Hello Wisconsin: The Packers Have Underperformed In Their 3-1 Start and That’s Okay (For Now)

Why there's no cause to be concerned about the Packers' relatively slow start... yet.

Despite their 3-1 record, there seems to be a perception nationally (and even among local fans) that the Green Bay Packers are, well, not that good.

Part of this is almost certainly due to the way the team got utterly pantsed against the New Orleans Saints in the opener. The memory of a 38-3 beatdown in which the team looked like the worst in the league doesn’t fade away that quickly.

But in each of the team’s three wins since, the team has looked like an improving squad. Still nowhere near perfect, but they’ve taken care of business, flaws and all, much like the 2019 squad did en route to a 13-3 record.

If you’re taking things at face value, that might be somewhat concerning for a team that was just a few plays from the Super Bowl about eight months and some change ago. 

But taking things in context, the team has also been overcoming some early adversity, some of its own making and some that has simply been bad luck.

What sort of adversity are we talking?

First, the Packers are missing their top two offensive linemen, who also are arguably two of the five best players on their roster. For a team that was already starting two rookies on the offensive line, this is a pretty big deal. 

We’re down to a starting offensive line that, before this season began, had seen a combined zero previous starts in the NFL outside of Billy Turner at right tackle. Despite that, the unit has protected very well over the last two weeks against some high-quality pass rusher.

The injury to Za’Darius Smith robbed the Packers of their top pass rushing threat, quite possibly for the year. While Rashan Gary’s pressure rates are through the roof, especially over the last couple weeks, the loss of Smith is huge, especially with Preston Smith still failing to look like he did throughout much of 2019. 

There is also the fact that the Packers installed a brand new defense for the 2021 season, but didn’t give any of their key players preseason time to get even slightly used to it in live game action against a different opponent. The defense has seen some slow improvement each week, but still appears to have quite a ways to go.

There was the quarterback drama that hung over the team all offseason. Aaron Rodgers has not looked as dialed in to start 2021 as he did in 2020, especially on his deep passes. A good portion of that could well have to do with the fact that he skipped an entire offseason.

If you had told me the Packers would be 3-1 after four weeks, I’d have been satisfied with that outcome. But again, that week one loss is still hanging over the early portion of the season.

Now, my point isn’t that everything is going to be fine and the Packers are going to romp to a title. In fact, I’m still not feeling particularly convinced this team has what it takes, especially on the defensive side of the ball. 

But rather, the narrative surrounding this team right now seems to be that it isn’t as good as its record. One could easily argue the inverse--that because the Packers have yet to play their best football, they’re actually better than their record.

None of this really means much at the moment and it’s impossible to predict what this team will look like three months from now. But for now, the Packers have been underperforming, and I think you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who would disagree with that.. But it’s okay, because they’re winning football games.

Stephon Gilmore episode showcases once again the number of fans who fail to understand trade and cap mechanics

It was outrageously predictable from the moment it was announced that former Patriots corner heading to the Packers was a legitimate possibility.

The Patriots would inevitably trade Gilmore to a different team for peanuts, and Packer fans online would flip their lids at the front office for their unwillingness to go all in or make a big move.

Before I begin ranting, here’s a perfectly plain-languaged explanation as to why the deal didn’t work out for the Packers:

On the Packers and their involvement with Gilmore ...

They had been exploring this for a while.

That it didn't work had nothing to do with the trade compensation, but rather the Packers not being able to absorb the remaining portion of his base salary on this year's cap.

— Rob Demovsky (@RobDemovsky) October 6, 2021

That likely prompted the Panthers to get involved.

The only way the Packers could've gotten Gilmore is signing him after the Pats released him so they could structure the deal favorably toward their cap.

— Rob Demovsky (@RobDemovsky) October 6, 2021

“But surely they could manipulate the salary cap!” you say. Well, not so fast.

Reminder until the trade deadline:

The Packers already used their arsenal of cap gymnastics to push out almost every cap dollar. Only meaningful exception: Davante Adams.

Any argument they can simply “cap wizard” their way into lots more cap space (outside of Adams) is invalid.

— Ken Ingalls - Packers Cap (@KenIngalls) October 6, 2021

There’s also the fact that, you know, it takes two teams to make a trade.

It sounds like the Packers were indeed prepared to make a run if Gilmore hit the open market, which is why the Patriots leaked that news early in the day--to drive up the market for a trade so they could at least get some kind of compensation for a player they intended to get rid of anyway.

