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Game Notes: Gloomy, rainy day epitomizes Packers' slip-ups in Washington

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Game Notes: Gloomy, rainy day epitomizes Packers' slip-ups in Washington

-- I don't know where to begin with this one. The Green Bay Packers shot themselves in the foot with costly drops and penalties throughout their Sunday afternoon against the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field.

They didn't get much help from the officials either -- not that they should. But 11 penalties totaling 115 yards is just downright bad. It's hard to generate anything offensively when plays are constantly coming back and pitting you deeper in your own territory.

The gloomy, rainy weather perfectly encapsulated the Packers' day. With that, let's dive in. I guess.

Mike Pettine's second-half defense was really, really good.

After letting Redskins quarterback -- and fellow 2005 draftmate -- Alex Smith gash the Packers' defense in the first half while Aaron Rodgers looked on from the sidelines, Mike Pettine and co. locked down in the final two quarters to give Rodgers and his unit more opportunities.

At halftime, Smith was 10-for-15 with 214 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He finished the game with 220 yards.

Four of the Redskins' possessions to begin the second half all ended with three-and-outs. The only two drives they didn't were after Randall Cobb's fumble already had the Redskins positioned in plus territory, giving them a high likelihood of ending their dive in a field goal -- which it did. The other was their final possession of the game. It's a monumental testament to the adjustments made at the halftime break.

How else are you supposed to do your job? PART TWO.

Do you see this? This is complacency on a part of the league. Clay Matthews did everything right. He turned his head to avoid helmet-to-helmet contact, he led with his shoulder. The works. The only even slight semblance of an argument that can be made against him here is that he landed with his body weight on Smith, but of course, he's going to land on top of Smith when he's tackling him from the front? How else is Matthews supposed to avoid a penalty here?

Matthews even threw his hands up the second he got off Smith. These guys can't do their jobs without this overwhelming sense of paranoia looming over them. It's becoming obscene. Laughable, but obscene. It cost the Packers a game last week, and it arguably cost them a huge momentum swing Sunday against the Redskins. This occurred late in the third quarter when the Packers were trailing by 11.

Aaron Jones sighting. ... annddddd he's gone.

Fresh off of returning from his two-game suspension, we didn't see Aaron Jones until late in the first quarter on the Packers' third offensive possession of the game. His first carry? He bounced off a trio of would-be tacklers and maneuvered his way through the hole for a gain of 10 yards and a first down. He only went uphill from there, tallying 24 yards on four carries.

How do you take the ball out of Jones' hands when he's getting hot and averaging six yards per carry? Let Mike McCarthy show you! I get it, the Packers have three very talented running backs, i.e., Jamaal Williams, Ty Montgomery and Jones, but this contradicts the "running back by committee" approach that McCarthy and co. seemed to be adamant on pursuing over the offseason. Ride the hot hand. Don't abandon it.

At one point, the Packers were down by 18 points, so establishing the running game -- even after it had already been established -- would've been far-fetched in an offense engineered by Rodgers. On the same side of the coin, it's not hard to see why the Packers would want their best pass-protecting tailback in Williams in the backfield. Especially while Rodgers is evidently hobbling throughout the latter stages of the game on his bum knee. Oh, and when he's playing without his starting right tackle in Bryan Bulaga. A lot of factors to consider.

...But this offense is significantly better when Jones is on the field, and I think while the offense downscales to a quick, timing-based system with routes that are schemed open and designed to get the ball out of Rodgers' hands quick, pass protection matters a little less. Jones' struggles in pass protection are also way, way overblown. Get him on the field. Let him make plays.


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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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (47) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Doug_In_Sandpoint's picture

Thanks for your work Zack. Not a great showing by the Pack and yes, we are lacking in talent in many places, BUT I must rant a bit on some of the posts I’ve been seeing and get something off my chest.

