Hello Wisconsin: A Strong First Step Into the Love Era

After one week, the early returns on the Jordan Love era are promising.

If you’re a fan of the Green Bay Packers (which you almost certainly are, if you’re reading this), you have to be feeling pretty good after week one.

Yes, it’s just the Bears. Sure, there’s no guarantee that this is a sign that the Packers will be a dominant force or even anything close to a contender in the 2023 season.

But the victory still represents something very important: a strong first step in a new era with Jordan Love as the team’s quarterback.

Love was not perfect on Sunday, and one could even make a compelling argument that the box score made him look better than he was. But regardless, he was adequate, and then some. He was nearly perfect on third and fourth down, showcasing impressive composure in the clutch. A specific play showcasing his composure: when he turned a botched snap exchange into a big play downfield to Luke Musgrave.

Love missed some throws. He also made some incredibly impressive ones, like the double pump off-platform touchdown toss he threw to Romeo Doubs to give the Packers an early lead that they never relinquished.

Love’s day was statistically stronger than Aaron Rodgers’ first as a starter in Green Bay, and even Rodgers’ first as a starter against the Bears. It’s hard to ask for much more than what he provided in this contest. 

Perhaps even more devastating to Bears fans than Love’s strong start was how good he looked in particular next to Justin Fields. Fields’s own coaches continue to have no faith in their quarterback’s ability to throw the ball more than a handful of yards downfield at a time. Fields had difficulty seeing the field in front of him, and showcased his troubling tendency to lock in on receivers, especially in what turned into a pick-six to Quay Walker. 

Before the season started, I made a prediction on Twitter that by the end of the season, all of the teams in the NFC North would swap their quarterbacks for Jordan Love. I think it’s pretty clear already that while Fields has yet to show that he can consistently be an NFL-caliber passer, Jordan Love has already exceeded Fields in that category. Not only can Love make a variety of throws even at challenging platforms, but he also has shown an aptitude for always finding the right place to go with the football, even working through his progressions to get to the open receiver.

Now, as I said, Love was not perfect. But if you were to have told Packer fans coming into the week that Love would end up being one of the top several statistical performers at the position on opening weekend, I think we would have universally been like, “hell yeah.”

Jordan Love is going to need to find more consistency in his accuracy, particularly early in the game. But there is a whole heck of a lot to like in such a young player. It’s still too early to make any grand statements, but if game one is any indication, the Packers have a good thing going at the quarterback position.

Wisconsin Beer of the Week

I’ve never repeated a beer in this column… until this week. Sort of.

I have previously featured The Wolf from 3 Sheeps, based out of Sheboygan. This annual release usually comes out in July, just in time for me to snag a four pack to take up north. This delicious molasses-y barrel-aged stout just really hits when you’re sitting outdoors around a campfire, but it’s just as delicious inside on a brisk day while you’re reading a good book (or playing video games, as is often the case for me). 

So when I saw that the 2023 edition was available a couple months ago, it was an easy purchase. I’ll usually only get the one four pack, but spread out my drinking of it over the course of several months so I can enjoy the experience for a longer period of time.

This beer always gets extremely high consumer ratings, and this year is no different, with an outstanding 4.38 rating on Untappd. This classic bourbon barrel aged imperial stout comes in at a hefty 12.5 percent, and you can certainly taste the booze. However, it’s also smooth, mellow, and enjoyable. While a glass of it will take you some time to drink, it’s also an experience you’re going to savor.

This is a must-buy for me every year, and it may well still be available in stores. I highly recommend picking some up and trying it for yourself if you’re into this style of beer.

Early down groans and no Aaron Jones

Like my rhyme?

One of the more frustrating aspects of the game in Chicago on Sunday was how difficult the Packers made it seem to get yards on early downs. Frequently the Packers found themselves in second-and-long scenarios. 

Part of the issue seemed to be that the Packers seemed intent on ramming headfirst into a wall with AJ Dillon. Now, I don’t have any beef with Dillon, and I think he’s fine as a rotational back, but why were the Packers running MULTIPLE toss plays to the outside with a player who is clearly a north-south runner?

More head-scratchingly, where the hell was Aaron Jones for the entire first half after the opening drive?! It is just insanely mind boggling that Matt LaFleur continues to forget about getting Jones involved for such extended stretches at a time. A drive or two? Sure, give him a spell. An entire half?! It’s malpractice. Every time Jones stepped on the field, the offense was immediately, noticeably better. Everyone can see it. To keep him off the field and to not get him touches for such long amounts of time is just bad coaching, and it’s inexcusable because it keeps happening over and over again.

In fact, one of the main reasons the Packers were having difficulty getting a rhythm going, especially on those early downs, was because of the lack of Jones. It was amazing how, in the first drive of the second half, suddenly the offense was moving the ball much more consistently on early downs with Jones in the ballgame.

Again, I have nothing against AJ Dillon. He has his place in the game plan. But you’ve got a special running back. He’s in his seventh year in the league, and may not be back in 2024. Use the guy while you’ve got him.

Around the NFC North

As always, it’s time to go around the NFC North. 

  • The CHICAGO BEARS, players and fans alike, spent an entire offseason talking trash, and then got absolutely embarrassed by their bitter rivals in week one. It’s going to be tough to come back from that. A couple Bears players even continued to talk trash after the game was over. If this team can’t figure it out quickly, there could well end up being a mutiny. Bears fans were airing out the boos early in the game already, and that’s the first game in only year two! This is a fanbase that’s sick of watching a garbage product. But unfortunately, with Justin Fields, a bad roster, and bad coaching, that’s exactly what they’re going to get.

