Confessions of a Polluted Mindset - Is it Really Week One?

The Weekly Packers Brain Drain from Jersey Al.

I'm not ready - I come back from vacation and abruptly crash-land into week one of the 2022 NFL Season. Wait, I'll be watching football this Sunday? Really? I've paid little attention to the Vikings. I'm not ready for Game One! Which is ironic considering all the time we've spent since the playoff loss looking towards this weekend.

I'm a believer - Call me crazy, but for the first time since LaFleur took over the Packers, I'm confident enough that I placed a futures bet for the Packers to win the Super Bowl. The main reason is what we all hope will be the best defense Green Bay has seen since the last decade. I'm willing to discount the loss of Davante Adams and am taking the rose-colored glasses approach that it will make Rodgers and the offense less predictable and more difficult to gameplan for. I'm taking the blindfold approach to the special teams, pretending they don't exist and secretly hoping it works out to just not making glaring mistakes. Realistic or not, I just feel like this could be the year they break through, win it all, Rodgers rides off into the sunset and the Love era begins. I'm not a big gambler, but the odds were enticing so I took a shot. Lets go!

Bakh to Starting? - Despite what David says (or hopes) call me skeptical that David Bakhtiari will be allowed to start against the Vikings after having done noting but individual workouts up until Monday. Of course, it is possible that this was their plan all along - to be ultra uber conservative and guard against any freak contact-related injury reoccurences by keeping him on the side until week one. But I'm leaning towards the scenario where he actually needed all this time to build back up slowly and may not be fully ready to be thrown out there. 

Is this the year? - With the Packers bringing in a renowned special teams coach and providing him with players brought in specifically for their special teams prowess (long overdue and we know what it took for this to happen), can this be the year when "Well, it can't get any worse" actually becomes reality? Also, LaFleur indicated that some roster decisions came down SOLELY to special teams, so all appearances are that they have finally gotten the memo. I can't even profess to be (in Packers-speak) "cautiously optimistic" so let's just take it "one game at a time."

Morgan Burnett - Great to see him want to come back and retire as a Packer. Only a 21 year-old kid from Atlanta, Georgia when he came to the Packers, he joked that his neighbor had to give him lessons on how to drive and use the brakes with snow on the road. He was one of the good ones - and picked up a Super Bowl Ring as a rookie. Future Packers HOF'er.

Ex-Packers - It's getting hard to keep track of former Packers on other NFC North Teams, never mind also trying to keep track of former Packers they bring in for workouts (as the Bears just did with Kurt Benkert). 

Chicago - Lucas Patrick, Mike Pennel, Equanimeous St. Brown

Minnesota - Za'Darius Smith, Chandon Sullivan

Detroit - Jamaal Williams, Tim Boyle

Did I miss any?

And let's not forget the coaches. Just looking at this week's opponent, we have every Packers fan's favorite proponent of the three-man rush, Mike Pettine serving as Vikings Assistant Head Coach and Ed Donatell as their Defensive Coordinator. Also, a former Packers coach we all actually liked, Mike Smith, who was Za/Darius Smith's former position coach in Green Bay, is still coaching Smith, but now in Minnesota.

Fear of the Unknown - My only note of concern about the Vikings is that the Packers just don't know what to prepare for. With a new head coach, the former offensive coordinator for the Rams, what will their schemes look like? They have some bona-fide talent at the skill positions on that team - will this be the coach that figures out how to best use it? I don't know, but it sure works to their advantage in this initial matchup. Regardless, I'm going with a 24-16 Packers win.

Go Pack Go!

__________________________

"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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12 points

Comments (76)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
jcod3's picture

September 07, 2022 at 06:24 am

Thanks Al, I think you speak for many of us on all these points! Go Pack Go 👍

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PatrickGB's picture

September 07, 2022 at 06:56 am

Of all the off-seasons that I can remember this one seems the oddest. There were other seasons when I thought that we might loose our starting QB. And yet this one seems oddest. Even when MM was replaced, I did not feel this way. But. In a few days the pictures will become clearer. Thanks for giving words to how I feel.

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PeteK's picture

September 07, 2022 at 10:13 am

I agree fully, Patrick. ---Crosby ?, Lazard ? , Savage ?, Wyatt ?, RT ?, old/rookie WRs ?, even Walker seemed tentative, ST looked clueless during preseason, Vikes trio of very good WRs, and the ever present nuisance of Cook. Damn, that's negative. However, in the end, Dillon/Jones and the addition of Reed/Alexander will be too much for Vikes. Pack prevails 20-13.