The bashing of the Packer’s drafting is getting really old as are the “realists” pointing out this lack of talent on the team. A true realist would recognize that the NFL is designed to starve winning teams of talent while advancing the talent levels of lesser teams. This results in wild swings among franchises. The 2-14 Rams draft in the top three for three years in a row (where the generational talents lie) and then have success with their new toys on rookie contracts. And some of you people act like they have a very smart front office and we should have had the foresight to draft Aaron Donald. Newsflash: top five talent is not available at 14, 24 or 32 in the draft.

In today’s NFL, it is very hard to stay very good or very bad for an extended period of time. The 5-6 year swings are the norm. I’ve spent the last few years explaining this to the local Seahawks fans that this year will show what type of organization they are. Crummy organizations underperform despite high draft choices (Bears). Average organizations will swing back and forth (Rams). Superior organizations will over perform despite talent drains from draft position and salary cap issues brought about by success (Pats).

This is why I am an unabashed homer for my team. On average, we have a superior organization. If we are to remain in the top half of teams, going to the playoffs repeatedly, we are flat out going to have to do it with lesser talent and uncovering HOF talent while picking 22 (AR). So far this club has given me great joy in there ability to keep winning despite how the deck is stacked against that very thing.

Barazinho's picture

Like your comment Doug - it's the relative parity that keeps people watching. The counterpoint is that there were better players available, and they didn't draft them. Carl Lawson is a good example (drafted after Biegel). It's unrealistic for a team to always get that one good player who was lower in the draft order, but you would at least like to get a player who contributes, and some of the more recent drafts haven't done that.
Here's a thought - Damarius Randall would have been a pretty good free safety, and if they hadn't spent 3 years trying him at corner, he might have been happier and less of a locker room cancer. So in essence they drafted a decent player, and didn't play him at his best position. I think most would agree that Hyde would also be an improvement over what they have now at safety, and they let him walk.

Tarynfor12's picture

" The bashing of the Packer’s drafting is getting really old as are the “realists” pointing out this lack of talent on the team. A true realist would recognize that the NFL is designed to starve winning teams of talent while advancing the talent levels of lesser teams. This results in wild swings among franchises. The 2-14 Rams draft in the top three for three years in a row (where the generational talents lie) and then have success with their new toys on rookie contracts. And some of you people act like they have a very smart front office and we should have had the foresight to draft Aaron Donald. Newsflash: top five talent is not available at 14, 24 or 32 in the draft."

You can trade draft picks to move up in the draft to get the elite player. Something that TT did once in 09' and has traded back and back yearly and then some scream with joy the trade up from 6th to 5 th rd for Hundley. It also means retaining a player that is actually worth keeping and paying and not because you have no other choice as like with Perry. Paying and keeping nothing gets you nothing. Surely the fact that anyone else at his position offers the same return was a choice that would have saved money for an actual OLB, you know, like Mack.
Bringing back players that were let go due to drop in play the first time isn't really improving the now but returning to the past....House and Williams.
Making better FA acquisitions would also help as like the Rams but these players don't come to GB for other reasons than the lack of nightlife.
The ability to adapt during off season and in game regular season also helps unless one is tied to the chair of rinse/repeat.
Of coarse parity is a standard for the NFL but some know how to work around it and GB isn't one of them.
The Packers are window shoppers that always find a way to not buy anything. This is not always a bad fault, but it 's certainly a fault that GB loves to believe shines bright.

Doug_In_Sandpoint's picture

"Of coarse (course!) parity is a standard for the NFL but some know how to work around it and GB isn't one of them."

Now Taryn, you are just not going to be taken seriously with assessments that have no grounding. I'm not going to spend a lot of time researching for you but over the last 10 years GB's record (106-53-1) is second only to the Pats. Bears and Vikes rank 20 and 18 respectively. Rams are dead last at 46-113-1, never going over .500. If you look at this decade, since 2010, the Steelers jump us, so we are third.