The fact that there are people out there who will take every single instance of the Packers not signing the Flavor of the Day big-name free agent or trade acquisition  and use it as evidence of the front office’s alleged unwillingness to seriously contend for a title is exhausting, yet hilarious. 

It’s so predictable, and the people who get so up in arms every single time this happens never seem to learn any more about how these matters work in the NFL.

Does it suck that the Packers were in a situation where they couldn’t end up getting cornerback help from a former All Pro? Sure, assuming Glimore ends up playing like his former self when he returns from injury (which is in itself a big assumption).

But anyone trying to spin this as Gutekunst/Mark Murphy/Russ Ball as being cheap or lacking guts is exposing themselves as being ignorant to how these matters work and thus not worth paying attention to.

Wisconsin Beer of the Week

October is here, and I would be remiss if I didn’t share a few of my favorite Oktoberfest beers to get you all into the spirit of the season!

Pictured above is the Oktoberfest from 1840 Brewing Company, which regular readers of this column will know is my pick for best brewery in the state without a whole lot of competition. But this is far from the only Oktoberfest beer I enjoy.

Oktoberfest beers are German-style beers similar to a Vienna lager. They are characteristic of their transparent reddish brown color (at least in the United States), their rich malt flavor and a nice crisp, clean hop balance and slight bitterness. You might also be familiar with the term Marzen, which is used interchangeably with Oktoberfest for many American-style beers.

At the Oktoberfest festival in Munich, the German-style beers you’ll find will likely be paler in color.

There are a number of really great Oktoberfest beers from Wisconsin breweries that you can find widely available. These include:

  • Staghorn by New Glarus Brewing Company. One of my personal favorites. Available all over Wisconsin, never lets you down.

  • Octoberfest by Central Waters Brewing Company. Had this one on tap for my wedding some years back and the keg went out pretty quickly because it’s an easy-drinking crowdpleaser.

  • Oktoberfest by Lakefront Brewery. Refreshing and malty, it’s got much more red to its hue than you’d find with traditional Oktoberfests but it’s still a legit, authentic Marzen.

  • Oktoberfest by Capital Brewery. This one takes me back to my college days in Madison, where Capital Brewery’s beers were my introduction to localized craft brewing. During the fall semesters we’d drink a lot of their Oktoberfest and Island Wheat.

  • Oktoberfest by Raised Grain: A little lighter than other Oktoberfests on this list, and highly drinkable.

Pretty much any of these you should be able to find throughout the state in your local liquor store.

Happy Oktoberfest season!

A couple small causes for concern

I’ve spent a lot of time in this column talking about the defense and my concerns about Joe Barry as a defensive coordinator. I still have plenty of concerns about the defense moving forward, namely the weakness at the defensive line, the injuries that are piling up and the fact that the Steelers had open receivers running through the Packers’ secondary all game long on Sunday and Big Ben just couldn’t hit them.

All that aside for a moment, I do have a couple other concerns about the Packers that aren’t quite as obvious.

First, field goal coverage. We saw the Packers’ game-ending kick against San Francisco nearly get blocked off the right side. Next, we saw the Steelers block a kick off the right side of the line, but the Packers get lucky when the refs botched an offsides call to bring it back. Then, the Packers nearly had another kick get blocked later in the game. 

I don’t know what is going on, but this is quickly becoming a habit and it has to be addressed immediately. As in, before this coming weekend. That’s basic football stuff right there and there’s no reason the team should be letting rushers get so close to the ball so frequently on kicks.

Another less-obvious concern: Aaron Rodgers’ deep ball and play action.

The Packers have improved their efficiency on offense over the last couple weeks primarily because of their leaning on the running game and their use of shorter routes and timing, which is really what makes this offense go.

But Rodgers has just looked off on the deep ball so far. He’s failed to connect with Marquez Valdes-Scantling on several would-be touchdowns, overthrowing him each time. He has had a couple deep passes put behind receivers running posts. And he badly underthrew Robert Tonyan this week on a seam route on what would have been a touchdown. 

What’s more, Rodgers has been very off with play action so far this season, which was his bread and butter a year ago.

According to Peter Bukowski, PFF has Rodgers at a 50.2 PFF passing grade on play action, which would be fourth-worst among qualifying quarterbacks in the league. A year ago, he was at a 96.6 (out of 100), which was far and away the best in the league.

Some of this is sample size, so there’s some hope these numbers will turn around. But it’s also an indicator of how this offense hasn’t come close to hitting its stride yet. When pairing this issue with the lack of deep ball accuracy, there are a couple small concerns with Rodgers.

He's still making magic happen multiple times a game, but he’s not making it look as easy as he did a year ago. Not yet, anyway.

