Cory's Corner: What Are The Packers Made Of?

Green Bay must get back to its 2020 identiy. 

The Packers came to Tampa as one of the best, if not the best team in football. The offense was doing whatever it wanted, whenever it wanted and the defense was making enough plays to keep the Packers unbeaten. 

Then they got punched in the mouth. And again. And again as the Buccaneers beat the Packers 38-10. 

"You don't usually get Aaron (Rodgers) confused — I don't think I've ever seen him confused," said Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians. 

He's absolutely right. After Rodgers threw his second pick, he was watching the rush instead of looking downfield. Rodgers completed 46 percent of his passes for 160 yards and two picks for an awful passer rating of 35.4. That was the worst game for Rodgers since suffering a 21-13 loss to Buffalo in 2014 when he tallied a rating of 34.3. Rodgers is actually lucky that he didn't throw three picks because the screen pass to Jamaal Williams on the second play from scrimmage was highly covered and batted down. 

The thing that was confusing was the Packers got away from their 2020 identiy. The reason Green Bay had the best offense in the league and was averaging nearly seven yards per play was because of its varied uses of motion. There has been a man in motion a lot combined with the play-action or the play-action bootleg and that's why the Packers have been a very tough out. 

The pick six by Tampa's Jamel Dean was an easy read. Rodgers locked on to Adams, threw off his back foot and Dean jumped the Davante Adams route and took it 32 yards for a score. The Packers stil had the lead after that play, but the tidal wave of momentum had changed in Rodgers first interception in his last 157 attempts. Then three plays into the next possession, Rodgers threw another pick while targeting a well guarded Adams.

"We never got into a very good rhythm," said Packers coach Matt LaFleur. "It was definitely not my best game in terms of getting in the personnel and play call into the huddle. We looked really slow getting out of the huddle too. I think there was a lot of thinking going on. If you just looked back at our previous four games, we didn't have a lot of mental errors. That falls on me. I got to do a better job with our guys."

With the Packers down 31-10 in the third quarter, Rodgers was ticketed with his second delay of game of the season. That cannot happen for a guy that can take advantage of cadence and the free snap so well not to mention it was at a moment when time was of the essence. 

The reason this is interesting is because we will see how they respond. With two of the next three on the road, the Packers must figure things out quickly. Balance is another thing that must change. Even though the Bucs held a 28-10 lead at half, the Packers threw it 25 times and ran it only 10. By the end of the game, they passed it 35 times and ran it 21 times. If the Packers want to keep Rodgers upright, that number has to be a lot closer to even — especially if you want to sell the play-action. 

Rodgers looked at 2010 video of himself before the season, but after the Packers fell behind on Sunday, he reverted to his old bad habits. Now is when we will find out how well LaFleur can coach and lead by trusting the offensive scheme that soared out of the gate this season. 

An October loss isn't a nail in the coffin by any means, especially when it's your first one of the season. But the Packers have to be a lot more resiliant than that, or else whenever they play a tough, hard-nosed defense, they will just fold like a house of cards.  

 

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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 (18)

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Packer_Fan's picture

October 20, 2020 at 06:53 am

This game sucked. Started OK, but a bad turn after the two interceptions. This game is on Rodgers and Lafleur. Rodgers in my opinion forced two passes to Adams. On the pick six, there was a free crosser that was open. And the second was a quick slant that if went awry would give the Bucs a chance to intercept. I saw check downs that were open and Rodgers passed them over and started to scramble. And the drive after they were down 14-10, Rodgers threw late on the wheel route to Jones which ended up incomplete and then overthrew Lewis when he was wide open. What happened after that is that the defense gave up and so did the offense. Poor play calling in the third quarter. Probably the plan was to get Adams involved early, but I think the Packers play so much better when they are not focusing on Adams. And I saw little or no movement of the Bucs defense when motion was used. They had a base defense and it worked.

This game was a rerun of the two San Francisco games last year. Rodgers needs to get his head on straight and Lafleur needs to plan better.

