Game Notes: Packers run wild into their bye week

-- Unless your name is Aaron Jones, the scene at Lambeau Field on Sunday may not have been all that pretty, but the Green Bay Packers' managed to chalk up their eighth win of the season. This one coming over the Carolina Panthers, who were surging with Kyle Allen under center as Cam Newton's replacement.

Oh, and if you love nothing short of a winter wonderland, the stadium practically looked like a snowglobe by late in the fourth quarter.

It was that kind of day. The harsh, unforgiving elements paving the way for what many, including myself, would call "football weather." Taking the weather into consideration, as well as the Panthers' 26th-ranked run defense, the plan to feed Jones and ride the running game seemed ideal.

En route to 156 combined yards on the ground between Jones and Jamaal Williams, that's just what the Packers did.

 

Aaron Jones continues to show he's a superstar

For the second time this season, Jones had more than three rushing touchdowns in a single game. He's now tied with Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey -- who the Packers contained to the best of their ability on Sunday -- for the most total touchdowns in the league (14).

If you want to truly evaluate Jones, look outside of the volume stats. The stats that have made tailbacks like Todd Gurley, Alvin Kamara and David Johnson so eye-popping could easily apply to Jones, but it's the little nuances in his game that make you realize how special he truly is. Squeezing between linemen, bouncing behind the offensive line before scooting his run towards the sideline and still managing to gain yards, being weaponized as a receiving threat.

It's taken an offense like Matt LaFleur's to truly utilize Jones to his fullest potential, and we're beginning to see the dividends of his run-oriented philosophy. He finished just seven yards shy of his third 100-yard game of the season, but when the Packers needed to churn out yards and burn clock, they were able to turn to their duo of Jones and Williams.

Also, of note: McCaffrey, Gurley and Jones are the only running backs since 2018 with 15+ rushing touchdowns while averaging more than 4.5 yards per carry.

Ibraheim Campbell: The Return

He may not have played football since tearing his ACL 11 months ago, but Sunday marked a promising return for Ibraheim Campbell. The Packers' new "money-backer" filled that role efficiently -- and then some -- against the Panthers, finishing with the third-most tackles (6) on the defense.

Some of the things he did won't show up on a stat sheet, but he diagnosed routes in coverage, stuck himself into traffic in run support and was overall dependable in his return. Pairing a hybrid safety alongside Blake Martinez is only going to make Martinez's job that much easier -- now, with Campbell in the fold, the Packers will be able to allow Adrian Amos to stay at home on the back end of the secondary.

As Mike Pettine would tell you, that's a win for his guys. Players being able to focus solely on one area of expertise and hone in on that without too much riding on their shoulders just lets them play without thinking. Campbell's presence was felt multiple times on Sunday, and in just his first game back, he's already impacting both the second level and the team's secondary.

The perfect time for a bye

Week 11 is the latest bye week the Packers have had since 1990, and for a team that's sitting at 8-2 with no major injuries and an undefeated team on-deck in two weeks, it's a perfect time.

However, while the Packers may not be using the bye to rehab from any injuries -- or the ones that we know of -- it's a great opportunity to clean up the mental and schematic errors that have been plaguing the team these last few weeks. From self-inflicted false starts on offense, blown coverages on defense and everything in-between, there's a lot to clean up.

So to be 8-2 with a rookie head coach, a washed-up quarterback, overpaid pass-rushers and a safety that doesn't make any impactful plays -- all of which were topics of discussion throughout the Twitterverse during the offseason -- having some mental miscues to clean up doesn't seem like a bad place to be at all.

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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 (19)

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Packer_Fan's picture

November 11, 2019 at 11:54 am

That win is what the team needed to have after the clunker against the Chargers. Yes, Adams is back, but the Pack need to get the two RB's into the pass game. I saw that Carolina was putting a DB on them went they went wide. But there are other swing passes they need to use. And on one pass on 2nd and 10 in the fourth quarter Rodgers threw deep and incomplete just while the RB was running towards the middle of the field wide open. It was a good chance to score on that play if Rodgers would have checked off to the RB. It appears he had time.

Carolina was running shallow crossers that the LB's were ignoring until late in the game. That is where Olsen did a lot of damage. And it appears teams are picking on King. And finally Clark played a good game.

