Confessions of a Polluted Mindset - Bear Necessities

The Weekly Packers Brain Drain from Jersey Al.

Say what Matt? - This was a really interesting quote from LaFleur: "They did a nice job. I gotta give Getsy credit because that’s hard to do when it’s a two-possession game in the fourth quarter to stay disciplined and I thought he did a really nice job with that." What LaFleur is talking about is the Bears continuing to run the ball and not panic when they were down by two TDs. This is beyond ironic as it's the exact opposite of what he did in the Vikings game and has done in other past games.

Eagles Slay Justin Jefferson: If you saw the Eagles - Vikings game Monday night, I think we learned something:

The Alien Lizard - It was great to have Lazard back, as much as for his blocking as for his receiving. His downfield blocking helped Jones rip off some big runs.

Edge of Discipline - Boy does Preston Smith know how to play the edge. His consistent presence kept Fields from escaping the hard-charging Rashan Gary on the other side. The Packers had a good plan for Fields, tasking Smith with eliminating one side of escape for Fields, while they allowed Rashan Gary to go full bore on the other side. As protection for Gary, they often had Quay Walker behind him in case Gary were to overrun Fields or give up the edge, as he is sometimes prone to do.

Shhhhhhh - Don't tell anyone, but special teams were not a disaster for the second game in a row. Dare I say, the coverage units actually look... decent?

Yes Dr. Watson - A few things I noticed about Christian Watson, he doesn't mind blocking downfield and he's really strong, We've seen him get hit hard by would-be tacklers and Watson just bounced off those hits and kept going. This guy is a physical specimen in many different ways.

Jet threat - Speaking of Christian Watson, he's proven to be the perfect jet sweep player. The Packers have actually given him the ball a few times and he's proven to be a threat defenses can't just ignore as a decoy.

Dillon encounter declined - Roquan Smith is his own agent and is definitely all about business. He made a "business decision" when he saw AJ Dillon coming on to block him on one of Jones' TDs. Smith didn't even try to tackle Jones - he just backed away from Dillon and let Jones score.

Hello Newman - Is there any doubt now that what I've been saying since camp (that Royce Newman is a far better guard than tackle) is absolutely true?

Plays for Cobb - It was great to see the Packers actually scheme up some plays for Randall Cobb. Cobb can be Rodgers' "ol' reliable - the guy he can count on to be where he should and his "go to" when a first down is needed to move the chains. Think of him as a "ball control" receiver.

Ride your pony - Suddenly, the Pony package (with two running backs in the backfield) is cropping up everywhere, not just in Green Bay. It seems that Pony is the new black

 

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"Jersey Al" Bracco is the Editor-In-Chief, part owner and wearer of many hats for CheeseheadTV.com and PackersTalk.com. He is also a recovering Mason Crosby truther.  Follow Al on twitter at @JerseyalGBP

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Comments (104)

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BradHTX's picture

September 21, 2022 at 06:24 am

“Is there any doubt now that what I've been saying since camp (that Royce Newman is a far better guard than tackle) is absolutely true?”

I’m not sure anyone has said otherwise, besides LaFleur and Steno. Thank you, sweet Lord, for the return of Jenkins.

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Guam's picture

September 21, 2022 at 07:52 am

Actually a number of commenters on CHTV along with one of the authors (JosephR) have been lobbying for Zach Tom to replace Newman at RG, pointing to Newman's poor play against Minnesota. Newman is not a very good tackle in the NFL, but he is a solid, NFL grade guard and showed that against the Bears. While Tom has some interesting potential, I would much prefer to see Newman at RG than Tom or any of the other first year players.

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dobber's picture

September 21, 2022 at 08:51 am

The interesting question will be: once 69 returns, who goes to the bench? Nijman or Newman?

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JerseyAl's picture

September 21, 2022 at 09:35 am

I think Nijman

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Guam's picture

September 21, 2022 at 09:50 am

Another interesting question is: will 69 be healed enough/strong enough/fit enough to actually replace Nijman? Bahk hasn't played in nearly two years and Nijman is playing well. It is almost to the point that Bahk may need spot duty or split time with Nijman to get himself in playing shape. I am not sure that Bahk just outright replaces Nijman at this point.

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HawkPacker's picture

September 21, 2022 at 09:57 am

Good thoughts Guam and once Bakh does come back, that will be a good problem to have. Down the road a bit the packers may have a choice to make with Bakh as to retain his services or trade him. Not sure what this means as far as his dead money Cap but this a question to be addressed. Also, they retained two rookie tackles from the practice squad so they must be planning for something after this year or next year. This is my opinion only but they do seem to have a lot of tackles on the team.

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michael562's picture

September 21, 2022 at 11:53 am

You can never have too many "good" tackles.

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Coldworld's picture

September 21, 2022 at 05:27 pm

You can have too many cap $ tied up in them though.

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jlc1's picture

September 21, 2022 at 04:43 pm

Will he be strong enough and healthy enough? I think the honest answer is that this has taken so long that a strong and healthy enough Bakhtiari is unlikely.

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Guam's picture

September 22, 2022 at 07:40 am

There was an article in the local Wisconsin paper this morning that said Bahk didn't practice on a day he was scheduled to practice and MLF, when asked when Bahk would be available to play, responded with "I have no idea". It is sounding more and more like Bahk's knee is simply not recovering and he may not play again, ever. Very unfortunate for all concerned.

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LLCHESTY's picture

September 21, 2022 at 01:23 pm

I think it's Nijman, which is unfortunate because he's obviously one of the 5 best O linemen they have. Hopefully once Bakhtiari is back they give Yosh as many snaps at RT as they can so if Newman is struggling with stunts or struggling in general they can move Jenkins to RG.

