LaFleur Pays the Price for Quick Success

Expectations are radically different now for second year coach

Think back about 8 months ago. It was August of 2019. Matt LaFleur was winding up his first training camp as head coach of the Green Bay Packers. The Pack was coming off two of the worst seasons in recent memory, staggering to records of 7 and 9, followed by 6-9-1. We fans were desperate for a return to respectability. What were our hopes and expectations? Most of us were thinking an 8-8 season would be okay. At least the Pack would be on the right track. If Green Bay could eke out 9 wins, that would be awesome! We all figured the Bears would win the division and the Vikings would likely finish second. Our Pack and the Lions would, at best, battle it out for third. The playoffs? We could dream but nobody really thought it would happen.

Then the most unlikely of scenarios began to unfold. The Packers, who struggled mightily in the recent past to win close games, began to show uncommonly strong poise. The defense, which never seemed to be able to come up with the big play late in the game when they absolutely had to have it, suddenly began to force back-breaking turnovers at crucial moments. The roster that was always decimated by injuries now showed remarkable resilience and stability.

One by one, Green Bay was pulling out games that, let's be honest, you didn't think they'd win. The opener at Chicago, week two against the Vikings, at Kansas City, at Dallas, at Minnesota. When the dust cleared we could hardly believe our eyes. The Pack had rolled up 13 wins, a division championship, and perhaps most incredibly, a first round bye in the playoffs! Then came a gritty post season victory at Lambeau over Seattle. This team, for which expectations started so humbly, finished one game short of the Super Bowl. Despite the season ending debacle in San Francisco, we couldn't help feeling excited about the future of the Green and Gold.

Well, that future is now. What are your expectations for this year? I'm betting that 8-8 will not get it done for you. Nor will 9-7. Even a mere trip to the playoffs may be unacceptable. The Packers will be, and should be, one of the Super Bowl favorites going into the season. Matt LaFleur knows he must now pay the price for quick success. His seat gets immediately hot if Green Bay doesn't contend. You need look no further than Chicago where one year ago Matt Nagy was the toast of the town after leading the Bears to the NFC North crown, and came just a double doink away from advancing in the playoffs. But last year the vaunted Bears defense regressed and the quarterback did not improve. The result was a slide back to an 8-8 record, and that sound you hear from the windy city is many Bears fans calling for Nagy's job.

It's a cautionary tale for LaFleur. Yet it won't be easy to replicate last year's success, especially if you are among those who feel the Packers were more lucky than good in 2019. The system works against him. Winning the division means the Packers play a tougher schedule and draft lower. In addition, Green Bay faces the NFC South and AFC South in 2020, definitely a more challenging slate than the weak NFC East and AFC West of 2019. Then there's the injury factor. The odds of all of Lafleur's key players staying healthy again are against him.

It's not all downside for the coach. He still has the best quarterback in the division. His offense figures to be much more consistent in year two of his system. Christian Kirksey, when healthy, Is an upgrade at inside linebacker. Talented young players like Elgton Jenkins, Alan Lazard, Darnell Savage, Kingsley Keke and Jace Sternberger have a chance to break out. The draft will bring help at receiver and perhaps right tackle. The rest of the NFC North appears to be rebuilding.

So I ask again, what would satisfy you in 2020? Assuming the season goes off on schedule, I'm guessing that in the eyes of most Packer fans anything short of at least a return to the NFC title game will be a disappointment........and rightfully or not, LaFleur will bear the blame.

-----------------------------------

Ken Lass is a former Green Bay television sports anchor and 43 year media veteran, a lifelong Packers fan, and a shareholder.

NFL Categories: 
6 points

Comments (158)

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

April 12, 2020 at 06:15 pm

At the moment, based on what I view as a team with holes, much riding on the hoped for jump from a number of players, the defenses poor run defense which will be hard-pressed to fix, the lack of offensive weapons and that perhaps too much is being asked from the draft, I envision at best an 8-8 season with a more likely record of 6-10 or worse.

OK...come get me!

PS.
I find it odd that the writer has described Rodgers as the best QB in the Division and not the best QB in the NFC, at least.

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Dzehren's picture

April 12, 2020 at 06:57 pm

Thought Tarynfor12 troll was surrendering posting if GB won 10 games or more???

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Samson's picture

April 12, 2020 at 08:59 pm

Actually, Tarynfor12 troll 'guaranteed' self banishment if the Pack won 10 games or more last season... Oh well... it's called "no credibility" as usual.

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TarynsEyes's picture

April 12, 2020 at 09:33 pm

I had the Packers winning more than 9 last year you fool.

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Leatherhead's picture

April 13, 2020 at 10:50 am

Not true. I distinctly recall her prediction in Tim Backes column where she predicted a playoff berth.

LaFleur could go 14-2, but if he didn’t win the Super Bowl you’d have nitwits bloviating that he was a failure.

Personally, he’s doing better than I thought he would do. I never imagined 14 wins in his first season. I really support his “let’s not beat ourselves “ strategy and I think it made a difference in some close games.

6-0 in the division. I will take that anytime.

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Demon's picture

April 13, 2020 at 01:38 pm

Who are you to call anyone a nitwit when you defended Ted T right to the end?

Let us not forget who also wanted to keep such studs as Nick Perry, Kentrell Brice and others.

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Leatherhead's picture

April 13, 2020 at 02:50 pm

Ted T? The guy who got us to 4 championship games in 10 years?

Those studs were replaced by Raven Greene, who was hurt , and Gary, who contributed little. Quite the upgrade. You don’t seem to be able to understand that I was opposed to paying Perry to NOT play for us so I won’t bother trying to explain that again.

IMO, somebody who cannot appreciate what Thompson did for this organization is a nitwit.

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Samson's picture

April 13, 2020 at 03:47 pm

Hey...OS...

"I distinctly recall her prediction in Tim Backes column where she predicted a playoff berth."

Link?? --- It's funny how those without credibility themselves defend those without credibility.... Kinda like the clown residing in the white house at the moment.

