Cory's Corner: Don't Stop Believin'

You may call me crazy, but the Packers are very close to turning this thing around.

This has been one of the most bizarre Packers’ seasons of recent memory.

A tie, five missed kicks in a single game and 12 dropped passes this season.

You may call me crazy, but the Packers are very close to turning this thing around. I know that after last week’s debacle of a finish in LA, there are plenty of people that think the season is over.

Those people are wrong. The season isn’t over. And I will add something else: I think the Packers are going to drop some jaws in Foxborough and beat the Patriots.

The Packers looked like a completely different team against the unbeaten Rams last week. The one thing that tilted momentum was a safety that quickly erased 10-0 Packers lead.

And now Ty Montgomery and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix are gone. General manager Brian Gutekunst is shaping a roster with players that actually want to be Packers. Such a novel concept. Remember when Ted Thompson would hang on to guys too long just for the sake of loyalty? Well, that isn’t happening anymore. Get on board with what the Packers are doing or get out. With no Montgomery, Aaron Jones will be getting more touches and the cries for his number to be called by coach Mike McCarthy will go down exponentially.

Defensively, Jaire Alexander had his breakout game as a pro last week. He leads the team with five pass breakups and appears ready to be the next Packers’ shutdown cover corner. Mike Daniels (22) and Kenny Clark (20) are having great seasons as they lead the team in quarterback pressures.

But we all know this team comes down to Aaron Rodgers. He’s third in the NFL in yards per game (326), fourth with 19 passes that have gone for at least 25 yards and he’s fifth with a fourth quarter passer rating of 118.  Rodgers is having a pretty remarkable season and he’s mostly been doing it on one healthy leg after injuring his left knee in the season opener. 

Green Bay’s season isn’t over. Let’s just say that after seven games, the Packers have a narrower and sharper focus. They have lost just about every way imaginable and still find themselves in the playoff hunt by being just a ½ game back in the NFC North.

The Packers are still seeking their first road win of the season and they’ll get it because Tom Brady has looked more like Aquaman than Superman this year. The Eagles showed on the biggest stage that the best way to beat Brady is to get pressure and knock him down. Brady is completing 75 percent of his passes when the pocket is clean and just 43 percent when under pressure. And with starting right guard Shaq Mason ruled out, getting pressure on Brady isn't just a lofty goal. 

Just like the Journey song says, “Don’t Stop Believin’,” because there’s a lot of season left and this team is finally hitting its stride.

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Cory Jennerjohn is a graduate from UW-Oshkosh and has been in sports media for over 15 years. He was a co-host on "Clubhouse Live" and has also done various radio and TV work as well. He has written for newspapers, magazines and websites. He currently is a columnist for CHTV and also does various podcasts. He recently earned his Masters degree from the University of Iowa. He can be found on Twitter: @Coryjennerjohn

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Comments (41)

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Jordan's picture

November 03, 2018 at 06:57 am

The stats hide the fact that Rodgers can't play 4 quarters. It has nothing to do with his knee. He can't seem to mentally stay in a game for 4 quarters. It's been that way for the last 5 seasons. He can't put teams away.....step on the their throat.

If you can get Rodgers to play all 4 quarters, the Packers will easily win the SB. They have the talent.

The only way to keep Rodgers mentally focused for an entire game is to run 2 minute offense. I think they should run 2 minute offense for the entire game. Don't give Rodgers an opportunity to think too much.

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HankScorpio's picture

November 03, 2018 at 07:35 am

I don't agree with everything you say but do agree that Rodgers needs to step up his consistency.

The article mentions Crosby's ugly missed FG day vs Detroit. One way to avoid that sort of thing is to stop sputtering in the red zone. Rodgers has his finger in that pie.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

November 03, 2018 at 02:54 pm

Rodgers hasn't played a complete game yet. Maybe that is really hard to do when your MCL is throbbing. But whatever the reason is, I am convinced throwing the ball on time is the answer. Get the ball into your recievers hands. Let them make plays. Void the pass rush. Open up the deep sideline stuff you really want.

