Packers Stock Report: Zooked on a Feeling

This season has gone off the rails. Whose stock is rising and whose is falling?

Does anybody else feel like this Packers season is like Groundhog Day? Every gameday I wake up cautiously hopeful that the same problems with the team won’t keep popping up, yet time after time it’s the same story.

Like Bill Murray in that movie, many Packers fans I know have grown accustomed to the routine and callously proceed through the process of watching the same game, week after week.

Mike McCarthy introduces a new wrinkle and the offense links together a few good drives. Jamaal Williams gets his drives, which gives JK Scott a few opportunities to warm up. The defense allows a few big plays despite looking generally competent. By the second half, timeouts are wasted, drives stall and special teams makes a crucial mistake.

Go to sleep. Wake up and it’s the same old thing.

While it’s not mathematically impossible that the Packers can make the playoffs if they win out and end the regular season at 9-6-1, the path to such a run looks so astoundingly unlikely given the consistency with which the Packers have looked so mediocre. A run into the playoffs—not to mention any success therein—would require an almost miraculous transformation.

That being said, there has been some discussion among fans about tanking for better draft position and the fanhood implications of such a suggestion. People are free to cheer for their team in whatever style they choose, and ultimately it doesn’t really matter, as players will continue to play for their jobs.  

But the commonly accepted logic is that this team has shown it is too flawed to win a Super Bowl, so why even qualify for the playoffs just to lose? The problem with this assumption is that a 5-0 run to finish the season would require a different team to emerge. Maybe that team has a chance to win it all. Draft assets can be fun, but I’ll continue to support this group through 16 games.

Stock Rising: Buy! Buy! Buy!

Equanimeous St. Brown: It appeared that Marquez Valdes-Scantling had pulled away as the favorite and most trusted rookie receiver. But EQ has been able to come up with big plays or a big game just when MVS looks like he’s running away as the top rookie weapon.

EQ caught three passes Sunday night for 53 yards, including a 23-yarder. The Notre Dame product is tall, smooth and athletic, and I’m excited to see what the future holds for him.

JK Scott: My man got some good air time Sunday night, and Cris Collinsworth even commented on the rookie punter’s unorthodox style. Scott punted six times with a 46.0-yard gross average.

The Packers are now 10th in net punting, and Scott is second in fair catches forced, with 19 on the season. Some fans were upset that the team decided to invest a fifth-round draft pick in a punter, but three other teams also drafted punters, and it appears the Packers have found one worth keeping.

Stock Falling: Sell! Sell! Sell!

Possession: Mike McCarthy and Aaron Rodgers often point to a general lack of snaps as a reason why the overall offensive production isn’t up to expectations. There can be anomalies in game flow that limit the number of possessions the offense gets, but they speak about it as if they have no say in the matter.

The Packers were 2 for 10 on third down conversions and failed their only fourth-down conversion try. This offense is superficially good but struggles when it matters the most: third downs and in the red zone.

Turnovers: It’s very difficult to be critical of Mike Pettine’s defensive unit given the improvement they’ve shown over last year and with all the injuries and personnel changes they’ve had to fight through recently. But the Packers have only forced three turnovers in the last five games.

They’ve played experienced quarterbacks and desperate teams the last two weeks, but it would be nice to see some playmaking and opportunism the next couple weeks against inferior competition.

Ronald Andrew Zook: I have a very strange relationship as a fan with the Zooker. I’m also an Illinois fan (pray for me), and Zook was the head coach of the 2007-08 Rose Bowl team that made me believe Illinois football could be anything other a public display of masochism. He followed that season with a run of mediocrity.

And, oh, how sweet mediocrity seems now by comparison.

Zook took some time off from football after he was fired from Illinois, working for a bank. I like Zook, and his mere presence makes me giggle a bit. But I’m not entirely sure how or why he was chosen as an NFL coordinator.

