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Gut Reactions: Week 13

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Gut Reactions: Week 13

  • Once again, another slow start for McCarthy's Packers.
  • Greg Jennings is just on another planet. Guy is the best route runner for the Packers I have seen since James Lofton. And he is shaping up to be a better all around receiver.
  • Word of Donald Driver's demise has been greatly exaggerated.
  • Now if only he could will his heart to James Jones...
  • Great debut for James Starks. Looked very decisive making his cuts. It helped that he had some holes and cutback lanes to run to...
  • Also nice to see Kuhn used properly. He was the battering ram he always should have been. Amazing how the shortyardage "woes" disappear when you use your personnel correctly.
  • Hated that zone call at the end of the half that let Davis loose. Horrible play by Collins at the top of the route as well.
  • Nice sack from Zombo.
  • Clay Matthews has been placed in Witness Protection. (Though he did play well against the run today)
  • The kicking game was beyond abysmal today. Masthay has to get that sorted out and quick.
  • Don't sell Brandon Jackson's effort short. He was, as usual, excellent in pass pro and looked good catching the ball.
  • Some suspect tackling still evident on defense, especially in the secondary.
  • Nice to see McCarthy running the ball at the end there. That 8+ min drive was a beauty. As our friends over at Football Outsiders are fond of saying "You don't run to win, you run when you're winning." Classic.
  • Like Like
  • 6 points

Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (66) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

misterj's picture

The best part of Zombo's game is the SEXCELLENT sack celebration.

PkrNboro's picture


try ZEXCELLENT -- he's "writing" a "Z", not and "S"

Bogmon's picture

As for Clay... He was being manhandled today by the RT. They were sending alot of extra coverage his way that opened up room for Jenkins and Zombo.

I don't care if Matthews gets an award this year or stands out the way he has been as long as it creates more opportuntiy for the rest of the defense.

After today, teams are gonna start taking Cullen Jenkins more seriously and that's one helluva two headed monster up front to deal with....

oh yeah...and don't forget 'bout Raji.

Slow Start..great second half...
Gotta be better against better teams.

On to the next one.

BrianD's picture

If Jenkins isn't injured. It looked like he was carted out late in the game.

AndrewInAtlanta's picture

Terrific 2nd half. On to the "trap" game of the year in Detroit

packsmack25's picture

Please continue to poo-poo James Starks everyone....

zub-a-dub's picture

not so much poo-pooing Starks the person (his athletic talent), but the unique situation he has been in for almost 2 years.

jeremy's picture

No one was PooPooing him. They were just saying we need to see him carry the ball at least once before we anoint him the starting RB.

He looked pretty good.

packsmack25's picture

People said he wouldn't be added to the roster. He was added.

People said he'd never be a gameday active. He was active.

People said he'd only play ST. He carried the ball in the 1st quarter.

People said he'd get limited carries. He had 18 carries.

People said he wouldn't be effective. He gained 4.1 yards a pop and flashed explosion at times.

I've been saying since Grant went down that he'd be the answer down the stretch, and people laughed because he hadn't played in "2 years." Well guess what people? Talent is talent! If a running back has vision and explosion, he'll be good! What a ridiculous concept! I pointed at Youtube videos that showed his running STYLE and said that his STYLE fit well in the offense, and people took it and ran with it as a joke, as though I didn't notice that the teams he was playing against were the likes of Akron and Bowling Green. What they failed to notice was that he also had the offensive line of BUFFALO and that his running STYLE translated no matter who the opposition happened to be OR how long it had been since he played. He's your starter now. Get used to it. He might be for a while. Grant gets paid an AWFUL lot more money...

Paul Ott Caruth's picture

100% agree. Talent is talent. If I recall, Starks played against some pretty good D1 teams and did quite well. I don't rely too much on youtube....but yes, his running style fits the zone scheme better than Jackson...I've been saying this for quite some time. I won't say he's the savior but I believe he's the best back for our system. He's also a very good receiving least he was in college. He can be split out. Now...whether or not McCarthy utilizes the talent he has is another thing.

packsmack25's picture

Yeah, I've never said he's the savior. I've just said he'd make us a better team and that he'd get the carries down the stretch. A lot of people said he wouldn't even be on the team right now. And then because they didn't want to be wrong, they made additional excuses as to why he shouldn't or wouldn't play. Ridiculous.

