How Green Bay Can Avoid the Trap Games

We need to see the Packers take care of business against lesser teams.

Savoring the win over KC has been nice, thinking about playoffs is fun, and the future sure looks like we’re gonna need shades. 

Now this young team needs to make sure it doesn’t get all puffed up by the hype and lulled by an “easy” schedule ahead of them. This is the NFL. Trap games lurk everywhere. Like Giants stadium. 

As the Packers start the season’s home stretch Monday night, they would do well to focus on five keys from the victory over the Chiefs that don’t get talked about enough and will be crucial going forward:

— They played all four quarters. Consistency of effort, creativity, discipline and toughness throughout games has not been there. It was against the KC.

— Active pre-snap motion seems finally baked in. The long, fitful transition to the Shanahan/McDaniel/McVay scheme that Matt LaFleur grew up with seems complete, which is good for Green Bay, good for America and good for the world. 

— Run-blocking by the offensive line has gelled. Still without Aaron Jones, the line enabled AJ Dillon to sufficiently shoulder the load, gaining early-down yardage and forcing the defense to respect play action. Which in turn opened up the field for the kind of effective passing attack we saw. 

— Christian Watson isn’t a one-trick pony. It has not been clear whether Watson was capable of being fully integrated into the passing game or  was just another go-ball specialist in the MVS mold. His routes and array of targets last Sunday were important steps forward. Now if he can just stay on the field…. 

— Jordan Love is good at reading. Love’s steady improvement in accuracy has everyone cheering and rightly so, but his growing ability to quickly see, process and react to what the defense is doing is what separates the good QBs from the mediocre ones. We need to be careful not to anoint this man a hall of famer just yet, but the arrow is certainly pointing up.

The Giants are having a terrible year, but they can pose problems. Green Bay will need to be ready for Wink Martindale’s heavy blitzing, which argues for another week of ground and pound by Dillon and company. The Giants rank 28th against the rush, while 20th against the pass. It will be interesting to see if Kenyan Drake gets on the field. 

On offense, the Giants’ primary weapon is Saquon Barkley, who can give the Packers’ weak run defense problems. He’s been dealing with a nagging ankle injury since week 2, but appears to be as healthy as he’s been for most of the year. Given the Giants’ weak passing offense, loading the box should be tempting for Joe Barry. 

Tommy DeVito, who might have been running numbers for some made guys in Jersey before being pressed into service, started slowly but has improved somewhat, and the Giants are coming off a bye week of rest and preparation.

The bottom line is that LaFleur needs to make sure the Packers are not  looking past the Giants and distributing playoff tickets just yet. Good teams don’t play to the level of the competition, they take care of business against lesser teams.

We need to see Green Bay do that. GPG. 

__________________________
Jonathan Krim grew up in New York but got hooked on the Packers — and on hating the Cowboys — watching the Ice Bowl as a young child.  He blames bouts of unhappiness in his late teens on Dan Devine. A journalist for several decades who now lives in California, he enjoys trafficking in obscure cultural references, lame dad jokes and occasionally preposterous takes. Jonathan is a Packers shareholder, and insists on kraut with his brats. You can follow Jonathan on twitter at @Jkrim.

13 points
 

Comments (59)

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

December 08, 2023 at 06:24 am

Another way GB can defend against Barkley in the running game is to get an early lead and force the Giants to throw.
Tommy DeVito has had some decent games of late, but he REALLY shines in those ads for Jersey Mike’s subs.

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Cheesey51's picture

December 08, 2023 at 06:44 am

Yes yes and yes
Getting up early will force Big Blue to play catch-up forcing Tommy D. to throw into our secondary.
Carry the G and counting on Watson to return

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T7Steve's picture

December 08, 2023 at 06:58 am

What's the most dangerous is the Barkley outlet pass that we've been so successful with using A. Jones and even AJD.

Those short even behind the line passes are just what a new QB needs for easy completions and multiply that to an outstanding talented back.

6 points
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UdderApocowlipse's picture

December 08, 2023 at 07:49 am

Here's to hoping our defense gets lots of practice stopping that as they practice against LaFleur's offense, however often those opportunities actually come about.

