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How Bad Are They?

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How Bad Are They?

I've received quite a few "Is this what it was like in the '80s?" queries over the course of the last few weeks. Let me put this to bed right now - this isn't even close.

Of course, this does nothing to ease the sting of what has become a nightmare season, one which began with realistic thoughts of the Packers repeating as Division Champs. And it's been awhile since we had to watch meaningless Packer games in December. And yes, this Packer defense is historically terrible.

But I truly believe Mike McCarthy is the right coach for this team.

And although he has been hamstrung this season by his General Manager in more ways than one, the most important decision for this team going forward will be his and it will be looming over these final three games: Will McCarthy fire Bob Sanders? Nothing that happens this offseason, not the draft, not a return to health, not any free agent acquisition, will alter the Packers fortunes more than this decision. There has been a ton of speculation as to whom McCarthy might bring in should he choose to let Sanders go, from Mike Nolan to Romeo Crennel. This is fine and expected. But lets not forget that Bob Sanders is still the Defensive Coordinator - and McCarthy has proven to be one stubborn son of a gun. And we've seen many a head coach stick with coordinators that every sane observer could see were not getting the job done. It's called a "Shoop Phase" (dubbed by yours truly) and McCarthy is in the thrall of one right now and no other single aspect of the offseason matters much if McCarthy doesn't do what needs to be done and fire Sanders.

Now, will this solve all the Packers problems? Hardly. They need help everywhere, most notably on the defensive line, and every positional starter outside of Aaron Rodgers, Greg Jennings, Aaron Kampman and Charles Woodson should be put on notice that they are now officially auditioning for their jobs. There is some talent on this team, but a lot of it, especially on the defensive side of the ball, has been left untapped, undisciplined and underdeveloped. That's coaching, or lack thereof, and it's time for McCarthy to correct it.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (55) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Andrew's picture

Please add Donald Driver to the list of starters who have come through.

pixelbend's picture

To me, it all comes down to run defense. We have one of the best pass defenses in the league, but if you can't stop the run with the line, you end up having to pull all your guys up in the box and the whole defense suffers. Defensive line is where we need to spend money. Save Aaron Kampman and audition everyone else.

packeraaron's picture

Andrew - That wasn't what I said - yes, he's come through, but he is not a difference maker or a building block for the future. I love him and his heart - but he can't change a game like Jennings can.

pixelbend - "We have one of the best pass defenses in the league..." You can write that? After yesterday? Wow.I mean, I get your point about pulling the safeties down and the back end suffering, but the first Texan touchdown was against classic man-to-man with a safety over the top. Brutal.

Andrew in Atlanta's picture

Good post Aaron.
And now for something completely different - I was thinking last night how crazy this whole NFL season has been. GB trades Farve to the Jets, who trade Pennington to Miami. The Pack stinks (altho little of it has anything to do with Favre), after starting fast the Jets are falling like a hot rock, but Miami is tied for the division lead. Go figure.
Dallas, the pre-season favorite to win it all is in danger of missing the playoffs entirely. Same with San Diego, the other team to lose the conference championship last year.
The Giants look unbeatable, but their star receiver (who almost single handedly beat the Pack in NFC championship last year) shoots himself in the leg with an illegal handgun stuck in his sweatpants at a club at 1:00 AM on a Friday night. The Giants proceed to lose to the Eagles. That makes the Titans, yes the Titans, likely the best team in the league right now.
Then there's all the guys that took StarCaps, get suspended, got a TRO and are awaiting their fate. The outcome could seriously affect the postseason.
And even with all that, the best story of the year might be that Mike Singletary exposed his ass to make a point in his first game as head coach.
It has been an interesting season in more ways than one and weirder than I ever remember

coreyb's picture

Not true about driver not being a difference maker- he is clutch when it counts and that can be all the difference in the world. Jennings needs driver the same way Aaron kampman needs anybody somebody to help

Dave's picture

I'm convinced that Winston Moss is going to be our DC next year. With how our LB corps has played this year I'm not sure that would be a good move.

Also, one coach that seems to be escaping any scrutiny this year is James Campen. I mean, where's the outrage for our underachieving O-line? It seems like we have talent there, but they keep missing assignments and still can't quite figure out the ZBS. How many years does it take?

