Lions' deafening roar leaves Packers cowering en route to 31-0 blowout in season finale

-- The conditions in Green Bay, Wisconsin on Sunday matched the overall outlook of the 2018 Packers.

Gray. Gloomy. Miserable.

It all coincided well with the on-field product: A 31-0 defeat at the paws of the Detroit Lions, who came into Lambeau Field and pitched a shutout win over the hobbling Packers for the first time since 1970.

For a majority of the season, the Packers have been a shell of the team they've been for a large part of the last decade while Aaron Rodgers has been their starting quarterback.

On Sunday, there was no last-minute touchdown to Davante Adams to win the game -- he was inactive.

There was no remarkable Hail Mary that was a rarity in the NFL until Rodgers came around -- he left the game with a concussion.

There was no sign of competent football anywhere. With just about a minute to play in the first half -- and DeShone Kizer with the reins at quarterback -- the Packers had 39 yards of total offense. It was their fewest in the first half of any game since a game against the Denver Broncos in 1999 when they had 42.

At one point, running back Jamaal Williams had seven carries for a negative yard. His final carry earned him five, putting him on the positive side of things -- sorta. He still finished the day with those eight runs averaging 0.5 yards per carry. A significant turnaround compared to where he was last week against the New York Jets in which he had 156 scrimmage yards.

But against the Lions' defensive front in what was essentially a fifth preseason game, Williams couldn't establish anything on the ground, Kizer threw more incompletions (19) than he had completed passes (16) and the Packers ended their 2018 home schedule with a shutout loss for the second year in a row. Last season, they lost 16-0 to the Minnesota Vikings; a game in which Brett Hundley started at quarterback.

Meanwhile, with the Lions running 44 plays in the first half, the Packers' battered defense was seemingly exhausted and couldn't find moments to get off the field. Matthew Stafford did what he typically does when he meets the Packers' defense in a regular season game and pieced together a respectable performance.

The Packers had no answer up front for Lions running back Zach Zenner, who was just seven yards shy of 100. The Packers had defensive lineman Tyler Lancaster rotating in and out due to injury -- among the several other names filling out the injury report throughout the course of this dismal afternoon -- and virtually had problems countering anything the Lions were throwing their way.

There is reason for optimism, though. The Packers are entering what is slated to be the most significant offseason for the franchise in recent memory. There was a lot of personnel turnaround in the front office last spring, but this time around, the Packers will likely be switching the focus from the executives to the coaching staff with someone needing to become Mike McCarthy's successor. 

With a new head coach will come a new offensive coordinator and with a couple of new staff changes could mean a new defensive coordinator will be brought in as well since new coaches in town typically like to handpick their own staff from elsewhere. If Mike Pettine is on the chopping block -- when in reality, he absolutely shouldn't be -- then the Packers will have had three different defensive coordinators in three years by the start of the 2019 campaign.

On top of staff swapping, the Packers have two first-round picks a draft class that screams their name. Need an edge rusher to replace Clay Matthews, who likely won't be returning to the team on a new deal next year and likely played his final game for the organization on Sunday? This class has them. Need a wide receiver? This class has them. Need some offensive line help? This class has them (in the right situation).

The Packers have needs all across the board and are also estimated to have in the ballpark of $45 million dollars in cap room this offseason. General manager Brian Gutekunst has already stated that the Packers will pursue every avenue of roster building, and with that much cash to toy with, there's no doubt that the Packers will make a splash or two -- or four -- in free agency to go mitigate some of the roster needs they'll be facing on draft day.

One position they likely won't be targeting is cornerback which, for the first time in what feels like years, isn't a need for the Packers at the moment.

Jaire Alexander is a star in the making, Josh Jackson has flashed with potential these last few weeks in the midst of what has been a challenging year for him, Kevin King is a stud when he's healthy, Bashaud Breeland is a priority re-sign and Tony Brown is a vintage undrafted find that has been a pleasant surprise for the Packers in the last month.

While the dreadful year may have reached its conclusion, this team should look like a completely different one by September of 2019. To get there, the Packers needed to endure the bumps and bruises that came in the form of losses against the Arizona Cardinals, Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks and Lions among others.

