A Missed Opportunity for the Packers in the Loss to the Falcons

The Packers scored 24 points, but they did not get the necessary stops on the defensive side of the ball. 

If I told you, or if someone told me, that the Green Bay Packers would score 24 points on the road without three of their best offensive players, and would lose a fourth (Elgton Jenkins, who reportedly suffered an MCL sprain and will "have an MRI to determine the severity," according to Ian Rapoport) in the first quarter due to injury, you and I would likely think that the Packers would come away victorious and begin the 2023 campaign with a 2-0 record. Unfortunately, that did not happen in Atlanta on Sunday. The Packers squandered a 12-point lead in the fourth quarter as Atlanta Falcons kicker Younghoe Koo made a chip-shot field goal with under a minute left to secure the 25-24 victory. 

Jordan Love Had An Up-and-Down Day

Love looked tentative and skittish, in my eyes, to start off Sunday’s contest, completing only 2-of-6 passes. The 2020 first-round selection then started to cook, as the kids say. After his first six passes, he completed 12-of-13 passes, bringing his total stat line to 14-of-19 for 151 yards and three touchdowns at the end of the third quarter. Love had a couple "wow" throws during that stretch, but altogether, there was nothing flashy about Love’s play after the initial slow start. He simply took what the defense gave him, spread the ball around the yard (S/O rookie wide receiver Jayden Reed for his two-touchdown performance), and executed the game plan perfectly. The way Love finished the game was concerning, though. He missed his last six passes, including four on the team’s final drive in which they needed only a field goal to win the game. 

If Love had running back Aaron Jones and wide receiver Christian Watson at his disposal, would Love & Co. have fared better? It is possible and perhaps likely, but the reality is that you have to execute with the players on the field. And even without Jones and Watson, Love and the offense still scored 24 points. Glass half-full, he finished with three passing touchdowns for the second-straight game to start the season, which put him in some elite company.

Altogether, Love has started the season strong, registering a passer rating of 118.8. That figure makes Love the leader in the clubhouse among NFL quarterbacks. He has also yet to throw an interception (6 TDs), but the completion percentage (55.8%) has to be better. 

Joe Barry and His Defense Make Me Want to Gauge My Eyes Out

Yes, that is a bit hyperbolic, but the defense did not step up when the team needed them the most. The offense did their part by, to reiterate, scoring 24 points on the road. While it is easy and convenient to make Barry the target of your frustration, the players have to be held accountable. 

Safety Darnell Savage had too many missed tackles, including a crucial one on Atlanta’s last offensive drive on fourth down that would have all but clinched the victory for the Packers, and failed to capitalize on a golden opportunity for an interception when he misplayed a jump ball intended for wide receiver Mack Hollins on third down. Instead, it was a 45-yard reception that eventually led to a Falcons touchdown. 

Speaking of would-be interceptions, cornerback Jaire Alexander dropped a sure-fire interception on fourth down. It is up for debate whether he would have been tackled by running back Tyler Allgeier or whether Alexander could have scampered for six, but the fact that the latter possibility even exists qualifies it as a missed opportunity for the defense. Linebacker Quay Walker also dropped a sure-fire interception where he had room to run had he secured the INT. 

Finally, Rashan Gary, who finished with 0.5 sacks and two tackles in his second game back from tearing his ACL, lost contain on the read option on a critical fourth-and-four, which opened up a running lane for quarterback Desmond Ridder to scamper for a six-yard touchdown run to start the fourth quarter. 

With all of that as a backdrop, Barry’s defense game plan at certain points was puzzling as the defense was set up in a way to defend the pass by employing two-high safety looks far too often. That made zero sense during the game and makes no sense now as I write. Truth be told, Ridder is a bottom-third quarterback in the NFL and was not sharp for a majority of Sunday’s contest. (Again, he should have thrown three interceptions.) The two-high safety defensive alignment, in part, led to the Falcons torching – with a gotdamn flamethrower on full blast – the Packers on the ground to the tune of 211 yards on 45 carries between Bijan Robinson (19 carries for 124 yards), Allgeier (16 carries for 48 yards), and Ridder (10 carries for 39 yards). Barry corrected things in the third quarter when he went with a 4-6 “Bear” defense, only for him to change his tune in the fourth quarter with the game on the line.