Ron La Canne's picture

What ever happened to the ball control passing game that exemplifies the "West Coast" offense? Did MM happed to see Owen Daniels and Lavonte yesterday? From the damn 3 yard line to the winniong score. That concept might have got you a few third down conversions yesterday. I'm beginning to suspect that MM isn't the coach he seems to think he is.

packeraaron's picture

Corey - Driver's big catch yesterday was the result of a blown coverage - Jennings can change the game in one play against double coverage, as he did yesterday. (Driver sure didn't seen to draw any defenders away on that play, did he?)

Again, I'm not saying I don't love me some Double D. My adoration for the man is well documented. But you don't build a team around him.

Andrew in Atlanta's picture

So does the way this season turned out affect Jennings'willingness to discuss a contract extension in the offseason?

packeraaron's picture

A.I.A. - Yes, and that scares the hell out of me. No way he agrees to an extension until he sees what Thompson does this offseason. He knows he's one of the best wide outs in the game and for as much as he stands to make this offseason, he could make ten times that in the open market the following year.

Franklin Hillside's picture

I completely disagree with the Jennings comment on his extension. He's not going to hold out or avoid talking about it while waiting for Thompson to make moves, that's ridiculous. He's finishing up his third year, not his 6th or 7th, and even then, he's a receiver. It's about dollars and cents. The offense has been good to him, and he knows a good thing when he sees it.

packeraaron's picture

"...he knows a good thing when he sees it."

A suspect offensive line? A team with no running game? A young developing quarterback, albeit with talent? You're right, it's about dollars and cents - what have you seen from Thompson that tells you he'll pay Jennings anywhere near what the market will? Because I must have missed it. Everyone thinks its a done deal that Jennings will stick around - it's not. He knows how talented he is and he knows he's the one playmaker in Green Bay - if Thomposon lowballs him (and really, history suggests he will) I expect Jennings to play out his contract and hit free agency.

Andrew in Atlanta's picture

Well, the scrutiny will be 10x what it is now on TT if he lets Jennings get away. The hope would be that Jennings is a bright guy and hopefully knows the grass isn't always greener,assuming of course the offseason offer is reasonable. I guess that's Aaron's point - will the offer be reasonable

DaveK's picture

If TT makes a solid offer I think Jennings will take it. There is a lot of risk in not taking a deal and most players take it unless they feel they are getting the shaft by the organization. It is hard to walk away from $20+ million in guaranteed money when an injury is always a play away.

As much as I am a Packer dork I always find it incredibly difficult to judge coaches. That defense last year was healthy and played very well. The defense this year had some key injuries and played like crap. Coaching? Injuries? I really don't know. I do think that MM and TT know that next year is key for their continued employment. A repeat of this season and they will both be gone. I think they understand that and if MM thinks Sanders is holding this defense back I am guessing he will be replaced. It may depend on who is availible to replace him.

Franklin Hillside's picture

Okay, kind of muddling arguments here. Are we talking about Jennings attitude and character or about Thompson's history or signing players?

Has Thompson let a young star get away? No, he's let guys go that were going to demand too much money for what they were doing on the field. There's no precedence for this situation re: Thompson unless you look at Rodgers and Grant, both who were given a lot of money. You could argue that he lowballed Grant, but I don't know that he really did. In the end, he was forced to give in due to the Favre situation, the intial offer may have been what Grant was really worth.

Jennings may turn out to be a typical receiver in that he wants cash and glory, but nothing suggests that's the case.

Andrew in Atlanta's picture

Just saw MMs presser. More of the same coach speak. Not that I expected it, but when asked about Sanders he gave no indication his job was on the line. Shoop phase?? Maybe Aaron is right. God I hope TT or Murphy step into this

Andrew's picture

Well, if there's a silver lining, A-Rodg had a rockin throw to Jennings on the 63-yard bomb.

Mr.Man's picture

The real question in my mind is who would replace him? Do good NFL defensive coordinators grow on trees? And how much of it is talent or lack thereof? When you go from Kampman, Jenkins, Corey Williams and a healthy KGB on pass downs to Kampman, Colin Cole, Justin Harrell and Mike Montgomery, I mean, what can you do?

