Game Notes: Dismal affair in Minnesota sends the Packers spiraling into an abyss

We're on to the draft.

Sorta.

Sunday night in Minnesota marked what was supposed to be a make-or-break game for the Green Bay Packers. Instead, they got an average -- some would even argue below average -- performance from their starting quarterback and an abundance of fresh injuries to work with throughout the week.

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving. As I write this, the Mr. Hankey episode of South Park is playing on my television and it couldn't be more fitting.

 

Mr. 1,000

It's true. Davante Adams finally eclipsed that 1,000-yard hump against the Vikings, finishing the game with 1,022 on the season. He came just three yards shy in 2016 -- his last full season with Aaron Rodgers as his quarterback -- and hit 885 last season with Brett Hundley throwing to him for most of the season. 

Coupled with his new milestone, Adams also caught his 10th touchdown of the 2018 season against the Vikings. This marked his third consecutive season with double-digit touchdowns, becoming the first Packers receiver to accomplish such a feat since Sterling Sharpe (1992-1994). Adams' work against the Vikings backed the sentiments that he's one of the top receivers in the league, even during dry stretches during the game when he was being shadowed by Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes and still having his way with the former All-Pro on some of his routes.

Galvaniz...Galv....*snoring*

"We all gotta take accountability. Myself first and foremost," Rodgers said after the 24-17 loss. "I know I gotta play better -- I will, and we’ll put ourselves in position.”

Putting the Packers in position would be one galvanizing moment that could end up finding the team a place in January. Up to this point, the Packers haven't worked any miracles, going 1-4 in their last five games which was their toughest stretch of the season. They've showed an impressive ability to consistently fail to finish games and close out their opponents, whether it was holding a 27-26 lead over the Los Angeles Rams in the final five minutes or being 17-17 against the New England Patriots in the third quarter. They've failed. Miserably.

Typically, when other aspects of the Packers' roster fall short, Rodgers is fully capable of picking up the slack and playing on some otherworldly level that brings the rest of the team on some kind of upswing entering the playoffs. While the book hasn't entirely been closed on the 2018 season, the arrow is trending in the wrong direction, and Rodgers hasn't been able to provide reason as to why it should point anywhere else.

Hitting a hard patch

The Packers are playing without Mike Daniels on the interior of their defensive line, and that could be the case for the rest of their season. While they held up nicely against the Vikings' rushing duo of Dalvin Cook and Latavius Murray, they're going to be hard-pressed finding a way to continuously perform that well against their opponent's rushing attack as well as force pressure on the quarterback.

Daniels was one of the top contributors for the Packers in rushing from the interior -- especially considering that's where most of their pressure has come from this season. Their edge play has been far from stellar, but defensive coordinator Mike Pettine has been able to utilize what was once a well-stocked defensive line to generate pass rush.

The Packers promoted James Looney over the weekend, and by my eye, I don't think he played a single snap against the Vikings. They get to see Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson this week, offering them their first real test without Daniels against one of the league's top running backs.

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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 (39)

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Doug Niemczynski's picture

November 26, 2018 at 11:18 am

If it weren't for bad luck, we would have no luck at all.

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dobber's picture

November 26, 2018 at 02:04 pm

Good teams make their own luck.

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The TKstinator's picture

November 26, 2018 at 09:34 pm

The Colts have Luck. They drafted him out of Stanford. He’s all healed up and playing very well of late.

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Tundraboy's picture

November 26, 2018 at 11:23 pm

And I'm wondering if MM is bad luck personified. Too many freak plays like Tramon flub to be a coincidence.

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Holecrap's picture

November 26, 2018 at 02:36 pm

Its not luck its skill and this team has none. Their are only two guys who could be pro bowl material, Adams and Baktiari. No one else even comes close. Cant win the big game and the playoffs with medicre players. Got to have some stars and skill guys on the team

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HankScorpio's picture

November 26, 2018 at 04:10 pm

"Their are only two guys who could be pro bowl material, Adams and Baktiari. No one else even comes close."

Kenny Clark is pretty darn good. He's not just Pro Bowl caliber, he's All Pro caliber. He's surpassed Mike Daniels, who is also very good. Jaire Alexander can flat out play.

Rodgers as good as it gets at QB. He's not playing like it this year but that is not because his skills have diminished. Aaron Jones is an explosive playmaker.

There is plenty of talent on this team to produce a far better record than they have.