 

  • The DETROIT LIONS shocked the world by taking down the defending champions on opening night of the NFL season. First and foremost, this is an impressive achievement, and it’s one the “old Lions” never could have dreamed of accomplishing. But also, there is a part of me that’s not quite ready to buy into this team. They didn’t look particularly formidable; they mostly held around and capitalized on Kansas City’s mistakes. And hey, there’s nothing wrong with that–good teams need to be able to do that to win games. But did I see a runaway favorite to win the division in these Lions? No, not yet. Count this as one hell of an opening statement, but the Lions were aided just as much by Kansas City’s haplessness. If Kadarius Toney hadn’t had the literal worst game for a wide receiver in over five years, these Lions start 0-1.

 

  • The MINNESOTA VIKINGS finished last year with an 11-0 record in one-score games, an NFL record that almost everyone considered unsustainable coming into this season. Well, turns out everyone was right. The Vikings are now 0-1 in one-score games in 2023, losing to, of all teams, the Baker Mayfield Buccaneers. Now, these Bucs do still have some good players at the skill positions, but these are not your 2020 Super Bowl-winning Bucs. This is a game the Vikings should have absolutely won, and they should be embarrassed at their failure to do so. It could be a long year for this team, and the fact that Justin Jefferson has not yet signed an extension should be making Vikings fans nervous.

Owning the trenches

One of the most impressive elements of the Packers’ performance opening week was just how much they owned and dominated the trenches. The offensive line kept Jordan Love clean all game long, and the defensive line wreaked havoc to the tune of 25 pressures on Justin Fields, an NFL best in the first week of the season.

There were several great standout performances in the trenches. I want to give a special shoutout on defense to Devonte Wyatt. Wyatt didn’t get a whole lot of playing time for most of the first two thirds of the season a year ago. The first-round pick had a bit of a learning curve entering the league. By the end of the season he was increasing his snap count, and if the first week of the season was any indicator this year, he has arrived. That man was a problem for the Bears all game long, and was practically living in the backfield. Every time the pocket was under duress, it felt like 95 was in the mix. 

Having Wyatt to pair with Kenny Clark is just an embarrassment of riches, and that’s not even considering the other strong rotational players the Packers now have along the defensive front.

Another defensive shoutout to Lukas Van Ness, who was the unexpected first player of the season to rack up a sack for the Packers. Van Ness showcased impressive speed and strength in running down Fields and dragging him to the ground. Great way to start his career with the Packers.

On offense, you’ve got to give it up to Zach Tom, who received praise even from national analysis for his play. Tom could well be a fixture on the Packers’ line for the next decade if he keeps up the level of play we’ve seen from him so far. Outstanding work. 

And of course, David Bakhtiari. Bakh graded out extremely well. It was impossible not to watch the tragic injury to Aaron Rodgers on Monday Night Football and not think about how good the Packers have had it at the left tackle spot (and along the offensive line in general) for most of the last couple decades. Bakhtiari played a strong game and showed why he continues to be one of the team’s most important players.

I’m really excited to see the continued dominance of both lines this year, especially on defense. It’s been many years since the Packers had a defensive front (on the line and with edge rushers) as deeply dominant as this one. And you know what they say–if you can win in the trenches, you’re going to win football games. 

In building from the inside out, the Packers have set their young team up for early success.

Speaking of Rodgers…

Speaking of the injury to Rodgers, it’s impossible not to feel for the guy. Even if you completely remove the attachment most of us have to him as Packer fans, you just hate to see any player, especially a player of his caliber, suffer such a catastrophic injury so early in the season.

Count me among the people who has doubts we will ever see Rodgers on the football field again. An achilles injury is difficult to rehab even at a young age. For a man who’s about to be 40, one has to wonder if it’s worthwhile. Rodgers himself has openly flirted with retirement for a few years now. Does he have the fire in him to do a full year of rehab to come back with a team that he’s not even fully acclimated to?

Meanwhile, I have to feel disgusted at some of the responses I’ve seen to his injury. It’s not just a few people, either. It’s entire bars in Milwaukee. It’s entire comment sections on articles. It’s large swaths of users on Twitter. It’s even my students in class laughing about it when I bring up the injury. There’s nothing funny about this, and it’s cruel to laugh about injury to anyone, especially someone who has given the state of Wisconsin so much. 

I, personally, was glad to be rid of Rodgers this year, and would have dealt him a year earlier. But he’s still one of my all-time favorite players, and some of the responses that have been coming out after his injury have just been so cruel. Let’s take a step back here from our fandom and realize what’s important in all of this, and do our best to maintain our humanity.

Let’s nerd out about Starfield

I know many of the people who comment on these articles are not exactly my target audience for what I’m about to write about, but for those of you who don’t know, the video game of the year (decade?) released a couple weeks ago, and it’s about all I can think about.

Starfield, the latest RPG released by Bethesda (known for games like The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and the Fallout franchise), is an incredible achievement in gaming. It’s a massive, sprawling world filled with planets to explore in all different solar systems, with an endless number of missions, characters, stories, and surprises.

It continues to blow my mind what we are capable of technologically in today’s gaming world. While there are certainly plenty of high-profile duds (it’s been nearly two decades since the last time a Madden game came out that wasn’t a disappointment), there are also some amazing achievements like this.

For my gaming enthusiasts out there who are not yet playing Starfield, do not delay a moment longer. You won’t be able to draw your attention away, and you’ll find yourself fully immersed almost immediately.