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Leatherhead's picture

April 13, 2020 at 03:52 pm

I’m going to let Mr Backes take care of that. It was the same column where I predicted a third place finish and offered you a bet but you were too chicken to accept it.

Also, when did you become the Supreme Arbiter of Credibility? I’ll decide for myself what’s credible.

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Samson's picture

April 13, 2020 at 04:07 pm

Link ?? ...
Speaking as former military I require those who make 'extraordinary claims' to provide extraordinary evidence. --- As usual, OS, you have nothing. --- Your "fake analytics" will not work here either.

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Leatherhead's picture

April 13, 2020 at 04:12 pm

Have you always been such an ass, or is this something new?

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Samson's picture

April 13, 2020 at 04:41 pm

Call me any name you wish... It rolls off my back like water.
I'll repeat... you have no credibility, never have & you never will.
Now ... go lay in the corner with the rest of the dogs.

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Leatherhead's picture

April 13, 2020 at 05:10 pm

You don’t speak for anybody. Most of us think you’re a nitwit.

I actually like dogs.

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Samson's picture

April 13, 2020 at 06:11 pm

Wow! ... more name calling.
As usual you're making a statement that is impossible.
"Most of us" .... ??? ... More "PFR Analytics".. ?? -- What a sad twisted person you are.

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Leatherhead's picture

April 13, 2020 at 06:15 pm

You’re an ass and a nitwit.

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AmericanJackal's picture

April 15, 2020 at 11:33 am

Another Boomer war hero

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AmericanJackal's picture

April 15, 2020 at 11:32 am

Maybe the clown you see is the fool reflecting back in your mirror.

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Samson's picture

April 12, 2020 at 09:00 pm

Tarynfor12
There are very few here who care what you think.... You're a troll.. Always have been... Always will be.

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TheBigCheeze's picture

April 12, 2020 at 08:58 pm

the "OK...come get me!" implies you don't believe what you're saying.....

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TarynsEyes's picture

April 12, 2020 at 09:36 pm

At this moment I do and you're coming at me.

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mamasboy's picture

April 13, 2020 at 03:31 am

I usually lean toward agreeing with you, but the only way they wind up 6-10 next year, is if Rodgers goes down for the year in week 2. You shouldn't have thought it odd that the writer called him the best in the division, that's all he is, until he proves us wrong. We'll win more than 8 if he's healthy,though.

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Guam's picture

April 13, 2020 at 08:30 am

I think you are being a bit pessimistic at 8-8, but a regression from 13-3 is very possible. As the author noted, the Packers had unusually few injuries last year and will likely revert to closer to the norm this year. That coupled with a tougher schedule probably translates to fewer wins. I still see them making the playoffs, particularly with an additional team being added to the playoffs.

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Leatherhead's picture

April 13, 2020 at 03:38 pm

How many games can you win with a team that wins the turnover battle and executes well in the red zone? Especially if the defense holds half of your opponents to 16 or less?

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Bure9620's picture

April 13, 2020 at 02:24 pm

Likely atleast 10 wins, depending on some other breaks in the game, defensive TDs and big ST plays. But doing those things will very likely get you to atleast 10 wins. As I said previously, that has been the Patriots Blueprint.

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Leatherhead's picture

April 13, 2020 at 02:53 pm

That’s what I think, too. Add in a good punter, a reliable kicker, and an above average QB and you probably do better than that.

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Packers2020's picture

April 13, 2020 at 04:22 pm

Unless the Packers fix their run D, we will not be holding anyone to 20 or less. This the X Factor that will deny us another title unless it gets fixed.

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Leatherhead's picture

April 13, 2020 at 05:11 pm

We held the majority of our opponents to 20 or less last year.

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Packers2020's picture

April 13, 2020 at 06:37 pm

Right, all because of timely TO's. That does not happen every year. You cannot count on that. Good D's hold down yardage on the ground.

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Leatherhead's picture

April 13, 2020 at 07:25 pm

Does it matter how we stop them? Do we get style points? Aren’t turnovers something that a good defense does ?

This defense had a lot of real good stretches with some lapses and a complete inability to stop SF. I would actually think we might be better if we draft a couple of guys. We might be a Top 5 defense.

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IceBowl's picture

April 13, 2020 at 02:11 pm

Tarynfor12, opinions are for click baiters.

I think they go undefeated.

So what.

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TarynsEyes's picture

April 13, 2020 at 04:27 pm

So everyone here is a click bait because that's all everyone here is offering.

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Packer_Fan's picture

April 12, 2020 at 06:22 pm

That's what these guys long for. To be in the hunt for the Super Bowl and work to win it. It is their own inner drive to win. Lafleur had a great season and he will put his all into winning it all. Regardless of what happens, they will be in every game this year. And I hope for the best for the Packers.

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AmericanJackal's picture

April 15, 2020 at 11:39 am

Their inner drive is cha ching, cha ching etc etc.

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13TimeChamps's picture

April 12, 2020 at 06:46 pm

To be honest, with almost certainly no OTA's, and not even knowing what the pre-season, if any, will look like, it's almost impossible to have any realistic expectations at this point. I think predicting what their record will be this coming season is beyond silly. Can we at least wait until after the draft?
Hopefully, things will return to normal soon, and they can build off their success of last year. I agree the schedule is tougher and it's unlikely to stay as healthy as last year. But I feel Gutekunst is building a solid foundation with young ascending players on the roster.

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TarynsEyes's picture

April 12, 2020 at 08:16 pm

"I think predicting what their record will be this coming season is beyond silly. Can we at least wait until after the draft?"

The coward appears while sitting on a fence afraid to make a prediction based on the now with the option available to all to change their thinking as things progress.

Reason why I opened my comment and prediction with "At this moment."

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Daren726's picture

April 12, 2020 at 08:25 pm

Relax tarenfor12. It’s not that serious

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TarynsEyes's picture

April 12, 2020 at 09:42 pm

I am relaxed. I'm not the one taking it seriously. I'm playing with all your emotions. I even asked you to come at me because I know you guys can help yourselves.