Next year could look quite different. I wouldn't be surprised if the line was Jenkins, Tom, Myers, Runyan and Nijman left to right.

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Coldworld's picture

September 21, 2022 at 05:31 pm

Why put Tom there? I’d leave Runyon on the left since Tom seems to play elsewhere just as well. To me, that depends on if Tom can add functional strength too. Personally, I’m not sure Newman won’t establish himself anyway.

I do think that you are right on the tackles, but maybe not the sides. I read today that Nijman is the third highest rated OT in pass protection in the league. Only two games, but he’s getting good and he’s a prototypical athlete for an LT (just a big one). Bakh is going to have to be pretty close to his best to be a step up if Nijman keeps that up. Nijman is also better in the run game.

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LLCHESTY's picture

September 21, 2022 at 09:37 pm

Generally the stronger more run oriented guards play in the right side and more athletic ones on the left. It certainly doesn't have to be the case though. The Packers oddly seem to have more of Jones' longest runs go left. But if they're going to evolve to a more pulling/gap type run game Tom would be a better pulling guard from what I've seen.

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Leatherhead's picture

September 21, 2022 at 01:47 pm

I'd use Bakhtiari and Nijman, in practices and games, and hope that one of them is healthy for the playoffs. Similarly, I'd put Tom at RT behind Jenkins, because if Tom could play RT, then Jenkins can fill in someplace else in the event of an injury.

I'm openly questioning how much an improvement Bakhtiari is going to be over Nijman. He's older than we remember him, he's had some surgeries, and he's been out of the game for a while. To me, the prudent thing is to have him start slowly on a pitch count while still relying on Nijman for most of the snaps, and then seeing how that goes. If it goes well, we increase Bakhtairi's share of the load. Rinse and repeat until he's the starter.

We could still use Nijman as an extra TE on short yardage. Some of you might remember Kevin Barry and the U-71 Bacon package. It was effective at picking up one yard, and as we've seen, being able to pick up one yard when you need it is important.

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Coldworld's picture

September 21, 2022 at 04:15 pm

Initially Nijman, simply because they have to have cover for Bakh I think. If Bakh holds up, then they should start working him at right tackle if he does indeed need time to convert. What happens later in the season may well depend on injuries.

Right now Nijman is our best OL, I think he’s actually the 3rd highest rated pass blocker at T in the league this year over 20 snaps. That may change as Jenkins gets up to speed, but leaving Nijman on the bench would mean we aren’t playing our best 5 players, but it maybe the best combination of players right now. There shouldn’t be that excuse if there is an injury s month or so later though.

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Leatherhead's picture

September 21, 2022 at 01:58 pm

He is a better player at guard. I think everybody understood that.

But here's the deal: He was also a better bet than Tom at RT. And with Jenkins out, we had a shortage of answers at RT. We could leave Newman at RG and play the rookie, Tom, at RT, or we could play Newman at RT and Hanson at RG. Those were the choices.

Look, it's water under the bridge at this point, but we let Turner and Patrick go and traded Van Lanen away. We filled in with Rhyan and Tom and some developmental guys. At one point in the Minnesota game, we were missing 3 of our best 5 guys. We only dress 9.

Newman is a good enough guard that you can win 13 games with him. I'm sure he'd appreciate having solid pieces on both sides of him.

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Handsback's picture

September 21, 2022 at 06:30 am

The oline will grow to be one of the best units in NFL, if they can stay healthy. I know that's a big IF.
BTW, Newman was called for holding but the Packers overcame the call and kept matriculation the ball down the field. I looked at that call a couple of times and he didn't hold. Bad call ref!

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T7Steve's picture

September 21, 2022 at 07:19 am

I believe that was a makeup call. We were lucky because I saw a lot of non-calls.

Do you think the refs are letting them play this year? I seem to see allot of stuff in all the games that they're letting slide that they use to call for no reason. Makes the game better and more even with less judgment calls.

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mrtundra's picture

September 21, 2022 at 08:18 am

I think it depends on the crews officiating the games. In the Phillie-viking game, the "illegal man downfield" call was made 3 to 4 times. Doesn't sound like the refs are just letting them play. Lots of holding calls, in that game, did not get called, though. Some holding calls, that were called, were "chippy," in nature.

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Coldworld's picture

September 21, 2022 at 08:45 am

There have been some very differently called games and some crazily badly called games (Tampa’s last one for example). I agree, it’s just the crews. From what I’ve seen, the NFL hasn’t improved the uniformity of officiating in terms of quality and consistency, unfortunately.

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Coldworld's picture

September 21, 2022 at 08:10 am

I agree the Newman call was BS, but Jenkins got away with several and there was a ton of holding on the other side too. I’m ok with that, if it’s uniform in terms both of both teams but the Newman one stuck out as an oddity in that game.

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HawkPacker's picture

September 21, 2022 at 09:59 am

Yeah, a Bear friend(?) of mine showed me a picture of Jenkins bear hugging one of the Bear's defensive lineman and holding was not called. My response to him was that there were holding calls on both teams that were not called, which is true.

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NickPerry's picture

September 21, 2022 at 06:43 am

It will be interesting to see if LaFleur stays with the run game this weekend in TB. Vita Vea is one of the best run-stuffing D-Linemen in the NFL. IF Hicks is able to play that's a whole lotta beef Runyan, Meyers, and Newman are going to have to try and move. Whether it's MLF or Rodgers who has the freedom to change any play anytime, IMO they HAVE to stick with it this weekend.

Playing man on JJ...Don't even get me going on this one again Al! (LOL) As much as I enjoyed watching the Eagles shut down the Vikings, I couldn't help but wonder what if Barry had done the same thing. Hey, Slay is great, but IMO Alexander is better and could have done the job.

