Cory's Corner: Packers Are Winning With Everyone

The Packers have surprised everyone en route to a 4-1 start. How did this happen?    

So how did we get here?
 
The Packers are tied with the Saints and Seahawks for the second-best record in the NFC at 4-1 behind the unbeaten 49ers.
 
Yet, the numbers don't exactly scream a 4-1 team. The Packers are ranked 25th overall on offense and 22nd overall on defense, including a meager 26th vs. the run. Yet, amazingly enough, the Packers have only given up one 100-yard rushing performance when Dalvin Cook tore up the Packers' front seven to the tune of 154 yards in Week 2. 
 
The Packers have been frustratingly hard to figure out. Aaron Rodgers, hasn't exactly been Aaron Rodgers yet. His higest touchdown game has been two and he's averaging 261 yards a game. He's also just 2-for-17 on third-and-8 or more and Rodgers' quarterback rating inside the red zone is actually worse than Giants rookie Daniel Jones. 
 
The only way to describe this team has been opportunistic. Just look at last week. Amari Cooper had Jaire Alexander beat but the ball doinks off Cooper's hands and things change. With a lead, the imposing Cowboys' running game was neutralized and the Packers cruised to the upset win. 
 
What is really special about this team is that it comes to you in waves. If Preston Smith and Za'Darius Smith don't drive the opposing quarterback nuts, then the secondary usually will. Alexander leads the NFC with nine passes defended and Kevin King has six. Blake Martinez has gotten even better and his consistency has paid off by being second in the NFC in tackles. 
 
And amazingly, this is all happening with a new head coach that the national media still wants to make a narrative out of the relationship between his starting quarterback. 
 
Nobody had the Packers at 4-1. Nobody. I expected a learning curve this year, a late season fight for a playoff spot and a bigger jump next year. However, now the Packers are on the doorstep of going undefeated on the first trip through the division. 
 
Playing team ball is such a tired narrative. We have all heard how important the team is, but winning tight ballgames in the NFL comes down to talent. Thanks to Brian Gutekunst, this team is very deep. For example, LaDarius Gunter was guarding Julio Jones in the 2016 NFC Championship and he's probably going to drafted by the XFL. Green Bay doesn't have any guys like that on this roster. 
 
Is this team perfect? Not by any means. The tight end position still makes me wonder and how long can the receiving corps get by without Davante Adams? 
 
But the scary thing is, the Packers are continually getting better. They are making a slow crescendo, yet still finding ways to win. 
 
That's the true essence of team. 

 

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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 (39)

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

October 12, 2019 at 06:43 am

I knew it was bad BUT Rodgers being 2-17 on 3rd and 8 or more and actually worse than Daniel Jones in the red zone is really an eye-opening stat. Being 4-1 with stats like that shows just how much of a TEAM the 2019 Packers are. This TEAM wins football games. Everyone from JK Scott to Aaron Rodgers and all points in-between have an effect on the outcome. BUT...

I know everyone doesn't share my opinion (and that's all it is) but Gute should really, really, REALLY be working the phones for a WR. It's not that the who the Packers have are bad though they aren't Jennings, Nelson, and Jones that's for sure. But with or without Adams this team could really use a veteran WR. Inexperience at the WR position is this team's biggest weakness on offense.

I'm not saying to go out and bring Jordy out of retirement though I'd bet he'd JUMP at the opportunity. But I can say with about 97% certainly had Nelson for example been on the field against Philly those last 2 drives the Packers score TD's each time IMO. Nelson, for example, knows EXACTLY what Rodgers is thinking and where Rodgers wants him to go in the red zone. I think perhaps some veteran WR could come in and get on the same page pretty quickly with Rodgers too.

I trust Gute to do what's best...After all, he's done a pretty damn amazing job getting this team turned around in less than 2 years on the job. That's why he's a GM for the greatest team in all of sports. But I'd still like to see someone like Sanders or someone like that wearing green and gold before the trade deadline has come and gone.

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SterlingSharpe's picture

October 12, 2019 at 07:35 am

Totally agree Nicky.

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Nick Perry's picture

October 12, 2019 at 08:51 am

Hell, just think what Rodgers could do with a Sterling Sharpe...OMG!!! Still, I believe without a shadow of a doubt he belongs in the HOF. The numbers that man put up in 7 seasons and records he broke at the time he was playing were pretty awesome. WHAT a WR!

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Tundraboy's picture

October 12, 2019 at 05:03 pm

Yes,or with a Lofton. On D, a Nitschke. We are so close.