Andrew's picture

They don't grow on trees, they are fired as head coaches elsewhere.

Andrew in Atlanta's picture

On who would replace him - A number of D specialists will likely be fired as head coaches this year. On Sanders specifically, we have had problems getting to the quarterback going back beyond this year. It's a copycat league and Sanders' scheme is old and has not won a championship in a long, long time as Aaron pointed out the other day.
Mr. Man's points are good tho on the quality of the current line. It would be hard for anyone to win with that group.

packeraaron's picture

Mr. Man - Won't know anything until the axes start to fall, but I understand your point. I would think "what you could do" would be to put your remaining players in a position to at least compete. Sure they've had injuries. Who hasn't? What team is a picture of health in Week 14? Does that mean its acceptable to give up 500 yards to a mediocre team? Hardly.

dustybricks6's picture

tauscher is out for the season. torn mcl. sweet.

Ron La Canne's picture

I, for one, am sick of hearing about injuries. This is the NFL not a gathering of pink panty wearing tinker bells. Suck it up and deal with the problem. The team is playing like crap. 550 yards to an opponent on your home field is inexcusable. 1 for 11 on third down tries is inexcusable. A defense who cannot make a critical stop is inexcusable.

I'm old enough to remember the "Pack Will Be Back" era. I don't want to have to suffer that again. To quote a certain Presidential Candidate: "We need change".

dustybricks6's picture

Losing Cullen Jenkins, Ryan Grant, Atari Bigby, etc. to extensive time had nothing to do with our losses. Really? You want to know how how 12-3 team becomes a 5-8 team? Injuries. You know who wins championships? Healthy teams. And I would hesitate before calling Cullen Jenkins a "pink panty wearing tinker bell". But that's just me.

Alex Tallitsch's picture

Twenty-three comments. Sigh.

packeraaron's picture

dusty - Your argument would sound better if 5 of those 8 loses weren't by less than 4 points. Clearly, there's talent enough to keep them in games. For whatever reason (to me, it's coaching) they have been horrible in crunch time. Yesterday was a perfect example. You simply can't let a team start at the 3 yard line and have them march down and win the game - I don't care if you're starting you, me and Ron on the defensive line. It's just incompetence on display and it's been a recurring theme all year long.

Ron La Canne's picture


Explain how Jenkins would have made the difference yesterday. As I recall they weren't doing all that well when he was in. Other teams, replace players like Jenkins with ADEQUATE subs. GB has NO ADEQUATE subs. Ole Mr. Cap Money Thompson saw fit that the D line consisted of bargain basement talent. He got what he wanted, plenty of Cap Money and no talent on the depth side.

Andrew in Atlanta's picture

I would need to know if Kampman is the 4th DL before I concede that you, Dusty and Ron should be able to stop the Texan's from the 3 yard line :)

Andrew's picture

Aaron, I agree with you, but its worth noting that most NFL games are close (one score or less difference). Good teams win them, bad teams don't.

packeraaron's picture

Andrew - could not agree more, thus, the title of this post. ;)

Ron La Canne's picture

Only healthy teams win championships? I guess someone ought to tell Tom Matte (Balt. Colts) that.

Andrew's picture

Ok, I'm a little less angry now. Some points:

1. This team has alot of good, young players. The future remains bright.

2. The defense likely will be coached by someone else next season. I believe a good Coach could make this a solid (#10 - #12) defense.

3. Beating the hell out of the Colts was better than any win (except the seahawks) last season. While the team has shown no consistency, having brilliant moments is better than being consistently average.

4. Without the Frost call, I believe we win 2 more games this year. Obviously still terrible, but there is alot of potential.

5. Cant WAIT for the off-season. It's time to build us some lines.

6. I have Week 17 tickets. I'm still excited.

dustybricks6's picture

I think my argument STANDS because of those close losses. In tight games, you need playmakers and that's what we've been missing more than anything. Bigby and Jenkins were playmakers last year. Not only healthy teams, but consistently healthy teams make the big runs at the end of the season.

Andrew in Atlanta's picture

To Ron's point about adequate subs - this from Kevin Seifert at ESPN...