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jannes bjornson's picture

December 08, 2023 at 10:56 am

They drafted a guy @ # 22, who is supposed to take care of guys like Barkley. Walker will need to show.

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SicSemperTyrannis's picture

December 08, 2023 at 12:48 pm

Campbell has been stout against the run. #7 varies in his ability to read the play.

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Since'61's picture

December 08, 2023 at 07:00 am

Flollow the blueprint from the last 2 games. Build a lead, stop the Giants run game, force them to be one dimensional on offense and play aggressively on both sides of the ball and most importantly win the LOS. The only way the Packers could use this week is if they return to beating themselves. Go Pack Go!
Thanks, Since '61

8 points
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SicSemperTyrannis's picture

December 08, 2023 at 12:51 pm

How much #28 is injured is a huge factor. He sent at least 2 players out of the KC game, they lost 5. I don't think #27 can run with that kind of force, and neither can #28 if he's hurting.

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TKWorldWide's picture

December 09, 2023 at 04:00 pm

Or possibly the greenandgoldprint.

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cheesehead1's picture

December 10, 2023 at 07:03 pm

Agree, except we’re one of the worst in stopping the run. Easier said than done. I just don’t trust our D coordinator.

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mrtundra's picture

December 08, 2023 at 07:08 am

I remember when the Favre led Packers played, and lost to, the Colts. The Colts were one of the worst teams, record-wise, in the NFL, that year. The Packers played down to their level, instead of rising above them and it cost them a game. The Packers went on to win the Super Bowl, that season, and it still eats at me on how they could lose to a team like Indy. I have always been leery of teams that should be pushovers, for the Packers, because I have seen the team play down to the level of their competition, before. I hope MLF has these guys prepared to give the Giants a beat down. GO PACK, GO!!!

8 points
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21Savage's picture

December 08, 2023 at 09:00 am

Minor correction, but the Packers lost to the Colts in the '97 regular season, which was the season they lost the Super Bowl to the Broncos.

4 points
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Leatherhead's picture

December 08, 2023 at 10:56 am

The game that cured me of betting on football games.

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SinceLombardi's picture

December 08, 2023 at 11:08 am

When that happened the Packers were an established winner. This version has proved nothing except they won two in a row against hood teams. The mindset is totally different than in 97. This team needs to continue to grind and prove they belong in the conversation with the other established winners.

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SicSemperTyrannis's picture

December 08, 2023 at 12:56 pm

Major correction: GB has won 3 in a row, 4 out of 5, and beaten 2 of the best teams in the league.

Just to set the record straight ;)

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splitpea1's picture

December 08, 2023 at 11:09 am

They we're probably looking ahead to the Cowboys the following week, who they finally hammered once they got them at home--so that sort of made up for losing to the 0-10 Colts.

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SicSemperTyrannis's picture

December 08, 2023 at 12:54 pm

Mrtundra, I lived in Indy and remember that game. While I don't remember the Colt's record that year, a local radio personality had a song that played every week, "Lord help our Colts."

That should give you some perspective on this but yes, GB can't just "take a Mulligan. It's a game they should win, but it's also a losable game.

GPG! AGNFB

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MainePackFan's picture

December 08, 2023 at 02:35 pm

The 2011 Kansas City Chiefs comes to mind as well. That was a shocker.

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Minniman's picture

December 08, 2023 at 04:23 pm

In the theme of your post tundra, the narrative shouldn't be "don't play down to a team" it should be "show me that you can execute play on play and week in week out".

From what I have researched previously, Lombardi valued execution - the results were a byproduct of that.

"Winning is not a sometime thing; it's an all the time thing. You don't win once in a while; you don't do things right once in a while; you do them right all of the time. Winning is a habit"

1 points
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T7Steve's picture

December 08, 2023 at 07:14 am

"How Green Bay Can Avoid the Trap Games."

The title itself is a trap, Jonathan.

We all know how true the saying is, "on any given day" in the NFL. It used to be, "on any given Sunday" but, that doesn't work anymore. Now you have to add the bad penalty calls or non-calls to it and it's really a crapshoot now.

The main thing is to just control what you can, play clean, smart and stay/get healthy.