I didn't do cumulative for 20 years, but the highly-suspect Bleacher Report's 20 year power ranking lists Pats-Steelers-Packers as 1-2-3.

That is exactly the opposite of what you said...they've done a pretty good job of working around the parity issue as 30 other teams would attest.

Tarynfor12's picture

A quick look says...
since 08' the Packers have are 43-15 vs division teams that have basically sucked. Which leaves a record of 63-38 vs all others, not discounting the number of teams played that basically sucked out of division but including both conferences.
Like any stat on a sheet, what appears impressive is soon dismissed to a much lower level when one watches the game...ex: Perry got a sack credit for touching the QB after he fell down though having no part of the part less the finger touch. Stat says sack but not really.
Dix has INT's because of deflections,not because he made a defense of the play on the ball.
I'm not saying the Packers haven't achieved anything, they have, but not the glory that many feel impressed by simply because of stats that don't tell the whole truth.

Samson's picture

Most of the homers are once again relying on AR to pull out another season for the Pack. --- Even though the Pack has started season 2018 with 3 substandard games, the same posters are preaching that all is well. ... Relax, relax ... Have a scotch.

Somehow, too many Packer fans don't recall that season 2010 was the last time. --- 2018 is 8 seasons later.

splitpea1's picture

The Packers have an organizational deficiency when it comes to defense. Either they draft the wrong players, use them in the wrong way, don't give them enough coaching, or all of the above. When you've invested this many high picks in the defense and it never gets any better, there must be some problems--wouldn't you agree?

Every team has the chance to improve or regress during (or before) free agency. The Packers choose not to retain the services of good players like Hayward and Jenkins, but insist on resigning/keeping ineffective players such as....take your pick.

I'm not satisfied with playoff appearances anymore. That's the Vikings' way of displaying their history. I want to see another year carved on our wall.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Donald went 13th. Brockers 14th. Gurley went 10th. True, those are higher picks than we generally had. Raji went 9th, and he never was a Donald or Brockers. Goff, of course, went #1 with a trade up.

LAR missed on OT Greg Robinson (#2) and Tavon Austin (#8). Even drafting that high, that is a good percentage, particular since several look like elite to close to elite players.

LAR only drafted 6 of their 11 offensive starters.
LAR only drafted 5 of their 11 defensive starters.

LAR is 2nd in the NFL by APY of their roster at $202M. They do fill in a lot or their roster with draft picks and other homegrown-talent. It is a very top-heavy team in terms of money by APY, though not by Cap Hit this year (a lot of back-loaded contracts). Their situation is saved only by having a good rookie contract QB. They did make some trades, like for Talib and Peters. Still, their APY spending on outside talent ranks just 14th in the NFL, so they have signed some huge names but overall their spending on FAs is not far from the median amount.

I don't think you're wrong. Money should (but doesn't always) fluctuate based on record. Some GMs manage to have bad talent, bad teams, and no cap space. Mack only makes sense for Chicago if Trubisky develops a lot. Otherwise, Chicago is looking at a meh team with $12M in cap space in 2019 (though clearly, they'll offload TE Sims at $6M savings) and meh draft picks when they finally stop sending them to Oakland.

Part of LAR's success is astute drafting. Finding OG Saffold and OT Havenstein in the 2nd round ( 33rd and 57th) and OG Jamon Brown (3rd - 72nd) helps a lot with the cap. 2 of those 3 are still on their rookie deals. They bought the OC and LT.

PackfanNY's picture

Yes, we may not have the greatest talent at every position. However, many of our problems can be fixed. Time for McCarthy and the team to get back to work. Certain penalties are avoidable and can be corrected(excluding the insane roughing the passer), dropped passes can be worked on, crappy tackling can be worked on. I'll assume McCarthy and staff are up to the task. All is not lost. This is a marathon not a sprint. Heads down, back to work.

Mojo's picture

Like the optimism PackFan, but going into this year I felt the Pack were into a two year mini-rebuild.

