Hello Wisconsin: Against San Francisco, Packers Flash Their Potential for First Time This Season

The Packers have a long way to go, but they're showing clear progress.

The Green Bay Packers are still very much a work in progress.

The timing hasn’t always been right on the offense. The defense is still awful in clutch situations and it’s hard to have a whole lot of faith in the unit as it currently stands.

But after week three, there are clear signs of progress on both sides of the ball. 

And for the first time, we got a glimpse of the Packers team many of us had hoped to see right out of the gates this year. A team that could be, or at least become, a legitimate contender.

The mental and physical toughness shown in this victory cannot be understated. The Packers came out on a short week after a long road trip to physically dominate an opponent that has manhandled them multiple times in the last several years when they’ve been at full strength. 

The offensive line played generally very good football against a very tough defensive front, despite missing its two best players, and starting four players who’d never started an NFL game before 2021.

The defense came out and nearly pitched a shutout in the first half, and would have finished the job at the end of the half had it not been for a missed intentional grounding call that essentially handed the 49ers a touchdown. It took the ball away from the 49ers offense multiple times, and swarmed to the ball carrier.

The team got down late, but refused to roll over, instead getting down the field with 37 seconds left for Mason Crosby to kick a game-winning field goal.

It wasn’t always pretty, and there’s a whole lot of room for improvement. But those kinds of gutty victories build a ton of confidence in this league. For the Packers to win like that after the way the team completely sleepwalked through the first six quarters of action this season, it’s a big deal and shows that this team might be able to play with the big boys after all.

As of right now, I have no idea what my assessment of this team would be. Before the season I predicted them to win the Super Bowl--the first time I have done so since 2011. After weeks one and two, it felt much more like a one-and-done in the playoffs kind of team to me.

But the team is clearly on an upward trajectory, and seems to be settling into regular season football after a horrendously slow start. Aaron Rodgers has traditionally been outstanding in October, and this will be an important month for the team to show what it’s capable of.

This coming month, the team faces:

-A Steelers team that was in the playoffs just a season ago, and still is hoping to get back this year, despite the clear fall-off from Ben Roethlisberger.

-A Bengals team that appears to be significantly better than expected.

-A Bears team that is always capable of playing the Packers tough, even when they’re nowhere near as good on paper.

-A Washington team that has played tough football against some strong competition.

-A Cardinals team that could pose a very difficult matchup for the Packers with an MVP-caliber quarterback who will likely give this defense fits.

At the end of October, we’re going to have a much better read on who the Packers are and what they’re capable of accomplishing this season.

For now, I’ll settle for continued improvement, week after week.

A few underrated performers against San Francisco

The players who took home the majority of the headlines against San Francisco were Aaron Rodgers, Davante Adams and Mason Crosby, and for good reason. But there are a few other players who deserve some recognition after Sunday night’s game.

  • De’Vondre Campbell: As I said on Twitter earlier this week, De’Vondre Campbell looks, after three games, to be the best and most well-rounded interior linebacker the Packers have had since Desmond Bishop. Campbell is playing with excellent lateral quickness and seems to always be around the ball. Previous Packer ILBs have only been useful as thumpers, but it’s been some time since they’ve had a really dynamic player at the position. It’s very early, but so far Campbell is far better than I expected. I’ll maintain tempered expectations for now, but he’s definitely piqued my interest.

 

  • Jon Runyan Jr.: We’ve talked a lot about Josh Myers and Royce Newman, but Runyan is really looking like starter material at the left guard spot. Part of me wonders if the Packers will consider moving on from Billy Turner after this season, kicking Elgton Jenkins out to right tackle full time and giving Runyan the guard position. 

 

  • Yosh Nijman: I was absolutely terrified about Nijman getting the start opposite Nick Bosa, and his first series didn’t do anything to quell my fears. But after that, he played a really strong game. Hats off to him for performing so well in a less-than-ideal matchup for his first significant regular season action.

