Hello Wisconsin: The Packers’ Ownership of the Bears Continues Into a New Decade

The Packers continue to own the Bears, Robert Tonyan is blossoming into a fine player, and why the potato pancake is the only legitimate Fish Fry potato side.

It’s been a rough three decades for the Chicago Bears in their rivalry with the Green Bay Packers.

You have the 90s, which were dominated by Brett Favre.

You have the 2000s, which saw a bit of a reprieve for the Bears when Lovie Smith arrived and started winning games, but the Packers still came out on top for the decade AND Favre passed on the torch to the promising young Aaron Rodgers.

You have the 2010s, which saw utter destruction of the Bears at every opportunity by Aaron Rodgers, who turned out to be even more of a Bear killer than his predecessor.

Enter the 2020s. The first matchup of the decade of this historic rivalry saw the Packers’ 100th victory of the storied series, and it came in humiliating fashion. 

As I predicted all through last week on both CHTV and Twitter, the Packers came out and fully embarrassed the reeling Bears on national television. The game was nowhere near as close as the final score would indicate (thanks to Mike Pettine’s soft second half defense). 

Aaron Rodgers may be 37 years old, but he’s playing like the Rodgers of a decade ago, and if he keeps that up it may be a while before he gives up the keys to the Packers franchise to Jordan Love (or any other would-be successor). 

For the Bears, that means more pain.

After a 5-1 start, the Bears now sit at 5-6 and could very well be cleaning house in the offseason for what would be the umpteenth time since the team’s short stretch of dominance in the 1980s. 

Do not let it be forgotten that this franchise fired Lovie Smith after he led the team to a 10-6 record in his final season. They’ve been paying for it dearly since.

Meanwhile, Packers coach Matt LaFleur has yet to lose to the Bears in three matchups, and Aaron Rodgers is 21-5 against the Bears in his career. 

Given the trajectories of these two franchises, it might be multiple years before the Bears beat this Packers team again.

Let’s give it up for Robert Tonyan

In his third season in Green Bay, Packers tight end Robert Tonyan has emerged as a legitimate receiving weapon in all spots of the field, and a solid blocker as well. For the first time in what seems like forever, the Packers finally have an all-around player at the tight end position who will be worth keeping around for a long time, especially if he continues to improve at the trajectory he has over the last year.

The eye test alone tells you how much Tonyan has improved, and the kind of value he has for this Packers offense. But I didn’t realize just how excellent his season has been until I saw some statistics from @The_IT_Hedgehog on Twitter.

  • Tonyan is currently on pace to finish with 54 receptions, which would be just seven short of the Packers single-season record for the position held by Jermichael Finley and four short of Richard Rodgers’ second-place mark.

  • Tonyan already has seven touchdown receptions. The single-season TD record for a Packers tight end is 11 by Paul Coffman. With five games to go, and with the way this passing offense is playing, Tonyan has a legitimate shot of tying or breaking the record.

  • Tonyan is on pace to finish with a devilish 666 yards, which would rank among the top 10 yardage seasons ever for a Packers tight end (but well behind Coffman’s 814). 

It’s been so exciting to watch Tonyan’s emergence this season. His hard work is evident, and his talent means his ceiling is still quite a bit higher than what we’re seeing already. And I absolutely love the energy he brings to the field.

Perhaps most importantly, Rodgers seems to have a great deal of trust in him, meaning he’s going to continue to get plenty of opportunities.

Well deserved.

Wisconsin Beer of the Week

With it having been Black Friday last week, I had to go out and support a couple local breweries and their beer releases. Of course, that meant hitting up my favorite spot, 1840 Brewing Company.

Most breweries tend to put out big, boozy barrel-aged imperial stouts as their Black Friday releases. Don’t get me wrong, I love those, but I also love it when a brewery tries something a little more creative. 

1840 had two Black Friday offerings this year, and the one I was most looking forward to was Plumpy Black, a “black” version of its Plumpy fruited sour that features blackberries, black cherries and black currant with lactose. The result: a veritable berry smoothie of a beer that was every bit as delicious (and thick) as I hoped it would be. You’d never know it has eight percent ABV.

There are still a few bottles of Plumpy Black available for purchase so I’d recommend paying a visit to the website and preordering for pickup this weekend when the public sale goes live this Friday morning. I’ll probably be getting a few more on top of the three I purchased, because it’s just too good.