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Coldworld's picture

April 13, 2020 at 08:47 am

You are smart but your message is drowned by your difficulties relating to people. The way that you say things causes your insights to be lost in the delivery. It is a shame. In the end, insight that cannot be communicated is of questionable value. Your audience is not always stupid, nor is it always hostile. That it becomes so has more to do with your approach to that audience than the content.

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TarynsEyes's picture

April 13, 2020 at 12:35 pm

I believe I make my stance on things quite clear and direct. I never call anyone stupid but I can't say same for others. If my take is perceived hostile, it's more likely how the reader wants to take it since it's likely a view that they don't want to hear. It's a comment section, not a writing class about approach.

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13TimeChamps's picture

April 13, 2020 at 01:02 pm

I'm pretty sure you called me a 'coward' because I simply stated an opinion you didn't agree with. I'd say that's pretty hostile.

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TarynsEyes's picture

April 13, 2020 at 01:40 pm

I called you a coward for attacking me for mine and then finding excuse for you not to offer your own. Though I would guess it would be an automatic 12-14 win and at least a NFCCG appearance. The 'Repeat' prediction. But you couldn't even do that aloud.

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13TimeChamps's picture

April 13, 2020 at 02:47 pm

I "attacked you"? Lol
I merely made a post to the article stating, in my opinion, it's silly to predict W/L's this early, when rosters aren't even finalized. It was directed at the author, not you. And it wasn't an attack, merely my opinion.
You then jumped in, unsolicited, and called me a derogatory name. If anyone attacked, it was you. I sincerely doubt any of my former Marine Corp. buddies would agree with your assessment, by the way.
You do these things to call attention to yourself, then claim victim when you're called on it.

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13TimeChamps's picture

April 13, 2020 at 09:15 pm

No response. Not a surprise.

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13TimeChamps's picture

April 14, 2020 at 12:16 pm

I guess we know who the real coward is.

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AmericanJackal's picture

April 15, 2020 at 05:48 pm

Maybe it’s because you are an idiot

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Stroh's picture

April 13, 2020 at 12:51 pm

Leave it to a woman to play those games.

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Stroh's picture

April 13, 2020 at 05:14 pm

She said herself she's playing w/ our emotions! I don't do that and don't know guys that do.

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Bure9620's picture

April 13, 2020 at 06:41 pm

Mmm.....so you are a provocateur??? That must be exhausting....

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AmericanJackal's picture

April 15, 2020 at 11:39 am

Uh oh we are near victim mood here.

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13TimeChamps's picture

April 12, 2020 at 08:27 pm

I'm a coward because I would like to see what their final roster, as well as their opponent's final rosters look like starting the season, before making predictions on w/l records? Ok.
Didn't you make a prediction on an earlier article for a 5 win season? I wish I had your crystal ball. I think I'll wait.

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TarynsEyes's picture

April 12, 2020 at 08:51 pm

Yes I did say a 5 win season. Now I say something different. It's fluid as are the happenings with the team. I'll make a final prediction at final roster time just like last season.

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13TimeChamps's picture

April 12, 2020 at 08:57 pm

We'll be waiting holding our breaths. Can't wait!!

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TarynsEyes's picture

April 12, 2020 at 09:43 pm

I know you will be and you know you will also.

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PeteK's picture

April 13, 2020 at 10:33 am

The writer does ask for a prediction.

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AmericanJackal's picture

April 15, 2020 at 11:41 am

How is he a coward by expressing his views?

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Leatherhead's picture

April 13, 2020 at 10:57 am

Taryn...... speaking as former military....knowing when to engage and when to maneuver is not a sign of cowardice.

“At this moment “ is kind of irrelevant to a 20 week cage match that doesn’t start for quite a while yet. He’ll, we might not even have a season.

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TarynsEyes's picture

April 13, 2020 at 12:29 pm

The article speaks to the now and his prediction was based on the now also. I did same.

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Leatherhead's picture

April 13, 2020 at 02:57 pm

Granted. This is premature evaluation on everybody’s part, IMO.

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AmericanJackal's picture

April 15, 2020 at 05:47 pm

He’s a boomer coward

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Lphill's picture

April 12, 2020 at 07:30 pm

The Packers had a lot of luck last season , that’s not going to be the case for the next season ,I think they don’t make the playoffs and if they do a wildcard one and done , thie run defense is maybe the worst in the NFL , and no improvement was made in free agency and won’t be fixed with the draft . Last season the run defense was giving up a lot of yards and no changes were made in season to fix it.

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13TimeChamps's picture

April 12, 2020 at 07:45 pm

Tayrnfor12's alter ego shows up! Yeah!!

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PeteK's picture

April 13, 2020 at 10:39 am

Hahahaha--- Now we need crew cut Samson to make a nasty or sarcastic remark.

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HankScorpio's picture

April 12, 2020 at 08:32 pm

KC had the 26th ranked run defense in 2019. GB was 23rd. There goes the bad run defense is holding them back theory.

7 points
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Lphill's picture

April 13, 2020 at 01:11 pm

Not much difference 4 .5 and 4 .7 plus the chiefs gave up yards but didn’t give up career days to no name running backs or get run all over in the championship game.

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Leatherhead's picture

April 13, 2020 at 04:10 pm

Hank, what you say is true, but I would caution that KC was kind of an anomaly.

Ten of the 12 playoff teams were teams that ran a lot. Not the Chiefs.

We all know what a difference a great young QB makes. Last two years it’s been Mahomes. Thank God the Goddam Bears didn’t draft him.

1 points
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HankScorpio's picture

April 14, 2020 at 05:10 am

I think you might be reading more into my point that I intend, which is probably my fault more than anything. So let me be clear: I am not saying the Packers should ignore defense or the run game. I'm saying they must help the passing offense. They must grab one of the top 10-11 WRs available in this draft. And another WR on day 3. That's 2 of 10 picks, including their first or second.