Lazard... Lazard had a number of good blocks. Another Packers WR who is an excellent blocker is Sammy Watkins. I also think like Lazard, Watkins is willing to do whatever he's asked to do to help the team win. Cobby has always been an excellent blocker for a man his size.

Speaking of Cobb we saw exactly why Rodgers wanted him back and why it's not a bad thing. Cobby has always been a "Bear killer", but I have a feeling we'll see quite a few more KEY 3rd down conversions by Cobby this year...AND, the Packers didn't lose any WR many were concerned they'd lose by keeping Cobb. Winfree and Toure are still with the Packers.

Special Teams... I forgot to mention ST in my comment on "Game Balls Lame Calls" on Monday because they deserved a game ball. One thing I've noticed other than much better coverage, O'Connell's punting, and Coco's snapping of the ball is Mason Crosby. Has anyone else noticed Crosby's kicks seem a little bit more right down the middle? Crosby's kicks have always seemed to curve, slice, or maybe a bit of both on the way to the uprights. This year, and it's quite possible just me, the ball seems to go straight from the moment it leaves his right foot to the time it splits the uprights. Right down the MIDDLE.

Now...Put all this together and beat the Bucs IN Tampa Bay this weekend...THAT will tell me a lot about this team.

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egbertsouse's picture

September 21, 2022 at 07:11 am

Hicks is out. As is Evans. And Gisele apparently tossed out Tommy for the time being. It looks like Rodger’s witch-girlfriend is working her magic. As long as nobody throws a bucket of water on her this game is in the bag.

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HawkPacker's picture

September 21, 2022 at 10:01 am

Sorry to ask but who is Gisele and Tommy?

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jont's picture

September 21, 2022 at 12:25 pm

You are blessed, HawkPacker, to be unaware of the gossip that Tom Brady and his wife Giselle appear to be having problems.

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HawkPacker's picture

September 21, 2022 at 02:36 pm

Ah yes, I did not get the connection at that time. I was thinking players and possibly coaches. Thanks Jont!

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NickPerry's picture

September 21, 2022 at 10:31 am

"It looks like Rodger’s witch-girlfriend is working her magic. As long as nobody throws a bucket of water on her this game is in the bag."

Hilarious!!!

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Leatherhead's picture

September 21, 2022 at 02:01 pm

Good news.

So is the running total now Godwin, Julio Jones, Mike Evans, and Akeem Hicks?

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murf7777's picture

September 21, 2022 at 08:17 am

From what I read Hicks will be out so that should help. As you said, Vea is a monster and a very good DL who can stuff the run. I agree they need to stick to the run on this game because Tampa’s strength is passing defense and Rodgers has shown he doesn’t play well in Florida. I wouldn’t say that week in and week out, but in this one it will be very important. We can’t fool ourselves thou, this won’t be the Bears Defense and I suspect they will challenge our runs at a much higher level.

Watkins looks like the real deal to me. He has athleticism, toughness and experience in understanding NFL Defense strategies. And Cobb just makes the big plays as needed. He keeps coming thru on 3rd downs. The both just need to stay on the field and they will play a big role in this offense.

I like the rookies and their big play potential, but they have a lot to learn. Weening them in each week is a good play by Mlf. That time gives them opportunities to make plays as they learn the NFL D nuances. As the year progresses and they earn it, I suspect they will get more playing time. Things like wrong routes, missed catches can ruin drives and cause early season losses. So, depending too much on them is risky business

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dobber's picture

September 21, 2022 at 08:58 am

" I agree they need to stick to the run on this game because Tampa’s strength is passing defense and Rodgers has shown he doesn’t play well in Florida."

Tampa is stout in the middle and fast in their LB corps. The Packers will need to be creative in their sets and calls to make the run game work.

Tampa also has one of the grabbiest secondaries I've seen in a long time, and they seem to get away with it at a disproportionately high rate. I would argue that the Packers are going to need to get WR downfield against this defense--their CBs haven't historically been fast, and if a WR can get a step, there are plays to be made.

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Coldworld's picture

September 21, 2022 at 09:26 am

We have failed to stick with the run to dent Tampa type Ds too often. I don’t want to see us make that mistake again. We need to run at them to both dent the rush and get those ILBs having to play for it and take a few hits. That helps keep Rodgers upright and space for shorter passes/quick release routes, which otherwise get smothered. If LaFleur hadn’t learned that now, he never will.

It also sets up the long pass and the protection for it. I agree with you that we need to stretch the Tampa D and vertically and horizontally. That takes speed. This isn’t an ideal D for Watkins and Lazard types typically, because they are physical to the point where grabby is an understatement. It’s odd that, in a year where brushing a receiver gets called, that that tactic still seems to be something they routinely don’t get called for. Nevertheless we have to plan for it. Lazards a big guy but it’s hard to catch if his arms are taken out before the ball arrives. Separation and burst are key. It’s hard to hold a guys arms if you can’t touch him.

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HawkPacker's picture

September 21, 2022 at 10:06 am

I agree. Get the run game going, try a few long passes to loosen up the middle of the defense and then try play action. Also, LEF and Barry need to get on the refs about the grabby TB defenders. I would hope that this is a recipe for success offensively.

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LLCHESTY's picture

September 21, 2022 at 09:42 pm

Run at them or pass at White, trying to go around them doesn't work and White is much worse than David in coverage.

**Edit** I guess that was actually the year before when White was much worse in coverage than David. White actually had a better QB against last year compared to David but David still gave up a yard less per target and less YAC yards. The QB ratings against for LBs can be mercurial because of TDs on much less targets than DBs see. David gave up 3 in 12 games whe White gave up none in 17 games. So unless David has slowed down I'd say he's still the better cover guy.