Predictions for Packers/Falcons and Week 2

So I haven’t spent really any time discussing the Falcons matchup in this column, and there’s a reason for that–I have to admit that I don’t really know anything about this iteration of the team. Long gone are the days of the early 2010s where the Falcons were a regular rival with the Packers for the top of the conference. This is a team that’s a relative unknown, featuring an inexperienced quarterback and a whole lot of players looking to make a name for themselves.

Now that being said, by all accounts, the team’s defense was surprisingly good in week one, and highly active. This is going to be a much bigger task for the Packers than the Bears. These guys play a much more complex system of defense, and there’s going to be a more hostile environment.

The Falcons are going to want to run the ball a lot, and the Packers did an outstanding job of defending against that in week one. The recipe here is simple: dominate the trenches yet again and force Desmond Ridder to win the game with his arm. If the Packers can make that happen, they’ll cruise to a 2-0 start.

I say they do, to the tune of 27-17.

With that being said, here are the rest of my predictions for the week. Feel free to play along with me! My record last week was a lousy 8-8. Gotta love week one.

EAGLES over Vikings

BENGALS over Ravens

LIONS over Seahawks

COLTS over Texans

JAGUARS over Chiefs

BUCCANEERS over Bears

BILLS over Raiders

GIANTS over Cardinals

49ERS over Rams

CHARGERS over Titans

COWBOYS over Jets

BRONCOS over Commanders

DOLPHINS over Patriots

STEELERS over Browns

SAINTS over Panthers

 

 

PLEASE SUBSCRIBE TO OUR CHEESEHEAD NATION WEEKLY NEWSLETTER HERE.

__________________________

Tim Backes is a lifelong Packer fan and a contributor to CheeseheadTV. Follow him on Twitter @timbackes for his Packer takes, random musings and Untappd beer check-ins.

__________________________

8 points
 

Comments (61)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
Cheezehead72's picture

September 14, 2023 at 06:25 am

Being as he brought it up I will make the comment.

You know what I might be wrong with this attitude but I do not feel sorry for Rodgers. I did not want to see him get hurt. I wish him the best in his recovery. I hope he can play next year if that is what he wants. But what he did to the Packers, yes I also blame Murphy and Gute for allowing it to happen, I just do not feel sorry for him. I believe we will not see Rodgers paly any more.

I feel sorry for the Jets fans.

As for Love, yes he beat a bad team but over all he looked better than I expected. He needs to be more accurate on the deep throws. I had predicted that the Packers will win 5 or 6 games. I am not throwing out that prediction yet but I could see 8 or 9 as a possibility. I just hope Love gets better through the season because the wins will come. Win or lose I want to see an improvement.

-5 points
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Bitternotsour's picture

September 14, 2023 at 09:20 am

Well, I too did my own research. You will find a direct correlation between Ivermectin use in 39+ year old quarterbacks and muscle tears, calf and achilles injuries. It's science people. All the available facts are there on the internet.

Facts are facts and Aaron Rodgers rolled the dice.

Rumor has it he won't self-treat this condition, ironically, he'll be using a packers physician to provide his expert medical care. Apparently Joe Rogan wasn't available. I guess the old saying is "there are no atheists in foxholes"

-2 points
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GregC's picture

September 14, 2023 at 06:26 am

Good point about Bakhtiari/Rodgers. It was the Jets' left tackle, after all, who got destroyed on the play that ended Rodgers' season. CheeseheadTV is the only place where I see fan reactions, and I give a lot of credit to the commenters here for being classy about the Rodgers injury. There's been very little (maybe none?) of the nastiness that Tim mentioned seeing in other places. I do recall someone commenting a couple weeks ago that he was hoping Rodgers got hurt, and he got shouted down immediately. That's one of the things I like about CheeseheadTV. It can get too homerish at times, but that's a lot better than the persistent negativity that creeps into so many other sites.

One last comment about Justin Fields: He looks like he's not coached very well. He could use his mobility to find better throwing lanes and extend plays, but instead he just bolts the pocket immediately and picks up as many yards as he can get. It often works, but you can't build a drive-sustaining offense around that. You have to get other players involved as much as possible.

I missed the Lions-Chiefs game, and my initial discouragement about seeing the final score has been tempered by hearing that the Lions got some big breaks. I'm having a hard time not looking forward to the Lions' visit to Lambeau Field in week four on a Thursday night. I hope I can find a way to watch it on TV without paying several hundred dollars.

But before that, there are two more games, both of which should be winnable. I'm not sure about the environment in Atlanta being "more hostile" than the one in Chicago. Are the Falcons fans that into it? Bears fans can be pretty hostile, at least until they start booing their own team. But the Packers made that happen.

7 points
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ReaganRulz's picture

September 14, 2023 at 06:57 am

Agree with everything you said except there is one total idiot on this site that not only wished injury to Rodgers, but also future injuries as well. F’n douche!!

I also liked the comments about Bak…some of his comments in the offseason were a little confusing and there were some worries about his commitment to the Packers. So much for that!! So blessed to have him protecting the Left Side!!

7 points
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Cheezehead72's picture

September 14, 2023 at 07:18 am

The problem with Fields and all the other QBs from OSU, I am not including Shroud yet, is that they play on a team in college with a very strong OL, very good WRs and TEs, and a good running game and then they get drafted by a bad NFL team and started immediately.

4 points
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10ve 💚's picture

September 14, 2023 at 08:42 am

"I'm having a hard time not looking forward to the Lions' visit to Lambeau Field in week four on a Thursday night. I hope I can find a way to watch it on TV without paying several hundred dollars."

If you have Amazon Prime, you don't have to pay extra.
If you do not have Amazon Prime, it may be possible to sign up for a "30 day free trial". Cancel within the 30 days and you do not get charged.