A balanced team is what I'm after. The unbalance I see if that their passing offense is a weak link that demands more attention. But not exclusive attention. In my ideal world, they'd slide back to the 1st half of round 2 so they can add WR, OL, ILB and DL (in that order) on day 2. And then hit WR and OL again on day 3.

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AmericanJackal's picture

April 15, 2020 at 11:42 am

Preach

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nygary's picture

April 12, 2020 at 07:49 pm

You guys are brutal. You would be upset with the cure for covid-19. The draft didn't happen yet. There are still good free agents out there. I will make anybody here a bet the packers cut Lane Taylor and use that money on a free agent. And if they don't, people are dying all over the globe and this is what pisses you off.

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Samson's picture

April 12, 2020 at 09:15 pm

Guess what... We're all here hiding from the world... at least for a while.

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

April 13, 2020 at 07:41 am

Are there are those that are brutal.

I would not necessarily be sure they cut Taylor. Seems like they might but Billy didnt do a great job at RG last year. Maybe he gets pushed out to RT this year with either Jenkins or Taylor moving to RG. Then Pack drafts an OL in one of the first 3 rounds.

Would not surprise me! Why havent they cut Taylor yet?

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Coldworld's picture

April 13, 2020 at 09:11 am

Why would you cut a decent player who is under contract at this point?

The cap figure is immaterial since they are under the cap and nothing else really matters at this stage in the off season.

Taylor is at least our 3rd best guard and could be an option at Center. He has also filled in at tackle. In the event of injury at least, he is valuable. But not just to us.

Since it costs us nothing, keep our options as open as possible. Taylor could be traded during the draft or after, or he could be needed. Perhaps they are waiting to see if Madison will even be available after injury. At this point I think a trade is as likely as retention, but he won’t be cut in the near future I think unless there is a player Gute can sign that he really wants and needs the cap space for.

So I don’t read anything into him still being here or understand the unfounded cap angst. The team has all the power and keeping him maximizes not diminished our options at this point.

3 points
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Leatherhead's picture

April 13, 2020 at 03:35 pm

What free agent would improve the team more than our #6 lineman?

He effectively gives us a backup at multiple positions and is one pulled hammy away from being a starter charged with protecting the QB.

Personally, I like insurance like that.

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PeteK's picture

April 13, 2020 at 05:42 pm

Not at 5 mill, maybe for a backup T ,but not a G.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

April 14, 2020 at 03:21 am

It is $4.08M cap savings if he is cut. That is the operative number.

If Gute sees a better way to spend $4M, then fine, cut Taylor. He still might get traded. At $4M he is a bit expensive as a back up but it isn't terrible. I have considerable sympathy for your position: I would have cut Taylor to sign Billings for $3.5M in a heartbeat. Maybe the Pack likes what they see out of Keke or expects Lowry and/or Lancaster to rebound.

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Coldworld's picture

April 14, 2020 at 08:01 am

Or maybe they didn’t like Billings it he wasn’t interested. Perhaps Gute thinks he can do better or rates Taylor more highly. The fact is that all he is doing at the moment is maximizing his options. At this point the cap hit is on paper only, since Taylor can be traded or released at any time Gute feels it appropriate.

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AmericanJackal's picture

April 15, 2020 at 11:43 am

Lane is garbage

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13TimeChamps's picture

April 16, 2020 at 08:50 am

People who can't express a view or opinion without calling names, shows an incredible lack of intelligence and maturity.

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stockholder's picture

April 12, 2020 at 07:53 pm

He should change his name to Vince Lombardi Jr. He did everything right. He will keep doing things right. Winners always do. He knows how to play a hot hand. Even if it belongs to Rodgers. He knows whats expected and will find the answers. But can Gutey find the players? The players get weak when they see faces change. Chemistry changes. Everything is great when the Force is behind you. And you win the dogfights. You grow with success. The poison is not keeping up the fight.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

April 12, 2020 at 08:10 pm

I expect the team to play hard and not get outsmarted schematically. If that happens they will be competitive.

It takes some luck to get to the Super Bowl and NFC Championship game. Those are not reasonable expectations. I just want to see them play well and give themselves a shot.

8 points
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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

April 13, 2020 at 05:44 am

Jeremy,
Agreed!

1 points
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Stroh's picture

April 13, 2020 at 05:11 pm

I think its reasonable to expect playoffs w/ Rodgers at QB. Anything beyond that is gravy IMO. What's not reasonable is expecting a SB or NFCCG every season. Once you get to the playoffs its a crapshoot.

1 points
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HankScorpio's picture

April 12, 2020 at 08:15 pm

The Packers could be sub .500 and ML's seat would not be warm. Far from costing him him any price, the success of 2019 bought him the benefit of the doubt.

10 points
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TarynsEyes's picture

April 12, 2020 at 08:20 pm

Agree, no way MLF is on the hot seat for a sub .500 season. That would be the dumbest thing ever.

3 points
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HankScorpio's picture

April 12, 2020 at 08:33 pm

Proof that people can find common ground no matter how differently they view things.

3 points
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Daren726's picture

April 12, 2020 at 08:32 pm

I doubt we’ll finish sub 500 with the messed up north division rosters. Every team in the North took a step backwards, not just the packers. We do have the toughest schedule on paper, but who knows if the teams we think are the tough ones now will be come the time we play them.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

April 12, 2020 at 08:32 pm

6-10 would warm up ML's seat fast, and Gute's faster, in my mind. The reasons behind the decline would matter a lot. If they are injury-free again yet decline, yeah, that would get attention.

I am not inclined to be patient given AR's age but the die is probably cast. Changing the coaching staff, even the GM, looks more disruptive than anything else. It makes Pettine safer than he otherwise would be as well.

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Coldworld's picture

April 13, 2020 at 08:57 am

Not sure I agree on Pettine, but the shape of this season will impact challenges and strategies. Pettine presiding over a D that can be run on widely could be the end. Overall, however, this season could be atypical and thus even less likely to impact Gute or LaFleur.

We may have a better insight once the draft settles and we know what Gute tried to provide for his coaches and have some idea of the extent to which he focused on this season and immediate need.

