The Lass Word: Love or Rodgers, Who Started Out With the Better Team?

Comparing the team surrounding Rodgers in his first year as a starter with the team Love will inherit.

What are Jordan Love’s realistic chances of being a success in his first year as the Packers starting quarterback?  Of course, no one knows for sure, but one way of gaining some insight might be to compare the strength of Love’s team to the 2008 Green Bay team that surrounded Aaron Rodgers in his first year as the starter.   

Keep in mind, at the time, nobody knew Rodgers would become a Hall of Fame performer.  Many of the same questions currently being asked about Love were being spoken about Rodgers.  Did Rodgers have a better chance to succeed because he had a better team?  Here’s a subjective comparison of the 2008 Packers to the projected 2023 team.  I acknowledge that any such comparison is highly speculative because we just don’t know how the 2023 team will turn out, whereas we do know how the 2008 team performed.  Therefore many of my comparisons are based on the 2022 performances of the veteran players, projecting how they might likely contribute this season.  

 

Running Backs (2008)  Ryan Grant, Brandon Jackson 

Running Backs (2023) Aaron Jones, AJ Dillon 

Advantage 2023 

Although Grant was an excellent ball carrier for Green Bay, he has already been surpassed in most categories by Jones.  Grant averaged 4.3 yards per carry and totaled 27 touchdowns, compared to Jones’ franchise record 5.1 yards per carry and 43 scores.  Grant ranks sixth all time in rushing yards.  Jones is already third.  Dillon is a better back-up than Jackson. 

 

Receivers (2008)  Donald Driver, Greg Jennings, James Jones 

Receivers (2023)  Christian Watson, Romeo Doubs, Jayden Reed 

Advantage 2008 

Not only was the 2008 receiver group better than the current unit, it is quite possibly one of the best in Packers history.  Driver went on to become the all time leader in receiving yards.  Jennings is ninth and Jones is fourteenth.  By this time, Driver was a ten year veteran, while Jennings was entering his third season, so Rodgers had all pro, experienced pass catchers to help him navigate the offense.  Watson and Doubs certainly show potential but lack the veteran experience and the track record of the 2008 bunch.  Reed is a total unknown as a rookie.  One day these two units may be comparable, but not now. 

 

Offensive Line (2008)  Chad Clifton, Darryn Colledge, Scott Wells, Jason Spitz, Mark Tauscher 

Offensive Line (2023)  David Bakhtiari, Elgton Jenkins, Josh Myers, Jonathan Runyan, Yosh Nijman 

Advantage:  2008 

The current team compares favorably on the left side.  Bakh and Jenkins can hold their own with anybody.   But at center, right guard, and right tackle the 2008 players were all above average to very good, while Myers, Runyan and Nijman are inconsistent at best and may even face a training camp battle to keep Zach Tom from taking one of their jobs.  

 

Tight Ends (2008)  Jermichael Finley, Donald Lee 

Tight Ends (2023)  Tyler Davis, Luke Musgrave, Tucker Kraft 

Advantage:  Push 

I rated this a push because in 2008 Finley was a raw rookie who would catch just six passes that season.  Lee was actually the starter.  Finley showed great potential, but so do Musgrave and Kraft.  Going into the season, the Green Bay coaching staff had no idea what they really had in Finley back in ‘08, which is pretty much true of the current staff when it comes to their 2023 pair of draft picks. 

 

Fullback (2008)  John Kuhn, Korey Hall 

Fullback (2023)  Josiah Deguara, Henry Pearson 

Advantage:  2008  

Kuhn was in year three of a ten year stretch with the Pack, during which he achieved three Pro Bowls and one first team All Pro selection.  He was also one of the most popular fan favorites on the squad.  Kuhn was an excellent lead blocker and pass protector, and specialized in the third-and-one fullback dive play.  Deguara has proven himself as a capable blocker and occasional pass catcher, but he has battled injuries and failed to display the kind of speed and route running ability that would enable him to break into serious tight end target territory.  Pearson likely won’t make the team. 

 

Defensive leaders (2008)  Aaron Kampman, Ryan Pickett, Johnny Jolly, AJ Hawk, Charles Woodson, Al Harris, Nick Collins 

Defensive leaders (2023)  Kenny Clark, De’Vondre Campbell, Quay Walker, Rashan Gary, Jaire Alexander, Rasul Douglas 

Advantage:  Push 

Considering the names on that Green Bay defense in 2008, the overall performance of the unit was surprisingly bad.  The Packers ranked 22nd in points allowed, compared to 17th last season.  The 2008 squad was 13th in yards allowed, compared to 16th last year.  Kampman led the team with 9.5 sacks.  I have to feel somebody on this year’s team will exceed that.  Woodson, Harris and Collins all made the Pro Bowl.  Woodson and Collins both had seven interceptions.  But that defense had trouble getting pressure on the opposing quarterback.  After Kampman’s 9.5 sacks, nobody else had more than three.  It will be indeed disappointing if this year’s defense, stocked with eight first round picks, doesn’t at least play as well as that ‘08 crew. 