Bogmon's picture

Well are vindicated today.
If Starks doesn't look this good the rest of the way...well then you should expect to take alot of heat for the exuberance you are showing in this moment.

Alot changes from week to week. I really hope Starks is everything YOU claim him to be..that would be awesome for this team.

packsmack25's picture

Only an injury would slow him down. I suppose you'll be rooting for the new starting RB to be injured...

Bogmon's picture

You should read before you reply. I am STOKED that he did well...IT'S ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL that this team have a good running game in the absence of Ryan Grant.

I just don't know if he's the new savior of the run game that YOU so adamantly claim him to be...
You are quick to point out how right you are but you will cower in your shell if he falters at all in the future.
Everyone's an expert until they have to deal with criticism.

packsmack25's picture

Oh I read it. It was another comment full of doubt, when he's erased all the doubts everyone has had thus far. Look, I'm not saying he's going to run for 500 yards in the next 4 games, I'm just saying he's a definite upgrade over Dmitri Nance and a better fit on running downs than BJax. I LOVE BJax, and think he's one of the best 3rd down backs in the league at this point. But he's just that, a 3rd down back. He is all wiggle and no explosion. On 1st and 2nd down, you need explosion, and Starks showed that today.

Can you do me a Favre?'s picture

Amen to that! Many of those eating their crow dinners tonight are still down on James Starks I'm afraid. My take: they are not packer fans.

PkrNboro's picture

is this like a "RickyBobby" thing ??

jeremy's picture

Yeah right. You all knew what he is going to be based one one or two televised college games and a youtube video. So blow your horns.

Nobody on either side of that stupid argument knew. More than half the time professional GM's don't know for sure what a guy is going to be until he has played several games or more. Only a third of first round picks even pan out.

Oppy's picture

Jeremy, thanks for nailing it right on the head.

The stance that most of us were taking was exactly that- No one knows until the kid gets on the field and does it, and furthermore, does it consistently.

PackersRS, it's a shame you feel although everyone was claiming Starks was a joke and that they were nay-saying him. That's not it at all. What most of us were saying is simply WE HAVE TO WAIT AND SEE. It's not about how much talent you have coming out of College, it's more about how high your ceiling is.

The NFL wayside is littered with ex-players who were dominant forces in college that didn't stack up against NFL level competition. I have made posts here since Starks was drafted that I was excited about his potential. All I, and many others were trying to tell you, was simply: Hold your horses. Let the kid play before we decide he's better than anyone else.

Sorry you took it so personal.

Oppy's picture


Meant to address that aside to "PAcksmack25", **NOT** PackersRS.

Apologies for confusion.

packsmack25's picture

Oppy, running backs tend to translate moreso than any other position in the NFL. It's rare that a running back is a "bust."

thepretzelhead's picture

The Ring Maker.

PiedmontPackerfan's picture

I think our Achilles Heel remains special teams, particularly punt and kick coverage. Atlanta demonstrated how useful both can be last week.

KurtMc's picture

No thanks to Coach Mikes unexcellent play calling in the first half, the Packers won the game that they SHOULD have won.

Seriously, does Mcarthy have any other goal to go play calls other than “bunch” jam it up the middle? MM, SPREAD THE FIELD.

Lastly, two huge NFL blown calls by the officiating crew. Intentional grounding, really…..


packersplanet's picture

I saw 5 WR set at least once on the goal line. I'm pretty sure it was more than that but with the grill, beer and company I tend to lose track

BigbyATTACK's picture

Um, the blowing the play dead on the offsides had me livid. Especially since Aaron and the Pack are some of the best in the NFL at exploiting a free play. Completion to Jones that put us deep was taken away, because the ref blew the play dead. Very sloppy, zebras. I'm just glad it wasn't an issue in regards to things being closer and it costing us the game.

jay's picture

Apparently a neutral zone infraction that causes a false start makes a play dead. That seemed to be the ruling on the field. I'd never heard that one before. Can anyone confirm that?

jeremy's picture

"Hated that zone call at the end of the half that let Davis loose."

