Cory's Corner: The Packers Overcame So Much

This Packers playoff push means so much more. 

I’ll be honest, I had my doubts. 

I wasn’t sure if this team would be able to turn it around after losing four straight and dropping its record to 2-5. 

It didn’t stop there. 

The Packers dropped a head scratcher to the Giants by letting Tommy DeVito run for 71 yards. Then the following week, they let Baker Mayfield turn in the best performance of his average career in a loss to the Bucs. That dropped Green Bay’s record to 6-8 as the Packers clung to their playoff lives with their thumbs. 

But then we got a front row seat to Jordan Love’s poise. Remember when Packers president and CEO Mark Murphy said, “I’d say at least half a season to know,” when talking about if Jordan Love is the guy. 

Ever since that Packers shareholders meeting this past summer, concerns about Love mounted. People wondered, worried and fretted about how this quarterback would perform not just as being the starting quarterback of a team steeped in tradition, but how he would perform with so many unknowns at wideout, tight end and offensive line thanks to the David Bakhtiari injury setbacks.

But it was Love’s poise that really showed through. First with a gritty win at Carolina then absolutely destroying the Vikings on New Year’s Eve. And finally with a 17-9 win over the Bears on Sunday to put the Packers in the postseason and give Green Bay 10 straight over Chicago.

This team has literally risen from the ashes on the back of a Utah State standout that had to sit three years before getting his shot. His passer rating in the last three games was 123.54. In the biggest game of his young career on Sunday, he only had five incompletions and the clinching completion was an off-platform beauty to Tucker Kraft to seal the Packers first round trip to Dallas. 

But it isn’t just Love. The Packers are the youngest team to reach the postseason at 25.1 years old. This pass catching group had 13 drops after Week 9 and tallied 25 this season. There were a lot of growing pains early with miscommunication and there were likely receivers running the wrong route. 

But all that is in the past now. The Packers are in the playoffs. They accomplished what many didn’t think they could accomplish. There are so many people that don’t understand why this team is so good, but it’s really simple. This team never allowed self doubt to take root. 

No matter the age, inexperience or injuries, this team always knew they had something cooking. They knew that they had speed on offense and defense and they knew that they had a coach that could do plenty with any set of skills. 

LaFleur is in the playoffs for the fourth time in five seasons, but this year is the feather in his cap. This year took coaching and leadership, something this team desperately needed and most definitely got. 

This team had a roster loaded with greenhorns, over $68 million in dead money, made a bad trade by sending Rasul Douglas to the Bills and still made the playoffs. 
 

 

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__________________________

Cory Jennerjohn is a graduate from UW-Oshkosh and has been in sports media for over 15 years. He was a co-host on "Clubhouse Live" and has also done various radio and TV work as well. He has written for newspapers, magazines and websites. He currently is a columnist for CHTV and also does various podcasts. He recently earned his Masters degree from the University of Iowa. He can be found on Twitter: @Coryjennerjohn

__________________________

14 points
 

Comments (88)

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

January 09, 2024 at 06:30 am

Whatever happens Sunday afternoon in Dallas I'll be fine with either way. Win or lose this season has been a MEGA success. We found out so much about many of the players, not just Love and have A LOT of draft choices (5 in the top 100 IIRC) to address what we really need.

I'm also more okay with MLF. He showed me something this year. Yes, he STILL makes boneheaded mistakes like not kicking the FG with 11 seconds left and no TOs in the first half Sunday...BONEHEADED shit like that won't fly against those veteran coaches with veteran coaching staffs. But LaFleur's offense, THIS offense we've been watching this season is the on I've been waiting for...

Can't we get a Veteran Coach who could help MLF with game management, clock management, when to or not to challenge a call, or some of the other duties LaFleur seems to struggle with? Call him an Assistant Head Coach and let him help MLF manage the game.

Yup...A New DC (No matter what happens the rest of the way) an Assistant HC, and another draft haul like Gutey had in 2023 and this team is COOKING with Rocket Fuel. Screw gas, Rocket Fuel people, because if these kids continue to develop like I think they will, this team is going to win...A LOT.

19 points
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Houndog's picture

January 09, 2024 at 07:13 am

Nick,
I'm with you on MLF.
I beat him up a lot as his 'Shanahan Tree' pedigree seemed more like 'rumblin' bumblin', stumblin' most of the time, and even as it started to progress it was awkward at times with goofy trick plays that didn't work.
But, over the past several weeks I've started to see a connection.
As I live in the Bay Area I am force fed 49er highlights, and it takes the right personnell to do what they do and Gutey took care of a lot of that in the 2023 draft.
The future looks much brighter than it did just a few weeks ago and the offense has looked like they were playing against the classic Joe Barry!
MLF still needs to step up and fix that to show me he's more committed to the Green Bay Packers than to his buddy Joe.

6 points
6
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NFLfan's picture

January 09, 2024 at 12:10 pm

@HD-I chuckled @ your 'force fed' comments as I live in the Bay Area as well.
Shanahan is the master and likely has 20 IQ points over MLF.

-2 points
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Since'61's picture

January 09, 2024 at 08:30 am

Good post Nick. Whatever happens in the playoffs the Packers are on their way. We can look forward to 2024 and beyond with much more confidence. Go Pack Go! Thanks, Since '61

14 points
14
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RCPackerFan's picture

January 09, 2024 at 08:39 am

"Yes, he STILL makes boneheaded mistakes like not kicking the FG with 11 seconds left and no TOs in the first half Sunday"

He explained yesterday that the play ran wasn't what was supposed to happen. It was supposed to be a shot to the endzone or throw away. That to me was an error for the young players more then on LaFleur.