 

Kickers (2008)  Mason Crosby, Derrick Frost 

Kickers (2023)  Anders Carlson, Pat O’Donnell 

Advantage:  Push 

I am assuming here that Crosby was a better placekicker in ‘08 than Carlson will be in his rookie season.  But that’s not necessarily true.  Carlson has a big leg and Bisaccia likes him.  Crosby had his usual dependable year in ‘08, making just under 80 percent of his field goals, and all 46 of his extra point tries.  But if I give the edge to Crosby over Carlson, I also have to give the same props to O’Donnell over Frost, who was inconsistent and was replaced for four games by Jeremy Kapinos. 

 

So, by my subjective judgement, out of seven areas of the team, Jordan Love has better talent than Aaron Rodgers had in only one category (running back).  Rodgers had better players in three areas (receivers, O-line, fullback) and three others are roughly equal.  Rodgers led the Pack to a 6-10 record in ‘08.  Does that mean this year’s team will be worse? 

Before we settle for that prediction, let’s consider a few other factors.  Rodgers’ head coach was Mike McCarthy.  Love has Matt LaFleur.  You can make the argument that LaFleur is a better offensive mind, at least for the modern game.  Also, the ‘08 Packers had to play a first place schedule, having gone 13-3 the previous season.  This year Love will get to play a third place docket.   

In addition, the caliber of the young talent on this year’s team would seem higher.  For example, the 2008 roster had six first round picks on it, but one of those was defensive tackle Justin Harrell, one of the all time great busts in franchise history.  The current team has nine first round picks, none of whom can yet be labeled bust.  And this year’s team may not be complete.  Impact players could be added, such as bringing back Mason Crosby or Marcedes Lewis, or signing a veteran receiver. 

The 2008 team was rebounding from the drama of the Brett Favre departure.  The current team is, ironically, trying to rebound from almost an identical scenario with the trade of Rodgers.  Will history repeat itself?   

Despite what the analytics from this article seem to indicate, I can’t shake the feeling that the Packers are going to fare much better in Love’s first year as a starter than they did in Rodgers’ first campaign.  I don’t have a lot of facts to back that up.   

But why let facts get in the way of preseason optimism?  

  

 

 

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

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

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20 points
 

Comments (65)

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relleum61's picture

July 31, 2023 at 06:33 am

Joe Barry and the defense is the most likely answer to this question. The '08 team had their opportunities for a much better season. Seven of the ten losses were by one score. As I recall, the Packers had a late leads that the defense could not hold in many of those losses. The underperforming defense cost Defensive Coordinator Bob Sanders his job at the end of the year, which lead to the hiring of Dom Capers. The improvement over the next few seasons was immediate. With the schedule, the '23 team can be much better than the '08 team if the defense plays to it's potential.

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croatpackfan's picture

July 31, 2023 at 06:39 am

Ken, I agree with you on few points only.

First, considering who is left on WR market. I do not see player who will be valuable to take snaps from young WR core. So, by MHO there will not be adition of veteran WR to the team.

If you look at Deguara stats, you may find out that he caught all throws to him that was catchable (not a large number), just wasn't used on that part of the game much. And have nice YAC to his stats. As rookie he caugth TD from FPQB, before he went down to injury.

Preseasom is the time for optimism. So, do not apologize for one.

Thank you.

9 points
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Boneman's picture

July 31, 2023 at 06:39 am

I believe you also need to factor the strength of the Division and Conference. Both are pretty low right now. The 3rd place schedule is very significant because of this. I too get the feeling that this team will perform better. It could be that there are so many fewer vet players. These guys are out to prove to the world that they're good. In 2008 we also lost a lot of one score games so we could have done better overall. Interestingly Joe Berry was the DC in Detroit that year when they went 0-16. Predicting 10 to 12 wins and North title this year.

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greengold's picture

July 31, 2023 at 06:48 am

Defensive leaders a push?

OOF! No. Aaron Kampman, Ryan Pickett, Johnny Jolly, AJ Hawk, Charles Woodson, Al Harris, Nick Collins??? That secondary alone cannot be touched. Maybe Clark beats Pickett, but, no. Kampman had 15.5 sacks in 2006 and 12 sacks in 2007. I've been looking forward to seeing Gary get up into the double digits though the ACL did him in last season... Maybe that happens this season with a very solid, quick recovery. We all know Gary is putting in the work. He would have had at least 12 sacks last season had he remained healthy. If we're splitting hairs, Cullen Jenkins, in his 5th year with the Packers was on that 2008 defense as well.

Splitting hairs further, we did add a boatload of new talent this offseason. Unknown quantities at this point, but a ton of potential to not only be good, but great. That could swing things the other way, Ken!

The whole "8 First Round picks" thing is getting a tad old. Not to take anything away from our current players, but Clark was pick #27. Jaire #18. Gary #12. Savage #21. Stokes #29. Walker #22. Wyatt # 28. LVN #13.

I see two draft picks in the Top 15. Five of those eight are past pick #20. Zero in the Top 10. We'll have to wait until next year before we get one of those (thank you, Jets!), and it will probably be used on Offense...

Nonetheless, I think the Packers will have a minimum of 10 Wins and they'll make the playoffs. From there? Sky's the limit. This young Packers team will be playing with house money & NO FEAR!

9 points
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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

July 31, 2023 at 07:47 am

In total agreement GG!

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greengold's picture

July 31, 2023 at 07:58 am

Good to see you, Knock!!!

What is different about THIS particular Packers team in 2023 is a brilliant collection of veteran players at key positions, save for WR/TE, and an army of young players added within the last 2 years...

54 !!!