I hate any play that asks Hawk and/or Zombo to cover a fast player. Neither of them can turn their hips and run.

KurtMc's picture

Forgot, congrat's to Starks & the Pack to see a running game. I forgot what it looked like....

Paul Ott Caruth's picture

Two topics: Mike McCarthy and James Starks.

Topic #1: McCarthy - He continues to get outcoached OR he gets too cute for his own good. Like I've always said....I really think he hates to run the ball. The entire first half when Starks was on the field he was productive. Kept us in manageable siuations. But then, McCarthy decides to go more 10 personnel and Empty sets and throw the ball. Way too many 3 and outs and telegraphing our intentions. Flash forward to the second half. The playaction to Jennings was set up because McCarthy "set it up" with the running of Starks. Boots/Nakeds work well when you commit to the run. Which he did in the 3rd quarter. Completely outcoached in the first half.

Topic #2: Starks - Like I've said....downhill runner. Makes a HUUUGEE difference when you try to run the zone. Were there some holes? Yes. Line blocked better.....BUT when there weren't any holes, Starks made then himself.....he moved piles. Decisiveness is the key. There were a couple of times when Jackson pitter pattered again and flat out got stoned. There was one inside zone run that Starks got tripped up on in the 4th quarter...#93 for the Niners got him by the foot. That play had TD written all over it. Hopefully with some more reps those things will be few and far between. In no way am I annointing Starks as the savior but I think it's pretty clear the difference in running styles and what is needed for the zone running game. On final thing.....better use of John Kuhn in the short yardage area. Nice to half two big backs (Starks and Kuhn) that can move a pile. I'll give McCarthy credit on this improvement over last week. We'll see if McCarthy has learned his lesson about run/pass ratio and how it sets up a 1/3 of his passing game and helps out a defense in the 4th quarter.

packeraaron's picture

"There was one inside zone run that Starks got tripped up on in the 4th quarter…#93 for the Niners got him by the foot. That play had TD written all over it." Yep, and he knew it too. One or two more weeks of live action and I bet he takes that to the house. Just has to get those knees up.

Like I said, I was impressed with what I saw today. Just needed to see him take some snaps in an NFL game before having an opinion on the guy.

Norman's picture

Agreed Starks looked decisive in his running, vs. Jackson who continues to dance rather than plow ahead and take what is there. Although he showed a good burst on the screen play where he took it down near the end zone. I'm glad Starks didn't show any fumbling tendencies, which you sometimes see from a guy who hasn't had any meaningful contact in a long time (2 years in this case). I'd keep him as the starter until he proves otherwise.

MarkinMadison's picture

BJax did play well, doing what he does best, which is being a very good third down back. There is nothing wrong with that; the screen play was fantastic. He pass blocks well. He's just not an every down back. As far as Starks goes, the only thing I remember saying was, "how the heck does anyone know?" There are plenty of guys who were absolute studs at the minor college level who could not cut it in the NFL. Remember Herbert "whisper" Goodman? Lit it up in college. He's doing MMA now.

Can you do me a Favre?'s picture

If you look at Bjax at Nebraska and Starks at Buffalo, they both ran exactly like they run to this day. The funny thing is, Bjax highlights open with him running through a hole 10 yards wide and he gets a 9 yard gain before he is thrown sideways at first contact. Stark's highlights shows him busting 5 tackles on a given play.

Bogmon's picture

I hope everyone is right about Starks..he looked awesome today.
I will reserve opinion until I see more, but he looked decisive and tuff TODAY.

Paul Ott Caruth's picture

Whisper there's a name from the past. Sorry Mark, but Starks and Goodman are two different styles of runner. Remember.....Goodman played in a gap scheme under Sherman. We are running zone as our primary method of attack. Starks is better suited. And can't be seriously compaing Buffalo to DII Carson Newman and NAIA Graceland College can you? Graceland ever play against Wisconsin? Didn't think so.

MarkinMadison's picture

Not comparing their running styles, just that with the level of competition faced it is hard to predict how they will translate. And yeah, I don't think there is a whole lot of difference in the talent level between a MAC school and a D-II or D-III. You can find good players at any of those levels who were overlooked or who couldn't cut it academically. I'm not impressed by Buffalo playing a BCS school and getting blown out once a year or every other year.