 

  • Darnell Savage: For the first time this season, Savage really looked like the guy taking the big leap forward many had expected him to be. He was making fast, decisive breaks on the ball and receivers, more so than he has at any point this year. It was an encouraging development for a guy that had a few struggles in the first couple weeks.

 

  • Blocking receivers: Whether it was Allen Lazard, Marcedes Lewis, Josiah Deguara or Robert Tonyan, a bevy of Packers pass catchers got involved in the blocking game out of sheer necessity, often to excellent results. There was a whole lot of unselfish play out of these wide receivers and tight ends, and it helped set the Packers up for offensive success.

Wisconsin Beer of the Week

This time of year, most folks looking for a seasonal New Glarus beer will likely turn their attention to Staghorn, the brewery’s outstanding Oktoberfest (which happens to be a staple of my beer fridge in the fall).

However, I would also urge you to consider the Gyrator Doppel, a really excellent doppelbock that New Glarus released this fall for what I believe to be the first time.

Doppelbocks have a bit higher of an ABV than Oktoberfests, so you’re not going to crush as many in a single day. This one sits right at 6.9 percent ABV. 

But it does have the smooth, malty flavor you like out of a good fall beer. Very pleasant, no frills, a little bit more depth of flavor than what you’ll get out of an Oktoberfest and a bit darker color (not as dark as many other doppelbocks I like, though), but with a lot of the other same flavor properties.

It’s a great tailgate beer or outdoor beer to complement your Oktoberfests for the next couple months. And, with it being a New Glarus beer, you should be able to find it all over Wisconsin.

Give it a shot! It’s one of my new favorites from New Glarus.

The Bears’ new purchase in Arlington Heights

On Wednesday, the Chicago Bears officially announced the signing of a $197.2 million purchase agreement fo the Arlington Heights racetrack land, marking the next significant step in a possible move from Soldier Field that is becoming increasingly likely.

The Bears do not own Soldier Field--they lease it in an agreement with the Chicago Park District. The stadium is famously horrible. It has the league’s smallest capacity (61,500) despite having one of the country’s biggest markets. Its playing surface is one of the worst two or three in football. The remodel from the early 2000s destroyed the historical vibe of the site, creating one of the league’s ugliest venues.

There are few, if any, redeeming qualities about Soldier Field.

I don’t personally have strong opinions about the team moving to the suburbs. I do understand and sympathize with the folks who hate the idea of teams moving out of the cities that bear their name all for the almighty dollar, and I think there’s something special about the fact that the Bears play in downtown Chicago right on the lake.

What I do have a strong opinion about is the report that a potential stadium development on the property could feature a dome, or possibly a retractable roof.

Honestly, it would be a disgrace to the Bears franchise to play football indoors. The entire historical identity of the Bears is completely incongruous with playing in a dome. The Bears’ identity has always been about hard-nosed football in all conditions. Some incredible weather games have happened at Soldier Field over the years.

Moreover, it would be truly upsetting to have three of four teams in the NFC North play indoors. 

The Bears would be wise to not try to emulate the Vikings, who long ago gave up real outdoor football in favor of indoor comfort.

But it seems to be an inevitability that the team will at least be implementing a retractable roof. Ownership is going to want to attract Super Bowls, Final Fours, concerts and all kinds of other events to capitalize on their investment (or, more likely, the taxpayers’ investment). 

Just one more reason why the Bears still, and will always, suck.

The Bucks and their economic impact on Milwaukee

While I’m always hesitant to cheer about stadiums that are largely funded by taxpayer dollars when billionaires could easily pony up the cash themselves, there’s a reason why the Bears are likely going to push through this suburban palace. 

Milwaukee is just the latest example.

According to reports, the Milwwaukee Bucks brought in an estimated $57.6 billion in economic impact for Milwaukee throughout the playoffs and NBA finals this year. That’s a massive surge in any circumstances, but especially amid a pandemic in which many businesses had ben struggling to get by.