Now, the fun begins.

__________________________

Zachary Jacobson is a staff writer/reporter for Cheesehead TV. He's the voice of The Leap on iTunes and can be heard on The Scoop KLGR 1490 AM every Saturday morning. He's also a contributor on the Pack-A-Day Podcast. He can be found on Twitter via @ZachAJacobson or contacted through email at [email protected].

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Comments (55)

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GBPDAN1's picture

December 30, 2018 at 03:54 pm

Packers 11-5 next year. Will win the North.

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Tommy Phillips's picture

December 30, 2018 at 03:55 pm

It could be worse.

Wait, Aaron Rodgers got a concussion in a totally meaningless game?

I guess it can't.

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Leatherhead's picture

December 30, 2018 at 05:37 pm

The good news is he doesn’t have to play again for seven months. The better news is that it dramatically points out that if He’s not on the field we don’t do much on offense. I think it’s essential that we improve the #2 qb spot.

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Coldworld's picture

December 30, 2018 at 06:27 pm

We didn’t do too much when he was on.

Would have been better to have Kizer work with the team during the week and then see how he played.

Let’s be honest, MM could have come up with a better game plan on a bad day and our D was virtually devoid of starters likely to be around next year.

I’d be more concerned with Bakh. Hope he is OK.

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Coldworld's picture

December 30, 2018 at 06:27 pm

We didn’t do too much when he was on.

Would have been better to have Kizer work with the team during the week and then see how he played.

Let’s be honest, MM could have come up with a better game plan on a bad day and our D was virtually devoid of starters likely to be around next year.

I’d be more concerned with Bakh. Hope he is OK.

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Leatherhead's picture

December 30, 2018 at 05:37 pm

The good news is he doesn’t have to play again for seven months. The better news is that it dramatically points out that if He’s not on the field we don’t do much on offense. I think it’s essential that we improve the #2 qb spot.

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Turophile's picture

December 30, 2018 at 04:12 pm

Thank god we can finally turn the lights off in Lambeau for this season.

2019 promises to be very different beast. The odds of getting a very good head coach are small, but the Green Bay front office must push all their chips into the middle and hope the hand they play is a winning one. Get ready for a bumpy ride from now until next season.

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Packers0808's picture

December 30, 2018 at 04:15 pm

Packer will be lucky to win 4 games next year with the regime running the show tha have now! IF FA under this Gute guy like this year oh boy, not much faith there!

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Lphill's picture

December 30, 2018 at 08:21 pm

Packers0808 another Vikings troll .

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Nick Perry's picture

December 31, 2018 at 05:15 am

If he's really a Vikings fan then what the hell is he talking about? The Vikings have about $7 million in cap space and that's BEFORE FA and the draft. They also finished with a 8-7-1 record, not exactly the SB season those obnoxious never won a damn thing fans were snipping about before the season started.

Oh, and the have a QB with a LOSING overall record. A QB who is now 4-29 against teams with winning records, AND is 0-1 in playoff games.

That man best worry about those lilac pansies instead of a team that has the resources to actually get better.

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Packer Fan's picture

December 30, 2018 at 04:16 pm

I wanted to see how this game went to make an assessment on Philbin. Well I got it. The team played miserable. Special teams found new ways to hurt the team. Defense missed so many tackles. Offense was predictable.
The coaches just played themselves into a total cleaning of the house. There is no reason to save anyone of them.

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Leatherhead's picture

December 30, 2018 at 05:42 pm

Do you think Gutekunst and Murphy....who have known Philbin for more than a decade....changed their assessment based on this game.

Clue = no

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Coldworld's picture

December 30, 2018 at 06:30 pm

That is my fear if there ever was serious condition of his candidacy. If there was, this should be setting the alarm bells off all over though.