While we’re on the subject, how many of us really know what a special teams coordinator does? He’s probably responsible for a few fake kicks which have produced mixed results. How much blame should Zook get for Mason Crosby’s nightmare game in Detroit? How much credit for his bounce-back performance? Is Zook responsible for integrating JK Scott into the NFL? My honest answer is that I have no idea.

I really hate advocating for people to be fired from any job, and assistant coaches probably make less money than you’d think, but Zook’s units haven’t performed particularly well. With Mike McCarthy’s job security in jeopardy it may be a moot point, but Zook may be better suited to the college game, where he can recruit and develop young men.

__________________________

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

4 points

Comments (55)

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

November 27, 2018 at 12:17 pm

50 years as a Packer fan. This is the worst special teams ever. Special teams miscues played key roles in a couple of defeats. I don't think it's an exaggeration to say it cost us two wins. We could be 6-5, or even 7-4 with better special teams play.

We have a tremendous punter and the best kicker in Packer history. And yet, our special teams hurt us, bad, this year, over and over.

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Lare's picture

November 27, 2018 at 12:22 pm

Crosby has made only 78% of his field goal attempts this year, which puts him at 24th in the NFL. The Packers have a winning record if he makes a few of those he missed.

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ricky's picture

November 27, 2018 at 03:38 pm

Other than the Detroit game, to which games are you referring? In the Minnesota tie, it was their kicker who failed to win the game for the Vikes, for example. And their kicker missed two (admittedly long) FG attempts Sunday night. Crosby is not the problem.

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Lare's picture

November 27, 2018 at 05:54 pm

In addition to the Detroit game (four missed field goals, they lose by 8), Crosby did miss a field goal in the first Vikings game (they tie) and he missed one in the Seahawks game (they lose by 3).

It is what it is.

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CAG123's picture

November 28, 2018 at 06:02 pm

I guess nobody remembers the missed kick at the end of regulation against Minnesota that would have won them the game or the missed kick in Seattle that they ended up losing by 3. Crosby is a problem

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dblbogey's picture

November 27, 2018 at 04:40 pm

Slocum's special teams were consistently awful. McCarthy failed to fire him until the Bostick onsides kick fiasco.

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The TKstinator's picture

November 27, 2018 at 05:47 pm

Zook is coaching the hell out of JK Scott (who many thought would be the worst punter since the invention of the oblate spheroid) and did an awesome job resurrecting Crosby after that disastrous game earler this year.
He has also never been in my kitchen.
All the above are cold, hard, facts, people.
Deal with them!

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LeotisHarris's picture

November 27, 2018 at 06:01 pm

A lot of people *are* saying Zooker has been in your kitchen, bub. Don't think you can slink in here and pretend there (their/they're) isn't a link between the two of you because we know better.

A quick check of the interwebz tells us Zook coached special teams at the University of Florida, and with the Steelers in the NFL. That, combined with the fact he is a white man in his mid 60s qualifies him to do whatever the hell he is or is not doing in Green Bay. It also rewards him with a six figure income. It's good to be Ron Zook!

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The TKstinator's picture

November 27, 2018 at 09:06 pm

Perplexing.
Have you ever seen the Zookmeister and the TKstinator in the same place, at the same time?
MAYBE the breakfast nook, but I maintain, not the kitchen!

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Lare's picture

November 27, 2018 at 12:18 pm

The Packers special teams are a laughingstock. There are a few people in the organization that the team would be better without, and Zook is at the top of the list.

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LeotisHarris's picture

November 27, 2018 at 06:02 pm

Do you know where they keep the list? I hope someone has it in a safe place.

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Lare's picture

November 27, 2018 at 06:22 pm

Most adults could come up with a list fairly easily (McCarthy, Zook, Moss, Campen, Whitt, Philbin, etc.). Probably take a little longer for many adolescents.

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Johnblood27's picture

November 27, 2018 at 07:48 pm

Campen?
Really?

You know nothing about football.