1 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

April 13, 2020 at 11:55 am

All eyes on Pettine, this season. He goes before anyone else sees the street.

3 points
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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

April 12, 2020 at 08:20 pm

LaFleur has raised expectations, not so much as to the win total but as to success in the playoffs. I didn't see as much innovation in his scheme as I had hoped for but I attributed it to still installing his offense and getting players that fit what he wants to do. I am still not a fan of his coaching staff.

I am probably in a minority here, but Gutekunst will receive more scrutiny from me. His 2018 draft class will have three years in, the time when most begin to assess the GM's acumen. Right now, 2018 looks like Jaire Alexander and precious little else. Worse, Jaire did not take a 2nd-year jump (back to LaFleur a bit as I think the upside is there).

Covid 19 will complicate the analysis. I'd have to use the other NFL teams as a control to see whether other teams' young guys take jumps and how their rookies play in 2020. I don't know that I follow other teams closely enough to be able to do that.

4 points
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13TimeChamps's picture

April 12, 2020 at 08:50 pm

I have to agree. His 2018 draft and FA signings are questionable at best. 2019 much better. 2020? Let's hope it's a defining year for his legacy as great GM.

3 points
3
0
HankScorpio's picture

April 12, 2020 at 08:58 pm

No doubt we're starting to get enough data on Gute to form some opinions that are meaningful. He's had his share of misses to go with the huge hit on signing the Smiths.

2 points
2
0
KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

April 13, 2020 at 05:56 am

Hank,
I do think when evaluating Gute you have to also factor in everything as a talent evaluator such as how dire was the teams talent? How much risk did Gute have to take to dramatically change the roster talent to be competitive? The situation Gute found himself in wasnt like I simply need to perform a tune-up on a car. It was more like find and put a transmission in as well as a starter and pistons.

Gute is significantly better than Thompson when you look at all facets of talent evaluating, turning over bottom of roster, taking risks, and using FA. Throw in helping to find get Pettine and LeFleur.

I expect Gute to have much more draft success as his overall team talent improves as he will not need to take such huge swings to improve talent levels and can go with safer picks.

-2 points
0
2
HankScorpio's picture

April 13, 2020 at 07:20 am

"Gute is significantly better than Thompson when you look at all facets of talent evaluating, turning over bottom of roster, taking risks, and using FA. Throw in helping to find get Pettine and LeFleur."

The early years of Thompson were fantastic. He signed FAs (Woodson, Pickett, Peppers), he made trades (Grant), he used the waiver wire to add stars (T. Williams) and role players (Peprah, H. Greene). But mostly he had some lights out draft picks that formed the heart of a team that won a Lombardi and probably should have won another in 2014. He was bad at the end. I'm not sure when the downhill began but my best guess is that it started slowly when John Schneider and John Dorsey left in quick succession and just keep accelerating. I'm not sure the Packers have recovered from that scouting brain drain to this day.

Gute has a lot to prove to match the entire record of Thompson. He can start by completing the overhaul of the roster. No doubt those bad final years of TT left the Packers roster in major need of an overhaul. He's pretty much re-made the defense with his own guys around Thompson holdover Kenny Clark. I'm pleased with the results. Their are some "wants" on defense but nothing I'd call a major, structural need that is preventing a title. They have pass-rush and play makers in the secondary. That's all you really need. Run defense is weak but that's a 'want' not a 'need'

Offense--well, not so much. The eroding infrastructure Thompson left is not much, if any, better. In 2 previous seasons, the only solid add I've seen is Jenkins at LG. That's nice but doesn't move the needle that much. Turner is an expensive question mark. MVS, ESB and Sternberger are cheap question marks. Graham was an utter disaster. Jones, Adams, Rodgers & Bahk are the heart of the offense and all holdovers from Thompson.

7 points
8
1
13TimeChamps's picture

April 13, 2020 at 08:45 am

Great analysis!

0 points
0
0
PeteK's picture

April 13, 2020 at 10:57 am

Totally agree, Gute has a long way to go to even match TT. He could get a good start if Gary and Sternberger develop this season. I'm starting to believe in Jace because in the biggest game of the season against a very tough opponent he showed grit and ability.

0 points
0
0
splitpea1's picture

April 13, 2020 at 11:46 am

I agree with much of what you said except for one thing: Run defense is definitely a need; if you can't stop the run, you watch your quarterback stand on the sidelines as the defense gets chewed up and tired out in the process.

I think you're right about the departures of Schneider and Dorsey, but especially Schneider--that's approximately when the string of poor high-round defensive draft picks began.

1 points
1
0
HankScorpio's picture

April 13, 2020 at 12:57 pm

Statistically, KC had a worse run defense than GB had in 2019. It's not the first time that a team with a poor run defense won a Lombardi.

KC's last two opponents, Tennessee and SF, were both tailor made to beat teams by running. Neither did. To my eyes the difference between KC and GB was that KC could put up 30 on anybody, anytime, anywhere. And 40 or even 50 was not out of the question. GB did not have that same firepower.

4 points
4
0
jannes bjornson's picture

April 13, 2020 at 01:28 pm

That's the way I read it. Spags brought in a flex 4-3 defense, they brought in another speed smurf with Hardman, they now re-signed Pennell ( who Gutedkunst didn't sign in Nov), and Breeland with Jones on the franchise tag. I think he will target a RB at the # 32 or one of the WRs, he won't pass on talent to fulfill the four year plan.

-1 points
0
1
dobber's picture

April 13, 2020 at 02:55 pm

4 playoff teams were in the bottom third of the league in rush yards allowed per game. 5 teams were in the top third.

6 playoff teams were in the top third in pass yards allowed per game. 3 were in the bottom third.

If anything, this shows that yardage allowed is a specious stat.

8 playoff teams were in the top third in points allowed. Only one was in the bottom third.

1 points
1
0
Stroh's picture

April 13, 2020 at 05:30 pm

Points are what matters, not yards. Any yardage stat has to be taken w/ a grain of salt and compare to points. Pts per game is where its at!