During the playoff run, Milwaukee was a more popular search term on Google than it had been in five years. Traffic at Mitchell International Airport significantly increased in July over June, and especially from June and July 2020.

I have to admit I was skeptical about the Fiserv Forum and Deer District projects, especially given how dreadful the team had been for so long. But there’s no denying now that it’s made a massive difference in the local economy. It’s a destination spot in a city that could use more of them.

Seeing tens of thousands of people crammed into the stadium area on television during the playoff run was surreal. I never thought I’d see anything like that in Milwaukee, especially for the Bucks, who’ve always fallen well behind the Packers and Brewers in terms of local support.

The Bucks may have overtaken the Brewers now in terms of fervent fan following, but the Brew Crew may have an opportunity of its own to deliver a magical playoff run to the city.

It’s just great to continue to see Milwaukee in the national spotlight, where it belongs.

Around the NFC North

Here we go once again around the NFC North leading into week four.

-The CHICAGO BEARS had one of the worst offensive performances in NFL history on Sunday with just a single team passing yard and just 47 total yards, with Justin Fields being sacked nine times. That 47-yard total was the ninth worst in NFL history. The team averaged just 1.1 yards per play. No wonder the team announced its new Arlington Heights purchase yesterday--it needed a distraction badly from its utter futility on the football field.

-The DETROIT LIONS continue to find new, heartbreaking ways to lose football games. Watching an NFL record 66-yard field goal boink off the crossbar and in through the uprights has to be devastating, no matter how used you are to heartbreak. Now me personally, I laughed my ass off. There’s something oddly comforting about the consistency with which the Lions lose in gut wrenching fashion.

-The MINNESOTA VIKINGS finally notched a win, which helped them avoid a start as futile as what they puked out on the football field a season ago. 1-2 doesn’t look nearly as bad as 0-3. That being said, now the Vikings have a date with a Cleveland team that just pounded Chicago. It’s been a tough opening schedule and so far the Vikings do not look up to the task of becoming a playoff team, but it’s a long season.

Who’s 3-0 around the league?

It’s always interesting to pause after three weeks, take a look at who’s off to a hot start and who’s most and least likely to sustain their pace.

Here are the 3-0 teams in the NFL right now, ranked in order of how truly good I see them as being.

 

  1. Los Angeles Rams. With Matthew Stafford, the Rams finally have a legitimate high-end quarterback who, in turn, finally gets to play with a great offense and coaching around him. The Rams may be the best team in the NFL at the moment, and will prove a formidable contender in January and February.

 

  1. Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals have had a little bit of luck on their side to get to 3-0, but make no mistake, this team is legit. Kyler Murray is playing some seasoned ball in his third year and is looking like an MVP candidate. As a matchup for the Packers, I might be more nervous about the Cardinals than the Rams.

 

  1. Las Vegas Raiders. Good to see the Raiders off to a strong start--they’ve always been one of my favorite AFC teams. Derek Carr is playing some of the best football he’s played in years, and this team seems to have a lot of fight in it now in Jon Gruden’s fourth year of his sideline return.

 

  1. Denver Broncos. The Broncos are playing some outstanding defense to start the year, and haven’t had to get a whole lot out of Teddy Bridgewater. They’re playing extremely well, but their wins have also come against teams that are a combined 0-9. I’m going to wait to pass judgment until they play real competition, but if their defense is for real then they’re going to be a tough draw for anyone.

 

  1. Carolina Panthers. The Panthers have had wins against some bottom feeders like the Jets and tExans, but they also managed to take down a Saints team that had just annihilated the Packers. But with both Christian McCaffrey and Jaycee Horn out, they’re in for some challenges. 

If you’d have asked me to predict five 3-0 teams, these certainly would not have been the five, but that’s the NFL for you. 