Ben Roethlisberger’s clear decline

Packer fans that don’t pay much attention to what’s happening around the league (or at least, to the Steelers) might have been surprised to see the extent to which Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has declined.

He was missing open receivers for big gains, relying almost exclusively on short dump-off passes to eat up yards, and not even throwing past the sticks on third down. He’s lost a lot of mobility and frankly looks like a shell of his former self.

The decline hasn’t been rapid--he had some struggles in 2020 as well. But it’s definitely significantly worse and more noticeable this year, and the team hasn’t had the strong defensive play that it has historically had to back him up.

It’s just one more reminder of how quickly quarterbacks can fall off in skill--even the greats.

Roethlisberger is 39 years old. That’s ancient as far as quarterbacks go. There have been several quarterbacks in recent years to play past 40 (Brett Favre, Drew Brees and Tom Brady, with Brady’s success clearly standing out) but for the most part, even the greatest of all time see their skills decline by their late 30s.

Peyton Manning was the worst starting quarterback in the league during the Broncos’ 2015 Super Bowl campaign and got his second ring on the back of historically great defense.

So it is a warning sign to teams like the Packers that have aging franchise quarterbacks. Rodgers is coming off an MVP season and still in 2021 looks like a top-flight quarterback. But when the drop happens, as it inevitably will, it can happen quite fast.

Having a succession plan is never a bad thing. And the Steelers… don’t.

Around the NFC North

Here we go once again around the NFC North leading into week four.

-The CHICAGO BEARS had a bit of a bounce back performance after their disastrous outing against the Browns, taking down the lowly Detroit Lions 24-14. The Bears didn’t ask Justin Fields to do much--he went 11/17 for 209 yards and an interception. David Montgomery was the focal point for the offense this time around, getting more than 20 carries and over 100 yards. Coach Matt Nagy said Andy Dalton will be the Bears’ starter when healthy, but changed his mind two days later and gave the job to Fields. After seeing two weeks of what Fields can do, it doesn’t really look like it’ll make much of a difference.

-The DETROIT LIONS are bad. Very bad. That one play where the snap to Jared Goff bounced off his body and directly into the hands of a Bears defender pretty much perfectly exemplified everything about this team over most of the last six decades. This is a team that will very likely be in the running for the top pick in the draft this spring, and it’s hard to see a whole lot of silver linings for them at the moment.

-The MINNESOTA VIKINGS are officially off to yet another disappointing start, falling to the Browns at home and scoring just 7 points in the process. The Vikings could get absolutely nothing going on the ground, and the aerial attack was ineffective. This is a team that had a lot of hype coming into this season (as usual) and I actually bought them as a potential wild card contender, but somehow they appear to be worse than a year ago. They’re going to have their work cut out for them getting to seven or eight wins this season against a tough schedule. So much for being the Packers’ top competition in the NFC North.

The legacy of The Crusher lives on

Those of you of a certain age may remember the professional wrestler The Crusher, who graced screens across the midwest primarily in the 1960s and 1970s. He often partnered with Dick the Bruiser, but had plenty of other memorable nemesis.

The Crusher was a Wisconsin resident--from the small suburb of South Milwaukee, to be exact--and his legacy now lives on in the form of a bronze statue in the city’s downtown and a now-annual festival, Crusherfest, that bears his name.

Crusherfest happens to be this weekend, and I’m hoping to attend. There will brats, beer, live wrestling, and some appearances by some names of wrestling’s past, including Eric Bischoff, “The Sodbuster” Kenny Jay, Jim Brunzell, Medusa and Greg Gagne. 

The Crusher somehow has not been inducted into the WWE’s Hall of Fame, which honors professional wrestlers of all territories and eras. It’s a horrendous omission, frankly, as Crusher was an icon for the entire region.

His blue-collar, beer-drinking Polish Wisconsinite gimmick was a big hit with the locals, as you can imagine. He would call his opponents “turkeynecks,” much as The Rock would call his opponents “jabronis.”

As someone who grew up a wrestling fan, I’m looking forward to partaking in the celebration of the Crusher’s legacy and getting to see some faces from ages past.

Prediction for Packers vs. Bengals

This Bengals team is tough. They’re not quite “there” yet as a legitimate threat, but they’re going to give everyone they play a tough time. They’re playing decent defense, they’ve got a tough young quarterback who already looks like a seasoned vet, and the connection between Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase is looking really sharp in the early going.

Make no mistake, the Packers are going to have their hands full, especially if Jaire is out. 

