Game Notes: A show for the Starrs

-- Lambeau Field was buzzing on Sunday, complete with hoards of purple that outlined the steel seats that usually hurt your posterior if you sit for extensive periods of time without movement. Like, if you don't even get out of your seat for a beer, food or to even use the bathroom. You're just sitting there for three hours. Every single minute of the game. 

But the crowd wasn't the group buzzing. The Green Bay Packers were coming off of a huge divisional win to open their 2019 season over a week ago, topping the Chicago Bears in a low-scoring game -- a fitting way to honor the NFL's 100th anniversary -- that showed off their no-look defense. They finished with 11 pressures on Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, and that same momentum carried over into week two.

They didn't get after Minnesota Vikings signal-caller Kirk Cousins with the same ferocity, and by 'they,' I mean the entirety of the defensive front including Preston Smith and Za'Darius Smith. But there were multiple instances were they forced Cousins to get the ball out sooner than he wanted to and never gave him a chance to get settled in the pocket -- a loose, but similar plan to how they approached Trubisky last week.

The goal being to force Cousins to play quarterback. It worked, considering the Packers escaped with a 21-16 victory and their second division win of the season. Something that could pay off in their favor significantly later in the year.

No. 2 WR: insertnamehere

Outside of the first quarter -- and bits of the second quarter where the Packers heightened their lead to 21 points -- the Packers were a mess offensively. Nothing seemed to be working, even after Aaron Rodgers hit on his first seven passes and had a pair of touchdown throws in the first quarter alone. What was the reason for their downfall? It's a question that needs to be answered, because while having a defense to rely on for the first time in eons sure is a nice luxury, it can't become a crutch for a team who can't figure out their offensive identity.

Geronimo Allison and Marquez Valdes Scantling -- the two contenders for the spot on the depth chart backing up Davante Adams -- combined for seven catches and 44 yards against the Vikings. Granted, Allison did catch a touchdown in the first quarter, the duo amounted to ... well, close to nothing for the remainder of the game. Valdes-Scantling has the speed -- he showed that last week against the Bears in the midst of a four-play, 74-yard scoring drive -- but he's still young and very much a project whose ceiling is unknown at this point. Allison is an undrafted free agent in his fourth season hoping to pick up on the pace he set for himself a season ago before he landed on injured reserve.

For the last three quarters, a lot of what the Packers were trying to do seemed just... stale. While the defense seems to have their priorities figured out, the offense hasn't been able to put it together for 60 minutes. But when they do, this could be a very, very dangerous football team. Of course, that's what a lot of us were saying last year.

The No. 2 receiver spot is essentially figuring out who's going to be playing the premier role on the perimeter opposite Adams. Allison can play both on the outside and in the slot, and it has been made fairly evident that the Packers want him starting in the slot. But the position just seems to be lacking juice overall. Could the Packers be suitors for a big-name wide receiver to land in town via trade? Hey, who knows. The Packers opted not to draft a receiver in April, and that was after deciding not to sign one in free agency a month prior.

Ballhawks

With great pass rush, comes a great secondary. Okay, well, they're not great yet, but they're well on their way.

The Packers' defense forced two interceptions and three total turnovers against the Vikings on Sunday. It was nearly four, but one of the two fumbles they forced was recovered by the Vikings. It was Darnell Savage that was credited with that strip, by the way. But a play later, Cousins was sacked and proceeded to fumble -- a category he leads the league in since 2015. One of Cousins' interception came off of a ball that Savage tipped and laned in the arms of Preston Smith, then in the fourth quarter, King redeemed himself for the dropped interception a week ago against the Bears with a catch in the back of the end zone.

Sunday marked a huge test for this secondary because the question from media outlets all week was whether or not the Packers' defense was actually that good against the Bears, or if Trubisky and co. were just that bad. Cousins, who lit the Packers up in both meetings last year for over 760 yards, seven touchdowns and a lone interception, was facing a completely different defense this time around.

Opposing quarterbacks against the Packers' defense through the first two weeks of the season have completed 30 of 77 passes for 458 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions.

Starr: The Man

No comment necessary. I'm going to leave you all with this.

__________________________

Zachary Jacobson is a staff writer/reporter for Cheesehead TV. He's the voice of The Leap on iTunes and can be heard on The Scoop KLGR 1490 AM every Saturday morning. He's also a contributor on the Pack-A-Day Podcast. He can be found on Twitter via @ZachAJacobson or contacted through email at [email protected].

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Comments (14)

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Nick Perry's picture

September 17, 2019 at 06:04 am

I'm not sure Gute is looking to land a WR via trade but it's definitely something he should be looking into IMO. If MVS comes down with the ball he had in his hands and the ball he was carried out of bounds on, he has a decent game I suppose. But so far nothing is consistent and with the TE position lacking production and players teams with good defense are going to give the Packers problems. I still have hope for Geronimo and I think against lessor defenses he'll be better.