"What's a more important offseason task? Retooling the offensive or defense lines? I don't know the answer to that, but I do know that both have underperformed this season. The Packers need multiple layers of run stoppers and pass-rushers to inject some energy into the defensive line, and the offensive line has been shuffled too much this season to create any level of consistency."

Donald's Designated Driver's picture

PA: I think you are getting way ahead of yourself. As a preliminary matter, if the CBA is not renegotiated the salary cap goes away and restricted free agency extends out 6 years rather than the current four. Jenning wouldn't even be eligible for free agency until 2012.

Andrew's picture

Is this the most popular CHTV thread ever?

packeraaron's picture

DDD - Of course I am. Andrew in Atlanta asked a question about it. I gave him my thoughts. (shrugs)

packeraaron's picture

Andrew - Packer-related, yes. But the most popular overall was by far my post the night before the election taking issue with PackSmack calling Obama a socialist. That went on for days...

mblosey6742's picture

I totally agree with the last paragraph in opening certain positions up for competition and just clearing the depth chart and let the best man win. Being from Philadelphia and having to hear what the eagles are doin 24/7 made me draw the conclusion that maybe that action should have been taken sooner as did Andy Reid did with his team. After he opened up positions for competition, the eagles lost to the ravens however it now turned there season around beating the cardinals thanksgiving and giants sunday and now there looking to compete for the last spot in the wildcard. Looking at our team we have so much talent on both sides of the ball, especially, the defensive side of the team. The talent is just being used the wrong way and the lack of putting the players in the best position possible to win the game is causing us to lose. If you look at the majority of our loses, most of them come down to a final drive that the defensive needs one stop to put the game away and lead to a Packers W. Seeing this on a weekly bases, it makes me believe that the players aren't the problem, its a flaw in the coaching strategy or lack there of at the end of the game. Last night I was watching the ravens redskins game and saw how prepared the ravens looked and there defensive strategy coming into the game. After seeing that I realized thats how defense should be coached and executed. Bob Sanders' defensive strategy/play calling is terrible. I feel on the defensive side of the ball we have the same if not more talent than the ravens defensive. If we get a coach with the same talents as Rex Ryan, our offense can afford to make mistakes and rely on the defense to lead them to a win at the end of the game. This was McCarthy's plan for the team over the summer. Lets go out and hire a defensive coordinator that prepares his players well/develops an excellent game plan/calls good play/puts his players in positions to give the team the best chance to win the game.

packeraaron's picture

mblosey6742 - While I agree with a lot of what you say above, I simply can't let this pass: "I feel on the defensive side of the ball we have the same if not more talent than the ravens"

This is more than a tad overboard.

Andrew in Atlanta's picture

Bob Sanders is a socialist

Ron La Canne's picture

Gary Ellerson WSSP "Harrell and Montgomery are third stringers and don't belong on the field. Poppinga with a four point stance as a rusher is a joke. It's the defense that has lost the close games."

dustybricks6's picture

I'm sorry, it's just so tough to let go. In regards to the close games -- you really think we blew it by play-calling? On the offensive or defensive side, what plays do you call instead? Our guys got beat, plain and simple. And there was a point made earlier -- it's not that we aren't bringing blitz packages, they're just ineffective. Again, that's players.

Ron La Canne's picture

I Think we've gone full cycle on this, Dusty. My point all along has been just that - We have crappy players on the D Line.

packeraaron's picture

dusty - You're all over the map here. Blitz packages are only ineffective because of the players? Hardly. It takes good design and better disguise - and that's down to coaching. The problem with Sanders' blitz schemes (well, one of many) is that they are mind-numbingly predictable. You know where the pressure is coming from before the ball is snapped. Why do you think Schaub (and almost every QB the Packers have faced) was able to hit guys before the blitz got home almost every time? Because he knew where his hot read was pre-snap. On the offensive side of the ball - McCarthy, after the admittedly horrible holding call on Moll, sent out one of his patented spread formations on 2nd & 17 and didn't give Moll any help on Mario Williams. No tight end, no running back chip - nothing. That's a horrible coaching decision and it caused the Packers to end up in an impossible 3rd and mile scenario. Now, is it the only reason the Packers lost? Of course not. But to say it's all on the players is ludicrous.