0 points
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Coldworld's picture

January 09, 2024 at 09:15 am

He got too cute. He said that ball needed to be in the end zone or out of bounds (an “ozone” play in his terms). One could read that as blaming Love or himself for his call/instructions. Personally, I think it’s on the play caller ultimately.

"There were a lot of mistakes at the end of the half to come away with no points or an opportunity with no points. We were in what we call an ozone situation where the ball has to go out of bounds or into the end zone."

3 points
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RCPackerFan's picture

January 09, 2024 at 09:34 am

I have no problem taking a shot to the end zone. I have no problem trying to get 5ish more yards as well. The kicker missed a FG earlier in the game (though I believe it had more to do with the bad snap).

We can give the CB some credit for that play. He made a hell of a play.

1 points
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Coldworld's picture

January 09, 2024 at 10:59 am

LaFleur admitted that the packers practice that on D for exactly that reason. Ultimately It should have not been an option. We were well within reasonable range this time. Take the kick and risk the 10 seconds. Take the simplest path and there are the fewest opportunities to screw up.

6 points
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NickPerry's picture

January 09, 2024 at 11:34 am

Boom!

2 points
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Bitternotsour's picture

January 09, 2024 at 10:42 am

It cost 3 points, but i'd rather they were aggressive and going for the throat than playing it safe. Yes, they should have done better with the clock, but dammit man, they were going for it. I bitch all the time about MLF's timidity, and here he was aggressive. Good on you Matt.

-2 points
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SoCalJim's picture

January 09, 2024 at 10:33 am

Great comments, Nick! I think MLF’s biggest weakness is decision-making, so a savy asssistant (HC whisperer) could make a huge improvement in MLF’s coaching performance.

One area MFL needs immediate help with is choosing good coordinators and posisition coaches.

I’m thrilled that this young team is getting a chance to experience the playoffs and all they can learn from the experience. Who knows, maybe they come away with a win this Sunday! Go Pack Go!

4 points
4
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Coldworld's picture

January 09, 2024 at 10:50 am

The crux of your shift on LaFleur seems to be that he’s performed better as an OC. Perhaps that’s true, certainly the players are playing well above expectations at the skill positions.

However, LaFleur is not a coordinator and none of the issues with overall team management seem to have changed noticeably.

We need a real Head Coach to properly capitalize on this talent. Nothing has changed. Perhaps we will see something from Barry, Butkus and co against good teams that convinces otherwise in the next month. Perhaps the extent of the emerging talent just excuses continuation.

We made the playoffs in part because of a phenomenal 3 games from Jones, who masks a lot of O Line issues in a way few can when he’s in that form. We also saw a stretch of performances from Love that are at a level beyond coaching, at least briefly, they were elite beyond any reasonable expectation.

To that one must add the outlier performance levels of Reed, Wicks, Kraft and now finally even Melton getting a chance that I have been hoping for for much longer. I suppose late is better than never, even if it took injury to force it.

Is it LaFleur or is this really more the freakishly positive play by young skill players well beyond draft position or statistical probability? Is that not really what drove qualification? Is that LaFleur or is he the beneficiary more than the fount?

Is our DC really an asset? Is he just acceptable baggage or is he just blessed by the best defender being our O? Did he make our D better because he changed or did desperation merely limit him from getting in its way?

For me nothing has changed by qualification for the post season. Let’s enjoy that, but not at the cost of forgetting lessons we’ve tried to do many times before, only to revisit them sooner not later.

This roster is a win. Potentially a colossal one. Now we have to make sure we capitalize on that. That means not brushing things under the carpet. If LaFleur gets us to the Super Bowl then maybe we were all wrong about Barry to start with. Mane LaFleur has become tactically adept and can adjust against good teams.

Letting the play more aggressively was a key to that turn around. Letting the D do the same maybe could be too. Now we will see against better teams and coaches. The Bears, at least on Sunday, were neither. They were flat out bad.

6 points
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1
MainePackFan's picture

January 09, 2024 at 11:21 am

"Can't we get a Veteran Coach who could help MLF with game management, clock management, when to or not to challenge a call, or some of the other duties LaFleur seems to struggle with? Call him an Assistant Head Coach and let him help MLF manage the game."

Nick, good post but we already have an Assistant Head Coach. Rich Bisaccia was given the position in March .

From Packers.com:

'Joined the Packers on Feb. 8, 2022, as special teams coordinator. Was promoted to assistant head coach/special teams coordinator on March 10, 2023.'

2 points
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TKWorldWide's picture

January 09, 2024 at 06:51 am

When I heard a teammate compare Love’s demeanor to Doc Holiday in Tombstone, I had no choice but to say awwwwwww yeahhhh!!!

11 points
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Houndog's picture

January 09, 2024 at 07:36 am

TKW,
LOL, I guess we can safely assume that the teammate was NOT suggesting that Love was drunk half the time, like Holiday.

5 points
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TKWorldWide's picture

January 09, 2024 at 08:15 am

Nor is he a “lunger”!
😂

4 points
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PackAttack4155's picture

January 09, 2024 at 10:48 am

He is every Packer fan's huckleberry!

2 points
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T7Steve's picture

January 09, 2024 at 06:59 am

We're playing on house money now.

That doesn't mean we have nothing to play for. As Nick says above, I'll take any outcome this weekend. That said, I won't take a losing effort or lack of the toughness they've show lately. These Cowboy are light on the D-front. Push them around and make them earn their 7.5 point spread. If they can't beat us handily, they'll have no reason to move on anyway.

Golden opportunity for learning and taking the next step.

