Cory's Corner: Temper Your Super Bowl Expectations

For over 20 years, Packers have been in the crosshairs of Super Bowl expectations. And the reason is simple: stellar quarterback play.  

Expectations are a fickle thing. 

For over 20 years, Packers have been in the crosshairs of Super Bowl expectations. And the reason is simple: stellar quarterback play.

Either Brett Favre or Aaron Rodgers made people believe that the Packers could play above their talent level and win the NFC.  

Now with head coach Mike McCarthy giving a “scrub-brush approach” is it fair to have those same expectations? McCarthy is playing with a new No. 1 wide receiver, a new No. 1 tight end and perhaps even a new offensive philosophy with running backs Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams looking like capable threats to carry what has always been a pass-heavy offense.

And that’s just the offense. Then you’ve got a new defensive coordinator and more question marks in the secondary.

This Packers team has plenty of promise, that’s for sure. And obviously, with a healthy Rodgers under center all bets are off. But is it still fair to expect Rodgers to pull a rabbit out of his hat at age 34? Rodgers is still one of the most cerebral quarterbacks to ever play the position, but I’m concerned about everything else. Does he still have the legs to turn the corner and pick up a first down on third-and-7?

Let’s also not forget that the Packers aren’t even the best team on paper in the NFC North. That honor falls to the Vikings who have spent plenty of money and drafted very well and have built quite a fortress in Minneapolis.

It looks like this team will resemble the 2009 Packers squad that went 11-5 before losing an overtime heartbreaker to Arizona in the NFC Wild Card Game. Rodgers had the lowest interception percentage that year (1.3) and Ryan Grant had 37 percent of the team’s offensive touchdowns.

Ironically enough, the Vikings also claimed the NFC North that year.

It’s obvious that the Packers need Rodgers to play well. But they also need him upright. With the right side of the offensive line still a question mark with the return of Bryan Bulaga, the running game must shoulder the load.

The Packers usually pass it at least 60 percent of the time. Of course, we will never know if those were called plays from McCarthy or if Rodgers checked those at the line of scrimmage. But that number must go down if 1. The Packers are going to be successful and 2. If Rodgers is going to remain healthy for an entire season.

So all I’m saying is the only way the Packers can realistically be labeled with Super Bowl expectations is if they make a firm commitment to the run. And I know that McCarthy has talked about that for years, but it never materializes. He says that he wants to stress the running game more, but in the end, the Packers return to their passing routes.

Rodgers needs help. I still think he’s the best passer in the league, only because he has proven that he can complete a pass in the smallest of windows.

But this season will be defined by everybody else. Can the secondary hold up? Can the front seven get enough pressure on opposing quarterbacks? And can the running game keep Rodgers’ jersey clean?

There’s nothing wrong with expectations. Just don’t expect the Super Bowl from a team that will look like its playing under a rookie coach, not one entering his 13thseason.

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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 (48)

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RCPackerFan's picture

April 17, 2018 at 06:18 am

"Temper Your Super Bowl Expectations"

NO

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flackcatcher's picture

April 17, 2018 at 06:37 am

NO! NEVER! NOT GOING TO HAPPEN! TRUE FANS NEVER GIVE UP!.......

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TJ Coon's picture

April 17, 2018 at 07:30 am

This is not in my DNA. With the GOAT anything is possible. A new #1 wr? Im pretty sure Aaron knows Devante. New offense? I'm pretty sure Aaron knows Joe. A new defensive coordinator? I'm pretty sure it can't get any worse then it has been under Capers. This is still a team with with a solid core of players. If Brian gutekunst can make a little magic with the draft, the Super Bowl is a definite possibility! Super Bowl or bust baby!

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Barfarn's picture

April 17, 2018 at 09:47 am

Vikings-Schmikings

Football is the ULTIMATE team game-People say it; but don’t really understand its full meaning. Let’s go back a year and imagine the fear engendered from a Vikes team led by a Career 9-15 puss-armed Keenum.

But, in hindsight, ’17 Keenum should have been feared. He was GOAT-like, 12-3 (Includes win v. Bears- he took over at half w/ his team losing) with nary a highlight because he played within the offense and did the 3 most important things a QB can do: Limit sacks, INTs and fumbles. He had 22, 7 and 1 (Recovered by opponent), respectively.