Potato pancakes are the only potato choice for a fish fry (sorry, I don’t make the rules)

As a lifelong Wisconsin resident, there are certain things that I inherently have strong opinions about. The Packers. Winter. Beer. Cheese. And of course, the Friday fish fry.

Over the last decade or so it seems like my generation has really thrust the fish fry back into the limelight as a staple of dining. While there aren’t a whole lot of remaining supper clubs in Milwaukee County, just about every hip new restaurant or gastropub that starts up in town has a Friday fish fry option. 

I’ll go through some of my favorite local Fish Fry options in a moment for those of you in the Milwaukee area, but first, I have to present a bit of a hot take, in which I will admittedly gatekeep the fish fry:

The only allowable potato choice for a real Wisconsin fish fry is potato pancakes. If the restaurant does not serve any form of potato pancakes, it cannot be considered a legitimate Wisconsin fish fry.

YEAH, I SAID IT, FRY LOVERS.

Don’t get me wrong, the fish fry can still be good if there are no potato pancakes. It might even be fantastic. The fries could be delicious and crispy, or the potato wedges or mashed potatoes or baked potato or whatever option you go with might really hit the spot.

But if you’re looking for a real Wisconsin fish fry that’s fully embracing the traditional German/Polish heritage of the concept, potato pancakes must be available as a side dish. Preferably with applesauce, but syrup is also allowable.

As a basis for comparison, consider steak tacos at Mexican restaurants. Sure, a flour tortilla with steak, some lettuce, cheese, sour cream, salsa and whatever other toppings you like might be delicious. But it cannot be considered authentic--by definition, a Mexican steak taco will have corn tortillas, steak, onion and cilantro with lime. 

I bring forth this rant because it is becoming far too difficult in MIlwaukee to find fish fries that offer potato pancakes as a side. There are some really excellent fish fries in town, and plenty of outstanding french fries, but doggoneit, if I’m going to be partaking in the traditions of my ancestors, I want some authenticity!

The good news is you can find some excellent potato pancakes if you know where to look. Here are a few great Milwaukee-area fish fry options that also include the seminal potato side dish.

  • Kegel’s Inn in West Allis

  • Erv’s Mug in Oak Creek

  • Lakefront Brewery in Milwaukee (also has the best fried cheese curds in the city in my opinion)

  • The Packing House in Milwaukee, near the airport

  • Klinger’s East in Milwaukee

Throw out your favorite spots for a fish fry in the comments, especially if they have potato pancakes on the menu!

Around the NFC North

Once again it’s time for us to take a look around the NFC North.

The CHICAGO BEARS are finished. Done. Kaputt. Stick a fork in ‘em. Losers of five straight games, the Bears rapidly pissed away a 5-1 start and now sit in third place in the NFC North, with their dreams of a playoff berth rapidly fading away. This is a Bears team that could easily have just one or two wins right now with some of the breaks they had early in the season, and now it appears to be a team that’s going to be searching for a new coach, general manager and quarterback in the offseason. It’s an organization incapable of finding anything remotely resembling stability or sustained success, and the carousel is about to start spinning once again.

The DETROIT LIONS finally fired hapless coach Matt Patricia over the weekend, ending a two-and-a-half season failed experiment with yet another Belichick disciple-turned-flunkie. Also out the door is general manager and former Patriot executive Bob Quinn, who presided over the demolition of a team that had three winning seasons in four years under its previous head coach for the first time in decades. The Lions are now much farther from being a winner than they were when they hired Patricia three years ago, and if they’re going to take advantage of the best quarterback they’ve had in the Super Bowl era, they need to right the ship in a hurry.

The MINNESOTA VIKINGS managed to pull off a crazy comeback on Sunday, but at 5-6 they still are hoping for a collapse from teams like the Cardinals, Rams and Buccaneers if they’re going to have any shot at sniffing January football. The problem for the Vikings now becomes thus: as a team with a lot of holes on its roster, they’re going to now be picking more toward the middle of the draft order. On the bright side, wide receiver Justin Jefferson is looking like a legitimate stud. Had the Vikings not taken him, you have to feel as though he’d be in a Packer uniform this year, and that stings, but nothing you can do about it.

What can we expect from the Packers’ new additions?

The Packers added a couple new bodies to their roster this week, including wide receiver Tavon Austin and defensive tackle Anthony Rush.

So what exactly can we expect out of these new additions?