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J_brooks's picture

November 11, 2019 at 02:50 pm

Just because our RBs didn’t have a ton of receptions or receiving yards doesn’t mean they weren’t involved in the pass game. I would argue that they had a huge impact on the pass game yesterday.

As you state when they split out wide Caroline matched a DB to Jones at times (as opposed to the 49ers matching up a LB). On a couple of plays the effect of that was that Adams was matched up on a LB from the slot. I’ll take that all day every day even if it means Jones or Williams doesn’t have a single reception when lined up wide for the rest of the year out of that look. Great “multiplicity” of scheme and taking what the defense gives you.

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Cubbygold's picture

November 11, 2019 at 12:31 pm

Campbell coming back is getting a lot of attention. I'm not knowledgeable enough to know why he's going to have a big impact, looking for an explanation.

Most plays will have the smiths, KC, Lowry, Lancaster, martinez, king, alexander, savage and amos.

That's 10 guys. Tramon Williams I would imagine sees the field as the 11th when trying to stop the pass, Fackrell when trying to get to the QB, along with some other looks with Burks/Gary.

Is Campbell exclusively for stopping the run? Or is he going to be on the field far more often than just those downs?

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flackcatcher's picture

November 11, 2019 at 05:56 pm

Cubby the 3-3-5 depends on the hybrid/SS to work. While it might look strange, that player is the 'mike' in Pettine's defense. Every defensive formation, every call is keyed off who the 'maker' has out of the box. Olsen was no where as effective as he has been when in line with a faster man over him. They had to split him out in order to get a LB (usually one of the Smiths) on him. Campbell keys both short passing game, and the run game on MaCaffery being the first or second man in coverage or flowing to the ball. That's asking a heck of a lot out of lighter player, much less just off the PUP list. Yeah, he's that important to the defense. The loss of Raven Greene forced Pettine to a more conventional 3-4 subbing SS for second ILB, or playing Savage or Amos in the box with limited success. Simply put. Pettine wants to man up with his CB and slot, and SS and play zero coverage. That's dangerous as all get out, but works if your boundary guys are all athletes. Well, the secondary is full of those guys, so who's the backstop. Who is the last DB standing, it's the hybrid who's job is to bounce the WR/TE/RB out of his route before they get started. Pettine's scheme is built to defeat the current NFL rules on passing. (I know, what rules) Hell of concept. If he can get Greene back, then we fans could see the ILB fade away on this team with 7 DB as either core or starters on this defense. Pettine is either crazy, or a mad genius. I can't decide which..

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

November 12, 2019 at 04:49 am

First, GB doesn't play 3 DL that much. I posted the season-long stats. Against Carolina GB played DL 143 snaps in 73 plays, so an average of 1.96 DL were on the field per play. So, that means the Smiths, KC, Lowry, Martinez, King, Jaire, Savage and Amos get snaps on most plays, which is 9 guys.

GB did play a lot of OLBs (171 snaps on 73 plays, or 2.34 OLBs per play). That probably means Z Smith and Gary moved inside on the DL on perhaps 34% of the plays, about 25 of the 73 plays mathematically.

Campbell played 42 snaps, most or all of which were as the hybrid ILB. Goodson and Burks combined for 24 snaps, and all of them were as ILBs. Martinez played all 73 plays. That's 139 snaps on 73 plays, or 1.9 ILBs per play. Redmond played 5 snaps, but I am unsure where he lined up. Probably should add him to ILB to bring ILB up to 1.97 per play.

So, 1.96 DL + 2.34 OLBs + 1.97 ILBs = 6.27 guys in the front seven on average.

I expect Campbell to play 50% to 75% of plays moving forward.

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arizonayahoo07@gmail.com's picture

November 11, 2019 at 12:47 pm

They should try to get another experienced Nose Tackle. free agent like Bennie Logan. I was watching his videos, and they showed a guy who knew what he was doing. If he is still capable. Pettine should pick someone up like Bennie, this week. And work him in. BJ Goodson is proving to be good decision.. Clark needs to know he does not have to do it all by his lonesome. Campbell if he can stay healthy will also help Martinez.. I can see Greenbay finally, and timely getting their shit together..Yahhooo..

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ILPackerBacker's picture

November 11, 2019 at 12:51 pm

Easy to just give credit. Kudo's to an injured player coming back and contributing.