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Tundraboy's picture

September 07, 2022 at 09:12 pm

And the beauty of this season. Free of any grandiose expectations but calmly excited about the prospects of having a Defense along, with a great pair of RBs, and still with Rodgers. Hell even the special Teams might have great return or two in them this year. Nowhere to go but up there!

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Savage57's picture

September 07, 2022 at 07:05 am

What's going to make this season enjoyable is watching the transition of the Packers to a more rounded, complete team.

Rodgers has his challenge to meld the WR corps into a functional, productive unit, the running game has nothing but daylight ahead of it, the defense for the first time in a long time might just be filled with meat-eaters, and they've done everything possible to make special teams special.

I'm in for the ride.

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Tundraboy's picture

September 07, 2022 at 09:13 pm

Exactly!

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ReaganRulz's picture

September 07, 2022 at 07:07 am

Yes, thanks for the great articles as always. I hope the Packers realize this first game is against a division rival and a very important game in the scheme of things. With that Captain Obvious comment being said, I hope they strongly consider starting Bak and/or Jenkins if they are cleared by the medical staff. If this game was against the Jags or Texans, etc. then maybe we sit them for another week. I guess we’ll know soon enough what the plan will be. Regardless, happy to start the season. GPG!!!

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Roadrunner23's picture

September 07, 2022 at 07:12 am

And Luke Getsy is OC of the Bears 🐻

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NickPerry's picture

September 07, 2022 at 07:18 am

I'm SO READY for week one and am just really looking forward to Sunday. I haven't been paying much attention to the Vikings either Al. I guess when you have Kurt Cousins as your QB it's hard to take them too seriously. Hey, they could very well win Sunday. It's week one and strange things ALWAYS happen in week one. But by week 18 it's not going to mean a damn bit of difference IF it does happen.

The biggest reason I can't wait is the Defense. I listen to A LOT of Podcasts and the common theme from the talking heads is that Packer's Defense "On Paper" is uber-talented at EVERY level. Well talking heads, you're about to see it n the field. I honestly think this is a Top 3 Defense, if not #1 in the NFL. Call me a homer, and I PROUDLY am. But the versatility of this defense is what makes it special. The Packers can stay in their base defense and defend just about any formation.

I'd love to see Bakhtiari out there Sunday but if he isn't I like Yosh Nijman. What I DON'T like is the thought of Royce Newman as the starting RT if Jenkins isn't playing. Sorry, I just don't have a lot of confidence in Newman.

Special Teams... They can ONLY get better. I don't think they could possibly be any worse than last season on EVERY level of STs. I mean it was a shit-show just about every weekend last season. It may be a slow progression, but I'm hoping for a top 22 finish this year. If it's better great. But they need to move up to AT LEAST 22nd overall IMO.

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T7Steve's picture

September 07, 2022 at 08:16 am

I wish that Jenkins could go back to left guard, JRJ move to right and Nijman to right tackle. I just don't know if the young guys could get comfortable with the move, but, I'm not comfortable with Newman at tackle and would take him as the first backup at guard if the rookie Tom isn't ready yet.

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Lphill's picture

September 07, 2022 at 10:58 am

why would you replace Runyan ?

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T7Steve's picture

September 07, 2022 at 11:29 am

JRJ is moved to the right or EJ to the right. Just get Newman out of there if possible. But if he starts it has to be guard.

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RCPackerFan's picture

September 07, 2022 at 10:19 am

"I'd love to see Bakhtiari out there Sunday but if he isn't I like Yosh Nijman. What I DON'T like is the thought of Royce Newman as the starting RT if Jenkins isn't playing. Sorry, I just don't have a lot of confidence in Newman."

I don't like Newman at RT in any situation other then emergency. I also am not a fan of Hanson at RG.

If neither Bakhtiari and Jenkins can't play I would rather see Yosh at LT, Tom at RT and Newman at RG.
If Bakhtiari can go I would rather see Yosh at RT.

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Tundraboy's picture

September 07, 2022 at 09:30 pm

Let's hope the coaches realize that like we all do. I do not want to see a Line decision like last year's finale.

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PhantomII's picture

September 08, 2022 at 06:15 am

Thanks, There is a reason not all our posts are glamorous. GB fans have been through a lot of highs and ending early on very lows. Usually having a poor or dumb decisions involved. Let's hope things are trending up this season. We have a lot of good players and all 3 phases need to execute better to get us where we want to be. GPG

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LLCHESTY's picture

September 07, 2022 at 03:09 pm

Homer

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RCPackerFan's picture

September 07, 2022 at 03:43 pm

I'm not sure if this is supposed to be an insult or compliment. Because for me its a compliment!