That being said, the Packers have a coaching edge, they have Aaron Rodgers and an offensive line that’s proven capable of holding up to even strong front sevens, and they’ve still got Davante Adams, Aaron Jones, Kenny Clark and company.

I think this will be a tight game, and the Bengals will fight the entire 60 minutes, but the Packers will manage to come out on top in the end.

Packers 27, Bengals 24.

 

__________________________

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.

7 points

Comments (70)

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

October 07, 2021 at 07:15 am

As usual Tim, you have covered a lot of information. Thanks for your thoughts.

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RCPackerFan's picture

October 07, 2021 at 07:43 am

"First, field goal coverage. We saw the Packers’ game-ending kick against San Francisco nearly get blocked off the right side. Next, we saw the Steelers block a kick off the right side of the line, but the Packers get lucky when the refs botched an offsides call to bring it back. Then, the Packers nearly had another kick get blocked later in the game. "

My question is does anyone have a still frame of this play down the LOS? I have only seen the endzone view and the angled view. Do we know if they were lined up in the neutral zone to begin with? So many are complaining about it, I just would like to see a view of it down the LOS.

"Another less-obvious concern: Aaron Rodgers’ deep ball and play action."

This is a slight concern for me. I really believe part of this is due to the offseason he had. He hasn't gotten his timing down. As far as the play action passes some of that I think is the running game hasn't been quite as strong as last year, there for the fakes and roll outs aren't fooling defenses.

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dobber's picture

October 07, 2021 at 08:49 am

The deep ball has come along slowly--especially to MVS--the last two years. I seem to remember concerns in camp each of those years that ARod wasn't judging those well. It came around. If we're still talking deep ball struggles in a couple weeks, I'll be more concerned. Play action is a little more concerning given the Packers seem to be more committed the last couple weeks to feeding their RBs, and their %run is almost the same as 2020 at this point.

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RCPackerFan's picture

October 07, 2021 at 11:01 am

I agree that it comes along slowly. Something to keep an eye on in a month or so. Just give it some time.

The play action I think will continue to get better as the Run game gets going.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

October 07, 2021 at 04:59 pm

AR did not skip the entire offseason. That is just factually wrong. I don't think attending minicamp and not attending minicamp affected his deep ball. He had a full training camp and looked great during it.

The deep ball has come around slowly in each of the last few seasons. Maybe that's the first thing that is going to go - time will tell. Usually AR is better on the line drive throws than the rainbow types.

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jannes bjornson's picture

October 07, 2021 at 11:23 pm

What affect s the deep ball paradigm is a few sets of simple facts: Have 4.2-4.3 WRs who actually can catch and run to the deep ball. That makes up for straight-line, long-striders attempts to make plays on one of the Best Deep Ball QBs I have witnessed since attending Pro Football Games in 1960.....get WRS like ....on and on...Homer Jones...Jerry Rice...Moss....Cliff Branch....Moss...Calvin Johnson...Harold Carmichael....Moss...Jefferson (Vikings) and Lofton.....

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PewAuKeeFan's picture

October 07, 2021 at 07:45 am

Great article as usual Tim!

I especially liked the Gilmore part. Spot on!

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dobber's picture

October 07, 2021 at 09:45 am

People seem to be more fixated on the move the Packers really couldn't make (Gilmore) than the one they could, and did (Smith).

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Leatherhead's picture

October 07, 2021 at 09:19 pm

Yeah, but Dobber, the grass is so much greener on the other side.

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jannes bjornson's picture

October 07, 2021 at 09:36 pm

The Gilmore deal still comes back to King and the deal Ted (or his sychophant in the control tower) didn't make to secure Gilmore as a FA in 20`18 and thereby freeing the brain trust to draft TJ Watt and cut Perry in '19. Always follow the river to the root spring.

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Guam's picture

October 07, 2021 at 08:02 am

Tim: Appreciate the shout-out to the offensive line play. Not only are the Packers missing their two best O-linemen, but they had to replace a third pro-bowler in Corey Linsley. The O-line has done a superb job under the circumstances and appear to have great depth for the future.

Your point about Rothlisberger's rapid decline is spot on. When the decline starts, it happens quickly and Rodgers is entering the age bracket when the decline could happen at any time. I have no idea when he actually will decline and he could be another outlier like Tom Brady, but the odds are it will happen in the next 2-3 years. Trade him after this season and get some compensation while the Packers still can.

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Leatherhead's picture

October 07, 2021 at 09:33 pm

Guam, I agree with this take. I do not want to see the Packers in last place with a QB at the end of the line. I would much rather trade him for something than wait around for that, so I’m going to hope he plays great this year.

