Packers Stock Report: Patience Pays

Whose stock is on the move this week after a crucial home win?

Victory Monday always feels a little bit better, doesn’t it? Even with this team fighting uphill to realize its potential and make the playoffs. It’s just a better feeling to stroll into work Monday morning after a Green Bay win.

The win against Miami wasn’t a flawless performance, and the Packers still have some problem areas on the roster that may limit them going forward, but it was nice to watch them make an inferior opponent look inferior.

In addition to the obvious relief of watching Aaron Jones finally have an opportunity to affect the game, fans can take some optimism from a few sneaky good performances as well. This game felt like a step in the right direction.

Stock Rising: Buy! Buy! Buy!

Kyler Fackrell: At this point, Fackrell’s redemption tour is borderline inspiring. There might not have been a player on the roster this offseason that more fans rolled their eyes at than the third-year linebacker. The truth is that late picks in the third round don’t always pan out. There have been and will be worse players taken higher in drafts.

But Fackrell’s play didn’t seem to just disappoint fans—it made them angry in a way that I can’t quite understand.

The Utah State product has done his part to show that he’s a much improved player this year over the 2016 and 2017 vintages, and I think that’s a great story. Athletes often talk about drowning out “the noise” and just focusing on improvement, but Fackrell appears to have followed through on that philosophy.

He hasn’t been dominant, and his role on the team is still limited, but he shares the team lead in sacks through nine games and has been consistently adequate in coverage. His sack on Sunday against the Dolphins was a clean one-on-one win, and he made some solid tackles in coverage in that game.

Mike Pettine: Perhaps one reason for Fackrell’s sudden competence is the Packers’ new defensive coordinator. Despite lacking a pure pass rusher that worries opponents, Green Bay is tied for the league lead in sacks with 31.

Pettine has found ways to generate free rushers, but it also appears that players are winning matchups a little more consistently than in the recent past. Whether this is because of alignment advantages, individual improvement or an uptick in urgency, Pettine deserves credit for finding a pass rush.

Credit also has to go to the secondary, which generates plenty of coverage sacks, but that unit can’t be the easiest to coordinate, either. Although there was plenty of talent and pedigree there to start, the number of injuries and new faces in the back end of the Packers’ defense hasn’t stopped it from covering better than I can remember in recent years.

The defense was put in some tough spots Sunday and managed to hold up well.

Tight ends: On 57 offensive plays, the Packers got 84 combined offensive snaps from their three tight ends, and they all made big plays in the run and pass games on Sunday. Each of Jimmy Graham, Lance Kendricks and Marcedes Lewis caught a pass of at least 14 yards, and each made contributions run blocking as well.

Even Graham, who has a reputation as a disinterested blocker, did juuuuust enough to impede his matchup on some of Aaron Jones’ bigger runs.

Stock Falling: Sell! Sell! Sell!

Josh Jackson: This is less of a “sell” and more of a “use mild caution” label, but I’ve been a little disappointed with the rookie cornerback lately. Perhaps some of this is relative to the outstanding play we’re seeing from Jaire Alexander, but Jackson was noticeable in coverage on Sunday, and not in a good way.

One off game from a rookie corner isn’t going to make me panic, and players develop at different rates, but I expected a little more out of Jackson early. The Dolphins seemed to target him in the first half with some success throwing to their smaller, shiftier receivers. Again, this is far from a hard sell, but it’s something to keep an eye on.

Ron Zook: Hey, at least that fake punt worked, right?

The special teams errors are starting to pile up, and his job security this offseason is legitimately in question, even in an organization that doesn’t make quick-trigger decisions. Who knew the 2018 season would make us so eager for the return of Trevor Davis?

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Matt Kelley is a staff writer for Cheesehead TV. He can be found on Twitter via @hustleandheart1

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Comments (35)

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

November 13, 2018 at 11:43 am

I'm most impressed by the 31 sacks. Pettine is getting the most out of his players and his schemes are confusing QBs. If McCarthy does get fired, then I hope for continuity's sake that we keep Pettine.

You see what the Bears did last season: fired John Fox, but kept Vic Fangio on. It was a wise move as the defense was already solid. Why disrupt a defense that is trending in the right direction? Pettine must stay.

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Tarynfor12's picture

November 13, 2018 at 11:51 am

Agree...but new HC's like to pick their own coordinators. Finding the replacement that will accept keeping a hold over is another and a possible insight into the prospective HC's ego and ability to know/accept what obviously works.