This Packer team has shown its resilience against good teams and beat some. It's the bad teams they couldn't compete with.

9 points
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Bitternotsour's picture

January 09, 2024 at 10:46 am

All the pressure is on the Cowboys. They haven't made it to through big games in a long time. They got their asses handed to them in SF. We're getting more similar to SF every day, with the advantage of having a more physically gifted QB.

You can't advance in the playoffs, unless you're in the playoffs. They made the playoffs, do they believe yet that they belong there?

2 points
2
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CoachJV's picture

January 09, 2024 at 07:15 am

I think it's become obvious that Love is our guy. Not saying he'll be in the HOF, but he is good enough to be our franchise QB. LAF proved he can get it done without ARod and Adams. LAF has proven that HIS offense is playoff caliber.
All we need is a new DC to bring out the talent of all those 1st rd. picks and we can be dominant for several years without salary cap concerns.

8 points
8
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T7Steve's picture

January 09, 2024 at 07:35 am

"LAF has proven that HIS offense is playoff caliber."

There's no offense that's playoff caliber unless it's continually evolving, changing, adjusting and getting better.

This game is as much of a test to his scheme/abilities as it is a step for these young players.

I'm excited to believe it will prove up to the task, when A. Jones gets moving along, hopefully with a healthy dose of Dillan (if he's healthy) thrown in the mix to let Jones be strong for the end of the game when our O has their D gassed.

3 points
3
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Coldworld's picture

January 09, 2024 at 11:33 am

In the playoffs expect teams to be very well prepared. This is when the tactical acumen in planning before games and adapting to opponent’s tactics in games is frequently the difference.

LaFleur has not historically come out ahead on either front. He will have to this year if we are to continue. Get ahead, put pressure on McCarthy in Jerry world and McCarthy might just do it for him though.

4 points
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Tundraboy's picture

January 09, 2024 at 09:27 am

And that is a beautiful place to be. And I worried how long it would take to get there. Much sooner!

1 points
1
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Packers0808's picture

January 09, 2024 at 07:28 am

You know what I found the most refreshing and likeable about this team was just the simple thing of when someone made a mistake no QB to throw his arms in the air or his idiot eye rolls at some youngster still learning. The going right back to business and not playing favorites or the ignoring a player by Love was just a point of his way of showing confidence. By the body language and just general attitude we will get it next time!

19 points
21
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Houndog's picture

January 09, 2024 at 07:50 am

0808,
You're on to something there, and Yes, it is refreshing.
Did you know that of Love's 316 passing yards on Sunday, 286 of those yards went to players that started the 2023 season with a total of ZERO NFL catches.
Jones had the other 30.

8 points
8
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jvole's picture

January 09, 2024 at 08:30 am

It's refreshing that Love throws to all of his receivers and doesn't run the play clock to 1 second EVERY, SINGLE, PLAY. Not to dredge up the past, but AR should have learned from Brady on those points. Love seems to get it. Even if I didn't think he was going to be good, I would still like this young man.

2 points
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Houndog's picture

January 09, 2024 at 09:10 am

jvole,
Bingo, you nailed it.
Love always seems relaxed, brings them to the line with plenty of time, looks it over, changes the plays when necessary, and runs the play most often successfully.
All without the animation and finger pointing, it's refreshing.

4 points
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Tundraboy's picture

January 09, 2024 at 09:31 am

Yes. I Love this team!

3 points
3
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WestCoastPackerBacker's picture

January 09, 2024 at 05:48 pm

Maybe if Gutey had drafted 6 WRs and 2 TEs in back to back drafts a little earlier, AR would have thrown to more folks. He sure did early in his career when he had the weapons. Last year he had a hobbled Tonyan, ancient Lewis, almost-ancient Cobb and I guess Lazard was supposed to be the number one. If Lazard is your number one, you're in trouble.

But Watson and Doubs had pretty nice rookie seasons last year given that they both missed a fair amount of time due to injury.

If you're mad Rodgers didn't spread the ball around, trying focusing on the drafting. It has been said, and I agree, Reed would have been the best WR on last year's team.

-3 points
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Tundraboy's picture

January 09, 2024 at 09:30 am

And when did we ever think we would see that? Simply amazing.

0 points
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Packers0808's picture

January 09, 2024 at 12:54 pm

Looks like there is still one Rodgers suck bird that can't let go of the diva master!

0 points
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2
stockholder's picture

January 09, 2024 at 07:51 am

From a 3-6 start. To a 6-2 clinch.
It was always obvious.----
Love had to play better.
And to get Love to play better.
The adjustments made by this Coaching staff,
Paid off.
There is No place Like Home.
But there is nothing better than a OL that blocks.
Love felt it. The team felt it. And the coaches did it.
MLF job was saved. And regardless how many
Pick on his "time management" now.
IT” WAS ALL GAS AND NO BRAKES.
Jordan Love got the praise.
But the success of every win.
Made this team Believe in the themselves.
Because 1 player can’t do it all.
The Defense found a way. Barry Lives on!
There are NO missing pieces.
It’s up to the players to play the way they can.

3 points
7
4
BAMABADGER's picture

January 09, 2024 at 08:56 am

You toss ARC aside like a ragdoll
Your new man-crush... MLF
GPG!

1 points
3
2
porupack's picture

January 09, 2024 at 07:59 am

Beating the bears on the final game for a "win and in" drama was a great way to finish the regular season. As some player was quoted as saying; every win is essential to create a culture of winning. The team is pointing in the right direction and many position groups are strong or deep, and young and should mature.