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The TKstinator's picture

November 26, 2018 at 09:35 pm

I like the cut of your jib, matey.

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Big gar's picture

November 26, 2018 at 11:42 am

Remember my comment last year, trade Rodgers for 2 1s.new coach Perry, Cobb and all others that have losers limp gone. Get a coach with oc that is up to date. And the biggest item, Rodgers must become a team player

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LeotisHarris's picture

November 26, 2018 at 07:13 pm

Sorry, no. I don't recall that at all. Where were the Packers supposed to find new coach Perry?

Tell me more about 12 becoming a "team player." That statement, even from a non-native English speaker like yourself, is very interesting.

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White92's picture

November 26, 2018 at 11:46 am

Going to be a brutally long 5 games. Only thing left for me is beating the Bears

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The TKstinator's picture

November 26, 2018 at 09:36 pm

Cold beer helps.

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Lare's picture

November 26, 2018 at 11:51 am

Whatever the Packers do, they cannot fire McCarthy before this season is over.

At the rate they're going with him as HC they'll have a top ten pick in the draft, don't do anything to screw that up at this point!

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HankScorpio's picture

November 26, 2018 at 12:38 pm

I'd rather get Rodgers back to his normal level over these next 5 weeks than tank for a top 10 pick. I don't know if promoting Philben with a mandate to unscrew Rodgers would work but I would not be opposed to trying. It's clear to me that MM/Rodgers relationship is completely broken. And this team will go as their QB goes until the get another QB.

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dobber's picture

November 26, 2018 at 02:06 pm

I agree...they're playing to get these young kids up to speed and get into a rhythm on offense. Sure draft picks sound great, but this team needs to re-learn how to win.

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LeotisHarris's picture

November 26, 2018 at 07:16 pm

Yep, some might even refer to it as stacking successes. At any rate, more realtime snaps for the young guys and a return to form for 12. Let's see some improvement in spite of the glaring weak links in the chain.

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fthisJack's picture

November 27, 2018 at 08:32 am

my prediction is they do enough to miss a playoff spot and screw themselves out of a top draft pick in the process.

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Since'61's picture

November 26, 2018 at 12:02 pm

Dismal is an accurate summation for this season so far.

Given the number of injuries suffered during the Vikings game, added on top of those already injured, I'm wondering if we will be able to field team against the Cardinals.

Playing at home should help the team but maybe not, and does it matter at this point?

My guess is that we'll win the next two games at home giving us fans false hope especially if the Vikings and/or Seahawks lose one or more of their games. Then we'll go to Chicago and fail on the road again finally ending all the false hopes and real frustrations for this team and the season. Thanks, Since '61

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Lare's picture

November 26, 2018 at 12:11 pm

The only chance the Packers have of beating the Bears is if Chicago sits a bunch of their starters to rest them up for the playoffs. And even then, I'd only give the Packers a 50-50 chance of winning.

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dobber's picture

November 26, 2018 at 02:07 pm

I think they go 3-2 down the stretch. They've shown no ability in recent memory to contend with Atlanta's offensive weapons. I think that's a loss, even on the slower surface at Lambeau. I think they lose against the Bears. But I think they beat Arizona, the Jets, and the Lions.

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Since'61's picture

November 26, 2018 at 03:26 pm

Sounds about right. Just enough to keep us from a top 10 draft pick. Thanks, Since '61

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LeotisHarris's picture

November 26, 2018 at 07:22 pm

We have a way of making Matt Ryan and Matthew Stafford look like Dan Marino so I think we lose both of those in addition to the final humiliation in Chicago. But, yeah, somebody has to beat the Jets and Cardinals. Might as well be us.

I laughed out loud today when a 25% off Packers Pro Shop Cyber Monday ad popped up on my Instagram. Whose smiling face was featured on the ad? Randall Cobb in his number 18 home jersey! There is a complete disconnect somewhere deep within the ivory tower at 1265.

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Tundraboy's picture

November 26, 2018 at 11:27 pm

I'll take a win against Jets. Don't want my 3 sons to witness anything like the last month.

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PAPackerbacker's picture

November 26, 2018 at 12:18 pm

Well the Packers started off the game looking like a team that has made the changes they needed to win games. Then the second half came and it was the same old, same old MM game management BS. Abandon the run and throw deep. And not play the full 60 minutes of football. AR is looking to Adams way to often and not taking the shorter passes to open receivers to keep the sticks moving. Can't convert on 3rd down and how about that great call on 4th and inches? As long as this kind of game management continues the Packers will not be successful. It's time for a change in the coaching and also to move on to players who can play more than half a season. Quit keeping players based of past performances and look to the future for more productive results. It will be interesting to see how Gute handles the off season and the 2019 draft.