2 points
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GregC's picture

September 14, 2023 at 12:30 pm

Thanks, that sounds like a good idea!

1 points
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Savage57's picture

September 14, 2023 at 06:44 am

Tut-tutting, finger-wagging lecture notwithstanding, I think a lot of the commentary you describe is more a reflection of some people indulging a bit of dark humor.

"At least Rodgers got four plays.

All Lincoln got was one."

Or, put more simply, lighten up. He's a human, fraught with the same weirdness and peccadilloes we all struggle with, but with the volume turned up to 11. He's not a demigod, and if he wasn't always trying to play one on TV, he'd be playing this week. He had the play for the taking on script, but he wanted more. An addiction to hero ball comes with risks.

Few people wanted to see him injured, but there are a lot of us who aren't going to pass making a little comedic hay with what happened as a result of his decision.

4 points
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dobber's picture

September 14, 2023 at 07:30 am

" I think a lot of the commentary you describe is more a reflection of some people indulging a bit of dark humor."

We've created an internet beast that's populated by too many entities that are all about being first and--if you can't be first--getting in the "memorable" or most re-posted jabs. It's not about quality or meaningful insight for them, and it's the natural fallout of our soundbite media. It's callous, it's cruel, and it's all about "look-at-me so I can get subscribers/sponsors" so they can pay the bills without having a traditional job. The less time we spend paying attention to those kinds of posts and posters, the better off we'll all be.

9 points
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Since'61's picture

September 14, 2023 at 07:54 am

Dobber, good post as usual. eCommunications has its positives but it also has numerous negatives. I agree with you that ignoring the baseless, attempting to grab attention posts is the best way to go.

Good to have you here again for another season of Packer football. We've been at this since 2009 or 2010 IIRC.

Always enjoy your posts and keep them coming. Cookie for you! Thanks, Since '61

5 points
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greengold's picture

September 14, 2023 at 08:47 am

No doubt, Since’61, AND dobber!!!

Did we not bash to topic into oblivion…? Did I miss something??? (Not knocking anyone letting off some still much needed steam).

I will say, it’s a real pleasure being able to share this season with you and all the others here, regardless of opinions shared. Differing perspectives are helpful to us all.

Sunday was a solid start. It certainly was the most enjoyable season opener I can recall since Jordy Nelson was a Packer. Let’s see how they handle Atlanta.

4 points
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Since'61's picture

September 15, 2023 at 07:05 am

Great to have you here gg. Thanks, Since '61

0 points
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Savage57's picture

September 14, 2023 at 09:05 am

I was busting dark humor long before the internet came on station.

I'd have said exactly the same thing were I speaking to someone in person.

6 points
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dobber's picture

September 14, 2023 at 11:19 am

Dark humor in these settings is very enjoyable, but it's not intentionally spewing stuff into the ether with the intent of generating a following and financial support.

4 points
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MainePackFan's picture

September 14, 2023 at 09:21 am

Savage57. Like any kind of humor, especially dark humor, it's about timing.

For example: Using your Lincoln reference.

"Other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play" would probably not have the same comedic value the day after it happened : )

2 points
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NickPerry's picture

September 14, 2023 at 06:46 am

"Love was not perfect on Sunday, and one could even make a compelling argument that the box score made him look better than he was."

Who in the hell is making THAT argument? More haters? Why? The only thing I can think of is because of Jones 2 catches for 86 yards. Both were short passes Jones did all the heavy lifting on. News Flash...Just about ALL NLF QBs have games like that where the QBs receivers turn short passes into long gains. THAT's why the Packers pay Jones that much money. Because he CAN do those things...SMH, some just HAVE to hate.

Speaking of Jones I was one of those screaming at my TV as if MLF could hear me and do what I wanted. What EVERYONE wanted and could see. PUT JONES IN THE DAMN GAME. If MLF is going to take the next step as a HC he needs to stick with what's working. This has happened WAY too many times. He needs to adhere to his "All Gas No Brakes" and actually do it. Especially with Jones. And for the love of God STOP running Dillon wide. How many times does he need to see it blow up?

David Bakhtiari... DB did play extremally well. No practice, no problem. But don't look now. Zack Tom actually graded out HIGHER than Bakhtiari. Tom was the #2 graded OT in PFF. DB was #6.

I hope Bakhtiari is okay this weekend playing on that damn turf.

Rodgers... I've been vocal about Rodgers. I've appreciated what he did as a Packer and what he meant and did for the organization. But I REALLY soured on him the last 3 years. I just didn't care much for the person. BUT I felt for the guy on Monday. YES, I thought about the pick becoming just a 2nd rounder now. But I also would have liked to see how the Packers did this year vs what the Jets did.

I hope he comes back and tears it up next year, meets the Packers in the SB, and Jordon Love and the Packers tear up the Jets and Rodgers ass in the SB!

10 points
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dobber's picture

September 14, 2023 at 07:36 am

This weekend will tell us something about whether or not those who have been regularly posting that "Bakh won't play on turf to save his knee" are right. Even moreso, his availability next week against the Saints after playing on turf on Sunday will reflect on whether his knees can take it.

2 points
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10ve 💚's picture

September 14, 2023 at 08:48 am

Well, he has a way out... his knees could develop an issue this week, and then miraculously heal after the turf stadium games are done. 😉

Rinse and repeat for all turf surfaces.

2 points
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dobber's picture

September 14, 2023 at 09:46 am

Whatever the case, the more he plays and plays well, the higher his value becomes and the easier it will be to move him and get out from under his 2024 cap hit.