No win should be taken for granted, but the last 3 games were weak teams so I am not ready to say this team has arrived and flashing on the NFL Storm Center radar screen. I expect the packers to get thoroughly beat in Dallas, and we all come crashing back to earth. But, that is exactly why GB has its best chance to win against the jerryboys, that they have nothing to lose at this point and they just go play all out with calculated abandon

4 points
4
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Houndog's picture

January 09, 2024 at 08:41 am

porupack,
I don't think there's anyone here that's convinced that the Packers "have Arrived", but I think the results of the past 7 weeks have been valuable to the players on youngest team in the NFL.
First they beat two really good teams, then played 3 lousy games, and then destroyed the Vikings and beat the Bears far worse than the final score would indicate. Hopefully the 3 'shit' games taught them something.
The next obvious step is to learn what 'taking it up a notch' for the playoffs is all about, and they earned the opportunity to find that out.
They might get their asses kicked, or they might win or lose a thriller, but hopefully we (and the players) will see an indication of which of these youngsters is on their way to becoming team leaders.

4 points
4
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Tundraboy's picture

January 09, 2024 at 09:37 am

But somehow it seems this is the perfect setting and coach to be going up against. If we can avoid momentum shifting turnovers we can go toe to toe with them. And put some serious fear and doubt in their heads, and then who knows!

2 points
2
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Leatherhead's picture

January 09, 2024 at 08:13 am

Truly amazing that a coach who is over his head, who has picked incompetent coaches on the staff is able to win with a bunch of guys who aren't good enough, like Josh Myers . I'm flabbergasted, flummoxed, and amazed.

Seriously, if you tuned out that noise, and simply looked objectively at the team, you could see that it had the potential to be really good. And yes, we've had injuries, particularly in the secondary, but we've won enough games to qualify for the playoffs, and that's the reason we play the regular season.

1 points
5
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Guam's picture

January 09, 2024 at 08:49 am

Your overall point is well made LH, but I still have reservations about MLF. It is hard to support a coach who hired Barry, Mennenga, Drayton and Butkus, who regularly makes bonehead in-game calls (the last play before half instead of just kicking the field goal, throwing the red challenge flag on gut feel instead of waiting for his booth staff to verify the play) and still isn't particularly good at in-game adjustments. He has his flaws as well as his successes.

6 points
7
1
dobber's picture

January 09, 2024 at 09:06 am

I'll take a slightly different tack here, and that's that LaF "survived" what I'll call a lack of familiarity with established coaches and coaches in different systems/organizations which led him to choose assistants he had close associations with, to now reach a point where the Bisaccia hire shows he (and the organization) might be reaching out and looking for names and track records. We might be panning Bisaccia this season, but he did bring reputation and experience where the Packers had none, and was outside LaF's sphere.

Even though the defense has been better of late, the roller-coaster ride under Barry--another guy selected due to LaF's connections to the Rams' coaching tree--seems likely to lead him out of town. This season has been no different from others for the defense. Keeping Barry likely torpedoes LaF's credibility with both the media and fan base, and more significantly may harm his reputation long-term with defensive players. Barry's a poison pill at this stage and, like Jerry Gray, the expiration of his contract allows for a clean break even for LaF. We'll see how LaF handles this situation.

There are plenty of people who said, "who would come to GB?" to coach the defense, but that was mostly around Halloween when the trajectory of the team was none-so-good and some were questioning whether LaF's job security was in doubt. What a difference 8 weeks makes: now this looks like an ascending team, it's in the playoffs, and is an opportunity for defensive assistants. LaF needs to make a winning hire...if he does, he can shake a lot of the crappy organizational decisions his inexperience has led him to make.

4 points
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Guam's picture

January 09, 2024 at 09:37 am

MLF has done well enough this year that he will be afforded an opportunity to fix past mistakes. There should be a number of talented and experienced DC's available for hire this offseason. Every Packer fan including me hopes he makes a great choice!

If he should retain Barry, I will write him off as a head coach. Very good OC, but unable to assemble a championship coaching staff.

And I give no credence to "who would come to GB". There are only 32 NFL DC jobs available in the world. Lots of talented guys would love to be considered for the position.

8 points
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White92's picture

January 09, 2024 at 04:31 pm

Agreed, Who would come to GB?? They are the Green Bay Farking Packers!! Only the best franchise in the NFL. Who would come to GB indeed..

1 points
1
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Leatherhead's picture

January 09, 2024 at 11:30 am

See, you are condemning LaFleur for hiring some average guys. Barry, over his 3 years, has been no worse than average (Scoring defense 13, 17, and 10). Butkus should certainly be given credit for our excellent line play over the second half of the season.

The special teams guys.....you know I think a smart coach would just try to minimize their impact on games. I don't think the special teams were a lot worse under Drayton than they were this year.

And LaFleur's miscues......he's one of the winningest coaches in history, despite those miscues. The Great Dan Campbell makes his share of mistakes....maybe more than his share. He's not perfect, but he makes enough adjustments and decisions to win a lot of games.

-3 points
1
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Guam's picture

January 09, 2024 at 04:14 pm

Thats about as rosy a picture as I have ever seen painted of Barry, Mennenga and Drayton. We're going to have to agree to disagree LH. I think they were poor hires and LaFleur is accountable for them.

As for the miscues, Campbell is a low standard as he just won his first division title and has zero Super Bowl victories. My threshold would be a bit higher, say Andy Reid or Bill Belichick.

2 points
2
0
Coldworld's picture

January 10, 2024 at 09:32 am

Let’s see how the playoffs go. My main takeaway beyond the emergence of Love and the receivers is how very bad both Chicago and the Vikings actually were. Rewatching only emphasizes how poor they were on both sides of the ball.