Oline has been just tremendous. I wish we’d try to run over people more. I think if you’d let these young guys play moving forward instead of backwards, you might see some good results. I really believe that Jones and Dillon could have some big days.

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Johnblood27's picture

October 07, 2021 at 08:21 am

Another fine effort Tim, I wish I lived in Wiscy so I could find some of those beers.

Drayton needs to see the issues and address them pronto if he wants a job past this season. FG protection should NOT be an issue, get it fixed, and I mean NOW! Cmon MLF, put a boot in his ass, and save some toe for Tonyan for his efforts on teams.

This young OL is proving to be a strength of this team. The running game needs to become a point of emphasis which will-in time after becoming such a point-open up the passing playbook nicely. RUN TO WIN! Football is still a TEAM game, let's stop developing our team and gameplans around one guy being Superman and start using the entire roster to gain advantage.

Tp point, the TE's have been AWOL in terms of being part of the plan. The plays to TEs seem to be outlets and oh-by-the-way type plays. If MLF wants to have 4-5 on the roster, lets make them more of a focal point.

BTW, why-oh-why EQS as a target and NOT Malik Taylor??? Taylor EARNED his targets this year and last while EQS sat on the sidelines in the tub nursing his owies. Just cut the baby and play the PLAYERS! This is FOOTBALL!

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Crankbait's picture

October 07, 2021 at 08:23 am

Hello Jaylon Smith !!

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RCPackerFan's picture

October 07, 2021 at 08:27 am

I am intrigued in seeing him put with Joe Barry. He has a history of working with ILB's.

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flackcatcher's picture

October 07, 2021 at 05:33 pm

Most folks don't know that Berry is considered a very good LB coach.

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dobber's picture

October 07, 2021 at 08:51 am

The Smith-Campbell combo is likely the best ILB tandem the Packers have had since Hawk-Bishop, and this tandem is markedly more athletic. It will take some of the pressure off the S position...both Smith and Campbell can run and cover.

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MarkinMadison's picture

October 07, 2021 at 08:28 am

This Packers O-line has already faced a lot of tough front sevens this season. As much as anything else, maybe the New Orleans game was just growing pains for that group.

This secondary without Alexander for any extended period of time is probably in deep trouble. Probably. If a bunch of untested OL can rise to the occasion, so can some untested CBs. Jean-Charles, Yiadom, Douglas. Good luck guys. Rodgers' swan song is on your untested shoulders. No pressure.

I'm not a cap expert. I don't know all of the tricks for spreading money out. It sure looks like these tactics, combined with the COVID-cap reductions, have put the Packers in a serious bind for 2022. But Tim's point is valid. If they can't fit Gilmore in under the cap, you can't complain that the Packers haven't gone "all-in" for Rodgers. They've gone all-in. The money has already been spent. I don't know how they would meet the demands of Adams (and Rodgers, if he would agree to any number) for next year, even if they wanted to do so.

New Orleans had a succession plan. The Steelers do not. Love may not be the answer, but at least he's a plan.

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dobber's picture

October 07, 2021 at 09:06 am

"It sure looks like these tactics, combined with the COVID-cap reductions, have put the Packers in a serious bind for 2022. "

2022 will be an interesting season...

"New Orleans had a succession plan. The Steelers do not. "

New Orleans "lucked" into Jameis Winston coming available. He's only looking like a bridge to their next young QB...but he could be better when Michael Thomas is healthy and takes some of the heat off their run game. Their speculation on Taysom Hill has left him as an overcompensated gadget player. They don't look like a playoff team now (and statistically, their defensive numbers are inflated yet by the shellacking they laid on the Packers), but that could change.

Many of us were saying that Pittsburgh is a possible landing point for ARod after 2021. I think his adoration of Mike Tomlin in the media doesn't do anything to reduce that option. For those saying ARod only wants to go to Denver, just watch. It could be that ARod's being the good citizen and playing it up so there are plenty of suitors, but there are way more teams out east with rosters that are close, potentially desperate GMs, and QB needs--Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Miami, Washington, New Orleans, Indianapolis. It may be more about ARod getting out of Wisconsin than it is about him landing in Denver.

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13TimeChamps's picture

October 07, 2021 at 10:25 am

When has Rodgers ever said he wanted to go to Denver? That's been completely media and fan driven.

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jannes bjornson's picture

October 07, 2021 at 09:39 pm

Q talk from the deflectors....Rodgers stays, Murphy and the "fans" go....