93% of drives with a sack and 100% of drives with an INT or lost fumble don’t score. Sacks and turnovers end drives in an era where offense is favored; these decide wins and loses. These stats must be tempered by when they occur. 3rd down sacks and turnovers don’t drive-kill anymore than an INC. In his 3 loses Keenum had 10 sacks, 2 INTs, and 1 fumble. In his 12 wins, 2 INTs and 8 sacks occurred on 3rd down; so these foibles only affected field position juxtaposed to an INC.

In ’17, the “great” Cap-devouring Cousins had 41 sacks; 13 INTs, 13 fumbles (9 recovered by opponent); he was more than twice as bad as 2017-Keenum, while costing 14x more. On paper the Vikings are much much WEAKER in ‘18!

FACT notification: 95% of sacks are on the QB. Even OL doesn’t block so great, there’s the throw away and almost always a 2 second route designed in the play.

GB is better on paper; but only if GB’s QB is GOAT-like. But, GOAT 2018 results won’t come from a guy that played GOAT in the past tossing his jock on the field and generating 20 orgasmic highlights in 1100 snaps. GOAT only comes from the QB playing 1100 snaps more like ’17 Keenum rather than ’17 Cousins or 2015-‘17 Rodgers; that is WITHIN the offense, limiting Sacks, turnovers and INJURIES to himself.

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GBPDAN1's picture

April 18, 2018 at 02:47 am

I don't want to temper my SB hopes as I'm hoping we hit on some starters from the draft and another piece or 2 in FA.

But, I'm also realistic as TT left to many holes that need to be addressed . We are in a mini rebuild year. Our secondary needs rebuilding, our pass rush needs rebuilding, the right side of our O-line needs help , we need a deep threat WR at the 2 spot and we need quality depth because we always experience injuries. And what about our Back-up QB? Do we think we have a Nick F. Or a Case K.? No we don't. ( please no injuries to AR , amen)

We have stiff competition in the NFC

I'm not saying non of this will work out, I'm saying we will fill a lot of holes in the draft and by all likelihood, it will take time for devolopment..We should make the playoffs if we stay healthy. But, is our D going to stop N.O. , Phil, LA, ATL ect? Our D needed a make over and that more than likely will take another year to solidify. I truly hope I'm wrong

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Bearmeat's picture

April 17, 2018 at 04:01 pm

Great post. It can happen. It's not likely, but possible. Mini-rebuild indeed.

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thebeast431's picture

April 17, 2018 at 06:24 am

On the defensive side of the ball. I see it as a wash. We really couldn't do much worse then we have.

Offensively, we may actually have a pass catching TE for the first time in years. Along with an actual running game, which negates the need for a pass blocking TE (so many play action passes in the future).

This will make the Packers a complete offense again, and keep everyone healthy (3 RB's).

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Donster's picture

April 17, 2018 at 06:51 am

MM says every year he wants to run the ball more, but never does. Little improvement on defense so far. We will see what the draft brings to the table. I want to believe that one or two of the rookies make a huge difference, but that normally doesn't happen. Graham may or may not be what everyone thinks he will bring to the team. Could be another waste of to much money. And there are big question marks at WR and on the offensive line. I feel next year will see the team make a solid run at the SB. This year, not so much.

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Nick Perry's picture

April 17, 2018 at 06:57 am

"Just don’t expect the Super Bowl from a team that will look like its playing under a rookie coach, not one entering his 13th season."

I have to disagree with this 100%. McCarthy ma be taking a "Scrub Brush" to his playbook but he's not going to venture too far from what's made him a "Highly Successful HC" in this league for 12 seasons. Bringing back Philbin and adding new offensive coaches from other systems will help with a few new things but it's STILL McCarthys offense. My BIGGEST concern on offense is
1) Protecting Rodgers
2) Wide Receiver

If the Packers are able to get an O-Linemen they can plug in and play at RT and McCray proves to be good enough at Guard then I'll feel better about protecting Rodgers.