Paul Ott Carruth's picture

You are comparing schools and not the players that play at those schools. Of course Buffalo got blown out. How did Starks do though? Starks played against BCS schools while at Buffalo.....Goodman did not. BIG difference my friend. If these DII and DIII cats were just as good they'd be going to the NFL at a high rate. Face it, they don't.

redlights's picture

Don't get too high or too low. Yes, we won the game we should have won. Need it again next week.

Still a struggle to make the playoffs. Can Chicago fold, already??

packsmack25's picture

Chicago will lose their next 2. No worries.

Bogmon's picture

I like this comment.
Rodney Harrison predicts they lose 3 of the next 4.
One would likely be the final to the Packers.

All the Pack needs to do is win.
The rest will sort itself out.


Norman's picture

Hope it comes down to week 17 to decide who takes the NFC North. Win and your in, you can't ask for any more than that. Need to take 3 of the next 4.

jack in jersey city's picture

i really think we need to win out

PackersRS's picture

Someone please do a photoshop with James Starks running, but instead of turf, it's water...

Paul Ott Caruth's picture

No...I think him gaining 4ypc on Lambeau turf is just fine. Now the real trick would be to find a pic from today's game where you have Jackson doing that. Might have a tough time doing it though.

PackersRS's picture

Week 1 against the Eagles he did that.

And why so defensive? When did I complain about Starks?

Like I wanted a Packer player to do bad in the first place, like I'm some kind of Jackson backer. Like there are, indeed, Jackson backers. The minute you see me arguing passionately about an avergae/good player, please call the cops. Because none of our RBs are more than that right now.

Get you head out of your ass people. There isn't a single Packer fan out there that wasn't THRILLED to see Starks do well, but it's ONE FREAKING GAME, ONE FREAKING GOOD GAME, and nothing else.

And go get some sense of humor, will you? Looks like all the Favre drama affected some people way too much...

CSS's picture


BigbyATTACK's picture

Very funny. You know, Grant went out in week one. We've been waiting for Starks to show us what he can do, because we've been hopeful and excited to see for a while, now. He showed signs of potential to be a good running back in our offense. While I insist that we need to see another week, and another, and get some consistantcy, there's nothing wrong with folks getting excited. Why not be happy, and hopeful, so long as if things go wrong, we stay hopeful.

On the other hand, if you are being sarcastic and loved his performance to the point of really wanting to see that pic, then yeah, it'd be funny and I want to see it, too. Remember Revis? He put a whole season together and I said wait, let's see him keep it up before we name him the best. Like Tramon, keep it up, and I'll call you a premier corner, no matter how much you show it now. Same with Starks. Keep up the good work. So far, so good.

PackersRS's picture

Why can't you people be more like BigbyATTACK?

That's exactly it. I was being sarcastic, in a way that it's only one week. But yeah, you damn right I'm excited to see him do well, because this offense needs a different type of RB desperately, even with Grant on board. Starks showed promise in college as a pass catcher and burner, and if he can be that, it would be great.

But it is only one game.

And why do I keep using "you people" so often?

Paul Ott Caruth's picture

I'm certainly not saying Starks is the savior. Never have. But the condecension of "walking on water" needs to go. Yes, Jackson did it in week fact he did it a couple of other times. But frankly, there have been many on this site who have said that Starks shouldn't play this week, this year. Will Starks be a world beater this year? No. Is he the best suited to run the ball in this scheme. Unequivocally yes. Jackson is a long yardage 3rd down back...that's his strength. It's pretty hard to tell what is a joke and what is emotion on a computer you know.

PackersRS's picture

I certainly NEVER said he shouldn't be out there.

I do have said that he shouldn't be the starter, not based on youtube highlights... And based on 1 1/2 years out of college.

But as WoodyG often says, the coaches know. They've seen him in practice, I haven't.

If they, indeed, judge him ready, then by all means he should be starting.

We know that what we have wasn't working. Jackson is a great 3rd down back, and he was playing decently when he had holes.

But he's not a guy that's gonna make his own holes.