Go Pack Go!

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LLCHESTY's picture

September 07, 2022 at 07:13 pm

He said call him a homer?!?

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

September 08, 2022 at 04:24 am

Not an insult or a compliment. My view is that it's a fact. How ya doing, Nick?

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NickPerry's picture

September 08, 2022 at 05:41 am

Hey TGR...I'm great and you're 100% correct...It's a fact!

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NickPerry's picture

September 08, 2022 at 05:41 am

LOL...Thank you.

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Tundraboy's picture

September 07, 2022 at 09:21 pm

Special Teams NP, I'll be thrilled if they don't cost us a game. Throw in 2 or 3 big returns and I'm elated. If one is in the Super Bowl.....

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Tundraboy's picture

September 07, 2022 at 09:28 pm

And I m with you on this especially the Defense. But I have to see it first to believe it. We've been burned before with so many freak breaks, bad luck, calls etc that I'm still somewhat shell shocked.
Yet deep down I think we are back to having a much tougher team and defense. GPG

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Handsback's picture

September 07, 2022 at 07:24 am

I would love to watch this game, but since I live in Dallas area doubt it will happen. I haven't felt this way for awhile. There are so many new players that may or may not make an impact and that is what is fascinating to me.
The defense gets a great first opportunity to shut down a rival and show the league they are for real.
I hope this is their year to go all the way...this game should show glimpses of how they will do it.

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HawkPacker's picture

September 07, 2022 at 07:51 am

HB, you can go to a sports bar!

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Handsback's picture

September 07, 2022 at 09:50 pm

Actually it’s 50/50, Giants are another game going on and local channnels like to cover Cowboys rivals.
Hawk the bars are out for me. Wife going through chemo and can’t leave her alone since she’s a big football fan and will want me close.

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DoubleJ's picture

September 07, 2022 at 08:19 am

It is the nationally televised game and the Cowboys don't play until the night so you have a good chance to see the game.

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Rarescope's picture

September 07, 2022 at 01:06 pm

Lots of ways to watch out of market games - just Google it ;)

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Packers0808's picture

September 07, 2022 at 07:30 am

Just a gut feeling but I really believe this team will be as good or better w/o all the reliance of the Adams/Rodgers duo. Guess would be he will be missed some but not to degree most think! It will be funny not to see the comedy/drama of ST this year let's hope!

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x24's picture

September 07, 2022 at 08:43 am

I too am looking forward to a passing game unhindered by DavanteVision. I think we will see an improvement as an opposing defense will have to cover every potential receiver

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ricky's picture

September 07, 2022 at 07:52 am

As with any season, it's not how you start, but how you finish that counts. Just ask the Eli Manning Giants. Mediocre regular season record; get hot in the playoffs, win two SB's over the Patriots. Win the playoffs and the SB, and the regular season becomes an afterthought

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13TimeChamps's picture

September 07, 2022 at 08:35 am

Kind of like '10 Packer team. Squeaked in as the #6 seed with a 10-6 season, then got hot in the playoffs all the way to the Super Bowl. It happens!

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13TimeChamps's picture

September 07, 2022 at 11:14 am

Two thumbs down for stating a fact. Tough crowd.

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Since'75's picture

September 07, 2022 at 09:42 am

All good points.
But nobody, wants the see the Packers *hit the bed in week one, like last season against the Saints.
No need to make excuses before the game is played.

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HawkPacker's picture

September 07, 2022 at 07:54 am

Al, I sure missed your article last Wednesday and hope you had some good time away from all of this.

This will be a different start of the season with so many new things happening as we all know. I am hoping for a win but based on how we usually start the season and with all the 'new' things going on with the Packers, I would not be surprised to see us lose this first game.

I sure am looking forward to the game and this season.

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LambeauPlain's picture

September 07, 2022 at 08:31 am

Every week two teams need to win: The Pack and whoever is playing the vyqueens. The exception is at least twice a year it is the same team.

Interesting Pettine, Smith and Donatell are scheming all week to mess up Rodgers day...and Matt, Steno, Clements and Rodgers will know a thing or two about the Defense they are facing Sunday and how to attack it.

I am expecting a lower scoring game. Just a gut feel. (now watch...it will be a track meet!)