Prediction for Packers vs. Steelers

I was extremely pessimistic last week about the Packers’ chances versus the 49ers, because it just seemed to be like a terrible matchup. I thought the offensive line would struggle mightily against a tough 49ers front, and that the defense would get shredded by a Kyle Shanahan offense.

The offensive line was better than I could have ever hoped, and that’s one of several things that gives me far more confidence in the Packers this week.

The other is that… well… Ben Roethlisberger has been absolutely awful so far this season.

The man needed to retire this offseason. He can’t move, he looks disinterested. He’s done. 

If he continues to play as he has, the Packers’ defense is going to have a really great opportunity to build some confidence in this game. The Steelers’ run game has been practically nonexistent through three games so far, and the team simply cannot rely on Roethlisberger to carry them through the passing game at this stage of his career.

The Packers were opportunistic with turnovers against San Francisco, so I’d expect them to nab one or two more against Pittsburgh. This won’t be a runaway, I don’t think, but the final score should indicate a reasonably comfortable victory for the Packers.

Packers 37, Steelers 20

 

__________________________

Tim Backes is a lifelong Packer fan and a contributor to CheeseheadTV. Follow him on Twitter @timbackes for his Packer takes, random musings and Untappd beer check-ins.

5 points

Comments (32)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
Lphill's picture

September 30, 2021 at 06:13 am

Bucs sign Richard Sherman for 2.5 million I wonder what the hit would have been to cut King and sign Sherman for the slot.

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TimBackes's picture

September 30, 2021 at 06:51 am

Very much doubt there would have been interest from Sherman in coming to Green Bay, especially if he was going to be told to play as a slot corner.

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fordguy's picture

September 30, 2021 at 05:09 pm

Was wondering why you put Hello Wisconsin after you accused anyone not living in Milwaukee of being racist? Those were your words.

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Houndog's picture

September 30, 2021 at 07:16 am

LP,
As a Packer fan living in 49er territory I've seen enough of Sherman over the past few years to say he's often injured and has lost a step, or six! I have a lot of respect for Sherman, and I'm not a big King fan, but at least he can still run.

6 points
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PewAuKeeFan's picture

September 30, 2021 at 07:30 am

"The defense is still awful in clutch situations and it’s hard to have a whole lot of faith in the unit as it currently stands."

If the Packers' defense was awful in clutch situations, what do we call the Niners defense? Gawd-awful? They could not stop the Packers from scoring with only 37 seconds and no timeouts.

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dobber's picture

September 30, 2021 at 07:44 am

They did what you do in those situations: take away the sidelines and give clock and the middle of the field. In this case, their pass rush was getting nothing (as Collinsworth kept noting: one sack and the game is over) and ARod was getting his throws home over the deep middle rather than the shallow middle that other QBs might have to take just to get the ball out. Chunk plays and good situational awareness.

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Handsback's picture

September 30, 2021 at 07:50 am

The Packers oline has the youth and potential to be the best in the NFL. That will solve a lot of problems in the future.Do you think Elliott and Prescott were that great as rookies, or maybe the Dallas offensive line was just that good?

5 points
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Guam's picture

September 30, 2021 at 07:57 am

Having just attended a college game (Wisconsin vs ND) at Soldier Field, I didn't find it nearly as bad as the author describes it to be. The seats were comfortable, the sight lines and viewing were good and the food choices were decent. The major issue is the stadium is small at 61k in seating. The author is spot on about the Bears playing indoor football. Just doesn't seem right........

The Packers suddenly have serious depth on their offensive line. When they get Bahk and Jenkins back, they will have nine good O-linemen plus Van Lanen on the PS. That will certainly give the Packers some flexibility to make changes in 2022 to help their cap situation. I also think the young interior OL will get better at tackle to tackle blocking which will help AJ Dillon's running style.

Now if Gute can just do the same thing for the D-line........