IMO the Packers HAVE to find another WR they can get at least 50 receptions from not named Cobb or Graham. I'd prefer it come from the draft and it IS possible. James Jones and Greg Jennings both had pretty decent rookie seasons. Jennings has 45 catches and Jones 47 so it is possible. We've never had a Jimmy Graham, not even Finley was Jimmy Graham. I understand he's older, but I also think he'll be more effective this year than his last 3 in Seattle.

I have more faith in the defense than most. I actually believe the Packers defense will be much improved under Pettine. Kenny Clark is a beast (Right RC) and Mo Wilkerson is exactly what this defense needed. I honestly believe when the Packers field ANY combination of Matthews, Perry, Daniels, Wilkerson, and Clark they'll get lots of pressure. With even a little help from Biegel, Adams, and Frackrell the Packers should be able to get a lot of pressure on the QB.

They may be a year away but stranger things have happened. Like in 2010 when they got hot at the right time and Rodgers carried them. It happened before it can happen again.

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Lare's picture

April 17, 2018 at 08:07 am

I agree. The #1 priority has to be to protect Aaron Rodgers, we all saw last year what happens to the Packers season without him. And the #2 priority has to provide him with more weapons. The longer he is scrambling around trying to find open receivers the higher his chances go of getting hit by an opposing player.

Sure, the Packers need big improvements on the defense. But that isn't going to win a Super Bowl with Kizer or Hundley at QB.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

April 17, 2018 at 08:35 am

There is really no offense line that can protect the QB once he rolls out. And Rodgers likes to skip the check down receiver, hold the ball and roll out as it's a big part of his game.

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Bearmeat's picture

April 17, 2018 at 08:58 am

Yep. And every single time he's gotten hurt in his career - going back to 05, that's been how it happened. Of course, like you said, there have been maybe 100 "WOW" plays from him doing exactly the same thing.

Can't fix it. Just hope he doesn't get hurt again.

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Bearmeat's picture

April 17, 2018 at 10:17 am

"They may be a year away but stranger things have happened. Like in 2010 when they got hot at the right time and Rodgers carried them. It happened before it can happen again."

Exactly, NP. Stranger things have happened. The Vikings are the favorite right now in the NFCN, and deservedly so. The Eagles, Rams, Saints, Falcons, and possibly 9ers, Bucs and Panthers will be there too.

GB is in the midst of a mini-rebuild. I think that's clear. And there are definitely some serious deficiencies on the roster on paper right now. But we will see where we are after the draft.

GB will be in the playoffs and which way 1 game elimination games will go are always anyone's guess.

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TC026's picture

April 17, 2018 at 07:03 am

Every body, I mean EVERYBODY,
Including the GB packer people believe they will win the SB.
Especially this time of year.

And they should.

IF ... And only IF no one gets hurt.

As soon as injuries creep into the formula all dreams
are dashed.... pretty quickly.

As long as there are no injuries this Packer Fan thinks
this team will be going to the SUPER BOWL.

as every other fan on every other team.

What else is there.

Gee I hope we can come in second place this year.

This is America, Super Bowl Or Bust.

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Savage57's picture

April 17, 2018 at 07:16 am

This season is coming together nicely. GM who'd topped out? Replaced. DC who'd been overcome by the game? Replaced. Weapon TE ? Acquired.

Now, we have the draft and BG's chance to earn his bones.

Then it's going to all come down to McCarthy. This season will be his chance to put some meat on those, "I'm a highly successful NFL head coach" bones and bring this all together. Or not, and provide the rationale and logic to go in another direction.

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Since '61's picture

April 17, 2018 at 07:17 am

If the Packers solidify the right side of the OL Rodgers can take care of the rest. On the defensive side it will be a matter of generating an effective pass rush and getting improved play from our CBs.

It's way too early to temper expectations but if everything breaks right, especially on the injury side, the Packers could be hot come playoff time and make their run.

The upcoming draft will be a key for this season and for adding pieces for the next 2-3 seasons. A good draft and a healthy Rodgers should keep us in the hunt until 2021-22 at least. Thanks, Since '61

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dobber's picture

April 17, 2018 at 07:53 am

I know I'm very concerned about the right side of the OL, and it seems we're seeing more people talking about it as the draft gets closer. It could be the undoing of this team before it really has a chance to get started.