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mrtundra's picture

September 07, 2022 at 08:36 am

Packers win by two scores (at least 10 points), on Sunday. First pass reception this season for the Packers will be Rodgers to Aaron Jones, down the left sideline, for a first down, First Packer snap will be a run by Aaron Jones through the B Gap on the left side, GO PACK, GO!!!

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jont's picture

September 07, 2022 at 10:40 am

Now this is how you make predictions!

You got one wrong, though: the first pass will be the first play (if GB receives) and it'll be a bomb as Romeo and Christian both go vertical. If GB kicks off, after a defensive take away, the first play will be a screen to Jones for a gain of about 20.

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Packer_Fan's picture

September 07, 2022 at 08:44 am

Yes, I am ready for the season to start. I am looking forward to see how well the defense does. And how well Rodgers and Lafluer move the offense without Adams. I long ago wanted Jones and Dillon together on the field and thought 3000 combined yards would be realistic.

I would hope using Bak and Jenkins will move slowly. It is a long season and we need them to be playing well for the playoffs. Also hoping that the high draft picks are playing well by the time playoffs start. That added depth and talent will be needed.

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wildbill's picture

September 07, 2022 at 11:13 am

I think those two are capable of 3000 yards but I want them fresh for the playoffs and think that is maybe too many hits during the season.

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x24's picture

September 07, 2022 at 08:52 am

Special teams...
I don't want to see a gunner sprint past the ball carrier and slap at his jersey. Is that too much to ask?
Lane discipline. Is that too much to ask?
Sure tackling. Is that too much to ask?
A return without an illegal block. Is that too much to ask?
If all of this IS too much to ask, can we just let kick-offs bounce into the end zone?

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13TimeChamps's picture

September 07, 2022 at 09:02 am

Punts...yes.
Kick-offs...no. That's a live ball.

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x24's picture

September 07, 2022 at 10:11 am

You are right! Touchback is what I meant

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Tundraboy's picture

September 07, 2022 at 09:38 pm

Post of the year (Special Teams Edition)

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RCPackerFan's picture

September 07, 2022 at 08:55 am

I'm not ready -
I'm ready but not ready. It just doesn't seem like week 1 should be here now. It is, and I am excited. I can't wait to see what this years version of the Packers looks like. They have assembled a damn good roster. I can't wait to see them on the field for the first time sunday.

I'm a believer -
I am a believer. This is the best roster top to bottom that we have put together at least on paper in a long time. Our defense has the potential to be the best in the league. Our DL is deepest its been since 2010. We have one of the premiere edge rushers in the league. We have legit speed at ILB. A tandem that could be the best in the league. We have a trio of CB's that are the best we have had since our 2010 team. Amos is vastly underrated and Savage has the skills to be great.
On offense, even though we lost Adams and MVS, we have plenty of weapons. We get Tonyan back, and added a pair of rookies that should really add something to the offense. They have a RB duo that is the best in the league.
Oh and we have 12. That makes me a believer!

Bakh to Starting? -
I am not sure if he will be starting. But it wouldn't surprise me either way. I remember a few weeks back when asked if he could start without practicing they said without a doubt (or something like that). I just know we are better with him then without him.

Is this the year? -
I have faith that our special teams will be better. I mean at this point we have no option right. I do feel better about our LS and holder. I also like Rodgers better this year as a returner.

Morgan Burnett -
I really liked Burnett. An underrated player. Unfortunately my biggest memory of Burnett is Peppers telling him to get down after the interception. Ughhh.

Fear of the Unknown -
The first game is always tough. We won't know how the rest of the year will go based on the first game. Regardless of the outcome either way, it isn't a representation of the whole season. Just like last year's first game crap show.
The Packers are the better team. They have the better coach, QB. They have a ton of young and new talent. To put a spin on this the Vikings won't know what to expect from GB. GB is a very different team from last year. But a better team and they will not know how much the team has changed from a year ago. At Vikings will likely be a tough first game. But I am seeing us coming out with a much better first game, I think GB learned from last year. I expect a much better game.

Go Pack Go!

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Swisch's picture

September 07, 2022 at 09:31 am

Do you remember the kind of September when you were a fresh and fearless fellow?
Do you remember the kind of December when titles were green and golden yellow?
Try to remember the kind of September when championship talk was not so hollow.
Try to remember our Packers lore, and follow, follow, follow.

5 points
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Since'75's picture

September 07, 2022 at 09:31 am

I'm damn ready for game one!!

I've been ready for 6 or 7 months.
The NFL/Packers off season, is the slowest time of the year for me.