1 points
1
0
splitpea1's picture

April 13, 2020 at 04:02 pm

You should have also mentioned the 2006 Colts, who finished last in regular-season rushing defense. They were able to outscore New England in the playoffs, but in the Super Bowl, only needed to overcome an offensively-challenged Bears team. Neither they or last year's Chiefs had to play an accomplished quarterback in the Super Bowl.

The Packers do not have anywhere even close to the offensive firepower that either of those teams had.

I would think it would be far easier to fix the run defense than to (hopefully) draft and wait for the development of WRs and TEs who can help us put those kind of points on the board. I like the balanced approach better: solid offense, solid defense to be able to play with anybody.

1 points
1
0
HankScorpio's picture

April 13, 2020 at 05:26 pm

I like the balanced approach too. That's why they need to bring the offense up the level of the defense. To do that, they need to invest in offense, which they have not done in a serious way since they picked Davante Adams.

2 points
2
0
splitpea1's picture

April 13, 2020 at 06:24 pm

They should be able to do both. All things being equal, I hoping for a WR, ILB, and DL in the first three rounds, and another WR further down. I think we already have enough young TEs, so unless the front office sees some extraordinary value, what you see now is probably what you're going to get.

1 points
1
0
splitpea1's picture

April 12, 2020 at 09:11 pm

Not excited about the punter?

This is why I'm not gung-ho about Gute the way that some other fans are. I love that he's willing to spend money and acquire players from other organizations, but his drafting is still suspect and the results are incomplete at best.

As far as LaFleur goes, I think he was just sort of going with the flow and adapting to the team he had in his first season. Transition and hopefully more innovation will be coming gradually.

1 points
2
1
Leatherhead's picture

April 13, 2020 at 03:46 pm

Gutekunst? I’ve questioned a lot of stuff, starting with extending Arod instead of rebuilding and cutting Jordy and signing Graham

He’s at the midpoint of a five year deal. So yeah, if the Packers lay a Cleveland Steamer next season, he will face heat. As he should.

-2 points
0
2
Gman1976's picture

April 12, 2020 at 08:21 pm

Success has it’s positives and negatives, but I sure enjoy winning over the alternative. Expectations might be high, but a lot of teams don’t have them. We might not be 13-3 this year, but we will be a better team with year 2 in the new offensive system, good younger players maturing, and adding fresh talent via the draft and free agency. The salary cap surely hamstrings who we can acquire in free agency, but I sure am enjoying the ride as our new coach and relatively new GM build on a great first year together.

8 points
8
0
Samson's picture

April 12, 2020 at 09:12 pm

Nice to see someone who has a "total picture" view... 2020 is not 2019 & never will be... But... it may actually be better.

4 points
4
0
KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

April 13, 2020 at 06:01 am

Gman,
Agreed!

Plus, nice to have both Gute and LF relatively young so they hopefully can work together for many years and develop that chemistry and continuity together. I see wonderful times ahead regardless if the Packers season in 2020 isnt as successful as 2019.

0 points
0
0
Samson's picture

April 12, 2020 at 09:09 pm

" His seat gets immediately hot if Green Bay doesn't contend."

LOL ... Comparing the MLF regime to the Nagy regime in da Bear country is dumb...dumb...dumb.

Please... stop the click bait articles... Not everyone here is naive & susceptible to the BS coming out of CHTV these days.... Most of us are NOT fools & don't appreciate the "fool's treatment".

-8 points
3
11
PeteK's picture

April 13, 2020 at 11:07 am

Well, that didn't take long.

1 points
1
0
nstewart1's picture

April 12, 2020 at 09:29 pm

In terms of what would "satisfy" me, I'd say my usual: Win 1 Playoff Game.

Recognizing that things did break awfully well for us last year, my expectations are probably around: Make the Playoffs; but Not Go All the Way.

I would be very disappointed if we did not at least have a Winning Record - and that would have to be after some tough breaks.

0 points
1
1
AmericanJackal's picture

April 15, 2020 at 11:20 am

I’m tired of a playoff berth and adios. These bums are paid millions, I expect more. They aren’t curing cancer or ensuring our freedoms are maintained. This a group who is so lazy they protest on our time during games.

-1 points
0
1
wildbill's picture

April 12, 2020 at 09:53 pm

It’s totally possible to have a worse record but a better team in 2020. A few bounces went our way and we stayed pretty healthy, those factors are a wildcard each year. Either way I am counting on us making the playoff, especially now with 7 entries

4 points
5
1
Coldworld's picture

April 13, 2020 at 08:58 am

This could be a weird season. If we don’t have an off season, the step in the offensive cohesion expected in year 2 of a new regime is going to be much less likely due to the lack of tile together and the difficulties of getting rookies comfortable at even a basic level.

Both coaches and GMs face a different and difficult challenge, one complicated by the fact that we don’t really know how the season will look. Normal draft and coaching processes may not work if the focus is on this season. The winners will be the coaches and GMs that adapt best.

From a GM perspective, do you draft for plug and play short term contribution over potential? A lot depends on the franchise and Green Bay is in an interesting position. How long is Rodgers window? Hard cap choices next year.

How LaFleur handles incomers will be especially vital. If he and Gute can be in the same page, since we don’t pick early, we are not likely to get many game ready all round players, so early picks may lean future (OT, WR etc). If Gute and LaFleur can combine well, this can be overcome in some instances by picking players who can immediately fill roles and focusing coaching more narrowly to existing strengths, especially players with, for example, experience of slot rout trees or perimeter deep route ones. They can be got ready faster if that’s what we ask of them. The same would apply to defensive concepts. A run stopping DT would fit this paradigm.

Finally, this could be a season for gadget types such as Ervin. Variety through interchanging personnel not interchangeability of the MM variety. I think coaching focus needs to be narrower with all but the true vets. It will be a challenge.

As to the hot seat, I think neither. This season is likely to be too much of an outlier. The exception may be Pettine. If he can’t get the run under control adequately, assuming he gets an influx of people and injures don’t wreak havoc.