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CheesyTex's picture

April 17, 2018 at 02:08 pm

#12 is the franchise. Right Tackle is the weakness (Guard seems secure with depth already on roster). Speaks loudly that RT needs to be at or near the top of the player acquisition list, FA or Draft.

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Since '61's picture

April 17, 2018 at 03:54 pm

Dobber - my concern as well. More so than the situation at WR. Thanks, Since '61

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jh9's picture

April 17, 2018 at 07:27 am

As soon as the Packers signed Tramon Williams and Davon House my Super Bowl expectations were tempered.

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dobber's picture

April 17, 2018 at 07:50 am

I think the theme of this offseason has been "Temper Your Expectations".

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Finwiz's picture

April 17, 2018 at 08:45 am

Oh don't say that around here.....with these guys, the secondary problems are solved, and we don't have to go there (high) in the draft.

I'm going a bit hyperbolic to make a point, but it comes with the territory around here.

It's going to take at least a year, maybe into year 2, to turn this D around.
Complete schematic change, and improvement usually doesn't happen over night.

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dobber's picture

April 17, 2018 at 07:41 am

"That honor falls to the Vikings who have spent plenty of money and drafted very well and have built quite a fortress in Minneapolis."

Let's be honest: Spielman has drafted some positions well. They're virtually all on the defensive side of the ball. On the offensive side? Not so much. Look at his draft record if you need convincing...its pretty horrific on offense. He's made signings to try to prop up his lousy record, and that's what's finally making them a "super bowl favorite". They've put together just enough OL and gotten just enough QB play to overcome his gaffes. Spielman's like the anti-TT: TT could find value and players on the offensive side, but wasn't been able to put together a decent defense after they won the SB. TT, on the other hand, was unwilling to do much to supplement his spotty draft record...which is what leaves the Packers firmly looking up at the Vikes.

https://www.pro-football-reference.com/teams/min/draft.htm

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4thand1's picture

April 17, 2018 at 07:45 am

I refuse to look up to the vikes.

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dobber's picture

April 17, 2018 at 07:49 am

Even when it's an opportunity to mock them?

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4thand1's picture

April 17, 2018 at 07:40 am

Players are too old, or slow, or injured, or dumb, or fat, or short, inexperienced, shitty, bad attitude. LOL, seen every description known to man on these blogs. We don't make the expectations for a SB, the sports media gets the average fan pumped up every year for a run. MM says it all the time, we're here to win championships, our goal is to win the SB. So ,temper this, we should expect this team to win it all every year when we have a QB like Aaron freaking Rodgers.

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gr7070's picture

April 17, 2018 at 07:49 am

"The Packers usually pass it at least 60 percent of the time. ... But that number must go down if 1. The Packers are going to be successful"

Rubbish!

The average running play in the NFL the last 7 years had been a net negative. Passing the ball is far, far more efficient and effective.

We also have Arron Rodgers!

The way to improve isn't too take the ball away from the best player at the most important position in all of football and to run far, far less efficient plays (rushing).

Someone doesn't understand modern football.

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dobber's picture

April 17, 2018 at 08:07 am

Run-pass ratio is an odd stat.

teamrankings.com/nfl/stat/passing-play-pct

Only 9 teams threw the ball more than 60% of the time in 2017. Three playoff teams threw it essentially 60% of the time (NE, KC, Pitt). Otherwise, the rest of the playoff teams were all in the bottom third of the league in the pct of the time they threw the ball. I think game flow has something to do with that: good teams tend to play from ahead, and many have good defenses which tend to favor milking clock. From 2012 until 2015, the Packers were consistently at or below the league average in pass pct. The last two years, the Packers have been north of 60%.

The Packers demonstrated they could control the clock with their passing game in 2016. Rodgers was doing the same in 2017 up 'til he got hurt. I won't disagree that running the ball will be important for the Packers in 2018, but using their RBs in creative ways (think 2017 Saints and 2016 Falcons) is what will make this offense really hum.