Same sh*t, different year when it comes to Green Bay's run defense under Barry. 

One final point: on a critical third down, Robinson was lined up as a wide receiver and covered by linebacker De'Vondre Campbell. I might be missing something, but that seemed like a less-than-ideal maneuver. Robinson picked up the first down on a slant pass to extend the drive, one that finished with Koo’s game-winning field goal. 

A Stark Fall From Grace for AJ Dillon

Dillon burst onto the scene in 2021, his second year in the league, as the Boston College product finished with 803 rush yards and five touchdowns in a secondary role. He regressed slightly last year, and his production to start the 2023 season has seemingly dropped off a cliff. Through two games, he is averaging 2.6 yards per carry, and as the lead back on Sunday, he finished with 15 carries for 55 yards. It should be noted, though, that the offensive line performed poorly in the run game. 

While he did have some hard-nosed runs against the Falcons, he appeared to stumble on two third-down plays. Had he maintained his balance on those two plays, he would have easily picked up the first down each time. A first down on the team’s second-to-last offensive drive, with the Packers clinging to a two-point lead with a little over six minutes remaining, would have been huge, especially since the Packers were in their own territory. Who knows how the rest of the drive would have transpired, but at the very least it would have burned precious time off the clock. Instead, Green Bay punted after a botched fourth-down sneak attempt by Love that never even got off and resulted in a penalty. 

I hope I’m wrong, but Dillon is what he is at this point: a pedestrian running back who rarely moves the needle in the right direction for the Packers’ offense. Improvement is unlikely. 
 

 

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__________________________

Rex is a lifelong Packers fan but was sick of the cold, so he moved to the heart of Cowboys country. Follow him on Twitter (@Sheild92) and Instagram (@rex.sheild). 

__________________________

NFL Categories: 
3 points
 

Comments (50)

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

September 18, 2023 at 12:10 pm

It looks to me if Dillon or the team have tried to get him leaning more into the run. If so, it’s become too exaggerated. He’s losing balance too consistently and I think missing cracks in part as a result at other times. Either way, Wilson and even Taylor should have been tried more during the last game.

4 points
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SicSemperTyrannis's picture

September 18, 2023 at 12:53 pm

It looked to me like MLF said Wilson was the next man up, they tried him, and he got shut down.

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Racingdad's picture

September 18, 2023 at 04:55 pm

Wilson got 3 Run snaps !! Not enough to get the juices flowing

1 points
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Tater's picture

September 18, 2023 at 02:33 pm

"tried to get him leaning more into the run".

Translation, they want him to keep a lower pad level. Ideally you should be able to lower your pad level and keep your balance.

4 points
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Packerpasty's picture

September 18, 2023 at 05:38 pm

Doesn't matter much how he runs he just isn't a very good running back...

4 points
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Leatherhead's picture

September 18, 2023 at 12:11 pm

I think if you check, most home teams scored more than 25.

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Coldworld's picture

September 18, 2023 at 12:20 pm

A little under a half of teams are averaging over 34 points a game this season on a quick look, 14 in total.

Of those, 2 are at 24.5, one being Atalanta. We average 31, behind only Dallas at 35 (although planning the Bears and Giants probably skews both).

Thus I doubt your contention, although I am not going to try to break it down to home record analysis.

5 points
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Leatherhead's picture

September 18, 2023 at 12:39 pm

Not an average. Look at the actual scores Most home teams scored more than 25. Go to nfl.com and check for your self.

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T7Steve's picture

September 18, 2023 at 12:49 pm

Doesn't matter if we score 24 or less.