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Swisch's picture

November 26, 2018 at 01:10 pm

Good commentary, PA. In keeping with what you wrote, in the first half we had encouraging play calling with the end-around to St. Brown and the quick-pitch to Jones for the TD, along with short passes to Jones. As good as it is to hand the ball to Jones, we could use some creativity in not just sending him into the middle of the line every time -- especially on fourth-and-one! What about some motions and misdirections to keep the defense guessing?
If it's true that Rodgers is avoiding short passes to wide receivers not named Adams, then that seems a huge problem -- especially with all of those sacks he's taking in such a frustrating way for us fans. To watch Minnesota receivers wander free for those shorter throws while the Packers seemingly disdain them is cause for serious concern. Is Rodgers ruining us by a stubborn refusal to make the shorter throws that are the bread-and-butter of the West Coast offense and its variations?
On a larger note, is Rodgers even coachable these days, or a diva always looking for the occasionally spectacular instead of the effectively-steady shorter gains (which, ironically, would open up plenty of longer opportunities)?
In any case, the defense, for all of its youthful flaws, is a plus for the Packers this season with its enthusiastic efforts; what's letting us down is a depressing offense that seems dysfunctional and unimaginative and lackluster. Adams is great, but let's not overdo it with him. Let's go more and more not only with Jones, but with Valdes-Scantling, St. Brown, More and Tonyan -- but really setting them up to succeed.
Watching the Pack score only a field goal in the second half was a truly horrible sports experience for me. It's unacceptable! Please, anyone, help me to understand what's going wrong.

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HankScorpio's picture

November 26, 2018 at 12:25 pm

I'm glad Davante Adams finally got his 1000 yard season. Even with the dismal, uninspired offense they have in 2018, he's a solid bet to push it over 1200 before the year is out.

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nostradanus's picture

November 26, 2018 at 12:49 pm

There was one and only time that I as a Packer Fan hoped the Packers tanked for a better draft choice.
That was the year the Packers drafted Tony Mandarich instead of Barry Sanders and a few other HOF players.

Nothing is a guarantee in the draft, I would rather see this team rise up and win the last 5 games for pride and momentum!

Never say die!

Losing becomes a habit which can linger for decades as many of us "seasoned" fans have learned in the 70's & 80's.

GO PACK!

NostraDANus

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Swisch's picture

November 26, 2018 at 01:25 pm

Granted that it's a longshot, but 9-6-1 can nab a wildcard spot in the playoffs some seasons.
Regardless, I agree, nostraDANus, let's finish fighting for every win. Even using our younger guys more often -- like Valdes-Scantling, St. Brown, More, and Tonyan -- isn't a matter of giving up at all. What we're doing now is certainly not working, anyway.
I began rooting for the Packers in 1971 at about age 9, and most of it was indeed miserable into the early '90s (especially living near Chicago). I'm thankful for a mostly wonderful run since 1993, and let's keep it going with enthusiastic and smart football the rest of the way this season.
Sadly, I'm inclined to let McCarthy go today, although he's been very good for us over the years. He doesn't seem to make good adjustments during a game, or to make the right decisions in key moments. I'd be glad for other opinions.

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EddieLeeIvory's picture

November 28, 2018 at 06:29 am

Another "old" fan, like myself.
I have extra love for others who also experienced what Packer football was BF.
Before. Favre.

The 40 & unders have been awfully spoiled.
Except when Seneca Wallace, Tolzein, Hundley had to play. Then they got a small sample......

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CAG123's picture

November 26, 2018 at 01:13 pm

With so many holes on this team I’m thinking it may be worth to swing a trade with one of these first round picks instead of once again having a def full of rookies and needing them to make an impact maybe call the Jets about Jamal Adams before he hits elite status and first round pick for a guy that’s trending up but hasn’t quite hit the upper echelon yet seems like a good price because as of right now the Packers need both safety positions, RT, RG, edge rusher, WR, and LB to fill.