1 points
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Cheezehead72's picture

September 14, 2023 at 09:47 am

So you believe that wearing down Jones is a good strategy. We have two primary backs and yes I believe that leaning on the hot hand is a good strategy. If Jones is running well then use him a little more. If Dillon is then lean on him. There are 17 games in the season so we do need to save him some.

1 points
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dobber's picture

September 14, 2023 at 11:21 am

The strategy is to win football games. Why back off for the playoffs when there's no playoffs on the horizon?

2 points
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Packerpasty's picture

September 14, 2023 at 04:43 pm

not playing him for a quarter and a half so he wont wear down?? Thats how you lose games in the NFL...a series or two maybe..

3 points
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Vachio's picture

September 14, 2023 at 09:56 am

Just adding to that, Love's 2nd half passer rating was perfect. Not sure what else people are looking for.

3 points
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greengold's picture

September 14, 2023 at 07:48 am

Nice work, Tim.

Trenches. The game is won in the trenches. Our only weak spot on both OL & DL combined was the run blocking of Josh Myers. His pass blocking is fine. And, there was a botched snap, again. Love made sure it didn’t hurt us with his quick work to gather and fire the long completion to Musgrave.

Kudos to Brian Gutekunst shoring up both lines in the span of 3 years. Wow. Remarkable transformation.

In spite of that one weakness, the Packers DOMINATED a weaker foe in Chicago - which they should have done. Nice work, Packers. They delivered, to the point where CHI sidelines were completely lost, dejected and bewildered with 8:30 left in Q3, down 17-6. Les then 4 minutes later, the Packers increased their lead to 31-6.

ATL will be more of a challenge. Hopefully GB steps up and delivers again, building upon their 1st success in this new era. Players and coaches alike.

2 points
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jont's picture

September 14, 2023 at 02:32 pm

"In spite of that one weakness, the Packers DOMINATED a weaker foe in Chicago - which they should have done."

Yes, this.

Young team, new QB, young receivers... and still they got the job done. And they got it done just as they should have, just like a good team does. 𝐓𝐡𝐢𝐬 is what is truly encouraging about the win.

2 points
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dobber's picture

September 14, 2023 at 07:57 am

"Love---"

I was undeterred by his 2021 start v. KC and pleased with the snippet we saw against Philly last year. This was a good start to 2023, but still a woefully small sample size. He needs to stack success and the coaches need to put him in position to do so. He missed some open throws, there was a pass or two that could've been picked, but in all a nice start against a team that, while a rival, didn't turn out to be a real stringent test. Love was unpressured and there were open receivers for him to find...how will he respond over 60 minutes against teams that won't give him that luxury?

In all, encouraged by this start and the sample we've seen of his play, but he needs to continue to grow and get better. There's a long way to go.

"Owning the Trenches"

They didn't...the Packers were barely average in the run game on Sunday. We keep saying the OL was good, and--yes--the fastest way to points is to protect the QB and throw the ball well, but this team will run 45-50% of the time over the course of the season and needs to in order to keep Love upright and to prevent him from playing too much in negative down/distance situations. The Bears clogged the box and dared Love to throw...and it worked. The Packers were inefficient running the ball, but Love was good on third downs (especially in the second half). The Bears have an average-ish front 7. Good front 7s are going to be a real challenge for this team if it continues to show how it did on Sunday, and I expect they'll struggle to move the needle in the run game against ATL without some significant changes.

"NFCN"

Lions played hard on Thursday and they approached that "coming out party" as if it were a playoff game. I agree: there were plenty of holes in their game and the Chiefs know that they're likely to win their division and that doesn't happen against NFC teams in September. So--good for the Lions--but it's hard to maintain that kind of intensity over the course of a season.

I was saying all off-season that the Vikings record was ripe for regression. They'll get their heads handed to them by a physical Philly team tonight. 0-2.

The Bears' body language at the end of game 1 and the fans' response to their play tells you that team is already circling the drain, paying the price for Ryan Pace's incompetence. They wasted Fields and draft capital--much to the joy of the rest of the division--who might have a resurgence with a team with a better OL and coaching staff. I think they'll go to TB and play better, but 0-2 likely means that they'll muddle through the rest of the season and end up with another high pick...that they'll waste.

3 points
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stockholder's picture

September 14, 2023 at 08:04 am

Loves first step was a Baby step, and nothing more.
These were the Bears. Complete with bad OL.
So now I’m suppose to be a Love Super-fan.
Well I’ll tell you right out.
The missed throws scare me to Death.
It’s just too early for me to think he’s the Real Deal?
Everyone has their hopes up. I get that.
But if this OL doesn’t protect him.
A rush could destroy any pose, or gains made.
Love is a Qb in transition, Pray he doesn’t get hurt.

There is No doubt Jones is the packers offense.
The last Packers /Lions game targeted him.
"Stop Jones make them throw”
Thats the drop off in the running game.
Dillion already runs like an old back.
The horse with the speed always wins.

The DL still has to prove themselves.
After all, their OL had ex -packers and Rookies.
The Lions don’t. The true test for any trench.

Next step- Beating the falcons.

-2 points
3
5
Untylu1968's picture

September 14, 2023 at 08:36 am

How many games into Rodgers career did it take to become a super fan? Just curious.. I'm not all in on Love yet, but it's hard to not recognize the upside. This team is going to be really good in the near future.

2 points
3
1
stockholder's picture

September 14, 2023 at 01:58 pm

Rodger's was No Ma Mas boy.
He had to grow up in a hurry replacing Favre.
I'm not sure anyone else would have come back,
( from a broken collar Bone.)
Especially winning the MVP.
He's a very special Qb.
IMO- the greatest Packer ever.
He just makes players better.
If Love can - Then thats the upside.