2 points
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Bitternotsour's picture

September 18, 2023 at 05:34 pm

and that's the point. the offense failed.

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Lphill's picture

September 18, 2023 at 12:56 pm

5 didn't .

1 points
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Leatherhead's picture

September 18, 2023 at 01:01 pm

9 did. Holding a team at home to 25 is better than average. I think some people have some very unrealistic expectations. We’re not going to hold teams to 17, especially on their field If we’re on the road, we can expect our opponents to hit 25

So far this week, 14 games have been played. How many times has the home team been held to less than 25? Answer = 4. How many home teams scored 30 or more?

0 points
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Coldworld's picture

September 18, 2023 at 01:19 pm

That doesn’t stack Mathematically.

1 points
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Leatherhead's picture

September 18, 2023 at 01:37 pm

Please explain. Of the 14 home teams, most of them scored more than 25. Five scored more than 30.. This isn’t trigonometry.

1 points
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MooPack's picture

September 18, 2023 at 02:25 pm

Sorry LH, stats don't back that up. This what has happened the last 7 years. Most home teams do not average 25+ points per game. I know you are looking for a silver lining here, but it's made of tin. Average, or in this case, below average doesn't win games and certainly doesn't win championship games.

https://www.teamrankings.com/nfl/stat/points-per-game?date=2023-02-13

Sort by Home score on the page. 2020 was sort of an outlier. Maybe because of covid. I even added a few teams that had 24.9 points.

2022: 10 home teams scored average of 25+ / 22 did not
2021: 14 home teams scored average of 25+ / 18 did not
2020: 18 home teams scored average of 25+ / 14 did not
2019: 9 home teams scored average of 25+ / 23 did not
2018: 14 home teams scored average of 25+ / 18 did not
2017: 9 home teams scored average of 25+ / 23 did not
2016: 13 home teams scored average of 25+ / 18 did not

3 points
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Leatherhead's picture

September 18, 2023 at 06:07 pm

Moo, you’ve made some very good points. When I can get to a keyboard, I’d like to talk about some of them, but I’m one-fingering on a phone with a dying battery.

OK, at last. You are 100% correct about the averages, but I'm not sure average is the best measure here. If you kick one FG the left, and one to the right, it equals six points on average? (this concept was first explained me while hunting ducks: If you miss a little bit high and a little bit low, did you hit the duck twice, on average?)

While averages have their uses, in this case I think that median is going be a better measure than mean./ and the median was around 28.. When you line up what home teams scored last week, the 25 by the Falcons was one of the lower totals for a home team. Five home teams....over a third.....hit 30 or more. 4 others gave up more than 25 but less than 30. So in other words, if you were on the road this last week, there was a much bigger chance that you'd give up 30 than that you'd hold them to 20 or less.

All in all , 10 teams scored 30 or more in the 14 games played so far. The teams that scored less than 25? The teams that scored less than 25? 2-10. So twelve teams scored the same or worse than us , most of them losers. A LOT of teams scored 30 or more, so if your plan is to win some 21-17 games, you might want to examine that.

Maybe last week was an anomaly, but maybe it's a clear example of why you can't be expecting to hold teams to 20 or less very often, especially on the road. I think a more realistic/ hope/expectation is keeping it under 27 or 28.

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MooPack's picture

September 18, 2023 at 02:32 pm

To go even further, even more away teams do not score 24. Same webpage. Sort by Away.

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LambeauPlain's picture

September 18, 2023 at 12:40 pm

MLF looked genuinely POed when asked about the Falcons run game.

"You guys saw it! They absolutely shredded us!"

Maybe it is dawning on the HC NFL teams require a run defense to win games. I can only imagine if he believes his DC is seeing the same sunrise.

PS: Has Bahktiari decided to assume the role of team's center of attention? Maybe he believes Rodgers is going to return next season so David is saving himself for that 2024 Jets marriage.