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murf7777's picture

October 12, 2019 at 11:17 am

I agree and we should go after AJ Green. Not only is he an awesome receiver but he is on the last year of the contract. So you give up a third round pick and if you lose him after the year you get a compensatory pick that will be a third or fourth round. We just got back practicing this week so he should be ready soon.

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jannes bjornson's picture

October 12, 2019 at 12:08 pm

Try to deal for Tate.

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GVPacker's picture

October 13, 2019 at 02:04 pm

Hey Nick I agree with you on bringing a veteran WR into the fold, how about Larry Fitzgerald?

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HoppyTime's picture

October 12, 2019 at 08:12 am

Let's see how the offense starts doing when we're not playing against a top 10 D. Really hopeful that once Adams returns the offense will really start clicking.

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Handsback's picture

October 12, 2019 at 08:38 am

For some reason this team reminds me of the 2007 Packers. They started fast, lost to the Bears twice, I think, and the Cowboys. They looked super against the Seahawks and laid an egg against the Giants who won the SB against the Pats.

Like that team...the Packer's record doesn't match their stats and I attribute a young team that has gelled enough to win games but not enough to impose their will and therefore the stats seem out of place. Staying healthy is key, but when the weather turns I don't see any team wanting to play against the Packer's defense. The offense has one of the best QBs around...he'll make some plays with his feet and arm. So I don't see this team going 13-3, but not far from it. Just want to see them impose their will and make some noise in the playoffs.

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4thand1's picture

October 12, 2019 at 08:39 am

Isn't this what everyone wanted, a team winning and not depending on AR? You see what everyone focuses on, QB stats as Corey just did. Stats are for losers I've heard time and time again. The only stat I care about is 4-1. The fact is we still have a HOF QB that still can take over a game if need be with the right weapons around him. If the 2nd year receivers can't make the jump, it will be the one thing that holds this team back IMO.

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Tundraboy's picture

October 12, 2019 at 09:37 am

Absolutely. 10 likes!

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Samson's picture

October 12, 2019 at 10:45 am

4th&1
You couldn't be closer to the truth...But, still, some fans enjoy emphasizing again & again the negatives in a 4-1 record....

You're correct about the WR situation also... It could be this season's albatross.

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Nick Perry's picture

October 13, 2019 at 04:38 am

"The fact is we still have a HOF QB that still can take over a game if need be with the right weapons"

My question is do the Packers have the right weapons? Rodgers stats may not look like they normally do but most of that is on the WR's. Now hopefully that improves as the season progresses but for me personally, I can't ignore what the WR room has done (or not done) on the field.

4th is correct...The ONLY stat that means a thing is wins and losses. BUT as the season moves along and even when Adams returns, the Packers WILL NEED a 2nd WR to step forward. I think MVS is a good WR but I'm not so sure he can even be a solid #2. He definitely has a place on this roster but Adams needs a running mate and the sooner the Packers can get one the better off they'll be later in the season and hopefully playoffs.

Even if MVS suddenly started tearing up NFL secondaries I see nothing wrong with adding another weapon for Rodgers. Just as an example could my fellow Packers fans imagine a Packers offense with a healthy Adams, MVS stretching the field, AND a WR like Emmanual Saunders to go with Aaron Jones?

I can and it looks pretty damn good. Like SB good.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

October 13, 2019 at 07:49 pm

The other factor is that Gute has to decide whether to add weapons for AR in the next two weeks. That is, he could wait to see how the WRs look over the next two games. Of course, some other GM might pull the trigger on a trade in the interim.

I suppose Gute will use the eye test, but also consult with his coaches and yes, look at the stats, including advanced metrics.

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Guam's picture

October 12, 2019 at 08:42 am

Cory makes a valid point that the Packers have been winning as a team because no unit has been dominant. However I am not sure I agree that this is a deep team. Some units on the team are deep (secondary, OLB), but others not so much (WR, D-line). I agree with NP that we need another veteran WR and I would add that another veteran D-line run stuffer would be really useful. Not sure how much our cap can handle, but added depth in those two units would help the Packers significantly.

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Nick Perry's picture

October 12, 2019 at 08:57 am

Thumbs up on the Veteran run stuffer. That might be a little easier to find. Someone who isn't quite what they were but if he's not playing a ton of snaps someone who could come close if used right.

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Samson's picture

October 12, 2019 at 10:29 am

Mike Pennel

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Packer_Fan's picture

October 12, 2019 at 09:17 am

Yes the team is winning. With key plays. The sacks were very effective when they happened against Dallas. Then different players are stepping up. When Alexander was having a bad day and Savage went down, King, Redmond and the other safety stepped up and played well. With Adams and Williams out, Jones had a monster game and it allowed Rodgers not to do it himself. I like this and want to see how this develops in the next games.