2 points
4
2
pantz_bURp's picture

September 14, 2023 at 08:33 pm

Oh, he's special alright Stock....

1 points
1
0
BirdDogUni's picture

September 14, 2023 at 12:35 pm

You sir have obviously never played QB. In reference to his missed throws. When you are in the pocket and have to make a decision or get rid of the ball to avoid a sack, I was coached up to throw it where only your receiver could make the play, even if it takes a superhuman effort on WRs part...

Sometimes QBs see something too late in their delivery and compensate to avoid an INT. Those throws look terrible but avoid that INT. I believe I saw that at least twice last Sunday. The one to Reed I believe was a great example.

If Love would have thrown the ball Reed could have caught the LBer would have the INT. Reed had excellent position on the CB, but Love saw the LBer at the last second in his throw and adjusted to protect his WR and avoid the INT.

News Flash: That is what great QBs do...

3 points
4
1
Coldworld's picture

September 14, 2023 at 08:04 am

I didn’t expect Love to be handed an expansive game plan even before we lost Watson. I expected a relatively conservative approach due to inexperience of both Love and his skill players. That’s what we got.

Love executed that very well. We often say that you can only beat the team you face in the day. Similarly, Love can only execute the plays run. We learned that he did that very well, albeit under negligible pressure. There is much we have yet to learn as a result. Good first steps, something to build on for both passer and catchers.

4 points
4
0
The_Baloney_Stops_Here's picture

September 14, 2023 at 03:26 pm

This is what the Lafleur offense is and it put up 31 points on the road without their #1 receiver, the #2 on a snap count, and rookies. It doesnt always look pretty but it churns out points. It requires the qb to be mostly a game manager which is what Rodgers pushed back on. I wouldnt expect more aggressive gameplans. Not because Love cant do it, but because its not required to win games.

0 points
1
1
T7Steve's picture

September 14, 2023 at 08:07 am

I think Love did a fine job. The one exception I had was on some of his biggest plays. When he lobbed that pass all the way across the back field to Jones it was like a fly ball to the center fielder. He had a couple others like that too. He now has that on record for other teams to key on. Hopefully our coaches noted it also and will use it as a teaching experience.

I'm self-centered and would love to see more Jones in drives. Switch it up more often than by series. Might help both RBs. However, if we can still be in games with him playing so few snaps/touches I believe having him strong all season is the right thing to do. The trainer has to keep these guys loose. Did he sit too long before he came out and tweaked his hammy?

Tim, you're right that this audience is probably the wrong one to extol about video games. Now I worry about who's teaching my grand and great grand kids. LOL

0 points
0
0
The_Baloney_Stops_Here's picture

September 14, 2023 at 03:12 pm

He was sprinting to his left and in a single motion turned and fired a strike across his body back to the other side of the field. While it was a floater, I think you underestimate how hard it was to make that pass. And the one to Musgrave was equally difficult. And notice he only threw those floaters to wide open players. He knew what he was doing and didnt put the ball in danger with either of those throws.

2 points
2
0
T7Steve's picture

September 15, 2023 at 07:36 am

There's really no such thing as wide open when you're 2 yards behind the LOS. Love did great, but when other Ds study this they'll try to bait him if they can. That's why I hope our coaches point it out to him.

You're right those are difficult throws and Love executed them great. Very exciting. Those touch throws were something we were calling out and missing most of last season. I remember so many going to the feet of the receivers. Even if they were completed the receiver couldn't advance them very often.

0 points
0
0
Starrbrite's picture

September 14, 2023 at 08:07 am

I also predict a win—23-17.
My daughter and her Falcon loving fiancé will be at the game—gotta have a victory.
The beer you showcased looks awesome—I don’t like beer much, but dark beer I will drink.
I see our defense overwhelming Ridder—that’s the key imo…and stopping the run of course.
Go Packers!!!

2 points
2
0
The_Baloney_Stops_Here's picture

September 14, 2023 at 03:22 pm

Packers are gonna win 34-0.

0 points
1
1
Tundraboy's picture

September 14, 2023 at 08:10 am

"Again, I have nothing against AJ Dillon. He has his place in the game plan. But you’ve got a special running back. He’s in his seventh year in the league, and may not be back in 2024. Use the guy while you’ve got him."

Why has it come this far. Again! Aaargh. I have to think this will be the last time ,if only because MLF must certainly be tired of saying he has to do a better job getting the ball. Doesn't he realize the number of times he has said that? Just do it!

As for the pitches to Dillon, just stop already.

5 points
5
0
The_Baloney_Stops_Here's picture

September 14, 2023 at 03:17 pm

I was a charter member of the Free Aaron Jones club way back when Mccarthy was still HC but even I have a hard time blaming Lafleur for not using Jones more in a game he eventually got hurt in. Jones has been hurt a lot so theres something to be said for managing his workload. I also think there would be a lot less noise over this if Dillon played better, which Im assuming Lafleur was hoping for when he put the gameplan together. Dillon has to step it up.

-1 points
1
2
RCPackerFan's picture

September 14, 2023 at 08:14 am

Early down groans and no Aaron Jones -

First not having Jones on the field every series is a mistake. Second I think its time that the coaches recognize that Dillon is not the same RB that Jones is. They need to start using him differently. Jones had 9 carries for 45 yards an average of 4.6 yards per carry. Dillon had 13 carries for 19 yard an average of 1.5 yards per carry. One of the issues is how they are using Dillon. Using him in the shotgun on runs to the outside are not what he is good at. He is a downhill runner. They can run stretch plays with him, but toss plays and that shotgun handoff are doing him no favors. Coaches need to do a better job of putting Dillon in the best position to succeed.