6 points
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BruceC1960's picture

September 18, 2023 at 04:15 pm

Can we assume 69 won’t play at Lions, Vikes or Giants?

1 points
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HawkPacker's picture

September 18, 2023 at 07:01 pm

Well, in my opinion, MLF is to blame, he did not fire Barry as many of us wanted!

1 points
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stockholder's picture

September 18, 2023 at 07:34 pm

According to Gute- He's not going anywhere.
And now we see why.

2 points
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CheesedDeadHead's picture

September 18, 2023 at 12:44 pm

LaFleur used continuity as his main reason for retaining Joe Barry.

Congratulations! You got it.

13 points
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CanPackFan's picture

September 18, 2023 at 01:16 pm

Agreed. We "continue" to get a soft D line against the run and soft coverages from Barry. "Consistent" is what a Barry defense is. Don't be fooled by better games against a weak team like the Bears...

4 points
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T7Steve's picture

September 18, 2023 at 12:47 pm

Still have to hope Dillon will have a breakout game. Try to field a healthy line and get some run blocking (might be hard as we're playing hurt the in only 2nd game in). I think he still has it. He's got younger legs and has never had too many reps.

1 points
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CanPackFan's picture

September 18, 2023 at 01:11 pm

With weak links like Myers and Newman in the middle, I feel sorry for the GB backs trying to gain substantial yardage. Sure hope 1. Jenkins returns quickly, and 2. We fo something about the interior of our Oline?

3 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

September 18, 2023 at 03:18 pm

The Pack run outside zone schemes, just like the Dirty Birds. Personnel matters. We all recognize, A.Jones is not a bell cow and Dillon has now regressed. The backups are UDFAs.

4 points
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Packers0808's picture

September 18, 2023 at 12:54 pm

Please get rid of Barry haven't you [LaFluer] seeing enough? Move from inside to replace n ow if necessary. You would by now think you would tired of answering questions about this round peg in a square hole!

3 points
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CanPackFan's picture

September 18, 2023 at 01:08 pm

We gave up 13 points in the final Qtr against primarily a running team? Disgraceful. But our D is in its usual position as 30th in the league against the run.

While the offense could have done a much better job in the 4th qtr, our defense continues to let this team down. Barry MUST go but he seems to have a guardian angel in MLF. How many times must we see the same, depressing story? We'll hear the same old excuses from MLF and, before u know it, MLF will announce that it's too late to replace Barry...

It doesn't speak well for the GB organization to let Barry continue to let this organization and fan base down! This was a very winnable game that should not have been lost.

7 points
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13TimeChamps's picture

September 18, 2023 at 02:14 pm

What's really disheartening is both Vic Fangio and Brian Flores were available this offseason.

"During Fangio's first three seasons in Chicago, the Bears defense improved from a 30th-ranked unit in 2014 to being 14th, 15th, and 10th in total defense.
Under Fangio, the 2018 Bears defense excelled as it led the NFL in turnovers forced (36) and interceptions (27). Chicago was also ranked third in total defense, second in yards per play allowed, and first in scoring defense."

"In one season with Pittsburgh, Flores led a defense that gave up just seven rushing touchdowns, which tied with New England for the fewest allowed in the NFL in 2022. Pittsburgh's opponents also had the league's sixth-lowest completion percentage (61.3%)."

Instead we pass and give Barry a 3rd year. Talk about a missed opportunity.

3 points
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Bitternotsour's picture

September 18, 2023 at 05:38 pm

You say we, but it is MLF. Also, MLF is the head coach, he meets with his coordinators and works on game plans. He signs off on the game plan.

This isn't Barry's defense, this is LaFleur's defense. Your beef isn't with D-Coordinator.

4 points
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coolhand's picture

September 19, 2023 at 10:21 am

MLF said he kept Barry this year to maintain continuity. Well, Barry has certainly done that, he continues to coach a disappointing defense.