That's the number of players added to this Packers team, new to the NFL since 2022. I find that figure to be remarkable. All 54 players either rookies or in their Year 2. Some super talents in there too. I mean, potential All-Pro players exist in that group IMO.

67 players on the Packers 90 man 2023 roster entered the NFL in 2020, just to take that a step further.

They are bound by their youth. A generation of players who gets each other. A very simple, unusual (in today's NFL) common bond shared. I can't help but think this furthers that TEAM unity we often coveted and craved for years. Yeah, they are the youngest team in the NFL. Probably by a mile. But, they are loaded with talent and speed, in a young man's game.

You know what this Packers team DOES NOT HAVE? Old veteran slackers going through the motions for a paycheck!!! Not a single one. This team has been revitalized 100%. That kind of energy, exuberance & confidence is contagious. They are so impressionable, with really just a smattering of high quality veterans to show them how to be a Pro. That's all they are getting is the highest quality mentorship.

Some of you who go to practices regularly will know what I mean in this regard. How many of you saw a lackluster DL group working alone, way off to the side, going through the motions before Clark came on board? Datone Jones? wow. Man, I remember Ha Ha ALWAYS half-assing his warmups before practices, always screwing off. (sorry Big B!, but it's true), and WHO wound up with all the hamstring injuries?

Listen to the enthusiasm exhibited in any number of current interviews available on video. Every one of these young players are learning about personal accountability to the TEAM! Giving nothing but their very best. I love it.

LFG GPG

4 points
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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

August 02, 2023 at 02:33 pm

GG,
A lot of heavy stuff going on in my life (from death to birth, to significant health issues all in a very tight window of time), so been very removed here on CCTV. Besides, since you & I are always in lock step about everything Packers related I know you got everything covered! :)

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Ferrari-Driver's picture

July 31, 2023 at 10:10 am

GG, excellent research and presentation.

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greengold's picture

July 31, 2023 at 10:52 am

Thank you, my friend! I'm just thinking there are a very high number of intangibles you want to have on a team, young or old, to give you your best chance to win already at work on this team.

Just a gut feeling it's going to be a whole lot of really fun & exciting football from our Packers in 2023.

3 points
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SJPack's picture

July 31, 2023 at 02:00 pm

The 2008 Team may have started out as a better team, with the huge advantage of their WR room, but by the end of this season, 2023 will be a better team and make the playoffs with 10 wins, because of all of the catchers, being used in a more dynamic and distributed fashion.

2 points
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SicSemperTyrannis's picture

July 31, 2023 at 08:36 pm

GG, it's a fun discussion. I think everybody on the current roster would be honored just to be compared with that '08 roster, maybe exceptions would be #69 and 23, a couple other vets, and our double headed monster in the backfield. Unproven potential this year vs the established careers of 15 years ago?

The big thing to me is JL10's third year as our starter, and thereafter :) Greatness could be developing right now ...

2 points
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greengold's picture

July 31, 2023 at 10:38 pm

Shared my confidence that Jordan Love was the best of the 3 walking through the doors at 1265, and I still stand by that. He’s got a career left to play out and I’m here for all of it.

Agree. The G stands for “Greatness.” I’m willing to let it all unfold and see what happens.

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Bitternotsour's picture

August 01, 2023 at 08:24 am

Woodson, HOF. Nick Collins, a generational safety. Al Harris. Tamon Williams! Not even a mention of Atari Bigby. We haven't had that big of a hitter since, Atari brought fear into the middle of the field. A wash my ass.

Also, Mike McCarthy was arguably the 2nd best coach in the NFL in 2008. He was the gold standard for QB play. He was insanely creative, the Big 5, the first empty backfield. He was a leader. I just don't see anything resembling that from MLF, I mean c'mon. Also, the front office structure, a humble Ted Thompson running the show, no interference from Harlan. Structurally, the team was in a million times better position in 2008 for success and continued success.

I don't understand the lack of respect generated for MM. The guy was a mensch. Talk about carrying the G. Show some damn gratitude.

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NickPerry's picture

July 31, 2023 at 06:59 am

Fun article to start the week with...Thanks Ken.

"Despite what the analytics from this article seem to indicate, I can’t shake the feeling that the Packers are going to fare much better in Love’s first year as a starter than they did in Rodgers’ first campaign. I don’t have a lot of facts to back that up."

I too have that "Feeling" Ken and although it's subsided a little bit the last several weeks, I still think this team can win 10 games. My biggest concern before Carlson went 1-7 (UGH!!!) was the lack of experience at the TE and WR positions. I get it, they call all grow together. But there's SO MUCH inexperience at WR and TE I'm wondering if they'll be able to get out of their own way.

There will be mistakes...TONS of them I'm sure. But there's also so much talent on this roster I'm thinking maybe they can still make enough plays to win early when they try to figure it all out together.

I also noticed Zach Tom wasn't listed as a potential starter on the O-Line. Now I get the whole 6th man on the O-Line, the Jack of ALL trades who play literally anywhere. But I also think he's definitely one on the 5 best O-Linemen on this roster. If he's not the RT, then Josh Meyers had better played his ass off this summer and improved... A LOT, and I haven't heard anything that makes me think that's true.