The Packers face the Vikings, i'm not expecting much from our receiver group this early on. The vikings have some serious skilled position players, and i think they have some edge rushers with some attitude, one in particular.

Not sure who Al is speaking of when he says we have two rookies who can add to the offense. But i'm assuming Toure and Doubs? Maybe Watson?
It would be nice to hear Doubs and Toure's name called in real games.
It would be nice to hear Watson's name called...for the first time.
I mean, we traded up for this cat, i'd like to see at least a little flash.

Can't wait for the real games on Sunday, should be entertaining.

2 points
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Tundraboy's picture

September 07, 2022 at 09:33 am

Welcome back Al! Pretty much what I think about this week too. Another great article. I've been reading a lot of talk about how they're going to be very difficult to game plan against and the Packers are at a disadvantage because the changes in Minnesota.

I am just going to focus on where we left off at the end of last year and my wish to have a killer defense to bring to Minnesota for this year and here we are. Hopefully this is all not hype.

We've never been afraid to play in Minnesota, so I'm not particularly worried about it. And maybe the stupid horn will get everybody's blood going. The more I think about it, they have more to worry about the unknown with us.

3 points
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jvole's picture

September 07, 2022 at 09:36 am

If they win it it all, this defense will lead the way. Hopefully the special teams can get out of the way (at a minimum).

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Since'61's picture

September 07, 2022 at 09:36 am

Al the seasons come and go faster and faster. I'm not sure that I am ready for Week 1 yet either but here we are.

I'm also a believer but I have my concerns about our OL, receiving corps and of course our STs. They probably cannot get any worse but that doesn't mean that they will necessarily get better. Given where they have been I will take competence which to me means they will not have kicks blocked, they will minimize KO and punt returns and our returners will make good decisions on bringing the ball out of the end zone and on fair catches. Not costing us games would be a huge improvement by itself.

Back should not be starting until he is 100% ready to go.

The Packers have been feeding the league for years with both players and coaches. It is a sign of a well run organization and the result of bringing in good people to the organization. BTW the turnover in the Packers coaching staff has not been covered much but it could be a factor in how this season goes, good or bad.

As for the Vikings game I think that we should expect unscouted looks from both teams. The Vikings with their new HC and the Packers without Adams will also have unscouted looks. The Packers running 2 RB sets and a passing game without Adams should give the Vikings defense plenty of questions about what is coming, especially early in the game.

Fortunately I still have 4 days to get my game face on. Go Pack Go!
Thanks, Since '61

4 points
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Since'75's picture

September 07, 2022 at 01:09 pm

I also share your concerns about the O line, receiver room., especially ST's.
Some fans don't seem worried about special teams, or the receiver room for that matter.
They feel like the defense is so strong, it will overcome other weaknesses.
You hear that repeatedly and often.

I think that's foolish, as special teams has the ability to turn a gam around, especially a field position game.
Or how a long return, can turn the momentum of a game over. Like a great punt downed inside the 5 yard line, etc.
Championship teams take that 3rd segment of their team, seriously.

But, it's hard to take anything away from pre-season games, which has now become just an extension of training camp.
One thing i do know, it will be fun and entertaining watching the first team play and seeing how this thing plays out every week.

GPG!

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JohnnyLogan's picture

September 07, 2022 at 10:24 am

This is the most underrated offense in football.

The best running back duo in football. Jones and A.J. each could rush for 1000 yards, catch 50 balls, and score 10 TDs. I'm starting both in fantasy I think so highly of their upside. Defenses even with their backup linemen in the game to give the ones a breather will still be facing a #1 running back. There will be no breather.

A solid offensive line with Bakh and Jenkins, if not one of the best in the NFL, and even if Bakh has to wait a few weeks Yosh is still an above-level LT and Thom looks like a future star.

Great offensive game coordinator in MLF who won't be tempted to look to Adams in every critical situation thus confusing defenses more than in the past.

And the receivers?... a great blend of veterans; Lazard, Sammy, Cobb... who know the game and have delivered in the past.... and rookies, Watson, Doub, and Toure... all three with size and speed. Watson wasn't playing much in preseason so Doubs showed his worth. But make no mistake, Watson is the future. Size, speed, athleticism, brains, and a great attitude. He was my hope at the draft and it won't be long before we see those long strides eating up yards ala Jordy.

TE?... Maybe the biggest question mark, but if Tonyan is able to come back and Josiah Deguara has the breakout year I think he'll have this could be a huge strength.

Oh, and the league's MVP, Hall of Fame, QB, the most accurate passer in history, clock ticking for another championship that he so desperately wants to possibly cement him as the greatest QB ever.