They had Arods extension to work-out which didn't leave a ton of cap room left combined with a horrific '15 draft class that has produced no impact players (actually only one role player left on the roster) was too much to overcome. The '16 & '17 drafts were better, but not enough to fill all their holes.

This year I was hoping they could hold serve, make it to playoffs and if providence was on their side, win a few there to make it interesting. I thought next year with a couple ones, much more cap room, free agency and a better talent evaluator they could but enough pieces together to become one of the top, if not the top, NFC contenders.

PackfanNY's picture

Mojo, I don't think you are wrong. If you look at my post I didn't predict SB or bust. Yes, I think we can have a good season. How good who knows? I have watched a lot of games and don't think anyone except possibly the Rams are anything special. All I'm saying is that we can "compete" and win our share of games. There is a great deal of parity.
Who had the Vikes getting blasted by Buffalo? Tampa Bay at 2-0? Bears 2-1? If we are in a two year mini-rebuild that's fine. Gute has positioned us well to have a very good 2019 Draft when we will need it most given the QB12 salary. Plenty of time to get the ship headed toward a productive season. Long way to go.

Samson's picture

MM may very well be the problem as opposed to being the one to solve the problem.

cheesehead1's picture

We need this D to show up for a whole game, not one half.....31 (29 last week) points against won’t cut it. Up to this point early on, I certainly expected more from our D.

nostradanus's picture

Prediction NFC North
Packers Fire McCarthy and entire staff at years end. Cut Perry, Let Dix, Mathews, Cobb & Kendricks walk.
Rebuild begins
Packers win Super Bowl in 2046

Jonathan Spader's picture

Prediction for any Nostradanus post:


Followed by no original thought, supported evidence, or solutions. Keep up the good work and call everyone else a homer. At least you see the Packers winning the SB again...

ILPackerBacker's picture

Once again bad writers parrot the company store product. 3 talented running backs....but on what team?

the packers have ONE talented running back and he underlined, highlighted and bold printed his name yesterday.

Meanwhile williams has hopes of some day getting a long run and Monty to go back to slot where Cobb has needed replacement for a long the front office plays stupid with the running back position.

Just write the truth. Williams is not a good runner and monty has no business at running back more than a gimmick a few times a game.

4thand10's picture

Jones is a good runner....I won’t deny that. But...his lack of pass protection is not overblown and He had a big time drop yesterday. He doesn’t catch as well....whatever he did in college is fine, but as a pro blocking and catching is a big part of the game. Yes...he can break a big run off, but once a defense keys in on that what’s left? It doesn’t matter, opposing defenses are rushing the Packers hard whether it’s run, pass , play action or RPO... until the Packers keep Lewis on the line Every’s not changing, they are coming into the backfield. Williams averaging 4 yards per carry, blocking and catching passes has been a bright spot He had 9 and 10 yard runs as well. The same people who over rated Mays, where’s Mays now? Is he waiting to have a breakout season somewhere else?

Hopefully they can figure out ways to get Jones in space. But acting like he’s going to save the Packers all by himself is shortsighted. For every long run Jones breaks...the 1, 2 yard runs combined with poor blocking and drops hurt as much as the long runs help. The Packers could kinda fix this by keeping Jones and Williams in the backfield together....but that leaves em short a WR. Or keep tight ends on the line every play...but then the same problem...short a WR. The Packers have been playing from behind in the last 2 of three emphasing running wouldn’t have fixed that problem. I had to kind of cry and laugh yesterday....a full back played a huge roll in some teams success yesterday, Jones could play more downs and designed runs with a fullback in front of him. I have zero confidence in Graham or Kendrick’s in an H back role.....that’s not why they got them. I’m still trying to figure out why Kendrick’s was valued more that Tonyan.

dobber's picture

"The Packers could kinda fix this by keeping Jones and Williams in the backfield together....but that leaves em short a WR."