I think this defense as a whole can be better. That feels strange to say when guys like Woodson, Harris, and Collins were on that 2008 team. I'll say this, if Joe Barry fails again, the Packers hopefully will be calling Jimmy Leonard before the end of the season and give him a blank check to sign with them as the Packers DC in 2024.

Note...Pads on today...STAY HEALTHY BOYS!

8 points
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SicSemperTyrannis's picture

July 31, 2023 at 08:43 pm

Half pads today actually. It looked like the coaches very much stressed nobody getting hurt today. Full pads tomorrow.

Still seeing a lot of great effort and hustle out there :)

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stockholder's picture

July 31, 2023 at 07:13 am

The 2008 draft put more competition in the offense.
Jordy Nelson, Finley and Josh Sitton.
Advantage Rodgers.

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GregC's picture

July 31, 2023 at 07:21 am

Thanks for the analysis. How was that 2008 defense so bad with all of those good players on it?

I disagree on the comparison of the kickers. Crosby clearly gets the nod over a kicker who is fresh out of college. As for punters, it is stated that Pat O'Donnell finished 7th in net yards last season. I looked it up, and I'm seeing him ranked 28th in net yards and 31st in average net yards, which is the more important stat anyway. Derrick Frost was a disaster though, so I would still take O'Donnell.

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Bearmeat's picture

July 31, 2023 at 07:24 am

"In addition, the caliber of the young talent on this year’s team would seem higher."

Here's the key. Other than Collins (who hadn't arrived yet) and Woodson, the 08 team was aging and needed a complete reboot on defense. The 23 team is not old and other than safety does NOT need a personnel reboot. Look at HOW the Packers lost all those games in 2008. The offense would score to take the lead, then the defense would lose it late. That is the fear on this year's team, and if it happens, the entire defensive coaching staff HAS to be gone and MLF HAS to be on the hot seat in 2009, just like McCarthy was.

The 08 Packers is the worst case scenario for the 23 Packers. I think the 23 Packers will do marginally better. Either winning a weak division, or being in the conversation pushing a playoff spot.

5 points
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SicSemperTyrannis's picture

July 31, 2023 at 08:45 pm

I saw our safeties out there today and they all looked very good. Of course that's not at all the same thing as regular season games.

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RCPackerFan's picture

July 31, 2023 at 07:29 am

I would agree with most of this.

The OL I would disagree with though. This is how I look at the 5 positions and who I would rather have starting today.

Bakhtiari > Clifton - (W-2023)
Jenkins > Colledge - (W-2023)
Myers < Wells - (W-2008)
Runyan > Spitz - (W-2023)
Tom < Tauscher - (W-2008)

If I had my choice of which OL i wanted, I would take the 2023 OL. Bakhtiari and Jenkins for possibly the best left side in football. Myers is improving. Runyan has been very solid since he started, and I think Tom is going to be great. I would take the 2023 OL.

So for offense with Love starting I would take OL and RB's over the 2008 squad. I would say the TE is a push but if I had to choose one group I'd probably take the 2023. The WR's its the 2008, no question. That being said, i am excited for our 2023 WR group.

I'm excited for this season. i have no clue how good or bad this team will be. But I have a feeling they are going to surprise some people this year.
Rodgers had a down year last year. He had the thumb injury, the WR position dealt with a lot of injuries, as did the OL. They ended up making a lot of changes on the OL and started figuring things out later in the year. I feel like the OL has solidified itself after moving Jenkins back to LG. Runyan having an offseason at RG and Tom or Nijman battling it out at RT. oh and I feel like Myers improved a lot as the season wore on.
I feel the WR's will be better this year compared to last year. Lazard started the year hurt. Cobb really wasn't a big factor. Watkins did almost nothing. Watson was injured a quite a bit, but when he settled in he really settled in. Doubs was the best WR until he got hurt. TE Lewis essentially is a 6th OL. He didn't help much in the passing game. Tonyan didn't return to pre injury form. Deguara wasn't much of a factor with Rodgers. While we have 2 rookie TE's, I don't think it will be hard to match the receiving production from last years TE's.

Last year the team finished 8-9 and were 1 game short of making the playoffs. I feel the players on this team will be better then last years team. I feel this is an ascending team not descending.

7 points
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T7Steve's picture

July 31, 2023 at 07:42 am

We just need to win the division games. Any others are cake. Someone, please tell me the 2008 record against the division?

Totally different offenses. The 2008 O was a pass based West Coast type deal. A heavy run O (that's supposed to seem complicated) will favor the new QB and youngsters.

Comparing Ds is hard. The game has changed so much. I like a D that's challenged to prove themselves.

2 points
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LeotisHarris's picture

July 31, 2023 at 08:31 am

" Someone, please tell me the 2008 record against the division?"

4-2 in the North in 2008. Swept the Lions, and split with the Bears and the Minnesota NFL Franchise.

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T7Steve's picture

July 31, 2023 at 09:29 am

Thanks. I'd try to look it up and probably end up in the wrong country.

That's how to set the tone, I think. Win the division. Injuries aside, 6-0 is very attainable this season.

1 points
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Coldworld's picture

July 31, 2023 at 08:00 am

It depends on what context you look at this when asking which is better for the QB. Without a doubt I’d bet on the 2008 roster on offense to give its QB greater success, due in part to experience and how it was distributed. That OL was not bad, Grant was an effective piece and Kuhn had a clear role at which he was effective. TE role was adequate particularly from a protection perspective and in terms if returning players Lee was better than Davis thus far. The WRs were experienced and consistent, in fact they were very good in 2008. The current crop may be in future.