Austin is solidly a draft bust for his first round status, but he’s still capable of being a serviceable role player at this point in his career. His primary contributions will almost certainly be in the return game. There’s a reason Darrius Shepherd was cut basically as soon as the Austin move became official.

The Austin signing indicates Tyler Ervin’s absence may be extended. Austin will likely be asked to do a lot of the things Ervin does, including returns, jet sweep motion, touch passes and other gadget functions in the offense.

Don’t expect Austin to be a massive part of any game plans. But that doesn’t mean he can’t be a difference maker, especially when compared to Shepherd, for whom the game on Sundays simply appeared to be too big. 

Rush is an even more intriguing prospect, to me. The Packers desperately need to get bigger and tougher on the interior, and in Rush they’ve at least accomplished the “bigger” part. The dude is like 6’5, 360, so he’s a whale of a lineman.

He’s been a bit of a journeyman in his short NFL career. But if he can step in and be a serviceable rotational player and hole plugger, that’s about all you can ask for out of a late-season waiver wire pickup. The comparisons to Howard Green will surely come due to Rush’s size and when he was brought into the team, but it remains to be seen if Rush can have the same sort of impact, even if small.

What I’d really like to see is the Packers get more use out of Billy Winn, who has been impressing in limited snaps. Hopefully Rush can be similarly impactful, and they can both get on the field a bit more in place of guys like Tyler Lancaster and Dean Lowry who, let’s be frank, we know what they are at this point.

Why does national media want Giannis to leave Milwaukee so badly?

Ok, pardon me while I go off on a non-Packers tangent, but this column is “Hello Wisconsin” after all!

Now, I’m not typically a “THE MEDIA!!!111” kind of guy. I have a great appreciation for the work done by journalists of respectable news organizations and for actual, legitimate reporting.

But there is a segment of sports media that can only be loosely deemed journalism. The talking heads you see on ESPN, Fox Sports or any other channel that “embraces debate” are who I’m talking about here. And one thing that’s been annoying more more than any lazy Packers-related takes (usually regarding Jordan Love) has been the coverage of Giannis Antetekounmpo and his future with the Milwaukee Bucks.

I’m not even a die-hard basketball fan. I enjoy watching the Bucks when I can, and as a Milwaukeean am proud of the franchise and the fact that a back-to-back MVP lives and plays here. But I’m not, like, obsessed with the team of consuming its coverage.

But even for someone like me who only tangentially pays attention to what’s going on in the NBA, the coverage over Giannis’s ultimate decision has been so lazy and bad. Not only that, it feels like these national talking heads are actively rooting for Giannis to leave.

There’s certainly the possibility that Giannis chooses not to sign the Supermax and leaves Milwaukee in the offseason in 2021. But nothing Giannis has ever said would indicate that is a more likely possibility than him remaining here. In fact, you can find more things that he’s said about Milwaukee that would lead one to believe he’s planning for a long-term future here. 

This is one of those circumstances where it really does feel like there’s bias against a small market. As much as I love Milwaukee (and I love it with my whole heart, despite its many flaws) this is definitely not a “sexy” city by any means. It’s not a big-time media hub or a place that’s going to be super attractive for a lot of superstars. So when you see the general assumption among the media that Giannis will be leaving and the glee with which they discuss it, it almost feels like a personal blow to this city. 

Frankly, they don’t give a shit about Milwaukee or the Bucks, and the fact that a top-three player in the game today plays here seems to be a point of contention for them.

You’d think it would make for a better story for Giannis to stay in Milwaukee and bring an underdog team and city to a championship against all the other odds that come with the superteams that form each offseason in bigger, more “attractive” cities. 

But national media generally does not seem to see it that way, and they’re hoping Giannis heads to Miami, or Golden State, or Brooklyn, or wherever else. 

If Giannis stays and then leads Milwaukee to a title, it could very well be the sweetest Wisconsin championship of my life, simply due to how much it will piss off the NBA and everyone who’s been cheering for him to leave.

Week 13 quick forecast

Just as I predicted the Packers to come out and smoke the Bears last week, I’m predicting the same thing again for the game against the Eagles this week.

If you’ve watched any Philadelphia Eagles football this season, you’ve seen a team that has been ravaged by injury, as well as the deteriorating play of its once-franchise quarterback.