0 points
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Packers0808's picture

September 18, 2023 at 01:12 pm

By Rule of where feet have to be the TD by Atlanta at the end of the end zone was not a TD. Read the definition of feet position in that case and ruling was wrong, is NOT a TD!

2 points
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vin0770's picture

September 18, 2023 at 01:12 pm

I got crushed during the preseason:
I said trade Bak for .75 cents on the dollar and be glad for it. Have to do it now while he’s healthy.
I said Watson is glass. He’s a Ferrari with long tender hamstrings in the frozen tundra and a 4wd is needed.
I said MLF is not a strong leader and a one trick pony. Going to snap out of it in game….next game…next month doing the same thing over and over.

4 points
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albert999's picture

September 18, 2023 at 01:18 pm

Fire Barry now not at the end of the year
Lafleur give up play calling and manage the ame and clock
Trade Dillon and a 2nd round pick(we have2 Next year) for Taylor

2 points
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ImaPayne's picture

September 18, 2023 at 06:15 pm

Its part Bary its also part Gutt's drafting slow of foot people. Our d linemen have no speed. Its that simple.

1 points
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ricky's picture

September 18, 2023 at 01:38 pm

During the off-season, it was simply taken for granted that Barry would be shown the door. Then, Vic Fangio is available to bring in as a DC. Instead, MLF decides that Barry should get another chance. Once again, the Packers go with the cheaper option rather than pay for top shelf coaching talent. Whether this is MLF, Gutekunst, or, my own suspicion, Mark Murphy, is up for debate. But there are times it seems that Murphy is more interested in fattening up the Packers organization bottom line to put more money into the "Packer Experience" than spending money on getting to coaching talent. The ST's debacle that lasted for years is a prime example. Now, the Packers hang onto Barry long after he has proven he cannot do the job. But, by gosh, he isn't as expensive as Fangio!

8 points
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CheesedDeadHead's picture

September 18, 2023 at 02:49 pm

"Whether this is MLF, Gutekunst, or, my own suspicion, Mark Murphy, is up for debate."

I'd bet my left testicle that it's Murphy being cheap. Just smells like something he would do.

1 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

September 18, 2023 at 04:17 pm

They had a chance to snag Evero as an aggressive and innovative younger guy. They could have tried to woo Flores, or Fangio who had waited a bit to see if the Packers would present any interest. They decided to stay the course steady as she goes into the rocks. I would clean house.

0 points
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CanPackFan's picture

September 18, 2023 at 06:37 pm

I hate to say it, but I feel that MLF may not have wanted the coaching competition that hiring Fangio might have brought him? If MLF fails, Fangio would be here and has experience to take over. Hiring Barry would never threaten his job - or will it? Like I said, I hate to say or even think this, but how could such a subpar DC get hired and then actually stay hired for 3 years performing so poorly? And yes, GB does have a reputation of being penny-wise and pound foolish when it comes to hiring better coaches.

1 points
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HawkPacker's picture

September 18, 2023 at 07:06 pm

A good leader of any type whether it be a coach, CEO, president or whatever, would hire talented people around him. It makes him look better and the organization runs smoother!

0 points
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ricky's picture

September 19, 2023 at 11:05 am

The Packers already have an assistant coach with head coach experience in Rich Bisaccia. But he was brought in only after the special debacle in the SF playoff game. I'll stick with Murphy being the culprit. And right now, I'm not so sure about Lafleur. He had a great winning percentage his first two years, and has struggled since then. As far as Barry, it seems the Packers are going to be stuck with him this year. If Barry deservedly is "let go" at the end of the season, then hopefully the Packers will be willing to open up their search, rather than "promoting from within". Because next up would be Jerry Montgomery. Who right now is the assistant in charge of the DL. Gulp.

0 points
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vin0770's picture

September 18, 2023 at 07:20 pm

And are you watching what Schwartz is doing…again! Let’s not call him either.