If there is an argument it’s about whether the 2008 or the current D wins more games. If you split that D into front seven and secondary, no disrespect to Alexander, but I’m taking a secondary with Woodson and Collins by a country mile. The problem with that defense was the pass rush. Not the less glamorous trench work.

At this point, certainly if Gary is excluded, late last season we had the same issue, but we were far more porous against the run. Van Ness plus a healthy Gary tilt the rush clearly in favor of the current team from a rush perspective on paper, but that’s more on potential (recovery and as a rookie) than guarantee and large questions remain about run stoutness. The rush was the Achilles heel in 2008, it’s not yet clear whether our run defense remains one this year. This for me, the secondary tilts the clear advantage to 2008 without even considering the questions over the current safety group.

So in terms of both help to a QB in terms of individual performance and in the context of overall wins and losses, I see the advantage as firmly with 2008. Where the current roster may have the edge is future upside over the roster as a whole. That in the end may be more important in the context of Love’s career, but Rodgers entered a team more ready despite pass rush weakness.

3 points
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GregC's picture

July 31, 2023 at 09:04 am

If that's the case, we are in for a rough season, because the 2008 team finished 6-10. The secondary may have struggled in 2008 because Nick Collins was still learning, and AL Harris was past his prime. I think the 2023 defense will do better than 22nd. How much better is anyone's guess.

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Coldworld's picture

July 31, 2023 at 09:44 am

The 2008 team lost a lot of close games. Rodgers was not good when behind in the 4th quarter: more interceptions than TDs but otherwise he and the O were very effective. The pass rush was downright anemic. That 6 and 10 could easily have been 10 and 6 with better luck. If that D had been able to get off the field just a little better early in games by disrupting the QB, keeping us from playing catch up then Rodgers stats suggest we’d have looked much better.

I’d expect Love or any first year starter to have issues if playing catch up regularly late in games. Is this O expected to dominate to prevent that when 2008’s O could not despite a historically good year statistically from Rodgers as a first year starter? The 2008 Green Bay passing offense (238.3 yards per game) ranked No. 8 in the league, while its rushing offense (112.8) ranked No. 17. It finished fifth in third-down percentage and sixth in red-zone touchdown percentage. That’s pretty darn good for a 6 and 10 team. It’s a lot better than our O last year. If our O does that well this year, we will, it should be ecstatic.

Is this D going to be able to do what that of 2008 couldn’t despite what that O did being beyond what we should reasonably except from this group this year? Maybe, but that’s going to require Gary back at full pre injury tilt early and Van Ness to push for defensive rookie of the year contention. Possible but neither are probable. It’s also going to depend on correcting a consistent weakness against the run. Again, possible but no hard basis for asserting that we can.

Collins had not ascended to later heights at the start of that season, but was still probably better than Ford or Savage going into that year compared to either last year. If any GB safety has a year like Collins actually had in 2008, we should celebrating that breakout this winter, and he was playing with a weak rush, which hurts S performance.

Bigby, who was similar to Ford in some ways, got injured I think and Peprah was just ok it is true. Yes, it’s possible that Savage/Ford/Moore/Owens prove better as a duo but that’s a leap of faith as yet not supported by other than hope. Al Harris may not have been at his peak at 33, but he started for us through 2009 and was part of that step forward. Like most if that secondary, he reaped the consequences of QBs with a lot of time to make plays. Woodson was not by any means on a downside and he was a uniquely versatile talent we don’t have today.

Back then this division was better. Detroit were bad, but Chicago and Minnesota were better than I see them being this year. This team could win more this year without being better at QB it overall. In my view it really doesn’t matter. What matters is what we are looking like heading into the off season. But the fact that I think 2008 was a better team really doesn’t predict a worse record. That is as dependent on who we play as much as who we are in the regular season.

All this ignores coaching. MM in 2008 was in his 3rd season and one of the ascending HCs. Is LaFleur that? Is Barry a better D coordinator than most think? Since his 2008 predecessor was fired, one would think that might favor now, but we all know that many think Barry could be or should have been. At this point I’m not willing to say we have a clear coaching advantage over 2008. However, if LaFleur blossoms significantly, that too could tilt the balance.

4 points
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marpag1's picture

July 31, 2023 at 09:51 am

Nick Collins had already started 45 games in his first three seasons before the 2008 season began, and he finished the season as a probowler and a 2nd team all-pro, so it's a bit odd to characterize him as still learning. You may be right that Harris was past his prime, but that's where we need to remember Tramon, as I mentioned a few posts below.

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GregC's picture

July 31, 2023 at 10:09 am

I stand corrected! Collins was already really good in 2008. And someone else mentioned that Tramon Williams was making an impact in 2008 as well. There was plenty of talent in the secondary, but it didn't start translating to wins until 2009, when they brought in Dom Capers to run the defense and drafted B.J. Raji and Clay Matthews.

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TarynsEyes's picture

July 31, 2023 at 08:31 am

The need to qualify Love as this or that in comparison to Rodgers is baffling to me. IMO, it represents a severe lack of confidence in Love, by the constant attempt to downgrade Rodgers, who had been heralded for over a decade and a half, to a level that Love cannot possibly not rise above.