1 points
2
1
jannes bjornson's picture

April 13, 2020 at 12:08 pm

They lost two aging starters on offense and Martinez on the defense. Most of the team's starters remain in play.
Reload some playmakers in the mix and put the pedal to the metal. Move expectations higher and get into the Big Game. Predictions on the final record are historically made in September prior to opener. This in mock draft time. La Fleur will be there as long as he wishes.

0 points
0
0
MarkinMadison's picture

April 12, 2020 at 10:29 pm

I'm not sure about Gute or MLF. The team was mostly healthy last year. #12 was basically healthy last year. Gute added the Smith Bros. Everything else that happened in the last 16 months is still a pretty big question to me. I have not expectations right now. I'll feel better if they grab a RT in the first two rounds. There is a ton of talent there this year.

1 points
1
0
Ferrari-Driver's picture

April 12, 2020 at 11:23 pm

Last season reminded me greatly of the 1989 season where the Packers won 10 games and about half of the victories were by one or just a few points. It seemed everything was going in our favor that year, just like last year. I recall Don Majikowski got picked for the Pro Bowl that year. The next year we revered back to a losing record, losing 10 games. If we play the season this year, winning 13 games should be considered a far reach, but I'm hoping we can have a winning season and make the playoffs again, get hot and wind up in the Super Bowl.

3 points
3
0
Leatherhead's picture

April 13, 2020 at 03:49 am

Christian Kirksey is not an upgrade over Blake Martinez. That’s nonsense.

-1 points
3
4
Samson's picture

April 13, 2020 at 08:28 am

Kirksey has yet to play a game for the Pack... so how do you somehow know this? --- More of your "PFR Analytics" or maybe you found your "magic 8 ball".

5 points
6
1
Leatherhead's picture

April 13, 2020 at 04:23 pm

I would love it if you would explain the difference between an “analytic” and a”fact”.”

0 points
1
1
Bure9620's picture

April 13, 2020 at 06:55 pm

Well they are quite different. Martinez is better playing downhill and tackling. Kirksey is better in coverage and has more athleticism.

2 points
2
0
Coldworld's picture

April 14, 2020 at 08:07 am

And I think that you hit the nail on the head. It’s not a question of “better” in abstract, it’s a question of what the scheme needs. It is pretty clear that Kirksey’s athletic profile fits what Pettine wants just as it became increasingly clear that Martinez was miscast.

1 points
1
0
egbertsouse's picture

April 13, 2020 at 08:02 am

I think many fans of the non-kool-aid drinking variety are realistic enough to understand that the 2019 Packers were a 9-7 team that caught a number of lucky breaks. They will cut MLF some slack this year. Gute, however, better not use high picks on square-peg, round-hole projects this year if he wants to avoid the wrath of the fans.

3 points
5
2
Samson's picture

April 13, 2020 at 08:35 am

Ridiculous statement.
Closely analyze any NFL teams record & you can alter it a number of games in any direction.... However, reality wins out everytime.
Using your logic, the Chiefs were lucky to be in the playoffs last season, much less win the SB... If you squint hard enough you can see it.

0 points
2
2
dobber's picture

April 13, 2020 at 10:59 am

Everyone is a realist...it's just that we don't all subscribe to the same realities.

5 points
5
0
TarynsEyes's picture

April 13, 2020 at 12:46 pm

Not many realists here.

If the season were to begin right now without draft picks etc, just the players you have, where do you think the majority here would have the Packers.

I say no playoff spot even with the added wildcard.

Most will have them in the playoffs and likely near repeating last season.

-2 points
0
2
yooper81's picture

April 13, 2020 at 06:12 pm

At worst GB is a middle of the road team, a .500 team. Take all the stats and the times we are in and and i believe the packers are a. 700 team. Chemistry is huge in the NFL and now is the time to sit back and shut up all the negative Nancy's. Draft will be huge, but there is talent on this team.

0 points
0
0
Coldworld's picture

April 14, 2020 at 08:03 am

I don’t see a lot of teams being confident in that scenario. So a tad hard to speculate.

0 points
0
0
HankScorpio's picture

April 13, 2020 at 03:22 pm

"Everyone is a realist...it's just that we don't all subscribe to the same realities."

To quote Brad Hamilton, "Learn it, know it, live it"

1 points
1
0
KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

April 14, 2020 at 01:55 pm

Dobber....bravo!!!

0 points
0
0
AmericanJackal's picture

April 15, 2020 at 11:22 am

You mean a wasted pick like Rashan Gary.

0 points
0
0
WMA's picture

April 13, 2020 at 10:36 am

Without a vaccine there will be no season. 0-0 will be everyone's record. NBA/NHL plan a way to finish this spring's season next spring. MLB done till next year. NFL - shorter season next spring maybe then year after this coming fall will be the next full season.

-1 points
2
3
dobber's picture

April 13, 2020 at 11:01 am

You may very well be right. That certainly seems to be the sentiment from medical folks.

What happens next spring at draft-time when there hasn't been a college season?

0 points
0
0
Guam's picture

April 13, 2020 at 01:42 pm

There may be a season, but I doubt any fans will be allowed in the stadium. This could be a television only season with the teams largely sequestered from outside contact to minimize the chance for infection in the players.

0 points
0
0
dobber's picture

April 13, 2020 at 02:53 pm

A couple articles out there now that basically say that the level of quarantine you would need to keep any single sports team, much less an entire league, corona-free is almost unmanageable. Imagine 60 players, coaches, trainers, managers, support staff--this doesn't even mention the supply chain and media--as soon as one person, especially a player, tests positive your whole organization is suspect and potentially gets shut down. I would argue it can't be done.

0 points
0
0
Guam's picture

April 13, 2020 at 10:25 pm

And yet simple social distancing seems to be turning an exponentially growing pandemic into linear growth rate disease that is not overwhelming our health care system (NYC excepted). I haven't seen any articles either way Dobber, but would appreciate a reference so I can read up.