It may take a game or two to figure out who goes where, but very soon this offense will be lethal.

5 points
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Leatherhead's picture

September 07, 2022 at 10:26 am

I'm looking forward to it already. Some prominent posters here have gone waaaayyyyy out on a limb asserting what some Packers will, or will not, do this season. It'll be nice to see if they were on target, or if they missed by a mile.

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LLCHESTY's picture

September 07, 2022 at 03:14 pm

And you didn't by calling Amari WR4? Well ok then.

1 points
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Leatherhead's picture

September 07, 2022 at 03:57 pm

There’s lots of things that I don’t buy. I tend to think for myself.

Yeah, according to the depth chart, the three vets are our starters and the youngsters are backups. Who could have possibly made grandiose statements about how one of them was going to have one of the greatest rookie seasons any Day 3 rookie ever had?

This is a lot more personal for you than it is for me, apparently. You’ve said what you’ve said and I’ve said what I said. At least one of us will be wrong.

Cxxxccccccxx

Re Amari Rodgers, he’s listed as Cobbs backup and our stater at both return spots. I guess that makes you smarter than our special teams coach, too. Doubs is listed as 3rd string punt returner and Lazards backup

Pretty much what I said all along. We’ll start finding out soon.

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LLCHESTY's picture

September 07, 2022 at 05:45 pm

I never said Doubs would have one of the greatest seasons a rookie ever had. I never even said he'd have a great rookie season at all. I said there's a good chance he'd end up the 3rd most productive WR at the end of the year. You said he'd be 6th after Cobb, Rodgers and Watson. I said no way does Rodgers end up the 4th most productive WR this year. I guess I shouldn't have said that because it's not out of the realm of possibility that Watkins and Cobb get hurt and miss a lot of time but even than I could see Toure used more in passing game than Rodgers. But backtrack all you want.

I'm not smarter than Bisaccia. I do wish they would've done more to improve the returner spot though. Rodgers is a very average PR and below average KR. Teams know that and won't be afraid to kick it to him.

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Cubbygold's picture

September 07, 2022 at 11:00 am

This is the team makeup I've wanted for a long time and I'm interested to see it play out. Can't put all your money into your QB, LT and WR1 and expect to win championships.

It's unfortunate that the OL isn't at full strength for week one, and it's unfortunate that Watson and Lazard are questionable.

BUT, it's time for this Defense to lead. They have to come out and play like a top 5 unit. They've been given the resources finally, they've continued to benefit from #1 draft picks... it's time for them to lead. Rodgers is going to be throwing to new receivers, he's going to have miscommunication from a makeshift OL and there's going to be an adjustment period for him and MLF without Adams.

I obviously want the pack to win on Sunday, but win or lose this defense needs to come out of the gate firing on all cylinders.

4 points
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Leatherhead's picture

September 07, 2022 at 11:34 am

If I recall, you presented some data about winning/not winning with QBs who command a big chunk of the salary cap. Are you still on top of that? I thought it was a compelling argument, and if you were right, then we're not going to the Super Bowl this year.

Given that our strategy seems to be about keeping our offense on the field, I don't think teams are going to start a lot of drives against us, and not very many of those will be on a short field. So the defense should be able to stop most of the drives short of the endzone.

MOST of the time, under LaFleur, we've held our opponents to 24 or less.

In 2019, including playoffs, we were 14-0 when our opponent couldn't get past 24. In 2020, we were 11-0. In 2021, we were 9-2. The two losses were against KC, when Rodgers didn't play, and the playoff loss to SF.

That's 34-2 in the 36 games (out of 54) that we've held teams below the league scoring average.

Two points: We hold teams under the league average 2/3 of the time, and we almost always win when we do that.

And our defense is better this year, at least on paper.

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Cubbygold's picture

September 07, 2022 at 04:10 pm

Nice memory!

Yeah the data is something like spending over 11% of the camp on a QB has only led to one Superbowl in the past 30 years. Rodgers is definitely over that and that contract is definitely a hurdle for this team. Just can't deny that if he took less the team might have one or two more impact players on the field. Actually I'd love to see the impact his contract has had on special teams player decisions over the past 5 years.

No, I haven't become less of a believer in that math, but I do like to see the cap space being more evenly distributed. Hopefully they can buck the trend this year.