Whatever Love does or doesn't accomplish this season, it will be next year's play that will define him, as it did for Rodgers in the 09' season, especially the playoff game against Arizona.

Comparing teams from 15 years ago is ridiculous, as the game has changed drastically over that time period. Love will need to prove his worth with what he has, and that's all that matters, because he isn't playing in 08' but in 2023.

4 points
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T7Steve's picture

July 31, 2023 at 09:33 am

Is this a Freudian slip? "a level that Love cannot possibly not rise above." Or did you mean to set the bar like that? If so, I like it!

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TarynsEyes's picture

July 31, 2023 at 09:58 am

The success bar being set by most here will be below what Love does, regardless, to ensure they're right about their 1st year starter. Their back is against the wall, cornered because Love must be, after demanding Rodgers be gone, which I was in agreement with, but not because they drafted Love. I wanted them to give whatever. a Ditka move, to draft Lawrence.

I wonder if they hear these words from a Brooks and Dunn song with Rodgers.
"You better kiss me, because you're gonna miss me when I'm gone"
I don't want it to be so, but I can't deny its possibility.

3 points
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T7Steve's picture

July 31, 2023 at 10:27 am

We may miss how Rodgers might play THIS season, but it was time for him and the Packers to move on. It's a win for both. I hope the best of health for him and the best for the Packers (of course) and I know you hope the best for the Packers too. You have every right to be worried or skeptical.

It's hard on Love to follow 2 HOFers and I hope he'll just try to learn all season and get better as he goes. If there's a whole team, it won't be all on him. A complete TEAM in 23 will beat the 2008 squad. There have been long stretches of incomplete TEAMs in Packerland. That's why only two Super Bowl victories with 2 HOFers.

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TarynsEyes's picture

July 31, 2023 at 04:39 pm

"There have been long stretches of incomplete TEAMs in Packerland. That's why only two Super Bowl victories with 2 HOFers."

I think this ORG has suffered more from coaching failures (all levels) than having incomplete teams. However, like the question of which came first, the chicken or the egg, who put who in the situation to fail. I admit that the constant turn over of basement furniture type players didn't help either, the coaches or team. My main concern is that no matter the changes in the coaching or players, the past teams always came together in time, to come up short. How does that make them any better than other teams failing. Division Titles cannot be used to justify a difference, when you're expected to win them without contest.

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Since&#039;75's picture

July 31, 2023 at 09:58 am

A QB's first year starting is a good performance indicator, whether it's 2008, or 23.

Rodgers had a good first starting season, regardless that the team went 6-10.

When a QB throws for over 4,000 yards with 28 TD's and 13 int. that's a positive indicator.
A lot of QB's would like that to be their first starting season (including Love).
*****************
Some could make the argument that Rodgers had better, established weapons at receiver than Love.
I get that, and because of that i give Love some slack.

It is also the reason that Murphy is dead wrong saying they'll know what they have in Love halfway through the season.
I mean...give Love a break. It's not his fault WR's and tight ends barely have any NFL experience (if at all)
That's bad management, and a disservice to Jordan Love.

They already gave him a pay cut instead of giving him his 5th year option. He's been waiting for 3 years....how about giving the man some proven weapons.

EVERY qb, wr, and tight end on that roster, has to prove themselves this season.
That isn't Loves fault, it's Gute's.

I'm not saying Love is set up to fail, but i'm not saying he isn't.

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Coldworld's picture

July 31, 2023 at 11:00 am

Love isn’t being set up to fail unless by virtue of coming in as a starter after years of paying it forward to have one last chance thrice repeated of winning it all with Rodgers. As long as the team view what he does that year in the context of the inexperience across the roster that should be a chance to grow with his team mates. I would expect it to take longer to be certain of anything as a result. As long as the team shares that realization we and he are not being handed a poison chalice.

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Since&#039;75's picture

July 31, 2023 at 02:31 pm

So your saying.....as long as the team understands that Love is somewhat handicapped because of inexperience around him, it's somehow justified then?

Or of course, you insinuate, Rodgers is to blame.
It's been all Rodgers fault...before, and even after he's gone.
I love you guys 😏

I think if the Packers went 'all in' for one last chance to win a Super Bowl with Rodgers, Jordan Love wouldn't have been drafted, and they would have traded up for a talented receiver in a rich receiver draft of 2020.

Instead he gave Rodgers Devin Funchess, and later Sammy Watkins. YAY!!
'ALL IN'...lol

12 of the last 13 premium draft picks went to the defense. The lone #1 draft pick on offense sat on the bench for 3 years.

Most of the 182 million spent on 2019 free agents, went to the defense.

Is it any wonder why Gute had to scramble the last two drafts picking up 8 pass catchers.

It isn't Rodgers fault the team has no pass catchers.
I understand its more en vogue to blame Rodgers than the guy who is actually responsible for putting talent on the field.

The Voice of Reason.

CARYY THE G!!

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Coldworld's picture

July 31, 2023 at 06:33 pm

I certainly did not suggest that Rodgers was to blame. I simply pointed out that the cap contortions and roster decisions made by the team to repeat the last dance thrice were directly responsible for the youthfulness of this roster. That is not my invention, it’s how Murphy has depicted it, most recently in explaining the now truncated extension.