7 points
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SicSemperTyrannis's picture

December 08, 2023 at 12:57 pm

Playing clean i.e. reducing penalties has been a HUGE part of the turnaround :)

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PackfanNY's picture

December 08, 2023 at 07:34 am

I know it’s cliche but get out in front and have the Giants chase the game. They are a beaten team and you don’t want to let them get a sniff that the game is going to be close. Just look at New England last night.

6 points
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LambeauPlain's picture

December 08, 2023 at 09:32 am

Steelers are also crumbling fast with Truby as their QB. As a QB first rounder, he is one of the larger busts in NFL history.

Totally agree, put the Giants on their heels early and they will quickly tip over. If it is close after the half...

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LLCHESTY's picture

December 08, 2023 at 10:49 am

"As a QB first rounder, he is one of the larger busts in NFL history."

Rich Campbell would like a word. And Ryan Leaf and.....

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LambeauPlain's picture

December 08, 2023 at 11:59 am

I did not say the largest....Rich and Ryan can jostle for that label.;-)

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WestCoastPackerBacker's picture

December 08, 2023 at 01:17 pm

JaMarcus Russell.

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Coldworld's picture

December 08, 2023 at 07:40 am

Not every game against a weaker opponent is a trap game. Not every article needs to address that concept.

This is just a game that one shouldn’t lose on paper. This isn’t a veteran team with a veteran QB used to winning that’s been cruising all season. The memory of losing should still be fresh. Moreover, we haven’t been sitting back with backups in as we cruise the 4th quarter. Games have still been tight till very late.

There should be no hidden excuse of arrogance and hubris on a team with our record and season to date. If there is we’ve got issues.

9 points
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21Savage's picture

December 08, 2023 at 09:04 am

Yeah, totally agree. No 6-6 team is good enough to have "trap games". The 15-1 year where we lost to the lowly (at the time) Chiefs was a "trap game". This is a team that already has a decent amount of losses to mediocre teams. I know they've been the toast of the NFL this past week, but if they're already high on their own supply, that's a big problem.

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MainePackFan's picture

December 08, 2023 at 03:01 pm

Exactly right Savage. The KC game in 2011 was the first thing that came to mind for me. I should have read through all the posts before responding to tundra's earlier post that talked about the Colts upset in 1997.

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NickPerry's picture

December 08, 2023 at 07:43 am

Weather permitting if the Packers win the coin toss TAKE THE BALL unless there's 25 MPH winds howling through Met Life Stadium. Hell, even then, TAKE the ball.

The last few weeks the Packers have opened the game on offense and done very well scoring TDs. The absolute best thing for this team on Monday Night would be a nice long 7 minute drive comprised of a nice mix of the run and pass. The offense has been starting fast. Let that continue until they don't.

Then...All Gas No Brakes!!

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LambeauPlain's picture

December 08, 2023 at 09:14 am

Yessir, Nick...take the ball to start the game. Please!

The Offense is the strength of the team and the best complimentary football for the Defense is taking the K/O, getting first downs and points to grab the momentum and maintain confidence.

Winning the toss used to be taking the kickoff. Now most teams defer. I see the value in both, but as a HC you need to put your best on the field first, IMO.

4 points
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SicSemperTyrannis's picture

December 08, 2023 at 01:00 pm

What a turnaround. Since the draft, the strategy has involved the D being the better unit.

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Razer's picture

December 08, 2023 at 08:36 am

Young team, winning some huge games against some top teams is a good recipe for getting in front of yourself. Aside from the emotional highs, this team still struggles with a lot of fundamentals. So these Packers are a prime candidate for a punch in the face. Matt Lafleur and Joe Barry will earn their money if they can keep these bucks moving forward.

In many ways we are the ones that need to keep ourselves in check. My expectations have been rising ever since Detroit. I am thinking well-oiled and more consistency each week. Playoffs - hell yeah. It was only weeks since improvement and better fundamentals were the metrics that I yearned for. Be wary of success. It has to be earned every day. Just ask the Lions and Chiefs.