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Bure9620's picture

December 30, 2018 at 06:15 pm

Totally unprepared and zero heart, that falls directly in Philbin

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Packerpasty's picture

December 30, 2018 at 04:19 pm

So there ya go Packer faithful, all the fans who actually think this team has a good roster, JAGs like Kizer, Jackson, Moore, Jones, Brice, Morrison, Fackrell (yup) and fan fav Kumero...and plenty more, half the O line and D backfield....you wanted to see Kizer, hope ya got a good look ...and the coaching staff....nice guy Joe Philbin, Pettine, they didn't do ANYTHING today with what they had...which I admit wasn't much...people always say Pettine does so much with what he has to work with...sorry, I watch too, I disagree..please..CLEAN HOUSE...and don't pull a Ted T and drop down out of the first round for another bunch of sub-par slugs....see ya'll on draft day...

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Leatherhead's picture

December 30, 2018 at 05:50 pm

Do yourself a favor. Look at our opening day 53. Look how few of them were on the field. Subtract (use a calculator if necessary). Tell me how nic it would have been if Clark, Daniels, Wilkerson, Perry, and King had been on the field.

The most certain way to crash the car is to panic at the wheel when you hit a bad stretch of road.

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Handsback's picture

December 30, 2018 at 04:20 pm

Hard to overcome the LOFT this team has collected. It may take a few years to get there using the draft and fa.

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Bert's picture

December 30, 2018 at 04:52 pm

Well the good news is the Bears drafted Mitch Trubisky and passed on Pat Mahomes a couple years ago. That decision alone will at least keep the Bears within reach unless Gute whiffs on the offseason.

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Samson's picture

December 30, 2018 at 05:28 pm

Sure. --- 2nd year QB is only 11-4 & headed to the playoffs. -- Trubisky may very well be the elite of the North Division for years to come.

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4thand10's picture

December 30, 2018 at 05:36 pm

Lol. He throws for less than 3000 yds a year. That’s not premier. He has a good team around him at the moment. But they sold the farm to get old lady McKaski a Super Bowl before she passes to the great beyond. And it still most likely won’t happen...

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Bert's picture

December 30, 2018 at 05:39 pm

I wasn't implying that Trubisky is bad but that Mahomes shows much more upside and can be an elite QB for years to come. Mahomes is a "difference maker" whereas Trubisky will probably be solid.

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Leatherhead's picture

December 30, 2018 at 05:51 pm

The question I would ask is where does Rodgers rank in the division.?

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Bert's picture

December 30, 2018 at 05:57 pm

I would rank AR a very jittery #1 in the division but he can go either way. Given AR's body of work in 2018 I would say there are no real elite QBs in the division but that all 4 are pretty much ok. Not great but ok.

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JimR_in_SoCal's picture

December 30, 2018 at 06:03 pm

ESPN (their total QB rating) has Rodgers at #3 in the NFC North. The #4 guy, Matt Stafford is 2-0 vs. Rodgers this season. Yeesh.

Rodgers is also:
0-1-1 vs. Min
1-1 vs. Chi

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Coldworld's picture

December 30, 2018 at 06:33 pm

Chicago won with D. Trubisky is not the reason they are in the playoffs. I would take Rodgers over him tomorrow.

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Since'61's picture

December 30, 2018 at 04:53 pm

The Packers should refund the money to anyone who paid to attend today's game since they didn't see a game. They watched a Lion's practice but paid for an NFL game.

Let's hope this doesn't carry over to 2019.
Thanks, Since '61

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4thand10's picture

December 30, 2018 at 05:16 pm

That was tough to watch. Shutouts at Lambeau...by the Lions. They should not have stopped at McCarthy....they should run Murphy out of town as well. Lots of needs on this team.

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Coldworld's picture

December 30, 2018 at 06:36 pm

I have long been saying that Murphy is the one who let the organization slide this far.

No coach is going to win with the roster we had. Too young, too old or just Jags.

The good news is that we return with second year players at key positions not rookies and that we lose superannuated players.

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Packerpasty's picture

December 31, 2018 at 09:19 am

don't worry, most were too drunk to care what they paid...

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CAG123's picture

December 30, 2018 at 05:08 pm

Man to think this team has been SKUNKED 3 times in two years without Rodgers yes I understand this team didn’t have Adams, Jones and Rodgers for the full game or at all but BLANKED 3 times!? Not even a FG.....