Carson Wentz has been sacked A. LOT. this year, so his performance isn’t entirely on him, but some of his decision making has been brutally bad. He’s on pace to have over 60 sacks and 20 interceptions, which is just horrendous for any quarterback, and especially strange for one who was an MVP candidate just a couple years back. 

I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a quarterback have as fast of a fall from grace as Wentz. The cap situation means the Eagles are tied to him for at least another year or two without much wiggle room, so they’re going to have to hope he figures it out.

This is a prime matchup for the Packers defense to show out and gain a little confidence, especially after a less-than-ideal end to the Bears game, in which they gave up way too much in garbage time. With the state of the Eagles’ offensive line, there will be plenty of opportunities for the pass rush to make an impact. Plus, Wentz is guaranteed to give the Packers’ defense plenty of opportunities to create turnovers. 

The Packers’ offense is playing well enough to dice up any defense at the moment.  That, combined with the Eagles’ own offensive futility, spells blowout to me.

Packers 38, Eagles 17.

 

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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.

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Comments (35)

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NickPerry's picture

December 03, 2020 at 07:03 am

The emergence of "Big Bob" Tonyan has been one of the best parts of a season where MANY thought the Packers would surely stumble and be unable to match the success of the 2019 season. FINALLY having a TE we know we can trust has been huge in this Packers offense taking another step forward this season.

Granted, Rodgers has been off the hook great, the O-Line one of the best in the NFL, or Davante Adams securing his spot as the #1 WR in the NFL or at least in the conversation have been awesome. But to finally have a TE who seems capable of being top 10 at his position AND getting better has been one of the best parts of this year.

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stockholder's picture

December 03, 2020 at 07:39 am

The Bears still Suck- No Qb No offense. And it's been NO offense for decades. Tonyan- Maturity! Strength! Trust! He's filled the Void. Cakes- Give me Fries. Chips in Britain. Thats not French. Around the League- Elliot Wolf to the Lions? BG would have passed on Jefferson. Additions- Strange we now have a big guy, why did it take so long? Kick Returner- Great; we saved a 2nd rd draft choice. Forecast- Sunny and Bright.

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Razer's picture

December 03, 2020 at 08:05 am

The growth of Tonyan has been a real bonus for this offense. A lot of credit to 'Big Bob' for learning the position. Also a lot of credit to the coaches and Rodgers for embracing the TEs as more than just blocking in the offense. Maybe Mercedes Lewis has been the x-factor on this front, either way, it is about time and much needed.

The addition of Tavon Austin could be a nice bump for this offense as well. I am not sure why he hasn't done as well as his draft selection given his Tyreek Hill toolset. Maybe Aaron Rodgers is the key to unlocking more of his talent. Ultimately, Austin gives us another weapon, more speed and versatility in our scheme. Welcome aboard.

The NFC North has been quite the dumpster fire. Both the Lions and the Bears are living the same karma after firing solid 10-6 coaches. Thank you to the spirits of Lovie Smith and Jim Caldwell. The Vikings have been the surprise of the division. Going through a mini rebuild and coming out very competitive. Glad we played them early and got a win out of the deal.

The addition of Anthony Rush says a couple of things. Our front office has recognized the problem. They are trying something. Rush has only demonstrated size to this point and has been let go by several teams in need of interior D-line help. We need to curb our expectations as Pettine will probably have him dropping into coverage. This defense will break our hearts...

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Coldworld's picture

December 03, 2020 at 10:49 am

Rush is a bit better than that. He’s been behind some established players ( Fletcher Cox, Javon Hargrave, and Malik Jackson with the Eagles, where he was seen a developing player with upside. He was waived by Seattle 4 games on the roster after being inactive with a knee injury for 2. Managed one sack in that time. Surprised the Bears exposed him but they were juggling roster spots and it seems like they hoped to get him back in the PS. I like this addition.

I Don’t know if Pettine will play him though. Can’t seem to bring himself get Winn on the field despite the man seemingly making an impact in his 8 snaps a game. What’s the chance he will have Rush, Clark and Winn on the same play ....

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Razer's picture

December 03, 2020 at 12:24 pm

Thanks for the background on Anthony Rush. I truly hope he finds a home and enough sunlight to shine. Lord knows that we need some block-eating mass on the interior of the D-line. I do like that our front office continues to bring in players and tries to upgrade the roster

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PeteK's picture

December 03, 2020 at 04:24 pm

If he just falls down he might create a pile up which is more than Lowry has done this season.