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jurp's picture

September 07, 2022 at 08:22 pm

To your point, had we traded AR to the Broncos like we should have and, assuming the same deal that the Seahawks got, we would have had:

1. Denver's #1, probably our pick of ANY WR in the draft. No need to trade up in the second round.
2. TWO additional Round 2 picks (the one we traded to MN and Denver's). An OT? A second WR? A Safety?
3. An immediate starting TE in Noah Fant.
4. Presumably, a weaker Vikings team because they didn't get our second round pick.
5. A ton of room under the cap to bring in anyone else Gutekunst thought he needed.
6. A better chance at the SB because of all of the above. As many posters have stated, our defense is awesome, thus mitigating the need for AR.

We shat the bed by not making that trade.

And no, in case anyone cares, I'm not back - just thought I'd look in on the place before the first game. I've not paid much attention to the team and haven't caught any of the preseason. Honestly, it's weird not being wrapped up in the Packers like I've always been, but probably healthier. But, as always, GO PACK GO! I'll read the recap on the interwebs on Monday.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

September 08, 2022 at 05:09 am

2018: Brady - 12.2%
2015: Peyton 11.7% Don't care he sucked, he cost $.
2111: Eli M: 11.7%

AR is 13.2% this year. Should be right at or just under 14% in 2023. I don't think that's insurmountable. Note that some QBs had AAVs that were pretty high, but it was the first year, or the team paid a lot in a previous year.

I think the big stat is that no QB making 15% of the cap or more has won a super bowl. Matt Ryan was going to break that stat until his team collapsed in the second half, as he was at 15.30%. Peyton Manning had a 17.2% cap number as a losing QB in the super bowl for the 2009 season (played in Feb of 2010.

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Lphill's picture

September 07, 2022 at 11:06 am

Bakhtiari and Jenkins playing Sunday is what's being reported, Lazard doubtful .

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Cubbygold's picture

September 07, 2022 at 11:07 am

The other thing I'm ready to see... red zone offensive performance.

How many red zone trips in the last three years ended in an Adams TD? How many red zone trips were ruined by odd/confusing play calls?

I think the loss of Adams will be most felt here, while his absence may allow for clearer thinking and play calling from MLF. I can see it being the teams weakness, and I can see it improving from last year. Hoping for the second.

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dobber's picture

September 07, 2022 at 11:36 am

Not ready--I don't know the meaning of those words...

Believer--
I'll be honest in that I have this team pegged as an 11-win team this season; by way of full disclosure, I picked them for 11 last season, too. The Packers were good in one score games the last couple seasons. At some point, those numbers are going to turn. I think there will be plenty of growing pains this season on both sides of the ball. That doesn't mean they can't be rolling at the end, but I think 13 wins will be too many. Can they win it all? Certainly the changing of some personnel and a shift in the focus seems to argue that it's not beating their heads against the wall the same way.

That said, this is an offensive league and play has been tilted in that direction for a long time. I agree that you need to be able to play defense to be an elite team, but would argue that a team driven by defense with a good offense will have a tougher row to hoe than an offensive juggernaut with a good defense. I think it still begins and ends with the ability of the offense to put points on the board: the less you score, the leaner the margin for error (see playoffs, 2022, San Francisco @ GB).

OL--
If Bakhtiari (and/or Jenkins) are cleared and appear ready to play, put them in. People point to deterioration of skills and say he's missed two years...no, he's only missed one full season (and two post-seasons)--not much different than if he'd been injured at OTAs after the 2020 season--and he did practice regularly for a stretch last fall. I'm not so worried about his status as long as he's medically sound.

Fear of the unknown---
The Vikings need to throw up a lot of points to win. Their defensive secondary is suspect and will cough up games if Cousins/Cook/Jefferson aren't rolling up points. The Packers should know what to expect from their front 7 -- familiarity of personnel and schemes. O'Connell comes from the same coaching tree as LaFleur and the principles will be similar. I wouldn't be surprised to see the Vikes win a high-scoring affair this weekend...I also wouldn't be surprised to see the Packers put together a solid win. I think the Packers will make fewer mistakes and control the clock: 31-24.

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LLCHESTY's picture

September 07, 2022 at 03:22 pm

I've been thinking 12-5. I'm trying to be rational about the defense but I like the attitude they've adopted and with a little luck with injuries I think they can be a top 5 group. Sunday should be good test for the run defense that was sieve like at times last year.

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splitpea1's picture

September 07, 2022 at 11:41 am

Fear of the unknown: There's also the question of how well the Packers' OL will be able to handle the new Donatell defense, including getting ZDS and Hunter blocked; to be honest, it makes me a little nervous. If we could get a push up front and get a good interior run game going, that would be really helpful. Also, our receivers need to make sure they really secure the ball after the catch, as Donatell emphasizes turnovers and trying to strip the ball.