This is where a Jones/Monty backfield, where Monty has become a solid back on blitz pickup, might pay dividends.

Jonathan Spader's picture

The author is writing what he thinks is true just like you are. Monty has proved himself at RB but should be split out and used more like a poor man's Kamara. Williams is a great pass blocker and falls forward in short yardage situations. Jones is your home run hitter.

Spud Rapids's picture

Apparently the season is over and this team has no talent according to most people commenting, I guess the gloom has turned into Monday doom.

RCPackerFan's picture

Don't worry, they will all be gone by tomorrow and won't show up until the Packers lose their next game...

Tarynfor12's picture

I'm sure you have me in that doom and gloom group but rest assured...I'm here always trying to get others to see the light and stop blindly believing all is OK in isn't, it hasn't been and it appears it will be later than sooner still.

I'm not at all happy about it or being the bearer of such news. To heal you must first accept what's wrong and the treatment. Too many are refusing to believe the team is ill and/or the treatment to painful to endure. This needed a shot or two of invigoration but the FO gave you a shot or two in the gut...again....though from a supposedly different GM type. : )

RCPackerFan's picture

No Taryn, you are here all the time. We all know you're here... Or are you really here?

I have no clue how to respond to you.

Are you trying to rip Gutekunst or not? I really can't tell.

The truth is, right now the Packers are hurting. They are hurting from having the best QB in the league playing on 1 leg. And yesterday they killed themselves with 2- 3rd down dropped passes. 1 (Adams) that was a bad throw/hard catch not caught that ended another drive. And a 4th that was dropped on 4th down. They could have been in this game had they not shot themselves in the foot with bad drops.

The defense will be up and down. They have a lot of young players playing and in a new scheme. It takes time. The defense played much better in the 2nd half then the 1st.

Anyone can be pessimistic, I choose to be optimistic.
Lets sit back, and enjoy the season! We only get 16 games a year. 16 days out of 365 is not many. Lets enjoy them.

Samson's picture

Good 'ol RC !!
Always ready with a list of excuses... Now after 3 lousy games by the Pack into season 2018.

Season 2010 --- Remember that season? -- I hope you do.
This is season 2018.

RCPackerFan's picture

See Taryn... ^^^^^^This^^^^^^ Is who I was referring to on showing up when the Packers lose.

Just curious Samson. Did you even read anything I wrote?

Or do you just seek out my name and post your "Typical" crap?

Samson's picture

"Do I read anything you write"

It's difficult when you continuously list excuses. --- Every excuse you list is part of every NFL team. --- Players playing at less than 100% & young players playing too many minutes.

Why is it so much more significant in your head because it's the Pack?

Be real, MM is the problem. (So far, I like Gute)

RCPackerFan's picture


You said something you like. WOW...

First time for something...

This really is a messed up year in the NFL. Browns win their first game in years, and you liked something... Wow...

Samson's picture

Messed up year?
A little ... but the issue is 3 substandard games by the Pack to start a season. --- They could easily be 1-2 or even 0-3. --- They have looked terrible thus far. --- The Bills destroyed the Vikes yesterday at Minn. --- The Pack have to be ready.

RCPackerFan's picture

And they should be 2-1 and could be 3-0.

They could be 3-0 or 0-3. No doubt. They are 1-1-1.

The season is early. Lets see what happens the rest of the season. Why throw the towel in after week 3?

Spud Rapids's picture

I remember the 2010 season, when the Packers lost back to back games against the Redskins and the Dolphins... Everyone panicked then too.

My only issue with Taryn is the constant rhetoric there is no apparent reason to play the games because this team is terrible. Why do you watch the games if that is the attitude? The hope of winning is the funnest part about being a Packer fan and with Rodgers playing any game is winnable and that is fun to me.

and for the record Taryn is always around regardless of win or loss, just has the polar opposite seat in terms of the optimism/pessimism train.