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Swisch's picture

November 26, 2018 at 01:56 pm

I like your idea, CAG123, of looking for up-and-coming guys that are a lot more affordable and thus less risky than the Khalil Macks and Kirk Cousins out there.
It's probably rash to even think about it in my depressed state today, but I'm even considering trading Rodgers for a No. 1 pick and a guy like Case Keenum who could be a solid starter right away (and maybe has the potential to improve to a higher status of QB).
The key with Rodgers is whether he's still enthusiastic about the game, and willing to take coaching. I'm a big Favre fan, but he seemed to really decline after his MVPs allowed him to go from daring to reckless.
I'd hate to live through another quarterback who seems to think he's bigger than the coach. Even the greatest of quarterbacks have to be quite coachable.

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CAG123's picture

November 26, 2018 at 03:22 pm

Ehhhh I’m not quite sold on the whole “Rodgers can’t be coached” thing yet I see a guy that’s just frustrated he’s frustrated with his coach and his GM for letting Jordy go and he lost his QB coach. We’re so accustomed to seeing this guy drag this team to the playoffs every year that when it’s not happening we question his ability? Nope. Not buying it Rodgers needs help throughout his whole career he’s never really had that X-factor to play along with like Brady has had BB, Peyton with Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne, Brees with Payton and now Kamara and Michael Thomas. I think Brian Gutekunst will build this team up and give Rodgers the help he deserves I just hope it doesn’t all come from the draft like I said Adams is a guy that’s trending up and is so far everything we thought HHCD was going to be best to get him now before he becomes an Eric Berry.

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Swisch's picture

November 26, 2018 at 04:22 pm

I'm still a big fan of Rodgers, though he does have to let the GM make the player moves, and the coach make the moves on the field. I think Rodgers has earned the right to have some say about these things, but ultimately has to focus on being the QB, even if he doesn't like all the decisions regarding the team.
I'm still hopeful about Rodgers. I really don't know if Rodgers has been coachable or not, and what' going on behind the scenes. I do think the front office has to make it clear to Rodgers that he has to accept things at some point, and even be careful about his public comments.
If Rodgers is unwilling to be coachable with the Packers, then it's in the best interests of everyone for him to move on. Either way, he's been great for us, and thanks for lots and lots of great times. Let's hope he stays with the Packers in such a way as to make plenty more great memories -- but that will only happen if shows a measure of humility in being coachable.

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stockholder's picture

November 26, 2018 at 07:21 pm

You guys give up to easy. 1. Cobb is ready to return. He needs to replace Davis. 2. He must be put in at WR. Just because their kids, doesn't mean you give them anything. Rotate, earn, develop. Cobb starts!! 3. Next, put CM3 at ILB in place of Morrison. Why he isn't there is BS. So what if he doesn't like it. He must earn his next contract anyway. 4. It's time to change the DL. Clark, Lancaster, and Adams. Foget the gap crap. ATTACK Period! And let Clark play in Daniels spot. Why this team has just 5 Lineman is just a big mistake. Lowrey is not anything more than a back-up. The Ol. Sorry but theres just no hope for Spriggs now. He needs Mercedes lewis or Kendricks next to him. Finally Arron Rodgers must go to the shot gun in passing situation. No Rb comes in. It's on the TEs and A-Rods roll outs. A-Rod is no Rookie. But MM must use the same game plan as when he was developing. The packers are now try and try again. No longer does the play calling matter. It's about getting A-Rod straight. It's about the defense not getting shredded.

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dobber's picture

November 26, 2018 at 03:15 pm

'And let Perry play in Daniels spot."

Daniels may be joining Perry on IR.

" No longer does the play calling matter. It's about getting A-Rod straight. It's about the defense not getting shredded."

Couldn't agree more: the near-future success of the Packers relies strongly on getting #12 back to playing somewhere close to #12. I don't know what that will take. They've got a lot of bodies to look at and evaluate on defense. Not getting shredded would be great, but getting game tape on guys they like for the new coaching staff to evaluate will be important.

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stockholder's picture

November 26, 2018 at 07:27 pm

(And let Perry play in Daniels spot.) That has been changed. I had said Clark earlier. typing error.

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4zone's picture

November 26, 2018 at 03:59 pm

I think AR's severe interception phobia is ruining his game.

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CAG123's picture

November 26, 2018 at 07:00 pm

Nah he’s always been cautious with the ball he hasn’t thrown double digit interceptions since 2010 and has only done that twice his whole career.

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The TKstinator's picture

November 26, 2018 at 09:39 pm

Check the stats: I too have thrown zero NFL INT’s.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

November 27, 2018 at 09:37 am

I seem to remember some fumbles and jumbles.

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