0 points
0
0
Thegreatreynoldo's picture

April 14, 2020 at 03:58 am

I haven't seen any models or authoritative statements by medical professionals either. Still, a team brings 65 players, 20 plus coaches, plus an unknown number of doctors and other support staff to each game, times two teams, plus the referees. Since it would still be televised, a bunch of cameramen and women, announcers, though they should be able to practice good social distancing for the most part. I'd guess a couple to several hundred people would be in attendance even if no fans were allowed.

The NFL would have to build in byes so the team could be quarantined if even one person of those hundreds in attendance tested positive. Even if a bye could then be granted, how would a team install a game plan for their opponent in two weeks?

IDK. I'd guess that a vaccine would have to be developed by September or so.

0 points
0
0
Guam's picture

April 14, 2020 at 08:03 am

Everything I've heard is that a vaccine is a year away, at least for mass distribution. Sports teams and fans would be well down the list for vaccination as the initial batches will go to health care workers, first responders, the military, etc. etc.. I suspect we will have a number of therapies in place by Fall that will help treat COVID-19, but no cure.

Our infection rate is well less than 1% of our population at this point, so I just don't have any idea what it might be by football season. Keeping a few hundred people clear of infection may be mission impossible or highly possible by then, I just don't know and have seen no one knowledgeable opine about the topic. Just have to wait and see I guess.

1 points
1
0
MavenTestProject's picture

April 13, 2020 at 10:42 am

best site

0 points
0
0
Lphill's picture

April 13, 2020 at 11:31 am

The Packers are not making the playoffs again with this defense,and it’s not getting fixed anytime soon.

-5 points
0
5
13TimeChamps's picture

April 13, 2020 at 01:12 pm

If memory serves....they made the playoffs last year, even advanced, with basically the same defense they have now. Go figure.

2 points
2
0
HankScorpio's picture

April 13, 2020 at 02:35 pm

They didn't even have to play in the 1st round of the playoffs.

0 points
0
0
PeteK's picture

April 13, 2020 at 05:52 pm

Hahahaha, come on Hill, now it's obvious your trolling for negatives. We should all refuse to give him one.

0 points
0
0
mnbadger's picture

April 13, 2020 at 12:53 pm

I'm hoping for 12 games plus playoffs and SB. Look for the most experienced teams to be the best next year.
In the NFC that means saints and Seahawks. Afc means ravens and chiefs.
Saints beat the chiefs in super bowl.

-1 points
0
1
Duneslick's picture

April 13, 2020 at 03:37 pm

Hate to be a spoiler but what if we dont have a season. What would happen then next year. No college football how would you draft

-1 points
0
1
Packers2020's picture

April 13, 2020 at 04:29 pm

9-7

6-2 Home
3-5 Road

Tougher schedule, we will have more injuries and our depth is not great, and our run D is horrible. If we fix the run D then we could be very solid but I doubt it gets fixed this year.

0 points
1
1
Stroh's picture

April 13, 2020 at 05:48 pm

The run D can be fixed in 2 words.. Gap Discipline. They had none last year. If the DL and Front 7 play w/ more gap discipline they can stop the run w/ the players they have. But its not the Rex Ryan/Pettine scheme to play w/ gap control, its all about getting to and affecting the QB. So you give up sacks and pressures to have better gap control or you get affecting the QB and not much gap control. Its not much of a personnel issue, its a philosophical question. Which do you want? Gap Discipline to stop the run or Affecting the QB by getting penetration at all costs? You decide!

0 points
1
1
Lphill's picture

April 13, 2020 at 06:46 pm

Well why can other teams do both? Isn’t that the goal?

1 points
1
0
Stroh's picture

April 14, 2020 at 12:56 am

How many teams do both? Like I said, its the scheme. In most cases if you want a great pass rush, you have to give something up to get it. And unless you have Great players up and down the lineup, your not getting both.

1 points
1
0
KneelYoung's picture

April 13, 2020 at 08:19 pm

Tougher schedule for sure. Yet the stodginess of the later McCarthy years has been discarded. Younger team, more energy, more team speed which will be added to in the draft. Goal is to win the NFC North and go from there. I see them winning the north.

1 points
1
0
Amelia2020's picture

April 14, 2020 at 02:15 am

It's wonderful to be here with everyone.
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-1 points
0
1
joejetson's picture

April 14, 2020 at 05:52 am

They will win the division easily. The vikes had to dump several starters due to cap issues. The bears are bad and getting worse, and have no 1st round pick- still paying for big Mack trade. And the lions will find a way to continue to lose.The 49ers will have a much harder time this year because their division won't just bend over and take it like last year. New Orleans will be tough if they stay healthy. But no one is going to steamroll through the nfc this year. With shortened training camp, veteran teams will have a big advantage over younger inexperienced teams. I will take Rodgers and an improved defense over anyone in the nfc.

1 points
1
0
croatpackfan's picture

April 14, 2020 at 06:20 am

19-0. Nothing more, nothing less!

0 points
0
0
AmericanJackal's picture

April 15, 2020 at 11:27 am

Amen

0 points
0
0
GLM's picture

April 16, 2020 at 08:31 pm

I see the Packers winning the division, and once again, facing the upper echelon in the run for the NFC championship. They need to be able to move the ball and score against the top defenses, which again will be the 49ers. If we can't get past them, then we're not in the Super Bowl, plain and simple.

Shore up the run defense and the interior of the D Line, take away the big plays from the tight ends that wreaked havoc during the regular season, and add some legit playmakers to the offense. A return to the offensive style of 2010 and 2011, and they have a chance to make the Show.

That's a tall order, but with a solid draft, it's possible.

0 points
0
0
simpsonjoshua's picture

April 23, 2020 at 05:15 am

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0 points
0
0
ROBOTSPATISSIER's picture

January 20, 2021 at 02:59 pm

C'est merveilleux d'être ici avec tout le monde, belle publication. Merci d'avoir partagé.

0 points
0
0
ROBOTSPATISSIER's picture

January 20, 2021 at 02:59 pm

C'est merveilleux d'être ici avec tout le monde, belle publication. Merci d'avoir partagé.

0 points
0
0