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Bearmeat's picture

December 03, 2020 at 08:13 am

I shared some stats (ripped from BMG on the Athletic) with my crap eating Bears fan buddies from undergrad. They pretended they didn't care, and told me to eff off. It was glorious:

"When the border rivals lined up against each other in November 1992 at Soldier Field, the Bears had won 15 of the last 18 meetings to take a seemingly insurmountable lead in the series, 81-57-6. But, starting with their 17-3 victory in 1992, the Packers have gone on a 43-14 tear against the Bears that shows no signs of ending.

The explanation is rather obvious. The 1992 season marked the last in Chicago for coach Mike Ditka just as it was the first in Green Bay for GM Ron Wolf, coach Mike Holmgren and quarterback Brett Favre. In his 16 seasons, Favre went 22-10 against the Bears. His successor, Aaron Rodgers, is 20-5.

The Packers have won three games in a row, eight of the nine, 12 of the last 14 and 18 of the last 21. The series, which began in 1921, favored the Packers until 1933. The Bears held the lead for 84 years before the Packers regained it in September 2017. Sunday night marked the 100th victory for the Packers compared to 95 for the Bears."

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egbertsouse's picture

December 03, 2020 at 08:15 am

Potato pancakes are the only side for fish fries for eastern Wisconsin German traditionalists. Once you get west of I-39/US 51 you are getting into the Scandinavian section of WI and they don’t do potato pancakes with fish fry. I do miss those potato pancakes we used to get from the tavern fish fries back in Oshkosh when I was growing up.

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barutanseijin's picture

December 03, 2020 at 01:43 pm

A. There are Scandanavians east of the Wisconsin and Rock Rivers. Think of all that kringle in Racine.

B. In any case, they eat potato pancakes, too.

C. Besides, fish fry is best with potato pancakes.

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jannes bjornson's picture

December 03, 2020 at 08:37 pm

Danes are closer to Germans than the Lutefisk crowd.

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PeteK's picture

December 03, 2020 at 04:26 pm

You guys are killing me! Sounds delicious, I'm salivating all over my shirt.

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Spock's picture

December 03, 2020 at 08:33 am

Interesting tidbit: The "Friday Fish Fry" tradition in Wisconsin actually came about by bars trying to sell more beer! Whitefish was so plentiful back in the day that fishermen on the Great Lakes were essentially giving them away. Offering nice (salty) fish fry for minimum cost or free at the bars encouraged more drinking. One of my instructors in culinary school told the class about this one day and I found it amusing (assuming this isn't an urban legend, but it does seem to make sense with all the breweries in Milwaukee). This made my boyhood life pretty miserable on Fridays when my family would go out to dinner as I'm allergic to any kind of fish or seafood and even the smell (which was certainly strong on a Friday) made me nauseous! I'm a lot older now and can somewhat put up with the smell of cooked fish. Ironically, I used to go fishing at my dad's place on the Wisconsin river a lot. I'm happy to catch fish and clean them, but I sure can't be around cooking them or eating any, lol.

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Razer's picture

December 03, 2020 at 08:44 am

Cost cutting measures reduced us to salty popcorn and peanuts...

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HighPlainsDrifter's picture

December 03, 2020 at 12:53 pm

Friday Fish Frys are a staple of the Catholic Parishes during the Lenten season here in Louisville. I wish some of them would serve potato pancakes, as the fries they have are invariably soggy.

If anyone is ever in southern Kentucky there is a comparatively hole in the wall place in Scottsville named Harper's that serves the best fried catfish nuggets ever. I have searched far and wide for a good catfish place around Louisville without success. Apparently we are too far north for catfish to be considered a desirable dish.

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Guam's picture

December 03, 2020 at 08:38 am

A number of fans have downplayed the Packer/Bear rivalry in favor of the Packer/ Viking rivalry and I admit that the Packer/Viking rivalry has had more juice lately simply because the Vikings have had better teams. However I am old enough to remember a time when the Vikings didn't exist and Chicago was Green Bay's only rival. I still love beating da Bears and the Packer/Bear rivalry will always be #1 for me.

Continuing the old school refrain, I prefer hash browns to potato pancakes with my fish fry! I moved away from Wisconsin when I graduated from college and didn't return until I retired. I was delighted to resume my love affair with the Friday night fish fry (which I got no where else I lived and that was many places) and tried potato pancakes, but quickly reverted to my old standby, hash browns. Sorry Tim.