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Skip greenBayless's picture

November 13, 2018 at 12:47 pm

That is my no. 1 concern with all this talk of firing Mike McCarthy. If he goes, the new head coach might not retain Pettine even if he's shown to have improved the defense. Everybody likes their own guys. Remember Jim Bates in 2005 and Mike Sherman. He wanted that head coaching job and was pissed when he didn't get it and left. The only true way to keep Pettine is to make him the head coach. He then can hire some young offensive genius that everyone seems to want to run the offense and he sticks to running the defense just like MM is running this offense. I think that might be the most likely option if this defense continues to improve. Besides, Pettine seems like a hell of a coach. I compare him and his style to Mike Holmgren.

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JimR_in_SoCal's picture

November 13, 2018 at 02:48 pm

I'm not at all concerned if firing MM leads to a change in DC. As much as I love Pettine after way too many years of Dom Capers' "defenses," Pettine's not the only effective defensive coach out there. Hopefully he would get to stay in GB if the Packers move on from McCarthy, but it wouldn't make me hesitate to lose McCarthy.

Go Pack Go! Fry the SeaChickens!

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buddrow53's picture

November 13, 2018 at 04:49 pm

Just maybe that the reason Pettine took the DC job was he would have an insider chance/choice to be MM replacement.

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Skip greenBayless's picture

November 13, 2018 at 07:23 pm

i agree buddrow53. I remember Jim Bates was DC in 2005. Did one hell of a job as Brett Favre threw int. after int. that year yet his defense always put them in positions to win. Sherman was let go after that season and Jim Bates wanted that job bad. He interviewed but the new GM TT chose MM and MM chose Capers. Bates was pissed if I recall. I don't think he ever coached again after that. I can see the same thing playing out with Pettine. I know people love to hate MM and want him gone no matter what he does even if he wins the super bowl. I want to see how this season plays out first. I want to see how much better Pettine improves this defense and if MM can adjust his calls to more pro Jones instead of always passing first. I think MM and Pettine work well together or at least they stay out of each other's hair. Not going to make any calls on MM until this season is over.

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Since '61's picture

November 13, 2018 at 10:23 pm

Actually MMs first DC was Bob Sanders from 2006 - 08. Capers was brought in by MM for the 2009 season and regrettably remained about 5 seasons too long. He should have been chucked after the 2012 season when he had no answer for Kaepernick running all over the place in the playoff loss to the 49ers. Thanks, Since '61

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Hawg Hanner's picture

November 13, 2018 at 07:39 pm

Yes sir..The guy is doing a great job unlike his offensive counterparts. Make it easy and just turnover the offensive side, perhaps make Pettine the head coach? Hell he won games in Cleveland!

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Tarynfor12's picture

November 13, 2018 at 11:46 am

Being one of the few original buy Fackrell stock brokers and I bailed after last season, cutting my losses early unlike those who rode their Perry stock to ground zero in profit.

I understand the hype for Fackrell, but from the stats position, would his stock be worthy of purchase if you erase the Buffalo game against the at the time worst offense in the NFL. That would be 3 sacks, 3 TFL's gone from the buy sheet reasons to buy. Taking away those numbers and you have .5 sack better than Perry and .5 less than Matthews.

I wouldn't buy to much just yet but do so incrementally based on weekly closing gains with reservations.

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Lare's picture

November 13, 2018 at 01:53 pm

If the Buffalo offense was so bad, why didn't Matthews and Perry have more sacks against them?

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Oppy's picture

November 13, 2018 at 01:58 pm

I think Fackrell would probably be ideal as a pass rush specialist playing from the DE position in a traditional 4-3. He’s got length and some quickness. He’s just kind of an odd duck as an every down OLB in a 3-4. His age coming out of the draft also makes him a strange case. He only reason I picked on you about Fackrell is because you were known to boast that you were never wrong about any players around these parts.

As to perry, when he’s remotely healthy he’s a very good OLB. He’s just never healthy. You always talk about stats and garbage time, but watching him -play- down to down in 2016 and 2017 is all anyone needed to do to see the talent and production when he isn’t suffering an injury that affects his base, platform, or core.

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Tarynfor12's picture

November 13, 2018 at 02:59 pm

" The only reason I picked on you about Fackrell is because you were known to boast that you were never wrong about any players around these parts."