Gute focused on building up one side of the ball first and with YEARS of a bumbling, stumbling defense he started there. Had more (MANY more) of the previous GM's draft picks hit he could have added more to the offense these first 2 years. But that didn't happen and 3 of Gutes 1st and 2nd round picks these last two drafts have had to be at positions the Packers used draft capital, HIGH draft capital in 2015 and 2017.

Whether it's by trade, FA next year, or the 2020 draft, Gute HAS to spend on a WR, possibly two, RB, OT depth to name a few positions. Rodgers is getting older with each passing year...Tick, tick, tick.

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PatrickGB's picture

September 17, 2019 at 07:39 am

It’s probably too late now to pick up a premium receiver for this season. Also, I doubt that GB wants one that would just cause headaches anyway. I predict that we stick with the ones we have. I think that with the emphasis more on the run game an less on 4-5 WR sets, we don’t see much of a breakout from any of the backups at the position. We “dance with who we brung”.

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stockholder's picture

September 17, 2019 at 07:56 am

I remember John Jefferson. And what he COST us. Yes he helped. But he also costs us more then he was worth. His size and window was another lesson learned. The packers just don't have any business, trading for offensive players that have seen their better days. They Have high demands. Spend the money on defense. Draft the offense. Arron Rodgers doesn't need #2 fantasy. There are enough players on this offense to move the ball.

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Tundraboy's picture

September 17, 2019 at 10:12 am

Jefferson is a great comparison. But most of all from what we've seen of the clubhouse after the game, from MLF, and the team, I don't think we should even chance disrupting it by bringing in a Dez Bryant or anything like that.

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Samson's picture

September 17, 2019 at 11:16 am

No doubt the appearance of BF with Cherry Starr brought a mist to my eyes... It's the personification of what football should be all about.

There's still a chance that a WR2 will emerge. -- The "O" has been so discombobulated (for the most part) in both games against two pretty good defenses.... What bothers me even more is nothing coming from the TE position against the Vikes... 0 catches for 0 yards.

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packerbackerjim's picture

September 17, 2019 at 04:09 pm

It was actually worse than nothing from the TE position, Graham couldn’t even get in the way of Griffin, I believe it was. Also, second week in a row Kumerow was MIA. I’d like to think LaFleur is going to save a few new wrinkles in the offense, breaking them out in critical games.

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murf7777's picture

September 17, 2019 at 12:52 pm

I will post this again we need to go after Dez. A one year prove it deal like New Orleans did last year. There is very little downside and substantial upside. Of course, he would need to pass a physical for his Achilles. If he is healthy he could really help us with his large body and catch radius for TDs and third down conversions. In addition, he has proven to be able to do that in the NFL.

On my last post I had a number of Down Votes, but nobody had any Reasoning on why this Would be a bad idea. This Is a typical type of move the patriots would make.

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sam1's picture

September 17, 2019 at 01:04 pm

How about he is an all about me me egotistical idiot and a cancer. We have none of that now, why bring it in!?

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MWendlandt's picture

September 17, 2019 at 01:46 pm

Dez shouldn't be signed for one simple reason: He likely can't run anymore. He was never a burner to begin with, and with an achilles injury, it'll be almost impossible to regain the step he had already lost during his last year in Dallas. He's a big name, but that's about it at this point.

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holmesmd's picture

September 17, 2019 at 05:10 pm

Being 6’2 230lbs certainly won’t help his speed or the stress on his injury repair either. No thanks

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murf7777's picture

September 17, 2019 at 08:42 pm

That’s why you do a physical to find out. I had an Achilles issue and have come back with similar speed. Everyone is different, so who knows till you check it out.

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PackfanNY's picture

September 18, 2019 at 08:16 am

He has publicly stated that he doesn’t want to play for the Packers because of the “history”. Some of the dumbest reasoning that I have ever heard from a professional athlete who is on the back nine of his career and isn’t exactly in demand at the moment.

No thank you. I prefer players who, you know, actually want to play for the team.

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Matt Gonzales's picture

September 17, 2019 at 01:01 pm

I think the recent waiver pickup (a CB that also has game experience as a returner and gunner) could be a sign MLF wants to get Trevor Davis on the field more on offense and keep his legs fresh.

Last week was all about the run, especially the inside run. The week before seemed to be "let's try some different things and see what sticks". In both games they showed the sweep a decent amount to sell the play action.

This week I think the Packers will try more of the sweeps/reverses again, but with Davis instead of MVS.

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murf7777's picture

September 17, 2019 at 09:47 pm

I agree Davis is quicker and more agile but also with the speed.

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