I have an irrational hope that Anthony Rush will help our run defense. I know that is unlikely from a UDFA journeyman but I will continue to hope. My bigger issue is will Pettine play him if he can help? B. Winn has contributed every time he played, but he plays far too little. Is A. Rush destined for the same fate? You can only help if you are allowed on the field.

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Spock's picture

December 03, 2020 at 01:25 pm

"...(which I got no where else I lived and that was many places)..." I had the same experience with the Sunday tradition of bakeries and food stores giving a free dozen potato rolls when you bought a pound of ham in Wisconsin. Alas. no such thing here in Tucson (in fact, IMHO, nobody here seems to be able to make a decent potato roll. lucky thing I can make my own.).

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Guam's picture

December 03, 2020 at 10:24 pm

My brother lives in Tucson - great Mexican cuisine but no potato rolls. Good for you baking your own Spock!

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13TimeChamps's picture

December 03, 2020 at 09:20 am

Funny how things play out. The Packers have been trying to figure out their TE problems for years. First they throw money at a couple of washed up, over-the-hill players in Bennett and Graham. They also spend 3rd round picks at prospects like Rodgers and Sternberger. And it looks like they've finally got their man. And an UDFA who had been released by the Lions to boot! But it's 2020, so I guess nothing should be a surprise. Big Bob should be around for a long time!

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PeteK's picture

December 03, 2020 at 04:34 pm

His workouts with Kittle seemed to help. Now we have to sign him as he is a RFA. I also think Sternberger will improve as he has had some unfortunate health issues, but he will have to fight off Dequara. Nice problem to have.

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HawkPacker's picture

December 04, 2020 at 05:40 pm

Yes I think we are in good hands when Deguara is back. Also, don't forget about Cook. We should have paid him when we had the chance!

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RCPackerFan's picture

December 03, 2020 at 09:34 am

Tonyan could be considered our X factor on offense. Adams, Jones, Rodgers, MVS, Lazard all get most of the attention. But Tonyan's ability to stretch a defense gives us that extra weapon. One that is hard to match up with for defenses.

While Austin could be considered a draft bust based on how high he was drafted, but lets also look at some of the QB's he has had to play with. Kellen Clemons, Sam Bradford, Austin Davis, Shaun Hill, Nick Foles, Case Keenum, Jared Goff, Dak Prescott. Lets be honest, he hasn't played with a QB like Rodgers before.
Austin being in GB could be a nice fit for him. Another reason why it could be a nice fit is because of the fact that the Packers don't have a WR like him, unless you consider Ervin a WR. We have 3 big WR's in MVS, EQ and Lazard. All of which are 6'4 or taller. Adams is 6'1. Austin is 5'8. While I don't expect Austin to be used as a traditional WR, I think they can find a role for him down the stretch.
Like last year when Ervin came in, I think Austin can provide a versatile role player. We don't' need him to come in and be a number 1 WR. We need him to come in and play a role. That is something that LaFleur seems to be great at. Finding roles for the players. Perfect example of that is bringing Ervin in last year. I expect Austin to be used similarly.

I am not expecting Rush to come in and be a difference maker. What I am hoping for is him to be able to come in and use his size to take up space. We don't have a guy like him on our DL and hopefully he can provide something that the other DL don't have. Just massive. A situation that kind of reminds me of Rush's is Mike Pennel. Now Pennel had been in the league a lot longer, but last year in October the Chiefs signed Pennel. Pennel came in and helped the run defense. That is what I'm hoping Rush can do. Come in and help plug the middle of the defense and help in the run game.

This is the time of year that if the Packers can bring in guys and find a role for them, that is what they need. They don't need them to be stars. Just need to find roles for them that they can help with.

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Coldworld's picture

December 03, 2020 at 10:36 am

Austin does not have great hands. He is small and small framed. He was drafted so high in part because gadget players were in and his extreme speed and explosiveness combination. I had doubts at the time (as did many) about the wisdom of that pick.

That said, he is like Ervin, a threat if you can get him the ball and in space. He can make players miss and he can out run them if he does. He’s not going to break a tackle, and too many impacts break him. Could be interesting going deep opposite MVS, if he can lose coverage, but I think he has been best in the Ervin role or similar. Between the two of them, hopefully one can stay healthy. Nice pick up for us, but never a first rounder on merit, with hindsight.