Around the NFC North -
While we just got through week 1, we can't really take a lot from 1 week of football. It will take 3-4 games to know what each team is about. But since we just have week 1 to go by, these are my thoughts on the NFC North teams.

The CHICAGO BEARS
Bears will have to decide after the season if Fields is the guy or not. He didn't look like the guy sunday. They have a bad OL, their defense isn't very good. This is a team that looks like they will be competing for the first pick in the draft.

The DETROIT LIONS
Yes the Lions beat the Chiefs. They won and can't take that away. "BUT" it felt more like the Chiefs lost the game more then the Lions won it. Toney was terrible and that cost them deeply. I highly doubt the Chiefs lose if Kelce was playing.

The MINNESOTA VIKINGS
Vikings look like a team that could have a very long year. I didn't watch all of their game, but what I saw, they have Jefferson and that is basically it.

Owning the trenches -
One of the best ways to win in this league is to win in the trenches. The Packers are set up to win in the trenches every week. Their OL is one of the best OL's in the league. Their DL is very under the radar, but are very good. Between the DL and the OLB's setting the edge they are pretty damn good. If we went up against a different QB we probably would have had 6-8 sacks. Fields was able to get out of a lot of sack opportunities for GB.
Wyatt, Wooden and Brooks are going to be huge parts of the DL this year. Wyatt looked unblockable at times. Wooden and Brooks already showing they are going to be great in rotation. This is one of our

Speaking of Rodgers…
I feel like Rodgers won't want to end his career this way. I feel that he will be back.

I am not a fan of the Rodgers bashing. It speaks more of the people doing the bashing then it does of Rodgers himself. Rodgers gave us Packers fans 15 years of great football. He wasn't perfect throughout the years, but he was constantly one of the best QB's in the league. He made us competitive every year. Us fans should be more appreciative of what he gave us all these years.

Let’s nerd out about Starfield
Its truly amazing how good gaming has gotten.

3 points
6
3
LeotisHarris's picture

September 14, 2023 at 08:38 am

It's always a pleasure to read your work, Tim. Good stuff, even though I don't get you whippersnappers and your frou-frou beers.

Aaron promises to "rise again" (exact quote) and play next season. I don't see it. The Jets QB curse is second only to the hex on drummers for Spinal Tap.

9 points
9
0
TXCHEESE's picture

September 14, 2023 at 09:15 am

Not sure if ML and staff kept a vanilla plan because they knew they were the better team, but I was surprised at the small number of times Love was under center, and the lack of motion. The shotgun hand offs to Dillon are a non-starter. Give the man an opportunity to get a head of steam going between the tackles. The lack of success between the tackles is a little concerning.

As for A-rod. His actions and attitude in his last year, including his non-attendance in the off-season soured many on him. Combine that with his team building BS act he was putting on with the Greenies this year, convinced me he's just a self serving D-bag. I have no sympathy for him and hope this is how his career ends.

1 points
5
4
Tundraboy's picture

September 14, 2023 at 01:41 pm

"Combine that with his team building BS act he was putting on with the Greenies this year, convinced me he's just a self serving"

Loved 12 of the 15 but that was nauseating.

1 points
1
0
jvole's picture

September 14, 2023 at 09:16 am

Agreed--Love's game was encouraging.

Disagree--Having no beef with Dillon. He regressed last year and based on one game, that trend seems to be continuing. No cut backs, tentative to the line, tackled by one defender, dropping passes--He looks like someone who is tired of being hit. Great human from all that I can tell, but rapidly diminishing RB. Play Taylor.

4 points
4
0
Bitternotsour's picture

September 14, 2023 at 09:28 am

conversely, that's a terrible idea. it's one game. when he busts out with a 12 carry 128 yard game, you'll see the folly of your thinking.

2 points
3
1
jvole's picture

September 14, 2023 at 09:38 am

Hope you are right!

2 points
2
0
dobber's picture

September 14, 2023 at 09:41 am

Like most big backs, his game is far more blocking-dependent than most quicker, smaller backs. When he's on the field, the Packers need to open the A or B gaps for him and other teams know it. They struggle to do that with their current personnel and loaded boxes.

6 points
6
0
T7Steve's picture

September 14, 2023 at 09:49 am

Dillan did pass pro well especially on the fumble heave to Musgrave.

4 points
4
0
dobber's picture

September 14, 2023 at 09:57 am

There aren't a lot of guys who are going to run over or through him...

1 points
1
0
pantz_bURp's picture

September 14, 2023 at 09:59 am

When the gales of Nov and Dec come early, Dillon will be needed more than he is now. He is better suited when the frozen snotcicles are a danglin'.....

He isn't Seabiscuit but a big old heavy draft horse.

Giddyuppeee,

P-burp

2 points
3
1
Coldworld's picture

September 14, 2023 at 10:21 am

It’s the Myers issue. PFF had a similarly atrocious run block rating on him as my eyes gave him. I think Herman has said the same. We cannot use a big back effectively if we can’t even manage semi competent run blocking in the center of the OL. We were not up against a good DL either.

We need a rethink. We either move Tom or change strategies and personnel at RB. Moving Jenkins or Runyon doesn’t work because there’s no one behind them. Tom was excellent t at RT, but I’d take him at C and Walker/Nijman/Jones at RT if we are going to continue with Dillon.