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PatrickGB's picture

September 21, 2022 at 10:02 am

You are not the only one to notice that. The snaps looked clean and the punts and kicks looked smooth. And I also noticed that Crosby kicked right down the center of the goalposts. It’s a small detail but I liked it.

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NickPerry's picture

September 21, 2022 at 10:34 am

Right Patrick? I mean for years we've watched Crosby's kicks kinda start left, then start to slice right, then hook back in just inside the left upright. OR, that can happen in the exact opposite order but never down the middle much.

Maybe that will come back with more FG attempts but I must say, I LOVE these kicks down the middle!

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RCPackerFan's picture

September 21, 2022 at 11:17 am

I didn't read your comment about special teams until now and after I posted mine. I agree completely about the snapping and holding. As i also mentioned it in mine. I also mentioned in the game balls/lame calls article.

Crosby's kicks just look really good. Also O'Donnell doesn't have to move a lot for the snaps. And he doesn't have to spin the ball a ton either. The process is night and day better from last year!

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Return_To_Sanity's picture

September 21, 2022 at 12:13 pm

If you noticed, their best runs came on the outside where a nose tackle makes little to no difference. Add in the window dressing with jet motions, counters, dummy pulling guards, etc and you have the blueprint to beat any defense anywhere. We know what will happen if they revert to stale drop back passing the whole game. The Bucs pass rush will eat them alive. They have to keep their foot on the gas and continue scheming up that run game which then feeds into the pass game. Dont stop now.

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LLCHESTY's picture

September 21, 2022 at 01:32 pm

The Saints we're running the ball for 5.1 average on Sunday and were controlling the LOS until Winston threw a grenade in the works.

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PackyCheese500's picture

September 21, 2022 at 08:12 pm

I think the Packers will beat the Bucs simply because every one of their offensive starters not named Tom Brady are either dealing with some sort of injury or are suspended. Akiem Hicks is out, and CB Carlton Davis is iffy. Their defense and RBs will win it for them, because Rodgers plays horrible in Florida in September

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Lphill's picture

September 21, 2022 at 06:44 am

just like we were dumbfounded for the changes to the O line for the 49 er playoff loss, we will be kept in the dark why Jaire was not covering Jefferson all game.

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Coldworld's picture

September 21, 2022 at 08:14 am

They’ve been relatively open in a way. I think you can just take that as having got it wrong on both occasions. The concern is why we keep getting things so wrong (Hanson, not running in game 1 … ). It’s kind of a LaFleur team’s trait to do the inexplicable and to repeat it. I hope Barry will avoid that.

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Eric Zenk's picture

September 22, 2022 at 02:44 pm

Packers News columnist Pete Dougherty addressed this in a story he wrote:

1. You cannot devote one player on a defense to cover one offensive player at all times. Why? Because the offensive team can move that player all over the line and back field so that the defender doesn't know what route that offensive player is running much like the Packers did with Adams versus the Ramsey in the 2021 playoff game. Using motion in the back field prevents the defender from getting his hands on the receiver immediately, which creates a free release for the receiver.

2. If you do devote one player towards covering only one guy the entire game, the other players have to communicate whether it's 'zone', 'man' or a combination of the two or hybrid such as Alexander plays man on Jefferson and everyone else plays zone. But if they do that the communication between all 11 defenders has to be on point or you have the screw-ups that occurred in their secondary during that game.

HOF Leroy Butler explains this in this piece:
https://www.jsonline.com/videos/sports/nfl/packers/2022/09/14/xs-and-os-...

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Coldworld's picture

September 21, 2022 at 06:48 am

I was struck by the irony in LaFleur’s remarks on Getsy running late too. Perhaps that’s why he knows it’s difficult.

Jenkins was rusty, but it was so good to have a good player back at RT and to have a genuine guard. One of the rare cases where one wins twice by starting a player at 80%.

The run game carried us in that game to an extent it’s unlikely to regularly. Thus it’s hard to criticize the lack of deep passing, but we have yet to see a successful recipe for getting the youth involved and thus our potential difference makers at the WR position. Lazard took snaps from Cobb, who is better suited to the limited role we saw and expected at this point. Watkins was better, but he’s clearly not a game breaker at this point either. So 3 dependables who will look much better with a sprinkling of Watson and Doubs and more stretched Ds. This week we likely need to see that in practice.

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Guam's picture

September 21, 2022 at 07:58 am

Let's hope the light bulb stays on for LaFleur and he sticks with the run game. Part of building success in the run game is pounding a defense with it early and often. All too often MLF and QB1 have abandoned the run game early because they weren't having instant success with it. Tampa Bay will be a good test of MLF's ability to remember lessons learned.

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Coldworld's picture

September 21, 2022 at 08:16 am

When LaFleur and Rodgers have let the run thrive, it’s been when it gashes early and often typically. I will take it seriously when they commit and stick with it when it’s not immediately successful. This week could be one of those weeks where we don’t get early splash plays.

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Return_To_Sanity's picture

September 21, 2022 at 12:22 pm

Theyve abandoned in even when it has immediate success. They just cant wait to get back to the pass.

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PhantomII's picture

September 21, 2022 at 08:46 pm

I think that all depends if ML runs the feeble stretch plays or run right at them.