I never boasted of never being wrong...I just felt strong about certain players.
I said Perry would never be the OLB that he was expected to be. Was I right or wrong ?
I said Fackrell will be a good OLB and never said great. I bailed but Right or wrong.
I wanted no part of Datone Jones, not to resign Neal, don't draft Worthy, I wasn't happy with Lacy, I fought for Starks as a sleeper pick...was I more right or wrong with these.
I disliked the Sherrod pick and Newhouse beat him out.
I remember saying when Gabe Carimi was a draft possible's I said, I wouldn't take him with the Bears 1st pick even if they gave it to us .
Right or wrong with these.
IIRC, I liked the Hayward/Sean Richardson who got injured and never played.
I thought Lawrence Guy would work.
I liked Janis as a sleeper.
I thought Abbrederis was a homer selection.

I don't select every player right, I just stand by my conviction towards some being wrong and over rated for the Packers and by many fans.

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Old School's picture

November 13, 2018 at 04:24 pm

From the perspective of a coach, or a GM...you've got 53 guys on the roster and about half of those have to be on their rookie deal because you just can't afford to pay vets for every position.

And you get to put 21 defensive players on the gameday roster. 21 healthy players, hopefully. That's about 5 DL, about 9 DBs, and 7 linebackers, give or take.

So a guy like Fackrell, who's always available, a core special teams guy, and cheap,...…... certainly has a value even if he never makes a single sack. I felt the same way about Brice. And Gilbert.

Yes, you need some standouts, like Clark and Martinez and Alexander and King and Daniels, but you also have to have those other guys like Fackrell.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

November 13, 2018 at 06:31 pm

I never really thought about the numbers active on Defense, Offense and STs, respectively. Seems like you're pretty close to being right on the money. Let's look at the Miami game:

(21) OFF: 2 QBs, 4 WRs, 4 TEs, 3 RBs, 8 OL
(22) DEF: 3 Safeties, 5 CBs, 5 DL, 9 LBs
(3) ST: P, K, LS

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zoellner25's picture

November 13, 2018 at 12:26 pm

If Mike Pettine can turn Kyler Fackrell into an actual above average OLB, he should be coach of the decade

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

November 13, 2018 at 02:42 pm

If MP can get value out of inexpensive OLBs in general it would be fantastic since the tend to become absurdly expensive whether they keep earning their pay or not.

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Razer's picture

November 13, 2018 at 12:47 pm

...but it was nice to watch them make an inferior opponent look inferior...

Let's face it, we should have beaten Miami. And with the temperatures dropping, those Dolphins couldn't wait to get back on the plane. Let's keep this in perspective.

And let's keep this sack thing in perspective. We run up the total against teams that have very poor or injured O-lines and now think we have the pass rush solved. Its great we performed against the lowly - now let's see if we can get to Russell Wilson and Cousins.

We should be cautiously optimistic that this team may stop shitting the bed.

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calabasa's picture

November 13, 2018 at 02:54 pm

Alright- I won’t take the plastic sheets off yet!

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Gort's picture

November 13, 2018 at 06:07 pm

Other teams play against teams that have very poor or injured O-lines too. The total so far is impressive and surprising and agree that the next 2 games will be a challenge.

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Lare's picture

November 13, 2018 at 06:32 pm

"And let's keep this sack thing in perspective. We run up the total against teams that have very poor or injured O-lines"

The Packers had 5 snacks and 8 tackles for loss against the LA Rams. At 9-1 on the season and the top ranked offense in the NFL, I don't think I'd consider the Rams "lowly".

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Rick F's picture

November 13, 2018 at 12:48 pm

Scheme and detailed film work is what has got their pressure on QBS. Pettines attacking multiple front and coverages has been huge and it makes match up issues. This has made offensive staff prepare for all those looks and the sacks have come from a lot of players. That is coaching, preparation and in game adjustments. MM should pick his brain about certain things and how to attack it. MM said they are big into self scout, but if that is true I’m asking the defensive staff what they think of his offense. Sometimes you need to be told it Sucks and you must scrap plays and draw up stuff to attack the opponents weakness on a weekly basis. They have play makers so design plays to open up the field. I think when you struggle you must GRIND even harder and work longer to fix it.

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JimR_in_SoCal's picture

November 13, 2018 at 02:54 pm

Interesting comments, Rick. Perhaps the Packers should hire an experienced defensive coach to serve on the OC's staff, with the sole purpose of showing how to attack our offense. Maybe we'd get the offense sorted out earlier in the season.