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Since'61's picture

October 12, 2019 at 12:54 pm

Cory- a very good and timely article. I'm guessing that Gute is working the phones and watching the waiver reports 24/7 for a WR and/or a DL. However, the Packers are probably being very careful not to bring in anyone who could disrupt the chemistry of the locker room at this time. The Packers had 3 DLs in this week and none were signed that I'm aware of. I'm not sure why the Packers, particularly Pettine, wouldn't want to bring back Wilkerson for the DL, maybe too expensive or he has yet to fully recover from his injuries.

It seems like this team has great chemistry working for it and the players and coaches all seem to be working very well together. That is a huge intangible and something not easily achieved with a 53 man roster. We can win with our current roster assuming they remain healthy. To paraphrase Mike Holmgren about Brett Favre, "As long as #12 is standing we have a chance."

Keep it going against the Lions. Go Pack Go! Thanks, Since '61

Note to Corey and the CHTV staff: I appreciate your support with my login problems. As of this morning I am able to login with my laptop but not with my iPhone. I'm not sure why that would be but any support or ideas that you can pass along would be appreciated. You have my email address so if you need anything from me please advise. Best regards, Since '61

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murf7777's picture

October 12, 2019 at 11:35 am

Hey 61, I certainly understand the chemistry issue. But if manage properly it can work out. One example is in mid November 1996 Ron Wolf took a risk and brought in Andre Rison. He wasn’t a big factor in the last few games of the year although he might’ve taken coverage away so others could make catches. But in the playoffs, he had two touchdown catches and of course the first touchdown on the second play of the SB game which got us off to a great start. That is why if the price is right and just a half year deal with Bryant makes sense. And Bryant certainly doesn’t have as bad of past as Rison did. Also, as I stated above I think AJ Green makes a lot of sense.

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Since'61's picture

October 12, 2019 at 12:57 pm

murf7777 - I remember the move to acquire Rison very well. It was an excellent move on Ron Wolf's part, especially with Holmgren as the HC. If Rison created any problems Holmgren would just sit him down without hesitation.

As for now I would go with AJ Green. I think he would be a better fit in the Packers offense. Bryant is all about himself before the team. D. Adams and AJ Green together would give fits to opposing DCs. Thanks, Since '61

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murf7777's picture

October 13, 2019 at 09:47 am

Yeah, I know he is a me-me type, but I can’t help but think he would love a SB ring and put that attitude aside for 1/2 of a season.

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Lphill's picture

October 12, 2019 at 10:04 am

It’s time for Aaron Rodgers to show up Monday night would be perfect, 350 passing yards and 4 TD’s would be a good start. Detroit is 30 th in passing defense. “ it is time” as a great man once said.

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JohnnyLogan's picture

October 12, 2019 at 11:40 pm

To whom?

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Samson's picture

October 12, 2019 at 10:34 am

"Nobody had the Packers at 4-1. Nobody."

Nobody?? --- You must not read the comment section... Many optimistic posters here had the Pack taking back the North Division & having a very nice playoff run ---- in season 2019. --- I'm still picking the Pack versus the Saints in the NFC Championship game... in season 2019.

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Dzehren's picture

October 12, 2019 at 11:39 am

It’s time for Rodgers to come out of the phone booth and start slinging it.

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jannes bjornson's picture

October 12, 2019 at 12:24 pm

To Who, in particular?

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murf7777's picture

October 12, 2019 at 12:33 pm

Take what the D gives you, Arod is great at figuring they out. If we get the running game going then play action would work for the big play pass.

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fastmoving's picture

October 12, 2019 at 04:14 pm

Dont get the WR Nr. 2 stuff. Its a popular narrative here lately but if you watch the games, you can see that the WR are playing really good. No WR in the world would improve our passing attack.
Its just the timing and 12 playing like a 35 year old. And ist not even a knock on AR. I think it could get better over the season but a profen wideout would not help at all there.
Davis, our 7th playing on his new team like a Nr.2.
We got more than enought weapons and if you want a WR AR trusts, just put Kumrow in. Hell, we have all kinds of WR with different skill sets, Bill B. would kill for it. And he is not the only one….

An by the way, I never got the logic behind the "if we have a good passing game its because AR makes everyone better around him and throws guys open" but if we loose its "because he got no weapons"???? Makes absolutly no sense.
I like Aaron a lot, but not enought to see him without flaws and better than he is. He looks human and thats a good thing, but so he has to have his faults too. Especially compared to his prime version.