mblosey6742's picture

PA - It might have been a little bit of an over statement but really if you look at the key players who are injured on their team(Landry, McAllister, Gregg, Rolle was banged up early in the year, and Ed Reed who is playing through injuries) They were able to maintain the high level of play while playing the ex-packer Frank Walker and key playmakers out. With that being said, injuries are still no excuse for poor defensive play and leads to coaching. Great defensive coaches are able to overcome these injuries and still produce more than stellar defensive play. Clearly the Packers don't have one.

dustybricks6's picture

sigh. just so much potential wasted -- that's what hurts.

bucky's picture

My curiousity got the better of me and I checked out that election thread.


I'm glad I missed it the first time around. It reminded me (as if I needed reminding) of why I try my damndest to avoid mixing sports and politics.

Philko's picture

In a perfect world, the Pack would somehow snag the Oklahoma D cord. Brent Venables. That's not likely to happen. As long as it's not Bob Sanders or Kevin Cosgrove, I think the Pack would do a lot better.

brihea99's picture

At least watching the Panthers dominate on MNF last night made me feel a little bit better about the Packers. Too bad a loss is still a loss...close doesn't matter in the win/lose count.

packeraaron's picture

bucky - No worries. I promised Corey - only one political post every four years. ;)

Ron La Canne's picture

Problem - Sanders' defense requires highly skilled players in all positions. His inflexibility makes it impossible to compensate for the low level of defensive talent he has in GB (Thanks TT). That said, an inflexible coach has no place in the NFL, especially GB. It seems the Packers are hell bent on stocking the low skill positions(linemen) with low level talent and Sanders will never figure out a solution to that problem.

Off with his head.

Keith's picture

IMO, football is the only professional sport where coaching makes a HUGE difference. Look at teams like the Colts, Pats, and Broncos. All of those teams have suffered injuries to key players on both sides of the ball. The Pats lost Tom freaking Brady and they're 8-5. Bob Sanders, Joseph Addai, and Jeff Saturday have been in and out of the lineup all year for Indy. The Broncos lost the Bailey brothers and Ekuban on defense and were down to starting a rookie fullback at RB. They were also without their starting TE for a few weeks.

So I don't want to hear this nonsense about not having playmakers in close games. Unless TT goes to the Jerry Reese School of Drafting for Depth, it wouldl behoove MM & Co. to tailor their schemes to suit the players they have.

It just irritates me to see teams like the Dolphins and Falcons at 8-5 when this team has just as much, if not more talent.

Mr.Man's picture

To use a fun Obamaism (sorry, sorry), I think this isn't an "either/or" issue, but rather a "both/and" issue. The defensive problems are not due to either (a) injuries) or (b) poor coaching, but rather both injuries and poor coaching. Our disagreements seem to be over how much blame each factor should be allotted, and that's a tough debate to win.

Regardless of where we come down on this issue though, I think most of us would agree that Sanders does not deserve another year. The defense's performance (even when pretty healthy last season) has never been what it needs to be.

Last thing-- the Packers have scored 41 touchdowns this season. Only the Jets, Cardinals, and Saints have scored more touches. None of those teams have a losing record. 16 teams with winning records have scored fewer touchdowns than the Packers. Sorry, Bob.

stephen kolb's picture

Heres where i disagree aron roders is fine hes score a tone of point with sluggish over paid ryan grant now i have money so i don't won't to play that hard.tradekgb free up cap space to get good defensive player.BY tradeing hime for a draft pick or picks or getting r truck from carilina panthers there deep in the defensive end postioning and it can service the packers well. if you draft draft usc defensive end Kyle Moore


Kathleen, GA

High School:
Houston County

Height / Weight:
6-6 / 270




2008: Moore returns for his second season as a starting defensive end as a senior in 2008. He had arthroscopic surgery on his knee prior to 2008 spring practice, which limited him in spring drills.

2007: Moore did a solid job while starting at defensive end as a junior in 2007. Overall in 2007 while appearing in all 13 games and starting 11 (all but Idaho and Arizona State), he had 35 tackles, including 3.5 for losses of 29 yards (with 2 sacks for 20 yards), plus 2 interceptions that he returned 38 yards (19.0 avg.), 5 deflections, 1 forced fumble and 1 fumble recovery. He had 3 takeaways in USC's first 3 games of 2007.