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Community Guy's picture

November 03, 2018 at 07:37 am

i feel that, as long as the Packers stay relatively healthy, the arrow is going to continue to point up for this team. improvement in the Packers' secondary.. Jaire a big part of that improvement.. will allow the Packers to position themselves once again for a post-season birth.

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TarynsEyes's picture

November 03, 2018 at 08:10 am

Rodgers is 3rd in this, 5th in that and this in the other thing and same is said of the team being 3rd here, 6th there and whatever else doing this when doing that.

It all comes down to being 3-3-1 and no where in any of those stats does it mention why,how or against whom the team or Rodgers accumulated those all important, over rated, over used numbers designed to cover up the stink of play and the stink of those played.

I know, it's called parity and any team can win on any given Sunday. BS. We have witnessed this false parity and seen how bad/good teams lose to worse teams but the easily recognized good teams don't lose to bad teams as often as the Packers do. Which makes the Packers a bad team who lose to good teams as often as they do to bad teams. That makes them...3-3-1...period.

The problem the last few years is the Packers with or without Rodgers have struggled to win the Division. They have been more back door than front door kicking down. This season seems to be no different and therefore the Packers are again underdogs to win anything and the riding phase of ' We Have Rodgers ' is simply a clogged faucet now dripping instead of gushing out full throttle.

Unless the Packers win the next 4, a win Sunday will only cover the stain from the Rams loss,which will then become more visible with a loss to Sea or Min and hopefully not a loss to Miami in GB for any reason.

What will the stats say about that or rather spun to cover it up.

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The TKstinator's picture

November 03, 2018 at 01:03 pm

Axe can cover up a lot of stink, but in so doing, does it merely replace one unpleasant odor with another olfactory attack?
Does the young stag announce his presence with a great bleating cry that forces attention garnered from all those he surveys? Do his actions cry out, “hark upon all ye, feast at the banquet table of my grandeur!”??

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LeotisHarris's picture

November 03, 2018 at 10:10 pm

Indeed, friend! And are we not entertained?

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The TKstinator's picture

November 04, 2018 at 12:14 am

Indeed, we are!

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calabasa's picture

November 04, 2018 at 01:08 pm

Dilly Dilly.

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Lare's picture

November 03, 2018 at 08:15 am

I think the game tomorrow is going to show us a lot about where this team is at. The Rams game showed us that the Packers can play with any team, but their overall performance was so up & down that it's hard to make any sort of overall assessment.

Can't say as I share Cory's prediction that the Packers will beat the Patriots on their home field, but if any area of the team can do consistently well throughout the game and not beat themselves, they should be able to make it a game.

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arthurl's picture

November 03, 2018 at 08:59 am

Pretty encouraged by team's effort vs the Rams. I have feeling they are building some momentum as they head into this stretch of games. Lot of this optimism is play of guys like Clark, MVS, Alexander, Jackson and St Brown. They're giving team some added juice to blend with talents of the older vets. I like their chances in NE; win would go a long way in getting them on nice roll.

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PatrickGB's picture

November 03, 2018 at 09:22 am

It seems to me that every time the Packers get going in one phase of our game another phase lets us down. I am not sure why. Many have blamed the coach, some have blamed Rodgers and some have blamed the refs. There is merit to any of those excuses. I blame TT. It forced the team to play unsuitable players for too long and wasted draft picks and ignored FA additions. I see hope for the future. I am unsure about this year.

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NickPerry's picture

November 03, 2018 at 10:17 am

I love this comment and not just because PatrickGB brings up Thompson's ineptness but because him comment about Thompson is so TRUE. Many of us especially myself have long blamed Thompson's drafts. Many are pointing to the 2015 through 2017 drafts but Thompson's ugly draft results started long before 2015. IMO it started in 2012 or so.

As much as I love the Packers unique ownership it's also a huge hindrance at times. Had the Packers had a REAL owner there's NO WAY Thompson is allowed to live off his first and best draft choice for so long. There's also no way McCarthy is back after 2014 which IMO this team has never recovered from.