To get to the Super Bowl we have to face teams that have been pretty good over the season and pretty well coached. Can we win this battles? If we can win a few—and let’s be clear, statistically we are performing on a par with any recently—then perhaps our coaches have progressed too.

If not then we are just doing what do many did last year and take a few victories over weakened teams as proof that the coaching had clicked. This starts with Dallas. They should actually test our OL as neither of our last two opponents did. They certainly should be able to test the D in the air. Offensively, let’s see if LaFleur can rattle MM by taking it to him on home turf?

Since we are here, the real test could be said to just be starting. Let’s save the eulogies over great OL growth and D performance till they exert their authority against capable and motivated teams and carefully prepared game plans.

That is a scenario that undid strongly rostered LaFleur teams with much experience in each of the 19-21 seasons. If the growth in coaching so widely claimed here is true, this time that will be different and it won’t just be the scores but the play of the D, the OL that prove it.

Bad teams and bad units win games against as bad or worse opponents in season. Rarely does that happen in the playoffs, one melt down by an opponent or crippling injury loss may happen, but to make a run, teams have to beat good ones playing to their potential.

If we don’t make a run, then all this is puffery based upon beating two bad teams and getting over .500 in a division that those teams form half of and a very weak schedule apart from that, as things fell out.

The play of the rookies on O is the shockingly stand out feature. Otherwise we are essentially one game apart from the team last year and for many of the same reasons. Coaching or lucky coaches? These coming weeks will likely answer that much more clearly.

0 points
0
0
Bitternotsour's picture

January 10, 2024 at 09:50 am

Both the Vikings and the Bears had top defensive units. You might call them bad, but statistically they were damn good. The Bears in particular were on a 5-2 run with both losses in one score games. The Packers made them bad. Dominated. Let's give some credit.

The Vikings were playing a bad quarterback, but gee, where have we seen bad quarterbacks have career games before... oh, that's right, against us.

The Packers are a good team. They have a shot. Do I trust MLF, no. If I were a Dallas fan would I trust Dak Prescott in a playoff game, NO. Let's see what happens.

0 points
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0
Bitternotsour's picture

January 09, 2024 at 10:56 am

It's a mystery Leatherhead. Fortuna spun the wheel and magically the team enters the playoffs.

Honestly though, credit where it's due. The offense is for the first time looking like the one we were sold 5 years ago. Blur your eyes and watch those run fits and you might think you are watching SF. I didn't give enough credence to just how disruptive and malignant the talent of Aaron Rodgers was to MLF actually running his own offense. I think there was a hangover that maybe, just maybe is being shaken off now.

We're on the same page regarding Myers. The guy is an NFL center. The line is finally playing well. Myers is integral to that improved play.

-1 points
1
2
RCPackerFan's picture

January 09, 2024 at 08:36 am

I think the coaches, especially LaFleur deserves a lot of credit!

This is the youngest team to make the playoffs since the 70's. They started a brand new QB, with the youngest group of WR's and TE's in the league. Their All pro LT got hurt in week 1, their star RB has missed a lot of games. Their number 1 WR has missed almost as many games as he has played. The offense has had to deal with a lot of injuries. Yet they continued to improve. Love improved. The OL improved.

The coaches deserve a ton of credit for developing these young WR's and TE's. Compare all of these guys now from week 1, and how much of an improvement they have made.

And also I believe LaFleur deserves credit for the defense playing better the last few weeks. After the tampa game he said he was going to be helping the defense out. And since then we have seen a shift. We have seen a lot more man coverages and a lot more blitzing. I am going to assume that is where LaFleur has inserted himself into the defense. Because prior to him saying he was going to help the defense out we almost never saw any kind of blitzes.

Also. For all the people that said the Packers only made the playoffs under LaFleur was because of Rodgers, should really wake up and realize LaFleur is a good coach. He is a big reason why the offense is rolling right now.

9 points
9
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Houndog's picture

January 09, 2024 at 08:59 am

RC,
I usually agree with you, and I kinda' do now.
But, IF you're right, and IF MLF is helping with the defense, and IF that's the reason they've improved it not only indicates, but screams through a bullhorn that a change is needed.
He's the head coach and MUST do what's best for the team. Making the tough but necessary decisions, no matter who it affects, is what makes a good head coach.
Show me that the team is more important than your pal! Show Me!

5 points
6
1
RCPackerFan's picture

January 09, 2024 at 09:12 am

I am like 95% sure that they will make the change in the offseason. regardless of what happens in the post season.

I don't know how much LaFleur has helped on the defensive side. But he said he was going to help and the last 3 games we have seen a shift in how they are playing defense. We have seen more blitzes, more man coverages. We have seen Walker playing up along the DL a lot more threatening to blitz.

1 points
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Guam's picture

January 09, 2024 at 09:02 am

RC: I would love to hear some external confirmation that MLF has actually gotten more involved in the defense. I agree that something has changed but have heard nothing from the players or coaching staff that it has been MLF driving the change. If it is him, that would really help my perception of him as a head coach.

The offense has certainly been much better this year under MLF and the young players have developed quickly and he should get full credit for both. However the stigma of Barry, Mennenga, Drayton and Butkus still lingers as well as his propensity for bonehead in-game errors (see my response to LH above). He is a great OC but I am still not sold on his head coaching skillset.

1 points
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RCPackerFan's picture

January 09, 2024 at 09:26 am

I would love to hear it as well. They tried asking him yesterday in the press conference and he just kind of deflected it (at least that is how I took it).

The only thing I can go by is that after the Tampa game he said he was going to help. And since then we have seen a shift in style of play. So it maybe me assuming it.