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croatpackfan's picture

April 17, 2018 at 07:55 am

I have problem with 2 of your claims:
1. "Let’s also not forget that the Packers aren’t even the best team on paper in the NFC North. That honor falls to the Vikings who have spent plenty of money and drafted very well and have built quite a fortress in Minneapolis."

2. "And that’s just the offense. Then you’ve got a new defensive coordinator and more question marks in the secondary." - just to be clear - that statements are related as negative for team....

I will remind you on this article sometime at the beginning of February 2019...

1. Neverever have underexpectation.
2, Neverever have expectation.

My hopes and wishes are that Packers will play beautiful and finest football again. The rest will solve by itself...

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Handsback's picture

April 17, 2018 at 08:27 am

I agree 100% with the article Cory wrote. I hope the Packers could make the SB...I want them to win the SB, but realistically do they have a team that can do it?
I don't see it. The Eagles had the best oline in football last year according to many. They had a very strong defense. Green Bay has neither and while they can contend...winning it all will take a couple of years to plug in a few more really good players on defense and offense. They need to get those guys this year so they will be contenders in a few years.

I would be very happy to eat my words if they win it all.....but I doubt I have to.

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Richard Smith's picture

April 17, 2018 at 08:30 am

For those of you that say "no" to tempering expectations, I am one of you. However, maybe he means don't start calling for people's heads if it doen't happen. There is a lot of turnover this year with coaches, players, schemes, etc. The North is going to be a very tough division. If we start out slow and show steady improvement throughout the season, get close to the playoffs, then I think it's a successful year. As much as some of us do not want to admit it, this is a rebuilding year. A good draft, and we will be right on track for a few more runs by the end of A-Rods tenure.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

April 17, 2018 at 08:40 am

I never expect the Packers to win the Super Bowl but I expect them to do things the right way. This includes:

- Signing reasonable free agents.
- Draft guys that fit what they do.
- Hold players and coaches accountable for actions.
- Make schematic adjustments that account for what happened on the field.

They haven't done these things nearly enough, and allowed 12 to mask their failure to do so. IMO it's why they've failed to go back to the Super Bowl.

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Johnblood27's picture

April 17, 2018 at 11:45 am

Stop making sense or get out of here!

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Ds300916's picture

April 18, 2018 at 05:46 pm

Cory's right Ill see you all in 2019!

....Come on man. The draft hasn't even happened yet and you're telling us with (at the worst) a top 2 QB, a lot of young defensive players, and our highest pick since we drafted Raji we should already give up on next season?

There's lots of reasons for optimism.
1) Rodgers is back. That doesn't just help the offense, that helps the defense as well. It's much easier to play defense when Brett Hundley isn't going 3 and out every drive
2) A new defensive coordinator. Mike Pettine has NEVER coached a defense outside of the top ten as a coordinator. With Rodgers as our QB we don't even necessarily need a top 10 defense, just give rodgers a top 16 defense and a few extra possessions.
3) Do you honestly think the vikings are going to have the season they had last year? I admit they had a great season but a lot of things went their way, and while on the surface Kirk Cousins is a better QB than Keenum, Kirk cousins is NOT that much better than last year's version of Keenum. He will throw more interceptions.

4) Its totally possible the packers go 4-12, everyone gets fired, rodgers gets pissed and demands a trade to new england to become brady's successor (edit: i think this is extremely unlikely). It's also possible with a young defense and a healthy Rodgers the packers go 12-4 get a bye and win the super bowl. The fun of being a fan is in not knowing what will happen. The fun of a fan is NOT telling us to temper our expectations 5 months before the season even starts. Hell even the browns are optimistic this time of year.

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CheesyTex's picture

April 17, 2018 at 02:18 pm

I'm a die-hard Packers fan from Ohio, and the Browns have plenty of reasons to be optimistic this year starting with a solid D. Offense is improved on paper, but if Joe Thomas does stay retired, well...

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dobber's picture

April 17, 2018 at 02:18 pm

...then they use one of those 5 first and second round picks on a stud OT who can play right away.

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Ds300916's picture

April 18, 2018 at 09:15 am

A lot of my family and friends are also browns fans, and I really hope that this is the year they pull it altogether. I was just using the browns as an example of "every team is optimistic this time of year". Hopefully Dorsey, Wolf, and Highsmith can make the right choices and bring the browns back to respectability. Side note, nothing but respect for Joe Thomas, that man has to be one of the most professional persons you could ever hope to have on your team.