Further, I stated that as long as the team recognizes that reality in making its assessment of Love and the team, that should not be a poison chalice of the sort you suggested. Yes, it adds challenges, but they are widely accepted to exist and foreseen.

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Since&#039;75's picture

July 31, 2023 at 10:27 pm

You're smart....i get it.
But lets save the $20 words for your Mensa group.
This is a football forum.
Chalice?
Really?
**********

"Yes, it adds challenges, but they are widely accepted to exist and foreseen." - CW

No....depleting the receiver and tight end room of talent is NOT widely accepted.
Nor was it under Wolf and Thompson, because it didn't happen to them under their watch.
Two GM's who built winning Super Bowl rosters by year 6.
I'm waiting for the 3rd, who is entering his 6th year of roster building and now the team goal is....hoping to get in the playoffs?

I don't know if you heard....This is a passing league.
Last year at this time, the lack of wr/tight end talent was accepted by some ( not i) because everyone said.....our defense will be top 5 elite, that, and the running game will carry the team despite having no #1 or #2 receivers last season. RAH RAH RAH!!
Know what they were doing a year ago saying all that?
They were Carrying The G.
How did that work out?

So it is what it is, i guess people will just not place any blame on Packer management because that isn't....

Carrying The G!

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Oppy's picture

July 31, 2023 at 11:14 pm

The offense is going to take a step forward in 2023 and I believe a number of people are going to be surprised at the talent the Packers have at the skill positions.

I like the WR room and our TE group might finally be set for the next 5 years.

Let's see how it shakes out. I don't think this team has "no pass catchers", this year or last year.

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Since&#039;75's picture

August 06, 2023 at 09:21 pm

Yes Opie, he 'technically' has pass catchers.

WOW!

And no he didn't last year, his best receiver was a #3 and i can't believe i'm even discussing this with you.

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SicSemperTyrannis's picture

July 31, 2023 at 09:01 pm

CW I agree with this. Regardless what the goofball of a President thinks! Hopefully his rogue statement is ignored when it comes to career decisions. Certainly the variables are wide open wrt JL10's supporting cast, and include lots of stuff he shouldn't be held responsible for.

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Ferrari-Driver's picture

July 31, 2023 at 08:34 am

I have one strong feeling regarding our 2023 Packers team, they will be a lot better in December that they will be in September. I really like the young players on this team and they strike me as eager to learn and to perform. If we play well enough during the beginning and middle of the season to qualify for the post season playoffs, the Packers will be one of those dark horses that could upset favorites who have their eye on the Super Bowl.

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SicSemperTyrannis's picture

July 31, 2023 at 09:04 pm

FD: "they strike me as eager to learn and to perform."

I was at practice today and from everything I saw? YES!! Whatever mistakes anybody made, this is the time of year to do that and get it out of their system. And there were really very few mistakes compared to the overall volume everybody put in.

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marpag1's picture

July 31, 2023 at 08:34 am

I'm not sure why there's no position by position look at the teams on defense.

Not even a mention of Tramon Williams? He finished the 2008 season with 57 combined tackles (52 solo), 14 pass deflections, five interceptions, two forced fumbles and one recovery in 16 games and nine starts.

Jaire or no Jaire, I'd say the 2008 backfield of Woodson, Harris and Williams at corner with Collins and Rouse/Bigby/Peprah at safety would be a massive win over what the Packers are running with in 2023.

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TxFred's picture

July 31, 2023 at 08:38 am

Agree with your piece, well researched. To me I hope the front office NEVER paints themselves in danger farve/Rodgers departure crap again. This is business, as they constantly tell us fans. So don't pass on making hard decisions. Don't overpay, stay away from contracts that tie the teams hands. And cut, or trade before expiration dates. Those 2 had some entertaining games/years. But 2 SB's in 30 years. That is not good business decisions. Stay away from future corners. Business not a "feel good" love feast. (No pun intended) GPG !!!!!!

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The_Baloney_Stops_Here's picture

July 31, 2023 at 09:10 am

Making a judgement as to who had the better team is premature as we have yet to see this version of the Packers in a game yet. I will say this though, this current team has more high-end talent than the 2008 team. I dont think its really even close. But it all has to gel or that talent doesnt matter.

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Coldworld's picture

July 31, 2023 at 10:40 am

In terms of unrealized potential, I really like this group. However, the difference is that this is a very much younger roster than 2008.

It is easy to forget that 2008 had many of the players that formed the core of the team that won the Super Bowl and should have won another. Yes it had a few like Harris and Kampman who would be gone but there were a lot of ascending players like Collins and Tramon and players who would ascend like Finley and Rodgers on that roster.

It might have been more had Collins and Finley’s careers not have been cut off in their prime and Woodson not been jettisoned only to become the S many here hoped he would be for us (thank you Russ Ball). None of these were adequately replaced as TT’s health and the roster declined.

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13TimeChamps's picture

July 31, 2023 at 11:19 am

The Packers defense has never really been the same since the departures of Woodson, Collins and Cullen Jenkins. None of them were adequately replaced.

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Ferrari-Driver's picture

July 31, 2023 at 11:04 pm

I agree on that one 13 Times; those were some big shoes to fill by that talented trio.

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Bitternotsour's picture

August 01, 2023 at 09:51 am

Honestly, they never replaced Nick Collins. He was such an elegant presence in the back. The guy was on his way to the HOF.