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HarryHodag's picture

October 07, 2021 at 08:33 am

Thanks for giving the fans a badly needed lesson on the salary cap. Many fans think the Packers operate in a vacuum and have unlimited funds to go get anyone they desire at any time. The cap is designed to provide competitive balance and has done a remarkable job of doing so. Without the cap all the free agents would flow to New York, and LA, Dallas, Florida and Arizona and Green Bay, Wisconsin would sign the players from St. Norbert's.

I have maintained, and you made mention of, the lack of pre-season 'live action' work by the starters. I have maintained this is the real reason for the New Orleans beat down. Mostly the same players are on the field then as now. It started again against Detroit, but the team righted itself in the second half and have been playing fairly well since then.

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PatrickGB's picture

October 07, 2021 at 08:49 am

I remember “The Crusher”. Even though he was a bad guy, I still loved him in the ring. And let’s not forget another Wisconsin guy a few miles down the road. He was “Dick the Bruser”. I met him once after he retired. Nice guy in person.

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dobber's picture

October 07, 2021 at 09:10 am

I still remember Sunday mornings on channel 4 out of Milwaukee at 9 am with Mean Gene Okerlund chiming out "All Star Wrestling--featuring the finest wrestlers from the A.W.A: the American Wrestling Association.....don't you DARE miss it!!"

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HawkPacker's picture

October 07, 2021 at 02:10 pm

Anyone remember Haystack Calhoun from many year's back. I think he weighed in at around 635 lbs. Also, another name is Happy Humphrey from that same era he weighed in at around 710 lbs.

I never liked pro wrestling as it looked just a bit too fake for me. But I do remember those two guys as I could not believe how big they were.

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jannes bjornson's picture

October 07, 2021 at 09:42 pm

The Vachon Brothers....Dr X...runs a gift shop in Northern MN......

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ricky's picture

October 07, 2021 at 08:58 am

Why are the Packers looking so bad on FG's? Because, as usual, they refuse to spend money on a quality coach for ST's (or defense, for that matter). Their penny-pinching has led to abysmal ST's for years, and sub-par (especially on third down) defense. As far as the slow start, this has been their usual pattern for years. Though, the beat down by the Saints was totally unexpected. Rodgers once again has to decide whether he wants to win games or pad his stats late in games that look like wins in terms of lead and time on the clock. If the running game is working, grinding down the defense and eating up the clock, stick with it, rather than suddenly deciding to throw for TD's.

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TXCHEESE's picture

October 07, 2021 at 08:58 am

Comparing Rodgers and Roethlisberger is not a completely valid test. Big Ben has been subjected to much more physical beatings over the years than Rodgers, especially the last 2-3 seasons, and not many would agree that he has been as diligent in offseason fitness as Rodgers. Will Rodgers decline someday? Absolutely. But my guess is he will still be in the very top tier of NFL QB's for the next 2-3 years, and if GB can hold on to him, that would be the best option.

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croatpackfan's picture

October 07, 2021 at 10:05 am

But Big Ben didn't broke both collarbone in few years. Those collarbones maybe looks like not so very important, but they are. Especially when you throwing things, like balls (football, baseball, basketball, volleyball, etc). Anything repaired has less quality than original. Do not forget that. As I remember Tom Brady did not have any significant body injury during his time of playing football. Maybe there is the reason for his football longevity.

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fordguy's picture

October 07, 2021 at 12:51 pm

I don't know where you get your info from but it's complete bs on collarbones. When I broke mine they didn't even set it, just got a sling and it turned into a mass of bone that's overlapped. The reason so, is because the doctors say it's a bone that if removed your body wouldn't affect anything.

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jannes bjornson's picture

October 07, 2021 at 09:47 pm

When can we expect you for the weekly try out session with ted jr?

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fordguy's picture

October 07, 2021 at 09:59 pm

As soon as you can make a comment that makes sense. I won't be holding my breathe.

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jannes bjornson's picture

October 07, 2021 at 10:00 pm

Why compare your injury to a Professional athlete's ?

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fordguy's picture

October 07, 2021 at 10:42 pm

Do they have some type of super skeleton? And I can talk about because I've actually broke the bone and questioned sport doctors about it and not just made stupid comments because someone said something on the internet.

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Johnblood27's picture

October 09, 2021 at 07:08 am

You GO fordguy!

once broken never better? Ever hear of Tommy John surgery for baseball pitchers? They come back with more velo on the fastball once that elbow tendon is stretched in tight.

Im not saying that all surgeries result in improvement, but your statement is false.

I know some people that a lobotomy could improve their thought processes... just sayin... White House anyone? House Speaker? Buehler, Buehler??