He had 4 tackles against Idaho (including a sack in which he forced a fumble that he recovered) and a deflection. He had 2 tackles and returned an interception 24 yards to set up a USC TD at Nebraska. Against Washington State, he had 2 tackles, an interception (which led to a USC field goal) and a deflection. He had 4 tackles (1 for a loss) at Washington, 6 tackles versus Stanford, and a tackle and 2 deflections against Arizona. He added 6 tackles (0.5 sack) and a deflection at Notre Dame, 1 tackle at Oregon, 4 tackles (0.5 for a loss) against Oregon State, 1 tackle at California, 2 stops at Arizona State and 2 tackles (0.5 for a loss) against UCLA.

2006: Moore was an often-used backup defensive end as sophomore in 2006. Overall in 2006 while appearing in all 13 games, he had 5 tackles and a deflection. He had 2 stops at Stanford.

2005: Moore served as a backup defensive end as a first-year freshman in 2005. Overall in 2005 while appearing in 11 games (he sprained his right knee in the Hawaii opener and missed the Arkansas and Oregon games), he made 6 tackles and recovered a team-high 2 fumbles. He had 3 tackles against UCLA. His fumble recoveries came at Hawaii (to set up a USC TD) and California.

HIGH SCHOOL: He was a 2004 Parade All-American, USA Today All-USA first team, EA Sports All-American first team, Super Prep Elite 50, Prep Star Top 100 Dream Team, Student Sports Top 100, Rivals 100, Super Prep All-American, Prep Star All-American, Tom Lemming All-American, Super Prep All-Dixie, Prep Star All-Southeast, Atlanta Journal-Constitution Super Southern 100 and Georgia Class 5A Defensive Player of the Year as a senior defensive lineman at Houston County High in Warner Robins (Ga.). He had 93 tackles, 22 sacks, 18 deflections, 8 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries and 1 blocked punt (for a touchdown) in 2004.

As a junior in 2003, he made All-Middle Georgia, All-Region and All-County while getting 110 tackles, 23 tackles for loss and 15 sacks.

PERSONAL: He's a sociology major at USC. He was born in Germany and lived in Europe and Texas before moving to Georgia.

2005 (Fr.) 6 0/0 0 2 0 0 0.0 0 0
2006 (So.) 5 0/0 1 0 0 0 0.0 0 0
2007 (Jr.) 35 3.5/29 5 1 2 38 19.0 0 24
CAREER. 46 3.5/29 6 3 2 38 19.0 0 24



Idaho 4 1/12 1 1 0 0 0.0 0 0
Nebraska* 2 0/0 0 0 1 24 24.0 0 24
Wash. St.* 2 0/0 1 0 1 14 14.0 0 14
Washington* 4 1/9 0 0 0 0 0.0 0 0
Stanford* 6 0/0 0 0 0 0 0.0 0 0
Arizona* 1 0/0 2 0 0 0 0.0 0 0
Notre Dame* 6 0.5/4 1 0 0 0 0.0 0 0
Oregon* 1 0/0 0 0 0 0 0.0 0 0
Oregon St.* 4 0.5/0 0 0 0 0 0.0 0 0
California* 1 0/0 0 0 0 0 0.0 0 0
Arizona St. 2 0/0 0 0 0 0 0.0 0 0
UCLA* 2 0.5/4 0 0 0 0 0.0 0 0
2007 (Jr.) 35 3.5/29 5 1 2 38 19.0 0 24


Wash. St. 1 0/0 0 0
Stanford 2 0/0 0 0
Oregon 1 0/0 1 0
Michigan (RB) 1 0/0 0 0
2006 (So.) 5 0/0 1 0


Hawaii 0 0/0 0 1
Wash. St. 1 0/0 0 0
Stanford 1 0/0 0 0
California 0 0/0 0 1
Fresno St. 1 0/0 0 0
UCLA 3 0/0 0 0
2005 (Fr.) 6 0/0 0 2

USC Trojans

is a very good pick

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"I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle – victorious."
"The Bears still suck!"
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