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murf7777's picture

September 21, 2022 at 08:43 am

I don’t understand the lack of love for Watkins. He had 3 catches for 95 yards and clearly juked out the defenders and was wide open for a 55 yard catch and run. Watkins averaged 14.6 YPC in his career, that’s a very respectable and above average for an outside receiver. Small sample size, but right now he is averaging 19 YPC on 6 catches. I don’t expect it will stay that high, but 15-16 ypc is within his abilities. If you take that average over the course of the year his numbers would be 51 - 800. I think as Rodgers gets more experience with him those catches per game can increase. He won’t be a 75+ catch type of receiver, but (if healthy) can make big plays on a regular basis for the Packers. We need his experience.

I do agree that Doubs and Watson can spread the field with even more speed, but it comes at a price since Rodgers can’t depend on them being where he throws the ball. Its not like Mlf isn’t playing them, they are getting each around 1/3 of the snaps. You will see them soon utilize them on some more fly/go, post type of routes, like we saw in the Vikings game. I’m excited to see how they develop throughout the year and I suspect they will make some big plays.

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Coldworld's picture

September 21, 2022 at 08:57 am

Watkins had 55 of those yards on a classic play where the D sold out on the run and left him essentially free with a DB watching the line. That means that for 3 3/4 of the game he had two for 40 yards. Not bad, but it does provide context. The real reason is illustrated by my belief that if that pass that was caught by MVS, Doubs, Watson, even Amari, that goes to the house.

Of course the have to catch it first, but the point is that a breaker has the speed/agility to convert those. Watkins at this point is looking more like a reliable guy than a guy who has the potential to make a play out of nothing on ability after the catch.

That’s not that I’m complaining that he only got 55 yards. That was more than enough! It’s just an illustration of why I don’t see him as a game braking athlete at this point whereas Doubs and Watson can be. Doubs showed that on his critical 20 yards catch and run through traffic that dragged us back to the 3rd and 8 that Cobb converted. Watkins could yet be a very valuable part of this O and it’s yardage despite the fact that he’s not a game breaker, but as part of a solution in which others provide that threat.

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dobber's picture

September 21, 2022 at 09:02 am

I think we shouldn't disregard his other catches where he was able to get off the line and get separation. I was glad to see him not being used as a sideline outlet as he was v. Minnesota. The guy can still run.

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Coldworld's picture

September 21, 2022 at 09:10 am

He’s not the speedster he once was, but I agree he can still get separation. Adams was never a speedster and he’s pretty good. One needs technicians, which I think Watkins is at this point, but they typically thrive when others are around them that provide greater athletic threat and vice versa. In the last game, it didn’t matter, we were under no pressure to win in the air. In future we will need to establish and use Doubs and Watson to catch more than 10 yards from the line enough to make defenses play to that as much as for the actual receptions.

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dobber's picture

September 21, 2022 at 11:14 am

Then one of those guys needs to be on the field at all times: Watson, Doubs, ...and I would include Watkins. That's not a stretch, but if the team feels like Watkins isn't that guy to generate pressure on the deep secondary, he might need to sit. I think he can still run, and I think he can still get open downfield.

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murf7777's picture

September 21, 2022 at 11:47 am

Agree Dobber, he ran 4.4 at the combine, he isn’t very old, there’s no reason to believe he still can’t. That and he is very athletic, makes him dangerous, especially when Rodgers gets more work with him. Keep in mind, he missed part of camp.

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Coldworld's picture

September 21, 2022 at 04:26 pm

He’s 29, but he’s had a few injuries since he was drafted. Perhaps it’s a question of being comfortable in the system, perhaps it’s how we’ve used him in part too, but I haven’t seen the kind of acceleration or long speed Doubs and Watson show. Perhaps I’m underestimating him and it just needs LaFleur to unleash him. If so great.

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murf7777's picture

September 21, 2022 at 11:44 am

To get open like that he needed to get past the press coverage. He did that with some quick steps Ala Adams. He’s not Adams level, but you can see he knows what he’s doing to juke out defenders and get open.

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Coldworld's picture

September 21, 2022 at 01:34 pm

He is at his best against press, definitely

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LLCHESTY's picture

September 21, 2022 at 01:37 pm

If that 55 yard throw goes to Doubs or Watson it's a TD. It's nice to see Watkins still has some speed but the Bear defenders caught up to him pretty quickly. They don't catch the younguns.

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Leatherhead's picture

September 21, 2022 at 02:24 pm

To expand on what you are saying, Dobbs and Watson are getting on the field, and they're getting targets. I also suspect we'll see some big plays from them. In a game like last week, we only threw to the WR 16 times, so they have limited opportunities. And unless Lazard and Watkins play poorly or get hurt, we're not going to see as much of the rookies as many of us would like.

We're playing in Tampa this week, and IMO we should put the game in the hands of our vets, at WR and in general. Dillon, Jones, Lazard, Watkins, Cobb. The Offensive line did a pretty good job of pushing Chicago around last week, let's see if we can make it two in a row.

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PatrickGB's picture

September 21, 2022 at 10:11 am

Part of that was coach speak. Imagine the hue and cry if Matt were to stick to a run game if we were behind two or three scores? It’s great when successful and the team is not that far behind. It sets up the pass for later. But it’s not a successful stratagem for overcoming a big lead. It eats up the clock and diminishes the chance for a comeback.

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Return_To_Sanity's picture

September 21, 2022 at 12:20 pm

He tried against the vikings and it damn near got them back into the game until a suspect 4th and 1 deep pass shut the coffin on that game.

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Return_To_Sanity's picture

September 21, 2022 at 12:19 pm

Its absolutely likely that run game continues to carry the offense and heres why. They werent just running generic classic run plays where the better team just overwhelmed its opponent. Its a highly creative run game with lots of window dressing and moving parts which is incredibly difficult to stop. And when the qb is named Rodgers, its hard to even commit to trying to stop a run game like that. And then you throw in the added wrinkle that many of those runs have a pass option, this kind of offense dares teams to sellout on the run. Let them try.