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dobber's picture

April 17, 2018 at 02:18 pm

"rodgers gets pissed and demands a trade to new england to become brady's successor."

Why, oh why, would you go to New England to follow someone who is idolized in that fan base and holds a fistfull of rings? You can't win that comparison unless you bring home an SB every year until you're 50. It's Steve Young following Joe Montana: Young was an outstanding QB playing on really good teams. He brought home one title and won 2 MVPs (I think). But they think of Montana and his 4 rings first.

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Ds300916's picture

April 18, 2018 at 09:16 am

I was just being hyperbolic. Do I think that'll happen? Absolutely not. I just wanted to reference the unpredictable nature of the NFL season.

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Johnblood27's picture

April 17, 2018 at 11:47 am

The Packers were decidedly NOT favorites in 2010 and they won the SB.

They decidedly WERE the favorites in 2011 and they went 1 and done.

Temper this!!

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Thebearsstillsuck's picture

April 17, 2018 at 01:38 pm

The Packers would be better if MM did look like a rookie head coach. Maybe he and his playbook won't be so dam predictable. And he could be a little less stubborn and a little less set in his "highly successful" ways.

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lou's picture

April 17, 2018 at 02:42 pm

They need a new sign at the state lines when you enter Minnesota that says;

WELCOME TO MINNESOTA

Land of 1,000 Lakes and 0 Lombardi Trophies

Until they stop chocking to use Denny Green's phrase, "no one can crown their ass"

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LayingTheLawe's picture

April 17, 2018 at 03:30 pm

Anyone making it to the playoffs then has a chance to win the super bowl by playing a couple of good games in a row. Pretending that the 2011 and 2014 Packers were "not talented" and were fooling themselves in thinking they belonged in the super bowl is really revisionist thinking and giving short change to the teams created.

Winning the Super Bowl is not easy, the mighty Bill Belichik - may all honor and praise fall upon his name - has lost three of them. Packer fans better than most know the agony of losing playoff games, most of them in overtime when they think deep down the Packers should have moved on. But to go back and now pretend these teams were really not that good just seems to be the new groupthink as the GM and coaching changes take hold.

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ricky's picture

April 17, 2018 at 03:56 pm

The Patriots have huge turnover in personnel each year. They regularly let starters who get too expensive walk, and bring in cheaper alternatives. And they win SB's. Why not the Packers?

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Johnblood27's picture

April 18, 2018 at 10:12 am

simply put...

MM is NOT BB.

BB adapts.

MM is stubborn.

end of story!

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TXCHEESE's picture

April 17, 2018 at 04:42 pm

The Packers just need to get to the playoffs relatively healthy. Once there, they have the best QB in the game and with that, they have a good chance against anyone. The only times they have lost decisively in the playoffs, have been when they have limped in with a rash of injuries to the same position. That's one of the things that bringing House and Williams back will help. They hopefully won't have to be trotting out rookies due to injuries in the secondary.

Do they need to run the ball more. Not necessarily, but they need to be able to run when needed. That was the Achilles heel of the 2011 team.

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Johnblood27's picture

April 18, 2018 at 10:15 am

That was the Achilles heel of the 2011 team.

ummm...

playing waaaaay too much "prevent" defense when the team went up by 20 in the first half of games took the edge away from the defensive players.

I did a study on the yardage given up by that "terrible" defense and most of it was in garbage time in Q's 3 and 4 when the game was effectively over and Capers played to keep quick scores from happening giving up yardage but denying quick strikes.

Oh yeah... and that little thing that happened to Joe Philbins son the week of the Giants playoff game. THAT was the dagger.

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Spock's picture

April 18, 2018 at 10:11 am

I will NEVER temper my expectations for the Packers chances at winning the Super Bowl with 12 at the helm. If all the teams were equal and all stayed healthy there is a one in 32 chance of the Packers winning the whole thing. With all the teams not being equal and having the best QB in the game I like our chances every year. Since Cory is typically wrong in his predictions :) the Packers odds just went up!

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