Gutekunst inherited a shell of a team. He got a team with ONE WR, and aging once in a generation QB, a couple of dame fine DT, and the best LT in the NFL. Sure there are some quality players sprinkled in here and there, but not that many. Gutekunst in ONE draft and season has added some excellent pieces to this team. McCarthy FINALLY added a DC who only can make you wonder what might have been if Capers was gone YEARS ago.

Mark Murphy has a chance to do the right thing in January and follow Gutekunst's lead. I don't give a damn about a playoff appearance by McCarthy...He HAS to go. He was first a great coach, then a good one, and now he's a HC who has overstayed his effectiveness. That's just life in the NFL unless your name is Belichick. Murphy can right the wrongs by Thompson and let Gutekunst do his thing. By doing maybe just maybe the Packers can win another SB or two before Rodgers is hanging em up.

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tgsalty's picture

November 03, 2018 at 11:28 am

Very good comment. I would add if Murphy isn't ready to get McCarthy out, then it is time to get both of them out. The real change started many years ago when Harlan was put out. Murphy, and maybe not his fault, makes decisions on how the money flows. I think his ego is the biggest, but challenged by McCarthy. McCarthy seems to be living in a world that only he sees.
Gutekunst is shaping the team and no doubt doing a great job so far. Get a HC who can adjust to the times.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

November 03, 2018 at 08:49 pm

MM is gonna finish the season. Mid season coaching changes don't work in the NFL.

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Barnacle's picture

November 04, 2018 at 09:30 am

Tgsalty

I do not like the GB management by committee. Gute supposedly controls player selection, but not the management of those players? MM blames uncoached players for foul ups and Gute fires the players. MM fires a bunch of his old handpicked coaches and many have high expectations for the new MM handpicked coaches.

Gute should have been given authority over hiring and firing the coaching staff.

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splitpea1's picture

November 03, 2018 at 12:58 pm

Yes and no. The last paragraph is spot on. However, plenty of major league franchises have "real" owners that are unable or unwilling to do what it takes to put a winning product on the field/court/rink.They are in essence stealing from the fans. Also, I don't think any defensive coordinator could have overcome some of these projects that TT drafted. Let's hope that "draft and develop" has been replaced by "draft and ready to contribute ASAP."

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dobber's picture

November 03, 2018 at 03:44 pm

Owners who use their teams for prestige and/or as investments really hamper good sports.

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splitpea1's picture

November 03, 2018 at 03:55 pm

And often times, fans are stuck with these kinds of owners (and their descendants) for decades.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

November 03, 2018 at 02:59 pm

"IMO it started in 2012 or so."

I've slaughtered around here for questioning TT's unquestionable status as the 'Master of the Draft'.

There is 1 to 2 year latency when seeing that a ProBowl player should no longer be voted to the ProBowl. Probably because Draft picks take so long to develop the latency for a GM seams to be much longer.

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ricky's picture

November 03, 2018 at 09:30 am

Never give up. Not until the final whistle has blown and the score shows a tie or loss. Then its over. Until then, keep the faith, and enjoy the spectacle. Will we ever see another player with the consummate skill set tthat Rodgers possesses? He makes the ridiculous look pedestrian. Besides, since there is nothing we can do to affect the outcome of the game, enjoy the show.

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TarynsEyes's picture

November 03, 2018 at 10:48 am

" Will we ever see another player with the consummate skill set that Rodgers possesses? "

Do you even know how ridiculous this sounds? It sounds ' Walks on Water ' ridiculous. Sorry for bursting your obvious delusion...wait...no I'm not because this is exactly whats wrong with so many. and why the Packers FO has failed in recent past...they believe Rodgers is the ' Walks on Water ' savior. He doesn't and is one huge reason why this team is where it is...he doesn't and he needs help.

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LeotisHarris's picture

November 03, 2018 at 10:05 pm

Aaron Rodgers is the most physically talented quarterback in the NFL. He makes throws others can't, in situations they cannot. His skill set puts him in a league of his own. His peers, scouts, and coaches recognize and acknowledge those facts.