0 points
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TarynsEyes's picture

September 18, 2023 at 03:24 pm

As to coaching, they don't step on their own genitals as hard as some other teams coaching, but still step on it. Is this because of plain stupidity, lack of common sense, or unwilling to see their flaws as it is being seen by many others.

If there's a silver lining, it's likely that the soft shoe step will allow them to save a few wins against the mediocre on the schedule.

4 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

September 18, 2023 at 04:20 pm

How many rookie and/or Greenhorn QBs made them look like fools last season? Some of these Matadors may have to be departed from the squad by the trade deadline.

3 points
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Lphill's picture

September 18, 2023 at 03:51 pm

Maybe Barry needs 11 first rounders on defense?

3 points
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Qoojo's picture

September 18, 2023 at 04:50 pm

Rex is exactly correct. Upon further reflection, the defense simply did not tackle. So many defensive guys around the ball, but so many guys failed to make a play. Two dropped INTs, one of which would have most likely been pick 6. If the offense or defense had simply finished one more series better, the packers could have won the game.

Inarguably, the offense was missing their top 2 guys to start. As much as I like Dillon, he is nowhere near Jones in talent and making the offense work. Then they were forced to work with a makeshift OL. It seems to me that Dillon is effective and a load to bring down if first contact is past the LOS. He was getting hit way before that yesterday. Then a couple of his stumbles really cost the packers.

I am happy with Love's performance considering the missing pieces. There was that one awkward sequence where he rushed them to line but then didn't really have the good plan/play. I think he was a little nervous on the last drive with his mistargets for first two plays, then Toure dropped the ball, game over. Love is showing promise and ability.

0 points
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ImaPayne's picture

September 18, 2023 at 06:10 pm

You cant tackle what you cant put your hands on because your too slow.
Again the Vikes have a swarming defense that tackles and stops big plays but having speed to meet the runner or receiver on contact.
Gutt has drafted slow guys, guys that are not mobile and are slow to react.

-1 points
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ImaPayne's picture

September 18, 2023 at 05:59 pm

Quite honestly having RedZone and watching a lot of games, I think this is the worst defense I've seen this year.
One play I mentioned to wife, why would you leave a 4 foot gap in the middle of the d line. Their QB surely sees this op and can run straight ahead for those few yards and get a first down. Make zero, nada, no way hose sense. The QB did exactly that but lucky one of our guys stucka and arm out and stopped him.

1. IMO This d lacks serious speed up front. Their running backs made fools out of our d linemen who are just goddam too slow. Gary is a fat pig now who came in out of shape and is doing nothing on D. A waste of time.

2. Jarrie is playing for himself not the team and he is trying to avoid contact and tackles so he doesnt get hurt. He is out of place, not making plays and no QB is avoiding him, rather they are picking on him. Do I hear "over priced loser"s

3. Love is good at finding the short routes and pin pointing short passes but showed a lack of vision for the field.
Analyst pointed out wide open guys Love never saw. Could have been big game breaking plays that went nowhere.
He also seems to be way off target the longer he has to pass the ball. Could be a problem we havent seen to date?

No this game was winnable but the defense laid a bomb. Even Barry cant make guys faster.

3 points
3
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harleycops's picture

September 19, 2023 at 08:51 am

If GB keeps Bakh next year, they are crazy. The 30? 40? million tackle was good, but now he is damaged goods and can't be depended on to play. Strike him off the team with thanks and strike millions & millions off the cap space. Through in Dillon and we got some bucks to bring in dependable players.

0 points
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jont's picture

September 19, 2023 at 03:47 pm

Going into this game I thought the Packers' offense had an opportunity to get outside so I was disappointed to see Wilson and Taylor get only 16 snaps between them. Maybe I over-estimated the potential advantage, but I don't undertand why this wasn't even really tried. As it turned out, a couple of 1st downs could have won it, getting around the corner just 2-3 times would've made a difference in a one point game.

0 points
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