But in the end, we are 4 and 1 and have a high ceiling. Its fun to watch and we have talent everywhere. Just let us roll and if we are hot at the Right time and get lucky who knows where we will end up. no Team is perfekt, as we all know.

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Samson's picture

October 12, 2019 at 01:42 pm

None of the WRs after Adams takes any kind of special defensive scheming from the opposition.... The opposition barely recognizes any GB WR after Adams... When Adams returns, he'll be less effective because he'll be 2x & 3x teamed & have less of an impact on the game.... A legitimate WR2 takes the heat off WR1 which also improves the running game.... It's football 101.

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Doug Niemczynski's picture

October 12, 2019 at 02:38 pm

Every week is different and I don't think Detroit is going to let A.Jones have his way and they will FORCE Rodger's to throw the ball. After Monday night we will say yea or any to our WR corps

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buddrow53's picture

October 12, 2019 at 02:03 pm

The thing I like about the team is they seem to have a really good game plans, week after week.

I would like to see our adjustments improve after the other teams adjust to us, mainly fourth quarter.

As far as another wr coming in not sure we need one.

I remember when Favre and Sharpe hooked up it seemed like every pass was going to him. When Sharpe was done Favre HAD to throw to the rest of the wrs.

Their record improved every year after that. time to repeat history!!!

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sam1's picture

October 12, 2019 at 06:34 pm

One at a time, Just beat the Lions this year!

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stockholder's picture

October 12, 2019 at 07:42 pm

4 and 1 is amazing. But 25th overall on offense and 22nd overall on defense, including a meager 26th vs. the run, isn't. Those stats tell us the offense hasn't," opened it up". That while Gute's picks have come around. It's still not a dominating defense. The 'amazing' is the turn around. That the packers success was Free Agency, division strength, and veteran leadership. The scores told us the real story. The Green Bay Packers must acquire that Killer's Instinct. That their to shaky yet. And the game plans have camouflaged the flaws of each unit. Bodies don't give you better Depth! And what packer fan doesn't question it, when a starter goes out? The best don't rest! And were simply to dependent on Rodgers yet. The Defensive energy is refreshing, and got us going in the right direction. This Monday is more then the Hard work, flaws, or stats. Were in it to win it!

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flackcatcher's picture

October 12, 2019 at 08:00 pm

Nice post Al. Two short (I promise) points. MLF system is designed for route runners, rather than the more burner types WR. That is a pretty big shift from McCarthy's offensive scheme. Ironically, both true speed WR turned out be excellent route runners in both ESB and MVS. Losing ESB has left a far bigger hole than the Packers expected, and MVS may be too fast out of break for Rodgers right now. Even if the Packers wanted to go FA, they may not have the Cap space to make a go for a top tier, or even middle level WR. Not Gutes fault, blame Murphy for the early Rodgers signing wiping out most of the Cap space Ted Thompson build prior to his retirement. Gutes done an outstanding job building with the little Cap space he had. Two: This has been a very good core group now for three years, but with no depth behind them. Gute and his front office team has manged though the draft, and key FA and UDFA signings to fill many of the position hole on this team in two years. Still thin, but not team wreaking as it was the previous three years. With a little luck, this Packer team could go far into the playoffs this season...

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Rak47's picture

October 13, 2019 at 04:26 am

Official NFL stats has Alexander with 10 PD's and he is tied for second in the league. King is fifth in the league with 8 PD's officially.

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ThxJackVainisi's picture

October 13, 2019 at 10:31 am

Of course wins & losses are the most important stat, but what is next in importance? Yards gained & surrendered? I've never thought so. Since W/L is most important it makes sense that points scored & surrendered are next in line. So how do we explain a 4-1 record in spite of the bad yardage stats noted above? Here's how: According to NFL stats the Packers are 13th in points scored per game & 9th in points surrendered per game. That better reflects what we've seen so far, doesn't it?

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PatrickGB's picture

October 13, 2019 at 07:04 pm

True, however past performance does not predict future performance. It’s the NFL. I don’t think that this team can perform without Adams. And teams know how to attack our defense. I think we lose on a squeaker.

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mrj007's picture

October 13, 2019 at 08:35 pm

I agree. The Packers seem like a house of cards to me. Good teams put teams away once they get leads. Good teams are able to win with defense that isn’t reliant on turn overs. And good teams convert 3rd downs on offense. To me 4-1 is over-inflated record which is more a result of lucky breaks. I do like that GB is starting to run better and use TE more. I also feel WR group struggles to get open. I am stop waiting for Packers to covert a First and goal and we are in week 6....

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