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stockholder's picture

October 20, 2020 at 07:58 am

Every QB has a bad day. Even Bart Starr. So What if Rodgers wasn't great. The obvious was the OL. They didn't earn their money. They were among the NFL best. "Yet, we didn't see the stonewall! " OUR aging, frail QB, must have. I'm just happy Rodgers got out of this game injury Free. But what should be the main concern of ever packer fan is this Defense. Personal accolades just aren't enough. This DL needed somebody else besides Clarke. It never got it. And while they play better with King in there. Why didn't BG fix the problem when he had the chance. They gave Pettine a short rope this year. Yet we see the same mistakes Capers did. This Defense is not just Pettines problem. It's everyones. They knew the problem when they drafted Clarke. Win the Trench. You would think that year after year of last in the league, change would happen.

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Razer's picture

October 20, 2020 at 09:58 am

...This Defense is not just Pettines problem. It's everyones. They knew the problem when they drafted Clarke. Win the Trench. You would think that year after year of last in the league, change would happen...

Amen.

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jannes bjornson's picture

October 20, 2020 at 07:10 pm

They have a trade deadline to make something happen. If they sit on their hands they might as well forget a deep playoff run. There are people that should be moved. It would help the team's psyche.

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RCPackerFan's picture

October 20, 2020 at 07:57 am

I still find it interesting that last year after their bye they lost 37-8 against the 49ers. This year they lost 38-10 after the bye. Was it that the players coming out of the bye were not focused enough on what they had to do? Both the 49ers and Bucs have good defenses. That is definitely a part of it that needs to be added into the equation.

This game the game changed on Rodgers interceptions. The first was simply a great play by the CB. Supposedly he saw something on film that tipped him off. Now its the Packers coaches jobs to figure out what they saw so they can correct that. The second, Adams has to catch that. It hit him right in the hands. I put more blame on him then I do on Rodgers for that Interception.
After that everything was off.

The 1 player that the offense missed more then they can admit is Ervin. They really missed the deception in the offense. The Jet sweep has really added a punch to the offense. It creates some false steps by the ILB's. The few times they had Jones go in motion from side to side it created big running lanes up the middle. It allowed the OL to get to the ILB's.
If we would meet up with the Bucs again, I hope we have our full arsenal of players available. I hope we have Ervin and Lazard. Hopefully EQ will be better by then. Maybe by then we would have a Kamal Martin and/or Kirksey.

Honestly sometimes after a loss like this can be a good thing for the team. Last year after they lost to the 49ers they won 5 straight. Hopefully we see some fire come Sunday

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Razer's picture

October 20, 2020 at 10:11 am

...I still find it interesting that last year after their bye they lost 37-8 against the 49ers...

The common denominator is the two teams that they have faced after the bye. Both the 49ers and Bucs have solid, hardnosed defenses with very good D-lines and linebackers. We are just not tough enough on either side of the ball.

And, I do agree that a loss like this can be the catalyst to better things. This is LaFleur's and Rodgers opportunity to build it better.

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RCPackerFan's picture

October 20, 2020 at 12:39 pm

I don't think its about being tough enough. I think in this game our team was more outcoached and outperformed then anything.
Some simple things in this game stand out. The 2 int's changed this game. The Packers were moving the ball fairly easily until then. The offense had the defense on their heals a bit. Had the offense kept the momentum they had, does the defense allow Brady to put up 24 points? They kept their top WR's in check for most of the game. I just think its a different game if Rodgers doesn't throw 2 interceptions.

During the game there were certain plays and little things that stood out.
The 3rd and 2 and the Packers DB's are 7+ yards off the ball.
They tried running outside over and over again, where they had no luck. They ran inside fewer times and they had much more success.
The WR's timing was off from Rodgers. Rodgers throws were off and they had a number of dropped passes.

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TarynsEyes's picture

October 20, 2020 at 12:59 pm

The two INTs changed the game from 10-0 to 10-14. There were 10 minutes in the 2nd quarter and the second half to play. If you're telling me that this team folds after the two INT's and go down 4 points is enough to make them hide in a safe space with no fight to come back, what's the reasoning to believe this team can win it all, especially when we all know that more punches in the face are coming sooner and later on.