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LLCHESTY's picture

September 21, 2022 at 01:47 pm

I agree, I'm surprised nobody has written about this yet but LaFluer has definitely added some wrinkles to the running game. Rock McCarren had a vid showing them using some sweep principles on Jones' TD run and they've been doing some in and pull stuff. They have some very athletic linemen and it's good to see them taking advantage of them in ways other than the standard zone runs.

https://www.packers.com/video/rock-report-the-lombardi-sweep

One thing I'd like to see is Rodgers under center with a back directly behind him in short yardage with motion crossing and moving away from the formation. Try to get the LBs shifting sideways while the RB can run straight ahead. In zone the defense knows which side of the formation the ball is going and can fly to that side at the snap. I'd actually throw it the 1st time out of that situation, suddenly you've given the defense a lot to think about.

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stockholder's picture

September 21, 2022 at 07:15 am

Let's not forget these were the Bears. The packers should have put them away earlier.
While Rodgers praises his veteran WRs. They still look field slow to me. Watson and Doubs must play. (Stretch the Field)
I was so happy to see Hanson out, and Newman back @ RG. . Whats clear is Jenkins is the RT.
Rodgers looked happy again. But for how long? ( The OL is the key! )
I 'll take the Jet threat over the Pony. The future depends on it. Unless you want to go one and done.
While P.Smith did great. I'm So glad we have Clark! Felt Lowry was his old self. And expected more from Amos.

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T7Steve's picture

September 21, 2022 at 07:29 am

I think Amos will come back to normal and maybe he's looking worse because Savage can't be found. These guys each used to make at least one splash play a game. Amos was always where he was supposed to be.

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Coldworld's picture

September 21, 2022 at 07:43 am

It could easily be what they are being asked to do as much as anything. Their roles in the second half of the last game seemed to be much more preventative than we are used to.

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T7Steve's picture

September 21, 2022 at 07:59 am

You'd think they could still help stop a run now and then. After the ball crosses the LOS they could be pretty sure it's not a pass can't they? That shouldn't be on coaching.

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Coldworld's picture

September 21, 2022 at 08:21 am

I can’t tell. It’s likely not either or but a bit of both. And, to be honest, in the second half I don’t mind the concept in that game position with Fields as the opposing QB. Stop the long heaves in broken plays that won for them in week one and encourage the run. The front 7 should have done a much better job on both those long runs. There no excuse for that tackling.

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LLCHESTY's picture

September 21, 2022 at 01:51 pm

Yep, they both whiffed badly on that 28 yard run from Montgomery. Well, I guess that's not really fair because Savage didn't get close enough to him to whiff.

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Coldworld's picture

September 21, 2022 at 05:45 pm

I think partly for the reasons I stated

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murf7777's picture

September 21, 2022 at 08:49 am

I would say 24 points and up by 17 in the first half is putting a team away. If it weren’t for the handoff fumble and hiking into Watson (not sure who was at fault in that one) that ended two possessions they might’ve scored 40+. In the 4th, they no longer needed to stay aggressive offensively to win the game decisively.

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Coldworld's picture

September 21, 2022 at 09:28 am

Per Rodgers it was Myers snapping on 1, not 2.

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murf7777's picture

September 21, 2022 at 11:49 am

Thanks for the clarification, I was wondering who was at fault.

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PeteK's picture

September 21, 2022 at 05:00 pm

I'm a bit concerned with Myers, besides the early snap, he was beat a few times on running plays. Hopefully, he will improve as he is still a rookie having missed most of last season.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

September 22, 2022 at 02:57 am

Myers had another shotgun snaps the was low and way to the left of AR. And a false start for moving the ball while set.

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croatpackfan's picture

September 21, 2022 at 08:01 am

Nice overview Al.

I agree regarding ST. They might be an average unit (15 to 20) after regular season ends.

For me, Doubs did very nice job on that 2nd and 28. He show elusivness and speed. Only if he decided to ran on the left of Nijman (I think) block he might brought 1st down.

As I already stated, we were witness of more or less MLF offense in this game. No one hero ball, but fast balls that moves team down the stream.

Also, I noticed that Bears were running the ball more through right and middle than throug left side of the line. This time I have to agree with PFF. They noticed that and gave to Reed one of the lowest mark in Packers run defense. Despite many was complaining about Lowry, he played well as pass rusher and as run stuffer.

It is logical for teams to play "pony" as rules are made to favor offense. For defenders it become harder to stop pass or run. By my opinion that is why more and more defenses plays zone, to avoid necessary contacts that may produce holding or PI calls from referees.

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Coldworld's picture

September 21, 2022 at 08:33 am

The Doubs catch and run was by far the most dynamic play by a non running back that we have seen in a while. We have to harness that type of ability and not only in Doubs but Watson not just trick and short yardage plays.

This is especially true given that Lazard and Watkins can block very well for receivers as well as RBs. Those two are real threats to take a ten yard pass and do something big as well as the 50 yarders. I’d really prefer to see Toure too, though at this point I think he’s the price of Cobb and that’s reasonable in light of the role Cobb filled on Sunday.

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LLCHESTY's picture

September 21, 2022 at 02:01 pm

That was a huge play, LaFluer even said that one really changed the momentum of the game. When Rodgers threw it to him I thought to myself that drive is over and then he gets them into 3rd and manageable. I think in the next 3 or 4 games Doubs will have a breakout, 80 to 100 yard game with a TD and the offense will start to click.

I also think Doubs can be as good as Watson on reverses and jets. He's not as fast but 3" shorter while only 4 lbs lighter and, most importantly, was a stud RB in high school so he's used to that type of running. Rushed for over 1700 yards and 28 TDs as a Senior in a LA high school.