You being unhappy and ignorant doesn't change those facts. It just makes you a repetitive irritating voice yelling into a hole.

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Roadrunner23's picture

November 03, 2018 at 09:30 am

I for one am very encouraged by the influx of young talent the Packers have accumulated.
-Clark
-Martinez
-Alexander
-Jackson
-MVS
-EQ
-A. Jones
-J. Williams

Unfortunately (as iv'e stated all year) the Packers still have huge holes at OLB, Safety and OL depth and the Packers are in a two year re-build.

This doesn't mean this season is a waste, in fact this team can gain experience and momentum going into next season by finishing with a winning record. This most likely will not get them into the playoffs but will give the team and fans a shot of optimism moving forward to 2019.

Herr Gute has already given signals that he is going to be a player in free-agency in 2019. Also with 2 First Round choices, 2 Forth Round Choices and 2 Sixth Round choices plus the rest of their draft choices intact it should be a fun and exciting time.

I also believe they will give Big Mike McCarthy one last shot during this re-build.

Lets enjoy the cheesy ride my cheesy brethren!

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The TKstinator's picture

November 03, 2018 at 03:01 pm

¡Quesos all around!

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

November 03, 2018 at 09:33 am

Before the Rams game, I wrote that GB matches up better against NE. I still think that, but I don't know if Twill can replace HHCD.

I no longer feel that GB will just outscore opponents. [I think we can, and should be able to, but it hasn't happened.] The offense hasn't been able to keep it together for a complete game. So, some defensive effect seems necessary.

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dobber's picture

November 03, 2018 at 11:22 am

I would argue that they just can't play the same way with TWill at FS as they would with HHCD at FS, or--in other words--TWill's experience and skill set are fundamentally different enough that they'll likely have to make meaningful changes in what they do with their safeties.

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Samson's picture

November 03, 2018 at 09:47 am

Don't get me wrong, I like the direction that the Pack are headed. -- I also appreciate a GM who has a vision and a set to match. -- The Pack have (it seems) an influx of good to very good young players. -- All of this is definitely a positive trend. ---However, this will lead to improvement in season 2019, not this season to any significant degree. (8-7-1 & watching the playoffs)

Gute needs one more draft & especially another shot at the 2019 free agent class. --- MM needs to be sent packing after season 2018 along with several overpaid under performing players.

This article is abit too fluffy for me. -- Cheerleading is not necessarily good analysis.

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dobber's picture

November 03, 2018 at 11:02 am

I agree with you in many regards, Samson, but it's difficult to rationalize the "we'll have the personnel and be ready for a run in 2019" and "only with a new coach" mentality. This reeks of the "anyone would be better than MM" mindset when, frankly, there are plenty of coaches who would do much worse or need enough time to get going that the end of ARod's prime years would come before the coach, staff, players, and system are at their best. I'm sure that Jerry Jones thought that a labradoodle could run his team and win SBs when he installed Barry Switzer.

Am I saying that BG is Jerry Jones? No. Am I saying the Packers need to retain MM no matter what or over any particular time frame? Nope: I could take him or leave him and am loyal to the Packers, not any one coach or player. I'm just saying that a coaching change is never a sure route to improvement and can't be assumed to be the cure to whatever ails a franchise. Nobody knows what this team will look like after a coaching change, which is as fundamental a change you can make to team culture, cohesiveness, and on-field performance you can make. Be damn sure when you do it.

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Lare's picture

November 03, 2018 at 01:35 pm

Not that I'm a fan of Greg Jennings or think he has any great insight, but his interview yesterday got me to thinking- "How many people from outside the current Packers organization have we ever heard praising McCarthy as a Head Coach and play caller?"

I can't think of anybody.

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Rak47's picture

November 03, 2018 at 06:56 pm

The Packers have the ability to win out, truly. This team is more talented than any other Packers team in the past 6 years but they're not all on the same page offensively. Rodgers and MM had better get on the same page quickly. Much of that will have to do with whether McCarthy can show he's ca[able of adapting. If not they will finish with 8-9 wins and out of the playoffs.