But if was a positive on defense then a couple of other somebodies were more negative than usual. Who? Why?

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

November 12, 2019 at 05:01 am

Carolina averaged 26.12 pts per game coming in and scored 16.

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packerbackerjim's picture

November 11, 2019 at 12:56 pm

Re the bye week: I agree serious analysis of the defensive schemes must take place. Whereas last year I was excited to see Jaire making all-pro level plays, this year he appears to have regressed. The ILB and middle of the field are as susceptible to being gashed as ever. Here’s hoping getting healthy and Campbell and Raven Greene can tighten the D to where it needs to be.
Offensively, not as much tweaking required. I think Light needs to be worked in to get more snaps, Bakh and Bulaga aren’t as healthy as hoped. The surprise to me is the minimal usage of TEs, given the importance of which LaFleur has emphasized.
The fortunate record of 8-2 cannot be ignored. I keep thinking while being the grateful recipient, the team will evolve and put it all together for the remainder of the season.

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flackcatcher's picture

November 11, 2019 at 06:02 pm

Alexander has a groin injury, that he can cover yesterday was pretty amazing. No Tony Brown. (not out of Pettine's dog house yet...... :-)

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topgbpackfan's picture

November 11, 2019 at 03:27 pm

Was not very impressed with King’s play yesterday. Seemed to get beat a lot and missed assignments

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Leatherhead's picture

November 11, 2019 at 04:46 pm

You said King. Others say Martinez, or Lowry, or Tramon.

I think all of this falls into the "forest and trees" stuff. You're looking at the trees and not noticing the forest.

How many points did Carolina score yesterday? Answer= not very many, and not enough.

Did the Packers have a successful goal line stand at the end of the game to preserve the win? Absolutely.

This is not a dominating defense, but it's a TEAM defense that continues to get the job done when the game is on the line.

IMO, we're far too critical of good, young players for not being perfect. We need more good football players, not less. Campbell is a good addition.

King is having his best year as a Packer, mostly because he's able to stay on the field. Given that QBs are going to complete 2/3 of their throws, any CB is going to give up receptions.

All of our pass defenders got beat yesterday, and that's why Carolina had 300 passing yards. McCaffrey got over 100 on the ground. And yet, he couldn't get the one yard at the end of the game and they didn't try to throw it. Why do you think that is?

Between the goal line stand, the sacks that kill drives, and the turnovers, we gave up 16 points. 16. It is a fact (go ahead and call it a stat if it makes you feel better) that you will lose 85% of the games where you score 16 or fewer points.

I'm impressed with everybody on this defense, for sure. The total is greater than the sum of the parts.

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AKDan's picture

November 11, 2019 at 03:36 pm

I would like to see Kumerow get more involved in the passing game, however, I do like watching him blocking and helping the running game. The guy is a beast!

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nostradanus's picture

November 11, 2019 at 03:37 pm

Big win against a solid NFC team in the “snow globe” game. Carolina is actually better without Cam in my opinion. A Great goal line stand at the end and a great way to go into the bye.

Time to:
1. Rest up, heal the dings, get away from football for a week and come back with fresh legs.
2. Fix those drive killing penalties & delay of game mistakes, it has been killing them.
3. Figure out what is wrong with the return game and the coverage teams.
4. Expand on what works and fix what doesn’t.

Beat those 49ers boys!
Go Pack

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bjkdad44's picture

November 11, 2019 at 05:56 pm

Did the backs make any catches yesterday? Just wondering...

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AKDan's picture

November 11, 2019 at 06:29 pm

I would love to see Jake knock cousin Nick on his keister a couple of times during the 49ers game.

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Houndog's picture

November 12, 2019 at 08:49 am

LOL,
Good luck with that!

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TXCHEESE's picture

November 12, 2019 at 08:33 am

Did anyone else get frustrated when GB was pounding the ball down the Panther's throat, their inability to get a play off and calling a time out. Did nothing but give Carolina a breather and they then proceeded to shut down the next two plays. Just maddening.

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Since'61's picture

November 12, 2019 at 11:32 am

Zach - Only the imbeciles on the Twitterverse would think that Rodgers is a washed up QB. He is still winning games with his arm, his legs and most importantly his brains and decision making. Thanks, Since '61

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