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Coldworld's picture

September 21, 2022 at 09:41 am

Amari Rodgers’ ball security still worries me. He was very lucky in that fumble. A different bounce and a gunner is taking that into our end zone. This is the great weather season. It’s a lot harder in freezing and soaking conditions.

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PewAuKeeFan's picture

September 21, 2022 at 08:12 am

"So, it IS possible to put your best corner on Justin Jefferson at least some of the time with good results? Duly noted..."

Without doubt the most bone-headed decision against the Vikings was the decision NOT to put Jaire on Jefferson, and probably the biggest reason why the Packers lost that game.

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dobber's picture

September 21, 2022 at 09:04 am

The Rams like to play Jalen Ramsey against an opponent's top WR, and play zone behind him. Barry coached in that scheme prior to coming to GB. I'd like to think that coaching such a scheme wouldn't be above him.

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mrtundra's picture

September 21, 2022 at 08:28 am

I love Lazard's ability to block, as much as I love his pass catching abilities. He is a difference maker when he is on the field. I thought his best block came against Roquan Smith, to spring Jones for a big gain. I hope someone made a tape of the vikings-Eagles game for Joe Barry. Slay was unstoppable. Kark should have been intercepted 6 or 7 times, in that game. I am still waiting to see the Packers' Defense live up to it's preseason hype. I hope it comes alive in Tampa and is able to shut down Fournette. Tampa's Defense is no joke and will limit our run game, in a big way. Let's do the same to their run game and maybe we can come out of Tampa, 2-1. GO PACK, GO!!!

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Since'61's picture

September 21, 2022 at 08:47 am

Referring to MLF'scomment on Getsy it appears that he has learned "coach speak." Now if he just applies to his own team it would be great. Lazard is a solid blocker in our run game. Another reason to stick with the ground game. WE have WRs who are actually capable of making blocks and springing our RBs for good gains.

Cobb has been Rodgers security blanket for a long time, except for the 2 seasons he was elsewhere. He has good hands and Rodgers knows where he is going to be.

STs need to keep doing what they have been doing consistently. Solid coverage and no TOs on our returns.

We will see our young WRs grow into the offense as the season goes on. Watson and Doubs are off to good starts IMO.

Great job Al. Thanks, Since '61

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T7Steve's picture

September 21, 2022 at 09:12 am

Watkins is excited and having fun with the blocking too. Add Watson downfield and that looks like some nice run production.

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Since'61's picture

September 21, 2022 at 07:20 pm

Totally agree. Thanks, Since ‘61

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RCPackerFan's picture

September 21, 2022 at 09:01 am

Say what Matt? -
Well to be fair the passing game wasn't working at all. They did a run and it worked and did another run and it worked. I don't think it was anything to do with sticking with the run as it was simply running the ball and it worked.

Eagles Slay Justin Jefferson:
But remember, we don't want to fundamentally change our defense.

The Alien Lizard -
Lazard is a difference maker at WR. He is our goon. But one of the first 3rd down plays Rodgers went right to Lazard. The rapport is just there. Expect that to increase as the year goes on.

Edge of Discipline -
Smith has looked great so far. Sunday game may have been Smiths best game as a Packer. This duo of Smith and Gary are one of the best in the league.
It was great seeing them using Walker as a spy. That goal line play was perfect.

Shhhhhhh -
Ford was a huge pickup at gunner. Special teams have been good so far. Also snapping and holding have been a huge improvement. Has anyone else notice that Crosby's kicks so far have been perfectly straight. Possibly because of the holding?

Yes Dr. Watson -
I can't wait to see what he looks like once he knows what he is doing. Have to love his skills that he has shown so far.

Jet threat -
There was a jet motion he ran and it fooled 3 Bears. It really opened up the run lanes for Jones. Watsons speed is a true threat.

Dillon encounter declined -
I have a feeling we will see many more guys making business decisions when Dillon is running right at them.

Hello Newman -
Newman should never see OT again. Not saying he is a great OG, but he is a terrible OT.

Plays for Cobb -
I was listening to some Packers talk the other day and they were talking about how Cobb likely wouldn't be playing with any other team in the league. Only in GB with Rodgers. Which I have no idea if that is true or not. BUT I will say that him with Rodgers is a great connection. That 3rd down play out of the backfield was perfect. I hope we see more plays like that.

Ride your pony -
This is a tough formation to play against. Especially when the RB is a great receiver. Packers have the perfect pair to run the pony package. They have Dillon who is a beast at RB and Jones is a huge threat anyone on the field.
A great way to defend that is with 2 great ILB's. Packers have that with Campbell and Walker. They have the ability to defend it.

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dobber's picture

September 21, 2022 at 09:06 am

"There was a jet motion he ran and it fooled 3 Bears. It really opened up the run lanes for Jones. Watsons speed is a true threat."

The bottom line is that putting a gimmick player (like Tyler Ervin, Tavon Austin, or Amari Rodgers) calls attention to the gimmick play. LaF has seemed to rather run the gimmick play with his regulars: Allison, St. Brown, Valdez-Scantling, Lazard...and now Watson. Illusion of complexity?

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Coldworld's picture

September 21, 2022 at 09:37 am

Dual threat is part of it. Those players are legitimate threats to run a variety of routes until the y motion and then a genuine threat when in motion. Defenders can’t ignore either. That causes hesitation and drags players in a way that a gadget player is unlikely to (which is what most actual gadget plays are run in hope of—that the gadget guy gets ignored). To make those work otherwise the player running it must be a real athletic challenge. Exactly the type that could line up the same way and end up 5 yards behind you.