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Archie's picture

November 28, 2018 at 09:25 am

Capers, Zook, Slowcum ......MM is consistent if nothing else, unfortunately, consistently bad at picking his coaches. God help us if MM was also in charge of talent evaluation. Oh wait, he kinda is. Well at least he doesn't call plays or design our offensive scheme. But he does. Now it is perfectly clear why we have looked like sh*t against teams with winning records for the last eternity.

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Lphill's picture

November 27, 2018 at 12:21 pm

I still don't get what Tramon was thinking.

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Lare's picture

November 27, 2018 at 01:08 pm

This is why Zook needs to be fired. These are young people that in the heat of the moment are prone to make mistakes. A ST coach has maybe 5 or 6 plays a game he needs to manage, he has plenty of time to go to each and every player on every ST unit and clarify emphatically what their job is in that situation- not block in the back, not hold, take a knee in the end zone, stay away from the ball if it's bouncing. It doesn't matter that you told them in training camp what to do, you need to grab them by the facemask and make sure they remember what to do in this situation.

Lots of teams have special teams that don't make mistakes. Under Zook, the Packers have special teams that always make mistakes.

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mkelley's picture

November 27, 2018 at 03:51 pm

I guess this is what I was hinting at when I asked what a ST coordinator's job really is. Obviously he's not coaching Tramon to do what he did, and he apparently instructed Montgomery to take a knee vs. the Rams. Is it his fault that they go rogue?

I'm guessing a lot of what he spends his time on is coverage lanes, blocking assignments and timing, and a lot of that has been fine.

ST penalties have been a problem since before Zook, so who's to say it's not McCarthy's practice structure that is to blame? Or maybe roster construction plays a role?

It seems weird that his problem would be not enough yelling about obvious things, but I understand that accountability for his units' under-performance must happen at some point.

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LeotisHarris's picture

November 27, 2018 at 06:04 pm

A lot of people are saying other teams have special teams that almost always never make mistakes.

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Lare's picture

November 27, 2018 at 06:23 pm

There are 26 teams in the NFL that have less special teams penalties this season than the Packers.

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LeotisHarris's picture

November 27, 2018 at 07:03 pm

Fewer

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dblbogey's picture

November 27, 2018 at 04:41 pm

If I'm in charge, Tramon is gone and Josh Jackson is starting at safety next year.

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LeotisHarris's picture

November 27, 2018 at 06:09 pm

How likely is it you'll be in charge? Will you be able to do anything about concession prices?

Also, we took a stadium tour in August. Excellent experience. Our tour guide was named Dennis (he was assisted by Joel). If you could, please give them special mention at the employee banquet. Thanks!

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Johnblood27's picture

November 27, 2018 at 07:52 pm

Dear Leotis,

I love your perspective, how refreshing and entertaining!

Keep up the good work.

The falcons owner dropped the bottom out of concession prices and the team has tanked.

I firmly believe that the two events are irrevocably linked.

Note to Murph: Don't drop the concession prices or the soap in the shower.

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The TKstinator's picture

November 27, 2018 at 09:11 pm

My friends call me TK, but every August I work for GB giving stadium tours under the moniker “Dennis”. Helps me keep in touch with my peeps.

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Johnblood27's picture

November 27, 2018 at 09:14 pm

I am pretty sure that Joel carried that pairing...

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LeotisHarris's picture

November 27, 2018 at 10:29 pm

True story, guys. Joel was none other than Joel Hanner, son of Hawg. Great guy. Tried to slide by under the radar, but we spied his name tag and used our detective skills to quiz him. He fessed up.

Joel (Hawg's first name was Joel as well, Joel David Hanner) grew up very near Lambeau and coached HS football in the area. He said stadium tour guide is a great gig for retired guys. He clearly enjoyed the work and the people. Pretended to call Security on a kid in wearing Vikings shirt. Good stuff!

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The TKstinator's picture

November 28, 2018 at 05:22 am

Ouch!
(The truth hurts.)