I haven't seen every play-by-play, so I can't say if it was the line that was playing better, but Starks certainly looked good.

Bogmon's picture

Couldn't agree more!

Temper the elation with one performance because things change rapidly from week to week.

The fans that get overexcited about a good week are often the same fans calling for heads after a tuff loss.

We were supposed to get this wasn't really that pretty.
Starks was solid, but not extraordinary.

Let's not go suckin' each other's dicks just yet...still alot of football left.

SpiderPack's picture

Going out on a limb here (but not much of one IMO) to say that I think it's damn obvious Starks can be outstanding. People…I know it was his 1st game but on the other hand…IT WAS HIS FIRST GAME!! Did anybody see the look on his face when he got tripped up on what mighta been a TD run? What I saw was a guy that knew what he needed to do to break that one. Look at his body language throughout the game, you don't have that after 2yrs of inactivity unless your good. If we give him holes like that, & I'm pretty sure we will now with a more "respected" rungame, he'll be what we need, & he might be a major contributor & playmaker this year. 

packsmack25's picture

Or should the photoshop be Starks hung on a cross?

WoodyG's picture

Actually, both JS & BJ looked good .... JS, running for 73 yards & BJ catching 4 passes for 63 yards ..... His 37 yard screen was pure effort & at a critical juncture in the game ...... I'm happy with both & expect more of the same from both against the Lions .......

PackersRS's picture

The screen was great.

But funny enough, I wish it was Starks in there.

Probably he wouldn't have found the holes, as he probably doesn't have the full grasp of the playbook.

But he's faster than Jackson. I saw Jackson running and kept saying "damn, I wish he was faster". Jackson got caught from behind...

But alas it was a TD, so all good.

Oppy's picture

Starks is supposed to have very good hands, one of the edges he is projected to have over Grant is his contribution to the passing game out of the back field.

That said, Jackson does very well in that area when he's given the chance.

It's actually odd- Jackson can be very indecisive when pressing the hole on running plays, but when he gets a reception on a swing pass or in the flat, he makes the catch, secures the ball, and without hesitation turns it up field and hits it. If he'd only play the run the way he attacks the short passing game, he'd be set.

FITZCORE1252's picture

Man, I was flipping over to the Lions game at breaks... sooo close.

How do duh bares play 2 3rd string QB's in one season AND host Philly, Pats & Jets when we had to go on the road for all 3? F'ing conspiracy. Still won't be enough though, THE DIVISION WILL BE OURS!

Oh, and good game for the GBP. Starks most def has potential, didn't cough the ball up, that's a good sign for someone seeing his first action in 2 years. Jennings is a beast. And what is up with Clay? Hope the dude isn't hurt worse than we're led to believe. After what Vernon Davis did today, I think the 2 rookies will give us some problems at New England.


PackersRS's picture

Lost in all the hype, Starks hold onto the football very well.

HUGE, HUGE deal.

Chris's picture

"How do duh bares play 2 3rd string QB’s in one season AND host Philly, Pats & Jets when we had to go on the road for all 3?"

Well the Packers will just win all three of those matchups on the road, end of story. It will probably come down to the christmas matchup against the Giants to win the 2nd wildcard spot.

SpiderPack's picture

Greg Jennings is James Lofton all over again. He just couldnt get #80 cause DD already had it. Driver looked as elegant as ever.

rickybobby's picture

i bet we don't see jenkins again for a long time.

that could have been his last game as a Packer.

"next man up" i guess.

SpiderPack's picture

Huh? Yeah I think he's hurt too. But hopefully he's ready for Chicago & the playoffs, if we get there. It's a hamstring , almost for sure.

Mat-Trix's picture

" bet we don’t see jenkins again for a long time.that could have been his last game as a Packer.".. Are you out of your mind? Jenkins is not out for the year its the same injury he's been dealing with for awhile. Also the team will do their best to resign him.. I swear some Packer fans hit the emergency button when its absolutely not needed. SMH

Mat-Trix's picture

Spider Pack a hamstring?? Do u not stay updated on the team? He's been dealing with a calf strain and he re-aggravated it.

Jack's picture

"Now if only he (DD) could will his heart to James Jones..."

Amen to that.

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