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TXCHEESE's picture

October 08, 2021 at 08:40 am

Absolutely spot on. I broke my left collar bone (I'm a lefty) in November, never had any procedures on it, and was throwing off the mound again by the end of February....could have done it sooner, but that's when our offseason started. Had absolutely no issues as far as losing arm strength.

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LambeauPlain's picture

October 07, 2021 at 02:01 pm

Actually repaired ACLs are stronger today than the original, according to orthopedic surgeons. Several decades ago, a torn ACL was usually the end of a career. No longer. It is the same with other injuries due to surgical techniques and materials.

Brady has been durable but did miss 2008 due to torn ACL and MCL that required surgery. The surgery worked well.

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Guam's picture

October 07, 2021 at 01:11 pm

Txcheese: I posted this comment elsewhere, but will repeat it here. The comparison is not just to Rothlisberger. Joe Montana retired at 38, Steve Young at 37, Phil Simms at 37, Dan Marino at 38, Eli Manning at 38, Philip Rivers at 38, John Elway at 38, Peyton Manning at 41 and Drew Brees at 42. And most would agree that Peyton Manning and Drew Brees were shadows of their former selves during their last year.

Rodgers will turn 38 this season.

The only outlier to this theme is Tom Brady who seems ageless. Will Rodgers be another outlier like Brady? I don't know, but he is bucking long odds to get there. Most QBs seem to age very quickly when they hit their late thirties. Most of the above list retired when they were 38 or younger. Keeping Rodgers around for another 2-3 years is statistically a high risk proposition.

Also keep in mind that when Rodgers does retire, the Packers will get NO compensation for him. OTOH, they could trade him after this season and potentially get a bunch of picks to rebuild with and relieve much of their 2022 salary cap problem. If they keep Rodgers they will have to cut other good players to get to the 2022 cap. If you are the Packers GM, which path do you choose?

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jannes bjornson's picture

October 07, 2021 at 09:48 pm

The trade scenario ended three years ago--deal with it.

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Guam's picture

October 07, 2021 at 10:44 pm

If that is the case, please explain why San Francisco called the Packers immediately after the "Rodgers news" broke this spring and inquired if he was available in a trade?

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TXCHEESE's picture

October 08, 2021 at 08:52 am

Not wanting to get into a pissing match, but the only valid comparisons here are Rivers and Brees, possibly Eli. The others played in past eras where year 'round training and specialty diets were not a thing. The thing that Rodgers possesses that very few others have is pure arm talent....kind of like Nolan Ryan who performed as a power pitcher far longer than many of his contemporaries did. Brees retired at 42...should have at 41, but doing the math, if Rodgers is 38, then that would be the 2-3 year window that I referenced.

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Since'61's picture

October 07, 2021 at 09:41 am

Any team starting the season missing 4 all-pro players is likely to look like they are having a slow start. The Packers are missing Z, Bak, Jenkins and Linsley to start the season.
Now add Alexander, hopefully for only a short term, and the Packers are down 5 all-pros.

Kudos to the coaching staff for preparing the team to overcome this early season adversity, especially on the OL.

What I have noticed is that the team is playing more physically than they have in the past and hopefully this will continue, particularly on the defense where the tackling is improving.

Any QB is going to miss some long passes. Those are low percentage plays. Rodgers has had problems connecting with MVS but some of that is due to MVS poor route running. Rodgers has not had much problem reconnecting with Cobb and my guess is that is because Cobb knows what he is doing and where he needs to be while MVS is still working on it after 4 years in the league.

Having said that Rodgers made a poor throw on the seam pass to Tonyan, which would have been the dagger for the Steelers game. For years posters here have complained about the Packers not going for the kill or not keeping their foot on the gas in games. Now they go for a kill shot and they are complaining that the Packers should just keep running the ball and Rodgers is trying to pad his stats. However, if they actually paid attention they would realize the play to Tonyan was beautifully set up over the previous 4 plays. The Steelers safety was out of position leaning towards Adams and Tonyan was wide open. Rodgers just blew the throw. It was a great call by MLF which Rodgers did not change. In fact it is an example of how the MLF offense should work off of play action.

As for Roth he is on the decline but he has also been playing through a pectoral injury which very likely is having an impact on many of his throws.

We need to show up ready to play against Cincy. They will come on strong playing at home. This is yet another situation where the Packers should take the ball if they win the opening toss, drive for an early lead and take the crowd out of the game. Packers 31- 16. GPG! Thanks, Since ‘61

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dobber's picture

October 07, 2021 at 09:49 am

"Having said that Rodgers made a poor throw on the seam pass to Tonyan, which would have been the dagger for the Steelers game."