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splitpea1's picture

November 03, 2018 at 03:41 pm

Conversely, there are probably plenty of coaches who could do much better, and once the new GM gets a season under his belt he should be even better able to add the right personnel to the team. I really don't understand the reluctance to move on from MM. He has a fine record, but his tenure is stale and he obviously can't seem to get the team over the hump with his unimaginative play calling.The Packers have to punt way too much for the talent they have on offense.

If the Packers decide to make a coaching change, I have faith that they'll get it right. But it's the "if" that worries me.

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Samson's picture

November 03, 2018 at 07:30 pm

dobber
I didn't say anything about "only".
The draft, free agency and sending MM out the door. --- All 3 are part of the equation for a successful run in season 2019.
But, then again, you've always been an MM groupie.

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White92's picture

November 03, 2018 at 09:54 am

Maybe I'm optimistic, but I see only 2 more losses on the schedule. Tomorrow and either at Minnesota or at Seattle, but not both. That leaves them 10-5-1.

The game at Minnesota is huge. I see Minnesota only losing to NE. If they beat the Packers, they end up 11-4-1. Packers win and they'll own the tiebreaker.

That said, they have to win the games they should. No more losing to crap teams like Detroit and Washington.

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dobber's picture

November 03, 2018 at 11:24 am

Going into the season, many penciled in these two games (at Rams, at NE) as likely losses. Is it the end of the world if they lose these two games? I don't believe so...but the margin for error is mostly gone. The fact that they didn't get blown out last week (as many here said they would) is encouraging. A win tomorrow would help immensely, not just in terms of record, but in terms of generating momentum.

Those road games against Seattle, Minnesota and Chicago should give pause. None will be gimmes even for a Packers team playing well. And a home date against an Atlanta team that the Packers have struggled with in recent years shouldn't be overlooked.

We need to be careful how we characterize Washington. They're 5-2 with losses on the road to the Saints (understandable) and home to the Colts (???). Maybe they finish the year 5-11. Right now they're not flashy, but they're not looking like a crap team. Detroit on the other hand is its usual Jekyll and Hyde self. They rolled over last weekend at home against Seattle...which makes Seattle more dangerous in a couple weeks.

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PAPackerbacker's picture

November 03, 2018 at 10:17 am

If Rodgers would match his 4th quarter stats of a 118 passer rating for the entire game then the Packers would be in first place in the North. The Packers can defeat the Patriots, or any other team in the NFL, if they play 60 minutes of football. Unfortunately, the Packers haven't been able to do that in the 7 games they played so far. One phase of the team will do well and then another will not. If the whole team doesn't play the full 60 minutes, a veteran like Brady will take advantage of those missed opportunities by the Packers and lead the Patriots to a victory. If pressure can be put on Brady the Packers may have a chance at a couple of turnovers. The Packers must seize every opportunity they have in the game and produce points. If Brady is given to many opportunities the Packers will be looking to play catch up football again and increase their chances of going home with another game in the loss column.

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dobber's picture

November 03, 2018 at 11:24 am

"Tom Brady has looked more like Aquaman than Superman this year. "

Aquaman sucks.

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The TKstinator's picture

November 03, 2018 at 03:04 pm

But the movie looks like fun!

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mcduff67's picture

November 03, 2018 at 12:30 pm

Que Se Ra, Se Ra is over, time for this team to Roar!!!
New England is not the monster, Victory by the Pack!!
The past is history, this future is Green & Gold Go Pack!!

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Point-Packer's picture

November 03, 2018 at 03:00 pm

Rainbows. Unicorns. And pure and utter BS. This team is coached by Mike McCarthy. Remember?

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Ds300916's picture

November 04, 2018 at 05:20 pm

I mean this with all sincerity. It is nice to see Cory post some positive stuff about the packers for once. good thoughts Cory! Go pack Go!

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