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HawkPacker's picture

September 07, 2022 at 06:27 pm

Z is a great pass rusher but not so great at setting the edge. We know that and can maybe scheme around that with our running game.

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

September 07, 2022 at 11:54 am

Always enjoy your read Jersey Al!

I'm very excited about this match up on Sunday even though I am 50/50 on who ultimately ends up winning. The Vikings are talented and are playing at home, while the Packers definitely have a lot of fine tuning to do yet with their OL, and WR's. This game to me is significantly more than just did the Packers win or lose? This game is about match-ups offensively, defensively, and special teams. I want to see just where the team is right now. How does the Packers match up to the Vikings talent? Specifically, I am going to be watching the following:

1. DB and Jenkins - are they out playing and how are they doing?
2. Can the OL shut down Z-Darius and Danielle?
3. More than anything can our defense play as good as advertised against an incredibly talented Viking offense at skilled positions? This game will be a great indicator of how talented our defense is because for those who do not really do research on Cousins just check his stats last year. The running game and his WR's are very talented and will keep our defense on their toes. Just may humble our defense after the game and help bring them to a whole new level and awareness of what they need to do to become an elite defense.
4. If Lazard out or limited? I have been predicting Doubs may very well end up as the WR leader for the Packers by the end of they year. If Lazard cannot play and be Lazard while it will definitely hurt the Packers this Sunday it may end up significantly helping the Packers if Doubs & Watson end up with a lot of playing experience. Long-term it may end up being a positive for the team. I am for sure going to watch these two young bucks if they are on the field.
5. Watching Walker in the middle of the field.
6. Seeing how our DB handles an elite corps of WR's
7. Just how much pressure our rebuilt DL can apply on Cousins.
8. How will Rodgers respond in a game with rookies playing a lot due to Lazard? How will he respond after the game if things do not go well due to the WR's, or because of rookies?

It is the match-ups and how they perform that excites me most about this game. It is the 1st game and as we saw last year against NO you can never predict the outcome, but one game does not make a season.

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Tedlyflyfisher's picture

September 07, 2022 at 02:01 pm

#8 is a very good point, Knock.

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JohnnyLogan's picture

September 07, 2022 at 02:15 pm

"Can the OL shut down Z-Darius and Danielle?"

I think the Pack will run around or past them or screen behind them. All... day... long.

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LeotisHarris's picture

September 07, 2022 at 02:04 pm

There is never joy for me heading into games against the NFL franchise from Minnesota. There's anxiety front and center, and resentment, and horrific memories from the Bad Grunt era. I loathe that team, and all but one of their fans who through unbelievable good fortune out-kicked his coverage, married my daughter, and fathered my grandchild. So, it's family, too. And, for the record, it *is* a simple coincidence that said grandchild is a Packers Shareholder. Those things happen! I have no idea how.

There are so many unknowns for both teams. I would love to see a blowout win. The Packers celebrating to chants of Go Pack Go in a nearly silent bird-killing monstrosity named after a fucking bank would make my week. I expect a struggle, but in the end a win.

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HawkPacker's picture

September 07, 2022 at 06:32 pm

I also have a lot of bad feelings about the Vikings of old as well Leotis. They were always so lucky and Fran Tark was such a slippery bast*erd when scrambling.

But I do have a lot of respect for Bad Bud Grant!

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LeotisHarris's picture

September 07, 2022 at 08:20 pm

Bad Grunt is an ass. What else do you call a guy who buys his own lake in northwestern Wisconsin, and then joins the battle against Native American treaty rights?

"We've got a form of apartheid right here in America," Grant said. "We have different laws based on race. Indians can do something we can't do. That's apartheid. Ultimately, what we're hoping for is a whole new Indian policy." -- Bad Grunt

So, yeah, you can respect his athletic record as a player and coach, but I think he's a lousy human being.

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

September 07, 2022 at 09:49 pm

The Purple People Eaters! I remember watching them as a young lad in the old Metropolitan stadium and seeing the steam coming off their heads as they sat on the bench. They were intimidating to this young lad at the time. Fortunately those days are long gone and we only have to deal with the likes of Zadarious Smith. :)

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

September 07, 2022 at 09:45 pm

Love it Leotis!!!

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Oppy's picture

September 07, 2022 at 08:57 pm

a haiku, submitted for your discernment:

The seasons changing
Football draws near; encroaching
Packers erection

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