LaFleur as a HC has led his team to 4 playoffs over 5 years. He had the HOF QB that no one wanted to coach. Remember that prior to him taking the job. Yes he has had issues with other coaches. But he wanted Rizzi but was told no. So we had to suffer through Mennenga and Drayton.
Butkus we can complain about, but look at where the OL is right now. Walker from weeks 9-18 is the 6th rated OT. That is impressive considering he was a 7th round pick. Tom is a stud, Myers has improved as well.

LaFleur's top picks for coaches seem to be pretty good. His top choice as a Special teams coach is one of the best in the league. His first option for DC was Leonhard but he turned the job down to remain at his school.

2 points
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Guam's picture

January 09, 2024 at 09:48 am

The Rizzi and Leonhard points are good, but then he winds up with Mennenga/Drayton and Barry? That is a steep cliff to fall off. Butkus is an open question right now (at least for me).

MLF has had his successes, but also some glaring failures. That inconsistency is concerning and not the mark of a championship coach. MLF may grow into a championship coach or he may yet fail. I think the Barry decision and replacement will be telling.

3 points
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RCPackerFan's picture

January 09, 2024 at 11:55 am

Yeah. I just wish they would have told him he could have had Rizzi. Real question. Do we make it farther into plyaoffs any of the 3 years we are in it if we have Rizzi as Special Teams coordinator? I believe we do.

The hard part with the Leonhard deal was there weren't a lot of options left after he said no. He had the choice between, Barry and Evero. Clearly now Evero would have been the better choice. But he chose to go with a guy he knew and thought he could work with.

I see there are some big names that will be available. Evero possibly again. Vrable just got fired. He could possibly be an option. Martindale would be another. Leonhard is likely still on the list. There will be some good options.

3 points
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Guam's picture

January 09, 2024 at 04:19 pm

I agree there are some really good candidates out there - let's hope LaFleur picks one of them. Personally I would prefer Evero. He did a great job in Denver and Charlotte and is a young guy who would fit in well with a young team.

0 points
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jvole's picture

January 09, 2024 at 10:10 am

I think the fact that he deflected it and did not say 'no I am not involved' suggests that he is involved.

I sure hope this all means Barry is gone.

1 points
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Bitternotsour's picture

January 09, 2024 at 11:03 am

Of course he's involved. He's been involved since the beginning. This is his team. They agree on philosophy, that's why the coordinators are the coordinators. Do you suppose the head coach is uninvolved in a half of his team?

I don't see much change in philosophy, this is the same defense, it's just being executed much better. The young guys on the line of scrimmage have really grown. The Ballantine/Vallentine youth experiment is actually working. There have been hiccups. Lots of youth coming into their own. Romo made the point that the packers run more stunts than any other team - that's a lot of choreography and if the timing is finally coming around, hell, who knows.

1 points
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RCPackerFan's picture

January 09, 2024 at 11:58 am

He has been involved. But he has let Barry do his thing. He allowed him to run the defense and do what he thought was needed.
But the last few weeks LaFleur has been more involved the and we have seen changes made. I am guessing he is telling him when he wants more blitzes and stuff too.

1 points
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jvole's picture

January 09, 2024 at 12:02 pm

It's not either / or---Here's the quote from December.

"LaFleur, Green Bay’s fifth-year coach, was asked Monday if he’d take a greater role in the Packers’ much-maligned, underperforming defense.

“Absolutely,” LaFleur said."

And no, they did not play the same defensive scheme from December to January. Much more man coverage, less prevent defense on third down. So I'm not sure what your point is here.

0 points
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Bitternotsour's picture

January 09, 2024 at 12:22 pm

Show me stats to back that up. They play predominantly zone, with man mixed in. They've done it since Barry arrived. Their blitz numbers aren't significantly different, it's the same damn defense. The only difference is that it's working.

-1 points
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jvole's picture

January 09, 2024 at 12:31 pm

Is this Joe Barry?

1 points
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RCPackerFan's picture

January 09, 2024 at 01:16 pm

Its not just about how many times they actually blitz either. Its the looks they have been providing. They have moved Walker and Campbell up to the LOS making it look like they are going to blitz. They are creating a bit more hesitancy for the OL, which has been allowing the pass rush to get home more.

You can't always go by stats and numbers. You have to see it on the field to see the differences.

0 points
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RCPackerFan's picture

January 09, 2024 at 11:56 am

I agree. I think it does mean he will be gone.

1 points
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dobber's picture

January 09, 2024 at 08:52 am

The ups and downs of the lasts two seasons (on-field and off-field) have made this playoff berth all the more meaningful...especially given that they won their way in and didn't back into the playoffs. They dropped games against some pretty lousy teams and beat some pretty good teams--the Packers' strength of victory ranks well among the playoff field, and the Packers were 4-3 v. the current playoff field. Dallas plays well at home, and they've been on a roll of late...but it's possible they might be overlooking the Packers.

That said, as we look ahead, the Packers played a pretty light schedule in 2023 and finished one game over .500. If the Vikings find a credible QB, the NFCN might be the most competitive division in the NFL in 2024--not NFC South (read: dumpster fire) competitive, but good competitive...which will drive records back to the middle. The divisional lineups put the NFCW and AFCS on the schedule, and finishing second in the NFCN adds Miami, New Orleans, and Philly. The Packers might be a better team in 2024, but not have a better record.

1 points
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TXCHEESE's picture

January 09, 2024 at 09:13 am

Your reference to next year's schedule is correct, but there is always that caveat, that NONE of these teams, including the Packers will be the same team next year. There's just too many variables...contracts, injuries, individual improvement, free agency, and aging veterans who just won't be as good as they may have played this year.