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4thand10's picture

December 30, 2018 at 05:22 pm

That WR core needs to be revamped ...Adams is the only legit WR right now. The running game needs a work over ...Jones is good, but he is a scat back. Need at least a thumper or 2 for 3rd and 2. They need to revamp the Oline. Defensive ends / Edge . Another DL or 2 . Lots of needs to address on this team right now

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CAG123's picture

December 30, 2018 at 05:35 pm

They have a thumper that they refuse to use Williams has shown he can get tough yardage, block and catch out of the back field. These two can be a great tandem if used correctly

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4thand10's picture

December 30, 2018 at 05:43 pm

Williams is a well rounded running back...but it was just him and jones. They teams needs a third. Preferably a bigger back. Green Bay ran well at times but the running game really doesn’t scare teams. To the point where they have to keep an extra body around the line of scrimmage.

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Leatherhead's picture

December 30, 2018 at 06:19 pm

Our RB situation is pretty good with Jones and Williams. I’d like to see two more on the 53 because injuries happen.

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Coldworld's picture

December 30, 2018 at 06:38 pm

To be fair, no run blocking today. No one was going to get yards on the ground.

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Bert's picture

December 30, 2018 at 07:17 pm

To be fair and brutally honest, the team really tanked today. 31-0 to the Lions. A total tank job. I'm wasn't a big fan of Philbin being named the HC. But for the players to speak up for Philbin during the week and then lay down on him today was reprehensible.

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Curt's picture

December 30, 2018 at 05:09 pm

What a waste - only reason to play the game was to watch Rodgers throw to Adams. That was out before the whistle - then another concussion on another uncalled penalty and the rout was in play.

Not sure what everyone sees in Pettine, obviously couldn't get these guys up to play today. I guess ok to keep him, but up to new head coach who will not be Joe Philbin

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Samson's picture

December 30, 2018 at 05:25 pm

Both Philbin & Pettine are (at this moment) packing their bags & arranging transport out of GB. -- There's no reason to keep either of them in Wisconsin any longer.

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4thand10's picture

December 30, 2018 at 05:29 pm

He needs DL , Edge / DE . Now that we don’t have Capers we don’t have to draft linebackers every year. Pettine was coaching without enough DL and Edge All year. Up until the Detroit game , the Packers were 15th in the league...with basically no line pressure. Especially with no Daniels or Clark. Yes, Pettine did good with what he had.

The offense and special teams is a dumpster fire right now...hopefully that ship can be righted.

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Coldworld's picture

December 30, 2018 at 06:43 pm

Which guys? Breeland, Brown, Fackrell Williams: after that list of alltimers, the drop off begins (I might add Fadol Brown and Lancaster before his injury somewhere).

I am not sure who is going to do much with that crew. Perhaps the best sign was Jackson making some good plays—signs of acclimating for year 2 perhaps.

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Coldworld's picture

December 30, 2018 at 06:47 pm

Am I the only person who wonders why we are seemingly devastated by injuries every year? Isn’t some critical focus on the training staff merited?

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Nick Perry's picture

December 31, 2018 at 05:24 am

Thank you! I've been screaming for a new strength and conditioning staff for years.

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Leatherhead's picture

December 30, 2018 at 05:55 pm

They will both be back.

I love your comment about needing DL, especially since none of our starting DL played a snap.

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pacman's picture

December 30, 2018 at 07:38 pm

It's going to be a long off-season with lots of changes. Who knows what next year will bring? These last two games don't really mean much but Gute has his work cut out for him.

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Flow49's picture

December 30, 2018 at 07:27 pm

Wouldn’t mind seeing some draft capital or free agent money spent on guards. If we could get some pro bowlers or all pros on either side of Linsley that could go a long way to fix the offense. Not a flashy draft pick but Martin and Frederick really made a difference in Dallas with Tyron Smith locking down the left side for a couple of good years.

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scullyitsme's picture

December 30, 2018 at 08:11 pm

Offensive line will solve everything, that needs to be the focus in the off season.