If we aren’t, then we need to face it and consider Wilson. He’s a downgrade in protection, but has the speed to get around the edge when he’s in. I think how we used Dillon (which baffled most here and most writers) illustrates threat they know the issue is real, however, trying to solve it by making Dillon play like Jones is futile if not naked avoidance.

This isn’t something new from either Myers or Dillon. We need to choose: Myers or Dillon. Personally I think all the RBs would benefit from replacing Myers, in terms of both opportunities and durability over the season.

5 points
5
0
jvole's picture

September 14, 2023 at 01:56 pm

Really good, insightful points. Also agree that his time might come with the cold.

I just wish it took more than one guy to tackle him.

2 points
2
0
coolhand's picture

September 14, 2023 at 10:51 am

Agree on Dillon. There was one play where he ran up the middle and got flattened by one tackler. You would think with his size he would be the one laying the hit and not getting knocked on his butt.

3 points
3
0
fireball's picture

September 14, 2023 at 09:36 am

Hey, as long as you brought him up, if ever there was a guy who richly deserved a comedown, it was Aaron Rodgers who blew out his achilles heel ( and the rest of his season ) after just four snaps in his first game with his new team, the Jets. All the hoopla, all the ballyhoo made about him. Single-handedly, godlike, he would bring the Jets a Super Bowl win.

Nope, I do not feel sorry for Aaron Rodgers. For me, at least, he wore out his welcome here in Green Bay a number of years ago when he turned into a diva.

Besides, I should feel sorry for a millionaire many times over?

-1 points
3
4
pantz_bURp's picture

September 14, 2023 at 09:50 am

These next few games will be important for #10 and the Packers (all will, but). It seems like most of the established, seasoned QBs may not have participated in the pre-season games and their play will ramp up accordingly with the games ahead (with all things being equal, and they are not...different D's to play against). Love seemed to be locked in and ready to put in the time and effort to be ready from game 1 of the season (same for all the young players, coaches). If Love can keep on stacking success along with the team while learning from any bad decisions, losses...that is all I can ask. So far, I love his attitude and approach to his role being the starting QB in Green Bay.

I so love this breath of fresh air to start the season. I am seeing a team approach and excited for STs to actually help as well!

Go Pack Go!

XOXOXOs and yours truly,

P-burpmeister

*Taking my Bo Derek poster down and putting up a new #10......hell yeah, looks mighty fine indeed!

3 points
3
0
Untylu1968's picture

September 14, 2023 at 10:42 am

Just don't take down the Farrah Fawcett poster. No matter what!!

5 points
5
0
pantz_bURp's picture

September 14, 2023 at 10:51 am

Never, in a million years Untylu....👍😁✌️

2 points
2
0
The_Baloney_Stops_Here's picture

September 14, 2023 at 03:00 pm

Bears were just the beginning. This team just won by 18 on the road while not playing anywhere close to their best game. This aint no rebuild year. Were playing to win.

1 points
1
0
Packerpasty's picture

September 14, 2023 at 04:47 pm

maybe it was their best game...sure hope not because just about every team from here on out is better that the Bears...

2 points
2
0
packerfanroy's picture

September 15, 2023 at 12:19 am

I think the part about Vikings fans needing to be worried about Justin Jefferson is spot on.

An interesting tidbit is that JJ and Davante Adams started training together after JJ's rookie year. This means that JJ had a front row seat for Davante's departure from GB. Adams wanted 2 main things, to get payed for the type of player everybody knew him to be and not potentially be stuck with a QB who couldn't play well in the NFL (Davante was traded before Tom Clements had time to get JLove back on track developmentally). The location (GB vs. LV) was important but I dont think it would have been an issue if the other 2 criteria were met. Davante not wanting to play with a young QB who might be a bust probably resonated with JJ in terms of what a receiver needs in order to have the type of success and career that the best WR's are trying to achieve.

The Vikings can make the money happen but the QB issue is gonna be there and even the location plays into this as a detriment for Min. Whats worse for the Vikings is that unlike the Packers, who have a good O-line, good potential, and a defense that always looks good on paper, Min is looking at a more drastic rebuild. JJ might not want to waste his prime years under-performing because he is stuck on a team rebuilding with a ? at QB.

I think JJ forces Min to trade him to the...... LA Rams....

LA Rams owner Kroenke has already shown that he will pay later to win now with the Stafford trade so sending a haul of assets to get JJ isnt out of the question. LA and Cali in general offer more to JJ the person and JJ the business brand than Min could ever hope to offer. While LA is in cap hell right now a lot of the moves that brought them to cap hell in 2023 also opened up lots of cap space for 2024. The last thing to consider is what the coach and the GM of the Vikings want. Do they want to risk their rare shot at being in charge trying to go through a rebuild with a possibly disgruntled JJ or do they make the rebuild easier and quicker by getting as many premium picks from the Rams as possible for a player who might not want to be there. Another thing to consider is that LA also has given up future premium picks for such players in the past. That means the Rams might give up premium picks for say....the 2026 draft. If Min is looking to do a rebuild, premium picks in the 2026 draft might give them a shot at Arch Manning. The trade might not happen but if JJ doesnt want to deal with the uncertainties of a rebuild there are a whole bunch of very good reasons for everybody involved to make the trade happen. On top of all that LA is a market that the NFL is desperate to succeed at. Kroenke is one the ownership golden boys. Getting a mega star like JJ out of the winter winless wasteland that is Vikings football and into the LA market would be a big win for the league and golden boy Kroenke.

Dropping some video game content every now and then wouldn't be a bad thing. A lot of Packer fans do dabble in the electronic arts and we can always use another voice to crap on the glorified, over priced, quasi gambling simulator that Madden has become.

0 points
0
0