his previous jobs, and he didn't deliver. In fact, he was a monumental failure. I like intensity, but on the field, not in the press room. I'm cautiously not optimistic.

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flackcatcher's picture

March 03, 2021 at 05:47 pm

Barry's defense had superior talent in Washington, but was thin in the roster. Not his fault with how much a mess the coaching staff and front office was. But his defense looked sloppy and disconnected, and fell apart early in the first half of the season in his two seasons there. If the Packers were going to make a change in defense, then Gute would have pulled the trigger on Pettine the year before. This hiring of Joe Barry is strictly about how bad the Lafleur-Pettine relationship had gotten over the last season. Not about the performance of the defense last season.

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jannes bjornson's picture

March 03, 2021 at 05:55 pm

Pettine was Packertown's guy, not LaFleur's

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flackcatcher's picture

March 03, 2021 at 10:50 pm

More Gute's guy, but with no contract made him expendable over Lafleur, who still has a year on his. Think of Barry more like a one year rental for this season.

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Fabio's picture

March 03, 2021 at 01:33 pm

Preston Smith's confirmation puts a stone on my hopes of going to SB .... once again .... Absolute disappointment .... and confirms that this season too nothing will change in defense
Greetings from Italy
GPG over everything and everyone

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Coldworld's picture

March 03, 2021 at 05:43 pm

Preston played pretty well later in the season. I don’t know why you’d feel depressed by his possible return?

They did not say he would definitely be here, the nuance is that he is currently and no decision has been made that he won’t be. That is coach speak that say almost nothing other than he has not yet been cut.

If he is back it will likely mean there is a contract change or other plan about which we know nothing at this point.

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Fabio's picture

March 04, 2021 at 03:39 pm

Hello Coldworld
I think Preston is now not worth the money we have to spend. We also have Gary and we have to hope that he develops definitively this season without Preston taking away any shots. Also releasing Smith after June 1st would release around 10/12 mils in the Cap and I think they would be very handy in other areas like CB (I really hope for Gilmoure).
Greetings from Italy
GPG

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Minniman's picture

March 03, 2021 at 02:46 pm

"Barry promises his players above all, will tackle, get off blocks, take the ball away and play with relentless effort. If Only"

well that doesn't reflect glowingly on Mike Pettine's defenses, does it!

I'd love to be a fly on the wall if\when they meet next!

Also Al, can we also ask Joe if that extends to knowing where the down markers are too!

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nostradanus's picture

March 03, 2021 at 02:55 pm

Barry - He started off every answer with “that’s a great question” too much coach speak for me. But then again I wasn’t blown away with Matt LaFleur’s opening press conference when he was hired. I hope he’s the right choice because if he’s not Lafleur will be on the hot seat also.

Drayton - I was totally impressed with this guy how refreshing and intellectual. Now here’s a guy I believe will turn around special-teams once and for all.

Brandt- I have always loved listening to Andrew talk he really gives thoughtful in-depth answers. Rust ball is a good salary cap for a manager but Andrew was probably just as good in my estimation.

JJ Watt - JJ is 32 years old and has missed 32 of 80 games in the past five years. It would’ve been exciting to have him on the Packers but not at that price. I would rather see the Packers saying several mid tier freeagents and plug some holes.

Gutey - has absolutely got to hit a home run in the draft this year if the Packers want to compete for the Super Bowl. They need several of their high draft choices to contribute immediately in order for them to have a chance.

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CoachDino's picture

March 05, 2021 at 06:53 am

Normally I would disagree with depending On Rookie draft picks for instant impact, but CB2, Slot DB and possibly Oline are currently scary. The fact they may have trouble obtaining quality FAs (26th in cap space with 2 major contracts looming) to fill those does puts it all on the draft.

So does a new DC / scheme have a learning curve? New / Rookie CB2? mistakes?
I predict growing pains through the learning curve.

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Leatherhead's picture

March 03, 2021 at 03:12 pm

So Lafleur is hiring a guy who seems to be pretty similar to the last guy. Hmmmmmmm.

I don’t expect us to get a DL in the first round, but I think we can get one on the second day that will help us.

MauriceDrayton. Until we start playing the percentages in the punt game, a new coach or different players isn’t going to make much difference.

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jannes bjornson's picture

March 03, 2021 at 06:01 pm

Drayton will not settle for the Fair Catch, if that is your reference.

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Leatherhead's picture

March 03, 2021 at 06:53 pm

Then our special teams will make mistakes that will cost us games.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

March 04, 2021 at 02:47 am

Meet the new boss;
Same as the old boss?

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wildbill's picture

March 03, 2021 at 03:23 pm

Not sure if we should be concerned that Barry didn’t bring anybody with him. Most coaches have people they have worked with that they trust so it seems strange to me that he would be fine with everybody who was already here. Not saying it’s good or bad, just seems like it varies from the norm. Could be he couldn’t get the people he wanted.

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PhantomII's picture

March 03, 2021 at 09:44 pm

I think Gute is dragging his feet on restructuring contracts for cap space and hoping these NFL game deals get done and increases the CAP before he gets into contracts. That tells me he's going to do the minimum this offseason.

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flackcatcher's picture

March 03, 2021 at 10:56 pm

The roster is still a good one capable of making a third run into the NFC/superbowl this year. The crunch comes next season with the Cap with all those contracts due. Gute looks like he's beginning to prepare for next season. We'll know when he does, or does not sign Rodgers to an extension soon.

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White92's picture

March 04, 2021 at 11:49 am

Thanks Al. It's always good to read your thoughts.

Barry said some good things. I'm just hoping we don't see the 3 man rush anymore.

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