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egbertsouse's picture

November 27, 2018 at 12:38 pm

After every crap ST play I love when the camera pans to Zook standing there with a befuddled look that expresses sentiments like, “What just happened?” Or, “Where am I?” Or, “I wonder if there is a Cheesecake Factory here in Champagne, IL?” It is one of my few pleasures this season. They can’t take it away.

4 points
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Skip greenBayless's picture

November 27, 2018 at 12:59 pm

Sell Sell Sell... Aaron Rodgers. Getting old, Injury prone, bad attitude, guaranteed money, a young team getting younger, a coach who might or might not be here. front office chaos, family infighting, pissed off fans. two consecutive non-playoff years. If you people are honest with yourself, this Rodgers stock does not have much of a chance of going any higher. Sell before you lose your ass. Go on take the money and run. Now!!

3 points
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dblbogey's picture

November 27, 2018 at 04:43 pm

Can we call you "Sunshine"? Your glass is totally empty. Take this Xanax.

1 points
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Skip greenBayless's picture

November 27, 2018 at 04:54 pm

Actually I sold my Aaron Rodgers glass yesterday. Sorry. Please call me Dash ok?

Thank you,

Dash

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The TKstinator's picture

November 27, 2018 at 05:56 pm

Dash,
Was it you that put the tack on the teacher’s chair?
Incredible!

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Johnblood27's picture

November 27, 2018 at 07:53 pm

I will take that Xanax

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Johnblood27's picture

November 27, 2018 at 07:54 pm

with a shot of Fireball to kick things off

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Since'61's picture

November 27, 2018 at 01:01 pm

I guess the fact that we are touting our punter as a buy and 10th in net punting tells us all we need to know about this team. I'm happy that JK Scott is working out as our punter but I have not spent many preseasons hoping for the Packers to be in the top 10 in punting for the upcoming season.

As for turnovers by our defense, what is a turnover? When was the last time we have seen such a thing? Are they legal any more?

Moving on to Zook, Fire him and let's move on already!!! Thanks, Since '61

10 points
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Johnblood27's picture

November 27, 2018 at 07:54 pm

Kizer knows exactly what a turnover is.

He is "The Pastry Chef"

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Since'61's picture

November 27, 2018 at 09:46 pm

Kizer is a turnover waiting to happen and yet we have people posting that it's time to move on from AR. We would go from an HOF Qb to a QB who can't complete a pass at all, just like 2017. Thanks, Since '61

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Skip greenBayless's picture

November 28, 2018 at 03:21 am

You are assuming it's Kizer. It's actually Boyle. R E L A X Since 61, Gute has this covered.

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Bure9620's picture

November 27, 2018 at 02:47 pm

Pretty surprised Zucker has a job, we literally have a penalty on all special teams plays

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The TKstinator's picture

November 27, 2018 at 05:57 pm

Oh now come on!
There were one or two that weren’t!

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Swisch's picture

November 27, 2018 at 06:46 pm

I don't understand why coaches for special teams wouldn't emphasize that often the best block is just a matter of getting in the way, even if it means never even touching the defender.
A great example of this (even though not actually on special teams) was the big touchdown catch by Cobb in the season opener against the Bears. Montgomery effectively blocked two Bears defenders downfield to lead the way for Cobb -- but Ty barely touched the guys, if at all.
How often do we see on special teams a penalty for an illegal block that really wasn't necessary to spring the kick returner for a good gain?
It's probably hard to teach these guys not to hit someone, but it's a lot better than being embarrassed by penalties.
On a side note, it seems remarkable how much better the special teams seem with Trevor Davis, first of all with him as a returner, but also with him as a tackler on punt coverage.
That may be enough to keep Davis around, especially if he can also be an occasional receiver who gives us a deep threat. Great players on special teams, including punters, seem way more valuable than is generally recognized.

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Johnblood27's picture

November 27, 2018 at 07:56 pm

Great players on special teams, including punters, seem way more valuable than is generally recognized.

Not according to Jeff Janis...

just sayin...