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Rick F's picture

November 13, 2018 at 03:13 pm

That is what I would do. Then you can have discussions about what they think are vulnerable points to the scheme and why they attack this and play coverage to that. I would turn over every stone and build my offense to play multiple styles like rams, saints, pats and Steelers, it’s just a way to play with balance . You need honest assessment to stay on top and build accordingly!

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Lare's picture

November 13, 2018 at 05:58 pm

If you want to attack the Packers offense, just stop them from running the ball.

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stockholder's picture

November 13, 2018 at 02:00 pm

Buy yes. He's playing because the guys in front are slaking. Nursing. day dreaming. The word for Jackson isn't sell. It's Hold. You Hold onto people seeing positive things by keeping them. MM is a Hold! He's not rushing players. He's waiting for the next dividend. You Pick and wait for the investment to grow.

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Point Packer's picture

November 13, 2018 at 02:10 pm

"Ron Zook: Hey, at least that fake punt worked, right?"

Does Mike McCarthy devalue Special Teams so much that he's ok installing one of his drinking/eating buddies in this critical position? We all celebrated when Slocum got canned and then cringed when he brought on someone that had no business leading Special Teams for a NFL team, let alone a pop warner team. And to no ones surprise its been at best up and down and at worse, consistently below average. I'll give Zook credit for bringing Crosby back from the brink, but beyond that, not much else to point toward.

And this year GB SS has been utterly atrocious.

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Demon's picture

November 13, 2018 at 03:57 pm

I bet if you asked Big Mike he would tell you what a ....damn fine coach Zook is. Just like Capers was and Slocum.

Zook is just another member of MM's horseshit coaching staff that we hoped he would get rid of.

It does appear that he did buck his own trend when he hired Pettine though. Finally MM nay have hired a good coach. Although it may have been purely by accident. As they say every so often even a blind squirrel finds a nut.

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Lare's picture

November 13, 2018 at 06:09 pm

The Packers would be better today had McCarthy replaced Zook, Campen and Moss.

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LeotisHarris's picture

November 14, 2018 at 04:28 pm

Campen? I'd say he's one of the finest OL coaches in the league. Respected by players and colleagues alike.

Zook is interesting in that he coached special teams with the Steelers for 3 years way back when, and had that role under Steve Sprurier for a short time at the University of Florida. A good deal of coaching is teaching, and maybe now at age 64 Zook is having a harder time connecting with an ever-changing cast of special teams players. I agree, special teams play has been terrible. Last year it was a strength.

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Allen  Taylor's picture

November 13, 2018 at 02:58 pm

I think MP would do a great job as the next HC (if MM gets fired)

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Demon's picture

November 13, 2018 at 03:43 pm

Have to correct you......WHEN MM gets fired

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Lare's picture

November 13, 2018 at 06:18 pm

If the Packers do fire McCarthy (which I think the odds are less than 50-50 at this point) it definitely wouldn't happen until after the season is over.

The question then is if Pettine becomes a hot commodity on the HC circuit. After the job he has done improving the Packers defense this season I'm guessing he'll have multiple opportunities. It'll be interesting to see if Green Bay is one of them.

Regardless who the HC is, they need somebody to challenge and get the best from Rodgers after all the money they have invested in him. It doesn't appear that McCarthy can do that any more.

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Old School's picture

November 13, 2018 at 04:17 pm

The 31 sacks is a team effort, as it should be in a team sport. Keeping guys covered for an extra 0.6 seconds makes a difference. And players ARE winning their individual matchups, which is the key to good defense.

The double TE alignment creates 8 gaps for a back to go through, which means the defense has to have a body in every gap AND win matchups....not always possible, especially if you're trying to keep from getting torched downfield. So I suspect Jones will find continued success if we do this against Seattle, which is even shakier against the run than Miami. True fact.

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WMA's picture

November 13, 2018 at 05:57 pm

Seattle gives up 5.0 yards per carry. 4th worst in the league. If MM does not run/screen the ball with Jones 20+ times he should be terminated after the game and be made to walk home from Seattle.

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CAG123's picture

November 13, 2018 at 06:31 pm

Let’s not underestimate the value of Williams as well he was built for games like this he should get about 10-15 touches himself especially because the stats show the Packers are better when Rodgers throws less than 30 times. MM needs to utilize both his backs and not try to have Rodgers throwing 32 plus times.

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