6 points
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Handsback's picture

December 08, 2023 at 08:38 am

Play in control and with intensity. Impose their will on the Giants and they will win. Anything less, and they may lose a game they should win.
It's simple, yet so much fun for us to watch. I love watching this year's team.
JMHO

4 points
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LeotisHarris's picture

December 08, 2023 at 08:44 am

Locals say Admiral Akbar was seen at 1265 earlier this week. Just what I heard.

4 points
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LLCHESTY's picture

December 08, 2023 at 10:54 am

In case you missed it the link I put in the Packer Periscopes article here's an old timey broadcaster still doing Packer recaps I think you'd enjoy. This one is from the 1st game against the Bears:

https://www.iheart.com/podcast/480-drew-and-kb-28232925/episode/drew-kb-...

2 points
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LeotisHarris's picture

December 08, 2023 at 02:15 pm

Thanks! Good stuff. He packed a lot of humor into those three minutes. Summer home in Gary, IN.

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LLCHESTY's picture

December 08, 2023 at 02:52 pm

"You haven't summered until You've summered in Gary!"

That's the city motto isn't it?

The one from the Raiders game where he accidentally ended up in a house of ill repute was great.

0 points
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LambeauPlain's picture

December 08, 2023 at 09:02 am

Giants are dwarves as a bad 4-8 team having only defeated the Cards, Pats, and Comms (twice). Their last 5 games will also be their toughest stretch of the season with 2 vs the Eagles (who need to bring their A game for all 17 games racing with the Cowboys). Giants will likely finish 4-13 with a 2024 demolition & another rebuild.

Packer coaches and players know this. It will be VERY easy to look past this game. It will also be easy to look past the Bucs (almost as bad as the Giants), and then the Panthers (worse) before meeting the Ugly Purple on the road.

The next 3 games are quite a test for MLF. Can he coach youngest team in the NFL & maintain a laser focus on the next game? During this trifecta will he play each game to win? Or will he rest certain players nursing nagging but not disqualifying injuries? Will he simplify the game plan or continue to creatively attack on Offense?

Will he be cautious or courageous? History says cautious. I am looking for courageous.

5 points
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T7Steve's picture

December 08, 2023 at 09:37 am

How 'bout cautiously courageous?

Win in the trenches and impose their will. Hopefully there are enough guys that remember getting pushed around and called soft during that stretch last season.

1 points
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Coldworld's picture

December 08, 2023 at 10:10 am

Just play them tape of last year in London.

1 points
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LambeauPlain's picture

December 08, 2023 at 12:04 pm

Is that like "military intelligence?"

1 points
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LLCHESTY's picture

December 08, 2023 at 11:02 am

Seems like you're ignoring the fact the Giants come into the game on a two game winning streak. One of which they won handily even though their QB was sacked 9 times. I doubt they're being overlooked.

1 points
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LambeauPlain's picture

December 08, 2023 at 12:18 pm

No, I am not. They beat the Pats and the Comms....a combined 7-19.

I hope the Giants are not being overlooked. I expect a comfortable win. And there is that "any given Sunday" facing the youngest Team in the NFL.

Here is where good HC's step a few more rungs up the coaching ladder.

1 points
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SicSemperTyrannis's picture

December 08, 2023 at 01:45 pm

I'd love to see injured players resting, and a GREAT game plan using depth where appropriate. With the injured players ready to bail them out if necessary.

This is what depth is for, IMHO.

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Packers0808's picture

December 08, 2023 at 09:30 am

Focus on this game like the last 2 games and play one game at a time! Biggest thing to me is don't overlook any team due to their record. Look at Pittsburgh last 2 games! Don't be the Steelers!

4 points
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T7Steve's picture

December 08, 2023 at 09:38 am

One PLAY at a time. Execute.

1 points
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CoachJV's picture

December 08, 2023 at 10:28 am

1. Start fast
2. Get an early lead
3. Contain Barkley
4. Force them to pass
5. Win the turnover battle

4 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

December 08, 2023 at 11:12 am

DeVito may be better than Jones as a passer. Their WRs chewed up the Pack secondary in Londinium. They will try to work Barkley on the wheel routes and Bellinger in the short game, so the ILBs will have to be present and accounted for. The D line will need to play Heavy fronts and force sacks, maybe create some fumbles. The Pack should be tuning up the engine for their Grand Prix.