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dobber's picture

September 30, 2021 at 08:24 am

Packers need to continue to build on what they did to SF on Sunday. They can't rest on that outcome. Pittsburgh is really limited offensively by Roethlisberger despite really good skill position players--I think they could be a bidder in the QB sweepstakes (Watson? ARod? Wilson?) this offseason. Their OL is only OK and they can't run the ball effectively. It's likely that Ju-ju won't play on Sunday, but Diontae Johnon will likely be back for Pittsburgh. They're mostly a dump-off, catch-and-run team that occasionally hits a big play based on volume and the athleticism of its pass-catchers. Packers should win, but I suspect this is another one-possession game. TJ Watt should be back, and this defense will pose a different style of threat (speed). Packers 27-Pitt 20.

Of the 3-0 teams you mention, I think the Rams--based on their win over TB--are the best team in the NFC (TB will take out their frustration on NE this week). Arizona was my dark horse SB pick this year. I think the NFCW is really a two-horse race between those two teams. The other 3-0 teams (Carolina, Denver, and Vegas) will wilt, but Carolina might be the best of that bunch if they can get/stay healthy. Packers need David Carr to fall apart to get more teams out west into the ARod bidding war.

Chicago Bears: many of us here said it. Fields is going to get killed behind that OL, and his first start proved it. Detroit will get him this week, too. The Bears have Nick Foles, let him take all those hits and return Fields to the limited exposure gadget role. There's no reason to ruin Fields behind an OL and playing for an exposed offensive midget like Nagy (who should have been let go in January). The fan base is ready to cut that cord, and with Pace, too. This is a decent defense, but an old, undertalented football team in general, with little hope of getting much better any time soon.

Detroit Lions: they play hard, I'll give that zealot Dan Campbell (Jim Schwarz 2.0) credit for that. Living in a Detroit market and with a few Lions fans as friends (there aren't many Lions fans after all) and they pretty much are snake-bit enough to just accept last week's outcome. This might be a better football team than Chicago at this point.

Vikings: whatever. This is a team that keeps fantasy football rosters going. Browns will limit their run game and get after Cousins this week. This might be where we see the really bad Cousins come out for the first time this season. This team doesn't look markedly better on defense than a year ago, and they don't look like a playoff team...it will cost Zimmer his job, and Spielman might be swept out along with him.

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Since'61's picture

September 30, 2021 at 12:42 pm

You beat me to it Dobber. You covered just about all of the points that I was going to make. I'm glad that I read your post. You saved me a bunch of typing. Thanks, Since '61

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croatpackfan's picture

September 30, 2021 at 02:50 pm

Thanks dobber. We have similar view on NFCN competition. I will bravely say that Detroit is the 2nd best team in NFCN. Bears won that one game purely on good D game. With O they did nothing. Vikings had a lot of luck in their win, almost in amount as Detriot had bad luck in their 3rd loss.

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jont's picture

September 30, 2021 at 08:54 am

Looking ahead to Pittsburgh, I watched their game against the Bengals, and the Steelers were almost as bad as GB was against the Saints. Roethlisberger doesn't throw the way he used to; he is a tree trunk of a man who threw with an upper body turn and a long, strong arm, but it seems the pectoral injury is affecting him. They had no running game at all. Their D was average at best.
While I've got to believe they'll come out Sunday with fury, they seem as bad as everyone says they are. The Pack has a great opportunity to get the job done this week by focusing on having the kind of game we saw often last year.
I think it's realistic that Aaron Jones gets a hundred yards, Tonyan finds the endzone, Amari gets half a dozen punt returns for 100-something yards, Savage gets a pick, and GB wins 41-10.

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CheesyTex's picture

September 30, 2021 at 02:41 pm

Agree, jont, but It would surprise me to see a Tomlin coached team lose by 41-10.

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ricky's picture

September 30, 2021 at 09:33 am

It's not how you start, it's how you finish. Just ask the Eli Manning Giants teams that won two SB's. Or the 2010 Packers. Get into the playoffs, get hot, sweep the table. If the New Orleans game is still being referenced at the end of the season, then it will have been a failure. And Campbell does indeed look like a major upgrade at ILB. But he's in GB on a one year contract. And if the Packers follow their usual pattern, they'll let him walk and try to get by with someone far inferior.