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murf7777's picture

October 20, 2020 at 08:16 am

Albeit not a long history, Mlf coached team hasn’t lost two in a row and I don’t believe it will happen this week. They need a good week of practice so players are confident going to Houston.

Preston, where are you? We need you to step up big time. I thought his lack of pressures were due to him dropping into coverage more often, but according to PFF thru 5 games it has been the same amount. I wonder if he is playing injured. Adams had some good plays on the DL, hoping he continues that trend. Lack of pre snap motion was puzzling. It will be interesting to see how they run the O this week.

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JohnnyLogan's picture

October 20, 2020 at 09:48 am

Haven’t had a decent defense in years. Pettine is following in the footsteps of Capers in allowing teams to set team records against the Pack. I’d guess the Packers have helped half the teams in the league set points scored records, rushing records, passing records. And like Pettine, Gute is also following in his predecessors footsteps, by drafting defensive busts in early rounds or not drafting good defensive players at all when given the opportunity. Gary at #12?... a project who is still a project. How good would Patrick Queen and Brian Burns look on this team right now? Those were the consensus picks by experts and fans but the Pack thought otherwise. Add in T.J. Watt, another consensus pick. Yes we got King. Right now Pittsburg and the Pack have to decide whether to resign them. Think Pittsburg is debating the decision like the Pack is. Watt is an All-Pro. King replaceable. Huge drafting mistakes compounded by poor defensive coaching is why this D is a joke year after year.

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Razer's picture

October 20, 2020 at 10:14 am

Maybe Pettine works for FanDuel or DraftKings and is following a higher purpose.

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flackcatcher's picture

October 20, 2020 at 03:41 pm

heh heh heh heh ...

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Nate-1980's picture

October 22, 2020 at 01:32 pm

Nailed on all points Johnny, Mike P needs to be let go, it should’ve happened last year..

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TarynsEyes's picture

October 20, 2020 at 11:20 am

"The Packers came to Tampa as one of the best, if not the best team in football."

Yes, they certainly looked the part right up to the moment they had to play a big boy team. Three of the previous 4 were lesser than anyone suspected and one was missing a WR that would have likely changed the game and the outcome.

The Packers are still in a good position to win double-digit games and perhaps even repeat last seasons total, but the downside is that this season also looks as though it will end in the same manner, losing to a 'real' big boy team in the postseason, which will again undoubtedly have many squawking about the success of the team that didn't play in the last game.

The season is still young and hope springs eternal, though overly stretched beyond reality here by some, the possibility that this team can become a 'real' big boy team themselves isn't far from a 'reality' but a couple of future match ups may make the case one way or another for this season, as next season will be, at this moment, like starting over because of salary cap.

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Nate-1980's picture

October 22, 2020 at 01:35 pm

I have lost my faith in this team in the post season, they never step up and rip your heart out.. Usually in embarrassing fashion, I’d bet it happens again..

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PatrickGB's picture

October 20, 2020 at 12:19 pm

I think that two things were key to the loss. One, the loss of Lazard as the #2 WR. He blocks in the run game well and can be counted on when Adams is covered well. Two, the offensive line had been winning with single blockers previously and relied on it too much against the pressure that a good defense can bring. As others have noted Aaron locks on to Adams too much because he doesn’t have the same trust in the others. And other defenses have studied our scheme and, when they have the speed at LB, can outfox our scheme with pressure.

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flackcatcher's picture

October 20, 2020 at 03:47 pm

MLF has shown a nasty tendency to abandon the run game early especially against speed or high pressure defenses. That's very much a scheme and coaching issue that must be fixed.

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Rebecca's picture

October 21, 2020 at 08:21 am

This is still a Mike McCarthy/Dom Capers 10-6,11-5, 9-7, 12-4 almost entirely because they have A. Rodgers. The defense has 3 players instead of 11. This team, like the last 10 seasons is built to win just enough games to say it'll be better next year when "so and so" takes a second year jump, or "what's his name" finally gets it. I'm already looking forward until next year when we get a near the bottom of each round draft pick who is a project. This defense really can't hold its own. This is the problem for 90% of NFL teams. At this point the Pack is stuck with the current roster, talent level, and coaching. This team can't beat a good defense. Hope I'm wrong.

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