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RCPackerFan's picture

September 21, 2022 at 09:39 am

I am not sure which is the best way to do it. To have specific players/packages to run it. or to use regulars use it.
When Ervin did it, he was amazing at it. I could see Goodson being a very similar player to Ervin especially in that role. Rodgers also could be good in that role. But when people saw Ervin coming in, they probably knew he was running that jet motion. But they also know they have to adjust to it and have a plan to defend it. Is it better having packages with players for that, or is it better running it with players who are on the field more, may make it harder to defend?

I like the motion stuff that they have been doing with Jones. I would love to see Jones in the backfield and a guy like Goodson doing those motion plays. It adds a lot of speed to t

I like Watson running the motion plays. He has the speed and power to run it.

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dobber's picture

September 21, 2022 at 11:17 am

I'll say this: when Ervin was with the team and getting offensive snaps, how often did he run in jet/sweep action? A lot. How many times did he actually get the ball in jet/sweep action? Not very many.

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RCPackerFan's picture

September 21, 2022 at 02:18 pm

Very true. Even though he didn't get it a lot the motion really forced teams to keep an eye on it. Even if it hesitates a LB for a split second that can be long enough for the blocker to get on him or the RB to be by him. The second the LB's stop worrying about the motion, the second they get the hand off and a big play happens.

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coolhand's picture

September 21, 2022 at 09:28 am

Ride your pony -
This is a tough formation to play against. Especially when the RB is a great receiver. Packers have the perfect pair to run the pony package. They have Dillon who is a beast at RB and Jones is a huge threat anyone on the field.

And the thing about these 2 guys is not only are they great at running the ball, both are outstanding receivers as well.

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RCPackerFan's picture

September 21, 2022 at 10:31 am

They are. Which makes it even harder to defend. Because they can fake handoff to both players and throw it to either. They can run screens to either, they can have them running routes. Packers have a great pair to run it. They have a ton of options they can run in this formation.

I do think that Goodson would be a perfect RB to add to this group as well. He is explosive with really good hands for receiving. He might be a guy to watch later in the season being brought up.

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Coldworld's picture

September 21, 2022 at 04:35 pm

If Goodson could return he’d be Rodgers. If he could pass protect he’d be on the roster regardless. There’s no way he’s active as a RB until he gets better absent emergency. That’s why I wanted them to look at him in the gadget/returner role, but he wasn’t reliable as a returner.

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PackyCheese500's picture

September 21, 2022 at 09:56 am

For me, of the most pleasant surprises so far has been Preston Smith. I was expecting him to have a mediocre season, given his history of being bad in even-numbered years. However, he has had a great start, getting 2 sacks and almost got 2 more vs the Vikings. He could be in line for a huge season.

As far as the Bucs game, that was the only sure-fire loss that I was predicting for the Packers, but with all of the injuries and suspensions the Bucs are dealing with (they are starting 3 backup o linemen, including a 3rd-string LT, Aiken Hicks is out, Julio Jones, Chris Godwin, and Mike Evans [suspension] are out), I think this is a winnable game for the Packers. The defense and the RBs will have to carry the team, though, because Aaron Rodgers does not play well in Florida in September. The Bucs have been giving up 5.3 yards per carry and are very beat up on offense, so I think that can happen. Look for the front 7, Kenny Clark, Rashan Gary, and Preston Smith to have big games. I think the game will come down to the play of the defense and, more specifically, if they can contain Leonard Fournette. I am predicting a defensive slugfest, but I think the Packers will win, 7-3.

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murf7777's picture

September 21, 2022 at 11:59 am

Where did you hear Godwin and Jones are out?

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PackyCheese500's picture

September 21, 2022 at 08:08 pm

Godwin will be out for a few weeks. Jones is doubtful, and hasn't practiced all week

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PatrickGB's picture

September 21, 2022 at 10:13 am

“Ride your pony” That brought back memories of Taylor and Horning.

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packerbackerjim's picture

September 21, 2022 at 10:20 am

“Business Decision “= contract year truck avoidance.

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jont's picture

September 21, 2022 at 12:47 pm

The Pack will have to run often until Doubs and Watson learn how to execute the exacting routes and adjustments which are central to the GB passing game.

Both of these guys can get open. They've shown it. But they get open, it seems, only when they run routes into space-- that is, they make a good move on the defender and then take off into an open area where they can separate. The MLF offense, however, is more often a 'throw to a spot' scheme. How often have we seen Rodgers fit it in a tight window or deliver a perfect back shoulder throw? These guys cannot yet be counted on in these pass patterns.

MLF has a decision to make: rely more on the ground game as the rookies grow or design a few plays where the talent and skills the rookies have now are enough to get open. Against da Bears he ran a lot and threw to the veterans who know where to be and get there. I expect he'll stick with this approach and start throwing more as Doubs and Watson develop their skills later in the season (though it is a wild thing to imagine Rodgers and the Pack suddenly launching the run & shoot in Tampa.)

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Coldworld's picture

September 21, 2022 at 04:41 pm

There are routes we run which aren’t overly complex. Sprinkle them in and there should be no issue. The big drop was in, a straight go route. There are some routes that Doubs is clearly comfortable with too after camp. Ultimately, rotate them in and out and use them according to what works and someone else on other things. It’s something coaches have done many times. We could too.

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LLCHESTY's picture

September 21, 2022 at 10:09 pm

Actually someone made the point that the big catches Watkins made were "schemed" open, whereas Doubs and Watson don't need as much of that.

I'd look it up but I already linked something in this article. 🙄

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Tundraboy's picture

September 21, 2022 at 09:59 pm

"Dare I say, the coverage units actually look... decent?"

Lmao Now that brought a smile to my face.

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