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Swisch's picture

November 27, 2018 at 10:34 pm

What is Jeff Janis up to these days, anyway?
As I remember him with the Packers, he was a good tackler on special teams, but maybe not a standout as a kick returner. I'd be glad to get the opinion of others more knowledgeable.

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PatrickGB's picture

November 27, 2018 at 03:31 pm

I donno, maybe it’s all the new guys coming and going. Maybe it’s the practice time allowed for teams nowadays. And maybe it is Zook. My take is that it also has to include MM, and the players we have.
My hope is the we get the bone head stuff cleaned up and get some regular players on STs. THEN we can truly assess Zook. Right now it doesn’t look good.

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The TKstinator's picture

November 27, 2018 at 05:59 pm

Yes!
Get it cleaned up!
Then get on to pad level!!

PS I wonder when MM uttered that famous phrase if he had any idea how much fun we’d all have with it?! Talk about a legacy! Oooh Weee!!

2 points
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Lare's picture

November 27, 2018 at 06:01 pm

Missed FG's, shanked punts, turnovers, not enough men on the field, stupid penalties.....

You would think that if your special teams are losing games for you the team would spend as much time as is necessary during practices to get those problems fixed.

Or maybe, Zook hasn't the faintest idea of what to do to fix them.

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Doug_In_Sandpoint's picture

November 27, 2018 at 03:53 pm

McCarthy will likely be fired at the end of the year and Zook will ascend to HQ. He has pictures and probably knows where BJ Raji is buried.

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LeotisHarris's picture

November 27, 2018 at 05:53 pm

Now here's a conspiracy I fully endorse. Well done, Doug!

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The TKstinator's picture

November 27, 2018 at 06:53 pm

I’ll mention that to Oliver Stone on our usual Sunday evening phone call.

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Swisch's picture

November 27, 2018 at 07:11 pm

Thanks, Matt Kelly, for largely encapsulating (especially in paragraph 3) why this season has been so gut-wrenchingly and nerve-frayingly tormenting for me. I don't feel quite as bad about getting so worked up and irritable after you summed up so well a truly exasperating trend.
In the mix of habitual causes of frustration -- deja vu all over again -- perhaps add Rodgers dancing around in the pocket before either throwing the ball away or taking a sack. It seemed he played much better in the first game against the Vikings (than in the second meeting) when he was highly hobbled, perhaps because he had to get the ball out sooner.
It would be interesting to go over each sack/throwaway from this season to see if there were guys open for shorter receptions, or even if there were any guys running shorter routes. Whether it's McCarthy or Rodgers, or a combination of the two, it seems we have to change course to establish a short passing game.
That'll get the play count higher on offense; relieve pressure on the young defense; and even open up the occasional deep ball perhaps more often than is currently the case.
Is the West Coast offense (in any variation) a thing of the past, or perhaps an untapped way of getting an immediate improvement from the Packers down the stretch?

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GVPacker's picture

November 27, 2018 at 09:12 pm

McCarthy hires Slocum then fires him and hires an even bigger boob Zook! Thats reason enough to fire McCarthy!

2 points
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Johnblood27's picture

November 27, 2018 at 09:16 pm

Maybe Coach Mike is a boob man, that would explain a lot of things...

I myself am a thigh man.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

November 27, 2018 at 10:39 pm

Coordinators make $750K to $1.25M unless you're Norv Turner when he was with MN, who made $3M. Michigan was paying its OL coach $1M. I've read that NFL coaches make in the area of $375,000. Assistant coaches make less. Contracts are generally 2-year rolling deals, and they are normally guaranteed.

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ILPackerBacker's picture

November 28, 2018 at 11:13 am

A nice mention of Monty 'getting in the way' to help Cobb score v the bears.

The bigger picture asks how and why it was needed since Cobb is a wide out and the guys RUNNING HIM DOWN are each well over 240 pounds and they ran him down like he was standing still.

You can't win when your highly paid skill position players are run down by oversized LBs.

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jlc1's picture

November 28, 2018 at 05:50 pm

He scored so I guess they got close but not close enough.

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