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crayzpackfan's picture

July 31, 2023 at 11:45 am

BSH - Bingo!! Until today, 2023 team hasn't even had their pads on yet.

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SicSemperTyrannis's picture

July 31, 2023 at 09:08 pm

And today was just half pads. They started out at half speed.

Tomorrow full pads come on.

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BuckyBadger's picture

July 31, 2023 at 10:08 am

The 2008 team was far better IMO. This year's roster has far more unknowns where 2008 had a great OL Tackle to Tackle. 2023 has question marks from center to RT and the injury history and age of the LT give you pause as well. Great OL play is the best friend of a young QB and I think this line benefited a ton from having a vet behind them.

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Since&#039;75's picture

July 31, 2023 at 04:21 pm

Jordan Love could do worse than the Packers O line, a lot worse.

When healthy, The O line right now is a 'proven' strength of the offense, along with A. Jones and running a fresh Dillon in the 2nd half.

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Coldworld's picture

July 31, 2023 at 06:47 pm

Bakh is proven but his durability is a question no one can answer. Jenkins should be a rock certainly. Myers is hardly proven to be a good pick or player. Runyon regressed as a pass protector last year and remains borderline adequate in the run game. Tom is not really proven at RT at all. It was the position that challenged him most last year and certainly not one he’s proven at. While Nijman is a pretty good swing tackle if that’s how it ends up, the top back up guard is Newman per usage thus far and no one knows who would be next up and the back up C remains Hanson. Dubious claim to proven status in my view.

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Since&#039;75's picture

July 31, 2023 at 10:06 pm

LOL...Thumb down me all you want if that little gesture makes you sleep good.

PFF had them graded at 11th in the league, and that was after a rocky start last season.
So that's better than average, i'll take that as a proven positive.

If the O line is an issue on offense in your eyes and i'm wrong, well then maybe Gute needs to look in the mirror (again).
Last i checked he drafted most of those men.
Or maybe it was somehow Rodgers fault, i lost track.

I'm going with Zach Tom winning the starting right tackle job because of this man, i trust his word.

David Bakhtiari on Zach Tom: "He always was pretty calm, had an arrogance to him, which is good. You've got to have a little shit to you to come in as a rookie. I mean, Elgton had a lot of shit to him. I definitely did too. I had older guys making fun of me. So he looks good."

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Leatherhead's picture

July 31, 2023 at 10:24 am

Both Love and Rodgers begin under a coach with a winning record. Both have solid GMs running the show. Both have strong rosters around them. I'm not going to replay the 2008 season, but I do clearly recall that the team could have been 10-6 just as easily. There was more of a sense of chaos in the summer of 2008 because of Favre , whereas this year it certainly feels as though we're going to be able to keep the train on the tracks.

The Upshot to 2008 is that we saw we had a real good QB for the future while simultaneously ending the drama, the downside is that we were 6-10 and missed the playoffs. We did make the playoffs for the next eight or nine straight years after that, including a Super Bowl.

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SicSemperTyrannis's picture

July 31, 2023 at 09:37 pm

LH,

of course I can only speak for myself but I think it's pretty common among Packers fans that 15 division titles since #4 came to town is old news, it's the grand total of two Lombardis that's the concern. AR12 going 1-4 in the NFCCG is the stat in need of redemption. If JL10 goes 2-2 I'm not sure it would accomplish that objective?

It's a high bar.

Playoffs 8 years in a row, 09-16, yes. By most reasonable standards that would be considered a dynasty. Since when is anything about football reasonable?!?

GPG :)

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greengold's picture

August 01, 2023 at 06:51 am

EXACTLY. We’re in it to win it. At least, we are now, 2023, and I think we will be moving forward.

We’re not playing horseshoes.

Green Bay is called Titletown for a reason.

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Ferrari-Driver's picture

July 31, 2023 at 11:10 am

I'd just like to make a general comment about the posts made regarding this article. I am totally impressed by a goodly number of comments made by you guys which I believe rival or exceed the depth of analysis and excellence in presentation by the author. I have learned a lot from those posts. Keep up the good work. It's nice to keep abreast of my favorite team with CheeseHead TV while I'm way out here in California where I get inundated with the Rams, 49's, and Chargers from the local media.

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T7Steve's picture

July 31, 2023 at 11:34 am

Yes, those people are good, aren't they? They're even nice enough to put up with me most of the time, and show me the right direction to go.

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Ferrari-Driver's picture

July 31, 2023 at 11:40 am

You do all right. I've read plenty of your posts in the past.

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T7Steve's picture

July 31, 2023 at 12:17 pm

Thanks, but these guys are on a different level and I'm thankful for their (and your) thoughts that are so informative. I write quick comments. They write stuff that would take me hours.

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SicSemperTyrannis's picture

July 31, 2023 at 09:43 pm

Conversation in the stands today: WR "Tay." (#13, Dontayvion Wicks) No that's not awkward because no WR on the team has ever played with #17 Davonte Adams.

They're playing the yutes! This puts it into perspective for me.

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Qoojo's picture

July 31, 2023 at 05:05 pm

I think people forget how crappy the 2008 defense was. Sure it had Woodson, but they gave up a lot of points and run yards. People kept talking about how Rodgers couldn't comeback to win games...multiples in under two minutes. In worst case, the defense is even, but I feel the current defense is better.

2008 offense was definitely better due to OL alone.

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