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PeteK's picture

December 03, 2020 at 04:41 pm

I think that he's a better option than Ervin because of his speed and experience. He scored 10 TDs in various ways a few seasons ago.

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Leatherhead's picture

December 03, 2020 at 10:35 am

Paul Coffman is the standard at TE, as far as I remember. Good hands, hard to tackle, solid blocker. I liked Bubba, too. I always liked Ed West for being such a lunch pail guy. Tonyan is a lot more like them than Finley. He kind of reminds me of Donald Lee

Regarding the impact Rush might have....even a 350 pound sack of beans would make people run around it. He’ll definitely help make the A gaps unavailable. It cost very little. I like it.

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PeteK's picture

December 03, 2020 at 04:42 pm

At 360 he's more like a sack of potatoes. I also like the move.

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jannes bjornson's picture

December 03, 2020 at 08:45 pm

See if he sees the field.

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PewAuKeeFan's picture

December 03, 2020 at 10:39 am

The most important development of Tonyan actually has nothing to do with him. It was the release of Jimmy Graham. Graham took up too many snaps, without enough to show for it. He was not a good blocker, nor did he have good hands. He also (mostly) did not fight for extra yards when he had the ball in his hands.

With Jimmy gone, Packers now have no hesitation in keeping Big Bob or Big Dog on the field. Both of them have done very well. I don't have the stats, maybe someone knows how to get them. But the eye-test says it all.

One of my friends mentioned that Graham is playing very well in Chicago. Is it? Compare to TE production in Green Bay, and then it does not seem so rosy. Granted Graham has more TDs (?) in Chicago in less than a season than in Green Bay in 2 seasons - but the TDs to TEs in Green Bay has seen a much bigger jump. Maybe it is a case of "both sides benefited" :)

I also mentioned to my friend that one reason Graham has more TDs in Chicago is because the Bears' QB throws balls that are easier to catch. The problem with that is those balls are also easier for the defense to catch. Rodgers on the other hand does not make it easy for the defense.

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Lphill's picture

December 03, 2020 at 10:52 am

One thing the Bears do right is defense , they usually put out a top defense year after year regardless of the offense ,they just can't find the right balance.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

December 03, 2020 at 04:38 pm

Detroit and Philly are the tale of two bad GMs. Philly fans loved Howie Roseman who was always able to mangle the cap to re-sign an aging vet or make a splash signing. Now they are not very good and will be $40M over the cap in 2021, and I suspect that it is more than that given the hidden nature of some of the cap hits.

It takes a special kind of masochism to be both bad on the field and in cap hell.

The Detroit GM also managed to field a bad team but one that some national pundits suggested might be good because they recognized the names of some of the players Detroit signed. I wrote an article a year or two ago wondering why in the world a bad team was putting void years in the contracts of multiple players. Just weird to mangle the cap and be bad at the same time. As it happens, Detroit should have $25M in cap space next year plus any more that they decide to generate by releasing and extending players.

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PeteK's picture

December 03, 2020 at 04:47 pm

Reynoldo , you're a great numbers man and wonder if you could explain Tonyan's RFA situation. I believe we have the choice of matching any offer?

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mnbadger's picture

December 03, 2020 at 09:51 pm

Great comments by all above, but hats off to Guam and sorry to Tim B, but I'll take crispy hashbrowns every time with a fish fry. My wife and her mother make what many call "the best" potato pancakes, but to me they don't belong with a good fish fry. Great for brunch with jam or syrup, but too sweet for a meal served with beer or old fashioneds, or both. Pack 26 - 16. GPG

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Dzehren's picture

December 04, 2020 at 12:14 am

Any mention of a Wisconsin Supper Club gets my attention. Especially paired with Wisconsin’s favorite drink the brandy old fashioned.

Also enjoy the Friday fish fry. Great stuff!!

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mnbadger's picture

December 04, 2020 at 07:03 am

Tip of the hat to Brandy, but don't be afraid to try your favorite whiskey in an old fashion with fresca. Sounds too good at 7:00 am as I write this. GPG

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HawkPacker's picture

December 04, 2020 at 05:48 pm

I love Southern Comfort Old Fashions. Can't take Brandy. Made a bad mistake in High School and ever since can't stand the smell of Brandy!

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mnbadger's picture

December 06, 2020 at 11:47 am

I made the same mistake with Gukenheimer whiskey. Couldn't even say the word Gukenheimer without generating gag reflex for years. GPG

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