P.S. Pessimism doesn't equal realism Tarin :)

Samson's picture

" no apparent reason to play the games"

I doubt Taryn believes this. --- You have more of an issue with his terminology than where his real beliefs lay. --- He's direct and to the point. -- Again, this is 8 seasons since GB was the elite of the NFL.

Have a few beers with him & talk Packers. --- You may find that he's more of a "righteous" Packer Fan than you.

Spud Rapids's picture

He's direct and to the point??????? have you read any of the posts? they are usually some sort of cryptic prose filled with confusing analogies

Samson's picture

Maybe you need someone to translate for you. --- I don't find them intimidating at all.

Tarynfor12's picture

She...she...she...I know in this day that gender fluidity is the norm but I'm old school and never pee standing up...unless of coarse something makes me laugh so hard, which is why I never read any CHTV comments unless I'm safely snuggled at home with ease of access to the potty. : )

Tarynfor12's picture

Optimism and pessimism is for me sitting on a fence and easy to lean to either side. To many think me a total pessimist but what can you do...nothing...unless I simply believe the optimist way with total disregard for what is see and happening. I can't do that.
I enjoy the games,win or lose, but as long as there are sites for fans to voice their opinions, all opinions should be welcome and more so by those who differ because the good corrections of things are seen via the dissent.
Some take comments to heart, the optimist, and become nasty in the defense.
Go Pack Go !!!

4thand1's picture

Ok had 24 hours to digest the piss poor performance. Another phrase of AR's that got attention in TC. Should we "relax" or wait to "run the table"? For this defense to make any kind of an impact is going to require some deals. The players we have just aren't good enough. Players make plays and these guys aren't right now. Reed is out there, he should be signed today and somebody should be demoted HaHa/Brice. A loss to the Bills and MM better order asbestos underwear.

Mojo's picture

Ha Ha - king of the the back-peddle and standing around the pile.

He got his pro-bowl nod a few years ago by taking advantage of deflected or overthrown INT's while standing ten yards behind the play.

He seems very reluctant to stick his nose in the action, which explains, in part, why he hasn't had many injuries in his time here.

Not much of a ball-hawk either. Maybe it's me, but I don't recall too many times where I've seen Dix contesting passes and breaking up a throw.

GB has to go in another direction next year. Yet another piece for Gute to plug.

sardog's picture

Are you tired of posting comments on the "frightening/fluffing the passer"? Here is another Avenue to vent...
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email: [email protected]

CJ Bauckham's picture

Man, they need a cheeseheadtv article advertising this info. Well done.

Mojo's picture

If I had to one thing that has disappointed me more than anything else so far this season is the consistent lack of a pass-rush.

I was under the impression that Pettines schemes would create free rushers all game long. I heard GB had only one pressure on Smith the entire first half. No wonder they lit it up.

Before you knew it, GB was in a big hole they couldn't overcome.

They do have deficiencies of talent on the D, but on paper it's not that bad. For whatever reason, they just don't play that well together. Hopefully it starts coming together as we go forward.

4thand1's picture

I feel the same way.

Jonathan Spader's picture

What's disappointed me the most in 2018 is the same stale offense. I was really hoping the scrubbing the playbook talk by MM with the return of Philbin would make a difference. It's only game 3 and we could still see changes on both offense and defense but so far it's been frustrating.

Three and Out's picture

Here's a question...where's Marcedes Lewis?

Bure9620's picture

I have been asking myself, very weird. If he does not play with Bulaga likely out for a bit, I will be shocked. He should be inline helping that right side. Why else make the aquisition??

Three and Out's picture

It doesn't make sense. Rodgers is hobbled and the OL isn't doing that great and standing on the sidelines is the best blocking TE in the league. Who the hell knows anymore.

Jonathan Spader's picture

On the bench.

PatrickGB's picture

I did not start out the season as a MM hater. It’s starting to change. Play calling on the offense is...odd.

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"A school without football is in danger of deteriorating into a medieval study hall. "
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