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porupack's picture

December 30, 2018 at 09:15 pm

absolutely. Majority of offense's problems all year were result of poor Oline play, which caused declining mechanics, panic and thus poor QB play, and average running game but not able to convert first downs when needed. Need to draft top talent at Oline, if not 2 picks in first 2 rounds.

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HankScorpio's picture

December 30, 2018 at 10:07 pm

There were/are plenty of problems on offense to go around. But having a really good o-line can cover them up just as easily as a bad o-line exposes them. I hope both pro and college scouts are making sure to take a really good look at vet and rook options alike.

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Doug Niemczynski's picture

December 30, 2018 at 08:37 pm

Can someone please remind me out of the 53 players that includes Aaron Rogers why do we keep the other 52 players?

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calabasa's picture

December 30, 2018 at 09:32 pm

I chose to attend the game today, my first Lambeau trip since 06. It was surreal, watching pro players jogging around, clearly ready to be done.

Paid $80 for 14th row on the 40, so at least it was cheap. If we were in the playoff hunt I wouldn’t have been able to swing it, so there’s that.

The off-season Bacon Initiative at Lambeau was a rousing success, however. With a couple Hinterland IPA’s, it was fun.

We punted on 4th and 1 from midfield with 9 seconds to play in the first half. No Hail Mary, but a punt.

That alone is why Philbin should be done here.

Go Pack.

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GoldenRetriever's picture

December 31, 2018 at 12:38 am

I think the “fun” will begin only if and when Mark Murphy and Brian Gutekunst hit the mark with their choice of head coach. I’m feeling a little bit queasy about that prospect.

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Wendell Stamps's picture

December 31, 2018 at 01:11 am

Yet another uninspired performance by the Packers. It was very obvious to anyone who had at least one eye and a brain that the reset button should have been hit after the 2015 season. Instead, we got two more years of Ted Thompson's drafting (Ted's friends have all lamented that his health problems vis a vis dementia have gotten bad in the last year) and Mike's gunshy playcalling.

What's worse is that the Packers have used access to the GM, Head Coach, and QB as a cudgel which they used to whip the media and beat writers into strict submission. If you don't, you get suspended or your press credentials pulled.

I keep coming back to what Ron Wolf famously said when he took over in 1991: "We are a football team, as long as we win football games the money will take care of itself." Instead of worrying about winning games, the Packers have committed to two ideas:

1. We have Aaron Rodgers, what else do we need?

2. Buying up all the land and affordable housing they can, demolishing it, and building their own private vision of Disneyland.

Everyone needs to be gone. Everyone. The CEO, the GM, the skeleton crew of a coaching staff. All of them.

One last thing: since about 2014 the Packers media (e.g. Team writers, beat writers, and blog sites like this one) have derisively dismissed any and all suggestion that the Packers have squandered a generational talent in Aaron Rodgers. Last year Rodgers got hurt and the entire organization imploded. This year, Rodgers didn't play to his god-tier level for the first time since 2008 and they finished 6-9-1. Just imagine if they had any other QB not named Rodgers, Brees, Brady, or Roethlisburger. Maybe, just maybe, all of those canaries in the coal mine were right.

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Doug Niemczynski's picture

December 31, 2018 at 04:02 am

What makes it even worse is that the Patriots beat the Jets i think it was 28-3.

Are win last week doesn't look good.

Are we back in the 70s-80s again?

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Doug Niemczynski's picture

December 31, 2018 at 04:03 am

Our
Our
Yikes!

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ILPackerBacker's picture

December 31, 2018 at 09:58 am

Maybe instead of repeating the mindless injury excuse you should ask why GB has this issue year in and year out.

How did King get medically cleared?
How did MB get cleared?

But in Green Bay the home of no accountability the medical staff and trainers never get reviewed.

Just like teddie never got a review until after he embarrassed the carpet bagger on national tv.

How does anyone avoid review every year? What confidence can you have in a president who admits to ONLY reading player evaluations one time in over a decade to review his GM? and then only 3.

It starts at the top and needs to include the physicians (of course this is impossible now that the docs are the tenants funding title town, something that is a conflict of interest putting people in jail most places)

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