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ricky's picture

September 30, 2021 at 09:33 am

It's not how you start, it's how you finish. Just ask the Eli Manning Giants teams that won two SB's. Or the 2010 Packers. Get into the playoffs, get hot, sweep the table. If the New Orleans game is still being referenced at the end of the season, then it will have been a failure. And Campbell does indeed look like a major upgrade at ILB. But he's in GB on a one year contract. And if the Packers follow their usual pattern, they'll let him walk and try to get by with someone far inferior.

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packer132's picture

September 30, 2021 at 09:24 pm

Packers have played 3 games, and Campbell looks like a good find at LB. Way too early to criticize the front office of not resigning him after two good games. Packers did a great job of signing 20 of 22 starters from a 13-3 team. There are many players to sign AFTER the season, not after the 3rd game. Lets win as many as possible and worry about 2022 after the Super Bowl victory.

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Dan Collins's picture

September 30, 2021 at 09:40 am

Good piece, but think for a moment what it means when you say, "The mental and physical toughness shown in this victory cannot be understated."

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Doug_In_Sandpoint's picture

September 30, 2021 at 09:40 am

Loved watching the Deer District during the Bucks run. Now I’m looking forward to the Beer District for the Crew. Should I trademark that?

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TimBackes's picture

September 30, 2021 at 09:44 am

The beer district is just wherever I happen to be on a Saturday night tbh

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RCPackerFan's picture

September 30, 2021 at 10:06 am

This coming month, the team faces:

Steelers - This should be a good matchup. They are going to be a tough team, but are beatable.

Bengals - Do we know who they really are yet? They beat the Vikings by 3 in week 1. Week 1 is always a crap shoot. They lost to the Bears in week 2 by 3. They beat the Steelers pretty easily in week 3. All 3 teams they have played are 1-2.

Bears - Kind of a mess. Do they know who their QB is? Does it matter with their HC? Will Nagy be there HC by the time GB plays them?

Washington - They will be tough! They have a really good defense.

Cardinals - This could be an early look at a team they could potentially meet in the playoffs.

A few underrated performers against San Francisco:

De’Vondre Campbell:
Collinsworth said it best. Where would this defense be without Campbell. While he may not be a top tier guy in the league, he really has been a great find. His ability to make stops all over the field has been something we have been missing at ILB.

Jon Runyan Jr.:
I mentioned this the other day, but what happens with Jenkins after Bakhtiari comes back? Because Runyan has been really good. I assume that they will put Jenkins at LG. But would they consider moving Jenkins to RT? I think next year Jenkins could be our RT. With Bakhtiari at LT, Runyan, LG, Myers, OC, and Wild Man #70 at RG.

Yosh Nijman:
He definitely settled in nicely. Definitely a surprise that he started and a surprise that he played as well as he did. The last time we had an udfa OL go against Bosa it didn't go so well. This time it went a lot better. Looks like Yosh maybe going again this week. Which will be a tough battle with the Steelers pass rushers. I definitely have more confidence this week then I did last week though.

Darnell Savage:
Lets not forget in week 1 he had an interception that was taken away on a bullshit call. But he did play a much better game this week. He was attacking plays ahead of him. I am looking forward to seeing what he does this coming week.

Blocking receivers:
This is a huge key to the offense. The WR's ability to block.
Something we need to see more though, is the WR's involved in the passing game!

3 points
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dobber's picture

September 30, 2021 at 02:28 pm

"I mentioned this the other day, but what happens with Jenkins after Bakhtiari comes back?"

I think this comes back to what LaF has always said: who are their best 5 OL and how do they get on the field? The guess at this point would be that Runyan goes back to the bench, but that could be different in a few weeks.