Focusing on what is ahead and reflecting on this year, I can say without a doubt, Aaron Jones is the straw that stirs the drink for this team. His ability and leadership have helped this young group improve through the season. Hoping the Packers can find a way to keep him, but also find the next stud back to spell him when needed.

Living in Cowboys' country, it's laughable how confident the fans are, considering Dallas' putrid playoff performances this entire century. GPG!

7 points
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dobber's picture

January 09, 2024 at 10:50 am

"there is always that caveat, that NONE of these teams, including the Packers will be the same team next year. "

Spot on. Couldn't agree more.

"Hoping the Packers can find a way to keep him, but also find the next stud back to spell him when needed."

When AJones is right, he's right. This offense was coming around before he made it back onto the field, but then jumped the last couple weeks when his knee/hammy were right. I think they can manage another year out of him under the cap and make that transition to the next guy. They just have to find that guy.

"Living in Cowboys' country, it's laughable how confident the fans are, "

They've been notorious playoff chokers, but I think they boat-race the Packers this week. I hope I'm wrong.

2 points
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barutanseijin's picture

January 09, 2024 at 02:30 pm

“ Living in Cowboys' country, it's laughable how confident the fans are, considering Dallas' putrid playoff performances this entire century. ”

That’s what makes it so much fun to beat them.

4 points
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Swisch's picture

January 09, 2024 at 04:00 pm

The Jaguars may be Exhibit A as far as a cautionary tale about making the most of this season and not counting on anything for next season.
Also, look at how the Eagles and Chiefs have regressed, though they have an opportunity to turn it around by at least making the playoffs.
***
In 2010, the Packers were the lowest seed in the NFC but pulled off a stunning journey to winning the Super Bowl; however, since then, even with better teams, the Packers haven't so much as been back to the big game.
So, while I'm not expecting much from these playoffs for the 2023 season, I do want the Packers to go all out to win and win and win and win, if at all possible.

2 points
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13TimeChamps's picture

January 09, 2024 at 10:47 am

"...but it's possible they might be overlooking the Packers."

I find it highly unlikely McCarthy is going to let the Cowboys overlook the Packers. McCarthy stated that he had no clue he was about to be fired when he was summoned to Murphy's office after the loss to Arizona (?). The chance to stick it to Murphy and the Packers will be a huge motivator.

But GB typically has had success over Dallas. Should be a good match up.

5 points
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Packerpasty's picture

January 10, 2024 at 12:40 pm

The whole conference could be better next year..Bears have a ton of great draft pics, maybe a new QB, Vikes certainly will have a much better QB, Lions will not fade away either...Miami and Philly are fading a bit now but they will make things right....yup, nothing is certain for next year other than maybe the term "young" and "youngest" and hopefully references to AR wont be used anymore...those are well worn out by now..

0 points
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Doug_In_Sandpoint's picture

January 09, 2024 at 09:36 am

Way too many comment about playing with house money and satisfaction with just making the playoffs. While these Packers did not meet my annual prediction of 17-0, they still are the favorites (in my mind) to win it all and match my other prediction.

Moral victories be damned. We will win four more. Lombardi trophy coming home to stay. Cowboys dead! Niedimeyer dead!

8 points
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Bitternotsour's picture

January 09, 2024 at 11:08 am

I too was extremely disappointed that 17-0 didn't happen. I was ready to fire the coach, and will be mightily upset should we not lift the Lombardi in February.

I'm not ready to let MLF off the hook. He took a team primed for perfection and landed a plane at 9-8. That's severe underperformance to me.

3 points
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Starrbrite's picture

January 09, 2024 at 03:31 pm

My day just got better Doug.

1 points
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mjbrogno's picture

January 09, 2024 at 09:48 am

I’m so proud of this team. How they stuck together through all the ups and downs that were thrown at them. Our future is bright. The draft is vital for us to continue to build on something special. Some how, some way, #33 needs to continue as Packer. Yes, health is an issue, but he is the heart and soul of this team. Let’s go to Jerry’s World and bring home a W, GO PACK Go!!!

7 points
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Swisch's picture

January 09, 2024 at 11:08 am

It's astounding to consider, but the Packers just may be putting together an offense at an elite level in the NFL.
It's stunning to consider how good Jordan Love has been, not just having a great week here and there, but stringing together more than two months of performances that could be considered at the level of an all-pro.
It's amazing what Matt LaFleur has done with the offense in general as a potential juggernaut of precision and power and aerial extravaganza, and how he may indeed be showing signs of that tactical genius that was claimed with his hire.
Of course, these things have to be sustained, but we can simply savor the second half of this season in and of itself as a wonderful surprise.
***
I would have liked for LaFleur, in his interview coming out of halftime, to take responsibility for the mistake of not being able to attempt a field goal at the end of the first half due to time running out.
It wasn't a horrible mistake in that the Bears defender made an excellent play to keep our receiver from going forward to get out of bounds in order to stop the clock.
The mistake seems to be in calling another play at all instead of going ahead to kick the field goal. There wasn't much to be gained with another play; and as we saw, there was much to lose as far as three points in a close game.
I bring this up because if LaFleur is indeed maturing into an offensive mastermind, it still doesn't mean he has the stuff of a head coach. Maybe he does; maybe he doesn't.
A couple of keys to finding out is how LaFleur manages the clock in tight situations, and even more so whether he takes responsibility for something that, after all, is truly his fault.
***
Looking ahead, no letting up against the Cowboys.
Not only can we beat them, but it's necessary in any case to get the maximum out of every game as far as playing hard and smart.
Any playoff game is a precious opportunity to be treasured and taken advantage of.
***
I will say that as underdogs against the Cowboys, the Packers can take some more risks than usual, such as . . . um, I don't know . . . blitzing more on defense ;-).
I may have overreacted about the infuriating iffiness of the defense against the Bears, but I also may have had some good points.
One example which I think is telling and is presented here in more detail: Before the Packers offense put together an astonishing drive of more than six minutes to close out the game with a lead of only 8 points (a drive which had been backed up to our own 2-yard-line), the Bears led the Packers in time of possession by more than three minutes: 28:36-to-25:16.