1 points
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SicSemperTyrannis's picture

December 08, 2023 at 01:47 pm

And call up #99 J Ford!!

0 points
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HawkPacker's picture

December 08, 2023 at 12:53 pm

and 6. minimize penalties.

0 points
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SicSemperTyrannis's picture

December 08, 2023 at 01:48 pm

Yes, but they've already made substantial improvement there. With completions instead of drops, too.

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Packer_Fan's picture

December 08, 2023 at 11:34 am

These next five games are all trap games. Here's how the Pack will lose. The opponent will run the ball succesfully, get just enough passing to control the clock and game and Love may not be able to bring them back in the 4th quarter.

The offense with Lafluer will be aggressive. That is his nature. But Barry is rarely aggressive. But that is what Barry needs to do. At least until the Pack are ahead. Like these last few weeks. But allowing the run game to flourish and making Devito look like a good QB by not being aggressive is a surefire way to lose a game.

4 points
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SicSemperTyrannis's picture

December 08, 2023 at 01:51 pm

Right. "Get the ball first and get a lead" is not a strategy. Just like "get more points" isn't a game plan.

JB needs to win even when they don't have a lead. Hopefully we'll never see that situation for the rest of this regular season, but still ...

0 points
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TxFred's picture

December 08, 2023 at 11:39 am

Not getting "suckered punched" by lessor teams is example of a strong, balanced, focused team. Good test for this team. A good learning experience, for team as a whole, as well as parts.
The O Line is the weakest link. Especially the run game. The straight ahead power game.
MLF is hiding the weakness with cute & pretty end-a-rounds, that won't last. DC's will stop that. Without a solid run game we are just a 1 trick pony.
1 trickers are easy to stop.
Got to get the power straight ahead run game going, then it is about impossible to stop JL.
GPG!!!!

1 points
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SicSemperTyrannis's picture

December 08, 2023 at 01:53 pm

Agreed, I'd love to see them commit to and establish the run. I wanted a dominant O line all season. Maybe they can do that now?

Unfortunately this game is no time to test additional depth like Mt Caleb, but that really needs to happen this season ...

1 points
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GregC's picture

December 08, 2023 at 12:09 pm

I find it absurd that this is being described as a "trap game." It's not so long ago that we were talking about "get right" games, which turned out to be "get right" games for the opposing teams. The Packers are coming off two impressive wins, but they are far from establishing themselves as a legitimately good team. My hope is that the Packers themselves are not thinking of this as a trap game but rather as a game against a team that is roughly their equal and that beat them last year.

1 points
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SicSemperTyrannis's picture

December 08, 2023 at 12:46 pm

"They played all four quarters. Consistency of effort, creativity, discipline and toughness throughout games has not been there. It was against the KC."

This has been my main point since the draft! 100% effort, from every player, on every down. I think we saw that against KC.

AGNFB! That includes HC. I hope he works just as hard on a scheme for the Giants as he did against KC.

"Active pre-snap motion seems finally baked in. The long, fitful transition to the Shanahan/McDaniel/McVay scheme that Matt LaFleur grew up with seems complete, which is good for Green Bay, good for America and good for the world."

Not complete, no. The screen pass needs everything to go right. I HATE seeing a completed pass resulting in a tackle for loss. I'd much rather see at least a few yards progress, which technically wouldn't be a screen pass I guess. And yet the screen pass is a thing of beauty when it works, and no doubt is part of MLF's offense. It can be debated how important it is while #9 is out.

"Run-blocking by the offensive line has gelled."

Another overstatement. Improved, yes. From 0 to adequate. Not dominant or consistent, but improved.

"growing ability to quickly see, process and react to what the defense is doing"

JL10 has been getting the ball out quickly. Constant pressure has been a thing, and he's adjusted. I'm not sure how much this is the actual improvement that we see on the O line? It's certainly a factor in that it helps them.

I want to see this O hang 70 points on somebody, with or without #9.

0 points
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Oppy's picture

December 08, 2023 at 06:05 pm

Trap game? Maybe.

Also: Maybe the first game we get to see Clifford under center in a regular season NFL game.

You know, like some of you were clamoring for.. but different.

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