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Gman1976's picture

September 30, 2021 at 03:24 pm

After watching The Rock Report, I was flabbergasted how good Tonyan blocked Bosa. He knocked Bosa down 3 times!!! Once he laid on Bosa as an acclamation point.

5 points
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dobber's picture

October 01, 2021 at 07:42 am

It will definitely be a point of acclaim. ;)

1 points
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greengold's picture

October 01, 2021 at 10:01 am

Mercedes Lewis osmosis. What a mentor for Tonyan, Deguara… any young TE. Not to take anything away from Bobby… he’s the most complete TE we’ve had in decades. Tonyan just keeps getting better & better.

Great piece, Tim!

2 points
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jhtobias's picture

September 30, 2021 at 10:27 am

Im not saying the dline is improving, but one major concern is you are playing kenny 80 percent of the time and this will have bad ramifications down the line.

Gute reallly needs to address this dline if possible with a veteran or two.

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Matt Gonzales's picture

September 30, 2021 at 01:46 pm

I wouldn't be opposed to a mid-season signing if there is one that makes sense, but anyone available now is either PS level talent, wants too much money, or there's a good reason they're a FA. Our best bet is to keep getting Slaton game snaps, and hopefully start working Heflin in the mix once he starts showing he's ready in practice. The best improvements they can make will come from within, especially since every dollar spent in 2021 is a dollar not available in 2022.

7 points
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LambeauPlain's picture

September 30, 2021 at 11:24 am

I was not fearful of YoshMan starting nor surprised at his performance. Ever since he was signed as an UDFA out of VA Tech I have been pulling for him. He first played OL as a freshman in college...he played DL in HS. An off the charts elite athlete, and very intelligent...he just needed to sharpen his technique and footwork to play NFL T. Stenavich and Butkus have taught him well.

I closely watched his plays against top notch DL players in the preseason. He only lost a few snaps but mostly dominated at LT. So YoshMan playing well against Bosa was not surprising to me....but it was very pleasing!

4 points
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Matt Gonzales's picture

September 30, 2021 at 03:00 pm

Agreed here. I don't know that he's the LT of the future but being able to get a reliable spot starter out of a UDFA is fantastic, and it gives GB a lot of flexibility for next year re: Turner.

3 points
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splitpea1's picture

September 30, 2021 at 11:34 am

I think we're going to have to wait longer than you suggested to get an accurate read on the Packers. The second half of the schedule, starting a little earlier with the Cardinals, is quite challenging. Also, no sympathy for the Lions? That FG should have never come to pass with the play clock expiring (and it wasn't close) on a previous play. I felt bad for the players after they gave it everything they could against a far superior opponent.

Looking forward to a regular season win against the Steelers for the first time since 1995 with the Yancey Thigpen drop. I know the Packers won't be "reading their press clippings" or anything like that, but the game could be closer than 17 points, especially if TJ Watt is able to play. And we can't let any special teams miscues keep the Steelers in the game.

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Since'61's picture

September 30, 2021 at 12:52 pm

In 1970 I watched the Saints Tom Dempsey key a then record 63 yard FG on the last play of the game to be defeat (you guessed it) the Lions 19-17. 51 years later it happens again and for another NFL record FG.

How does anyone remain a Lions fan? Thanks, Since '61

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splitpea1's picture

September 30, 2021 at 06:10 pm

Nope, they've never had the pleasure of even being teased by a legitimate SB contender. You would think that somewhere in that time frame the organization would have been desperate enough to try a wildly innovate coaching approach or methods like the Steelers or SF did a long time ago to get out of their respective ruts.

There's hope for them, though, with 5 picks in the top 100 or so next draft, and an extra first in the one after that. If the front office does a reasonably good job (which includes landing a difference maker at QB and hitting on a couple lower picks), then watch out--everything could blossom at once. Just speculation.

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Since'61's picture

September 30, 2021 at 12:40 pm

Deleted. I was going to post but Dobber covered all of the points I was going to make very well. Thanks, Since '61

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