1 points
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CheeseEdWest2's picture

January 09, 2024 at 11:23 am

I am glad that we finally stopped trying to squeeze one more title out of AR (a year late) and moved on. Love is a breath o' fresh air in his attitude, support of new teammates, willingness to throw over the middle, accepting the creative play calling, and not being hung up on hero ball or the way the offense was run in the past. I wish AR the best with his new team, but think Gute is vindicated in getting the next QB on board when he did.

9 points
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Tundraboy's picture

January 09, 2024 at 03:27 pm

Yes he is!

1 points
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NFLfan's picture

January 09, 2024 at 12:16 pm

Packers will be playing against a good team on their home turf. I would imagine several weaknesses within the Packer's coaching, scheme, player competency will be exposed-which is a good thing. (I don't mean JLove and his amazing young receivers)
Matt seems to need the national spotlight on some of his flaws before he makes necessary changes.

1 points
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mnbadger's picture

January 09, 2024 at 12:49 pm

Cory, I have to disagree with your premise "Utah State standout that had to sit three years before getting his shot"
JL10 in my eyes, was ALLOWED TO SIT three years before getting his shot.
NFL = NFL for most everybody on EVERY roster.
He was mentored, tutored & spoon fed, as he should have been.
He gathered a first round paycheck for a training program before he's fully prepared and now healthy to command a kings' ransom.
Pretty good opportunity if you ask me.
That he's taking advantage of it is the icing on the cake.
Tell me the name of one LB, OL, DL, etc. that has this type of opportunity?
I'm not sure what my point is, but I'm glad he's our qb and I hope he continues to grow without creating a new cap hell.
GPG!

5 points
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White92's picture

January 09, 2024 at 04:34 pm

Corey- They did not "literally" rise from the ashes. It makes you sound like a teenage girl.

0 points
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calabasa's picture

January 09, 2024 at 05:34 pm

beat me to it. we make us sound like middle-aged men :)

0 points
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LeotisHarris's picture

January 09, 2024 at 05:22 pm

" The Packers Overcame So Much
This Packers playoff push means so much more. "

It's so good when writers use good words to make so many things so much better to read.

1 points
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Bitternotsour's picture

January 09, 2024 at 05:51 pm

He composed it as song lyrics.

1 points
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calabasa's picture

January 09, 2024 at 05:33 pm

"This team has literally risen from the ashes on the back of a Utah State standout"

I suppose I'd be yelling at clouds if I pointed out how fucking ridiculous the overuse of the goddamn term "literally" has gotten??

GET OFF MY LITERAL LAWN

1 points
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Bitternotsour's picture

January 09, 2024 at 05:52 pm

that's just like your personal opinion, man

0 points
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canadapacker's picture

January 09, 2024 at 05:46 pm

It is really nice that Cory has the 20-20 type of vision to after the fact write mostly a bunch of bunk. But then what else is new? To be honest most didnt have the expectation of making the playoffs with a new untested starter - including me. But this was a season of firsts and a season of ups and downs. Halfway through the season when the offense went sour - it appeared that Lafleur's reputation of being an offensive guru. However with some additional motion in the offense and getting Oline to play better - this offense became deadly. Now defense was another story until the last 2 games of the year. Enough to save Barry's job - time will tell. But playing in the playoffs - playing in that big venue that Dallas has - playing with all these rookies - All bodes well - win or lose and it is going to be against McCarthy.

1 points
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porupack's picture

January 09, 2024 at 08:24 pm

Wha? I guess you don't have to read his articles. I appreciate someone taking the time and initiative to spark a conversation among fan. I don't think the writers are paid to be the Cheesehead CIA.

0 points
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canadapacker's picture

January 09, 2024 at 10:36 pm

I read the article - and if you look backwards - there was not a bunch of concerns mounting after the shareholders meeting - People were not fretting - most like me were just happy not to have to deal with the AR antics - """Ever since that Packers shareholders meeting this past summer, concerns about Love mounted. People wondered, worried and fretted about how this quarterback would perform not just as being the starting quarterback of a team steeped in tradition, but how he would perform with so many unknowns at wideout, tight end and offensive line thanks to the David Bakhtiari injury setbacks."""" Were we optimistic - No but not dumping on Love either - it was his prove it time like AR did before him.

Too many points in this article are written from the fact that the Pack made the playoffs - and if you dont like my point of view too bad. I am happy but people were not even talking nice about the team or Barry etc even after the Carolina win - that we almost lost because of bad defense. So I believe that this article is a bunch of bunk = and stand by my point - that 20-20 is great hindsight. Happy that we are on to Dallas - but this season had a bunch of highs and lows and any writing to the contrary is bunk.

1 points
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porupack's picture

January 11, 2024 at 07:12 pm

I guess I just didn't understand your point then. I guess you are saying that there was more that should have been covered about the uncertainties? Just wasn't quite getting your point. I thought everyone was pretty down on the team and wrote plenty about the reckless decisions to clean out all the veteran WRs, for example. Love wasn't getting a lot of confidence among fans, and certainly after the 2nd game of the season.

0 points
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