With MVS on the shelf for a couple more weeks, that seam route to Tonyan needs to start clicking more.

Your point about going for the kill shot is a good one. Those plays look good and aggressive when they connect...but ovely-aggressive and foolish when they don't. It's funny how that colors our view.

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Since'61's picture

October 07, 2021 at 10:20 am

Correct as usual Dobber! If Rodgers makes a good throw and Tonyan scores a TD there would be no mention of padding stats or keep running the ball. Rather the posts would be more in line with "that was a great play call", which it was. Regrettably the execution was not there. That's on Rodgers, not the play calling or an attempt to pad stats. Just a timely and legitimate attempt at the kill shot or keeping their foot on the gas. Be well.
Thanks, Since '61

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

October 07, 2021 at 05:13 pm

they set that play up with four consecutive runs by Dillon with Adams split wide alone but double teamed, moving a safety away from the run.

They could just run Lacy (I mean Dillon) into a 10-men in the box defense instead.

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jannes bjornson's picture

October 07, 2021 at 09:43 pm

Reality is a hard topic for some fans, '61, just ask T.S. Elliot....

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Since'61's picture

October 07, 2021 at 11:09 pm

Very familiar with T.S. Eliot. Thanks, Since ‘61

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Leatherhead's picture

October 07, 2021 at 10:10 am

I think you’re overstating the Bengals. They’ve beaten three weaklings and lost to the Bears. Their offensive drive success rate is one of the worst in the league. They’ve gone over 24 once. The Bears are the best defense they’ve faced and they got nothing going against them.

Defensively, they’ve put up some decent numbers against bad offenses, but they haven’t faced an offense like the Packers or a QB like Rodgers. If Jacksonville can get 24 on them, we should go over 30, easily.

We’re going to handle these guys. Last week, once we got to 14, the Steelers never once snapped the ball with a chance to take the lead. When your Time of Death is early in the second quarter, that’s not a close game, and that’s what is going to happen.

We’ll beat the Bengals, the Bears, and the Football Team, we’ll be 6-1, we’ll be in the top ten in multiple categories on offense and defense. Then the real season starts.

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Since'61's picture

October 07, 2021 at 10:23 am

I agree Leatherhead. The best scenario for the Packers would be for the Packers to be 6-1 and we start to get our injured players back. Then we can be set up for the more difficult part of our schedule and our playoff run.

For now one game at a time. Beat the Bengals!! Thanks, Since '61

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JohnnyLogan's picture

October 07, 2021 at 10:22 am

The argument isn't that the Packers don't have cap space it's that they made bad decisions in their signings that precluded having cap space. Everyone and his sister wanted King, Lowry, Lancaster, Summers and Burks gone. There was no need for Patrick given the draft capital expended for OL in the past two years. The first four games have proven that out. None of these six players has had much if any impact. As predicted. I have no idea what they cost but it's something. It's wasted money and everyone seemed to know it except Gute.

Rodgers's long ball is lacking only if you think he has to make that magic throw every time. Packer receivers aside from Adams get no separation. MVS is the most overrated receiver the Packers have ever had. His "separation" on those missed balls was maybe a yard or two. He's not a quality NFL receiver, more like the equivalent of the Fat Albert street football character, and pardon the Cosby reference; "Filbert, you take the J bus, have him open the doors on 19th street, I'll fake it to you." That's about the value of MVS. Last year's great offense was predicated on Davante, Jones, and a lot of TD's to Tonyan. The league has had a year to come up with a plan to stop them. We're still short a receiver.

There were obvious holes on this team before the season started, among them ILB, CB, and WR. Gute plugged one with what seems to be a great signing in Cambell, and now a cheap signing of Smith. Gilmore and a very inexpensive Josh Gordon, who is starting for KC this weekend and has appreciatively more talent than MVS, could have been two more great cheap pick-ups, the kind championship teams make to plug holes. Instead we have Lowry, Lancaster, King, Summers, Burks and Patrick providing almost zero worth,.

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jannes bjornson's picture

October 07, 2021 at 09:52 pm

That's correct, realized vs perceived value. A grifter's conundrum in a market made of mirage and rigged games....

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JohnnyLogan's picture

October 08, 2021 at 12:45 pm

I don't know what you said but I agree

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Leatherhead's picture

October 07, 2021 at 10:28 am

If the receivers are so bad and get no separation, how are we completing 70% of our passes?

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JohnnyLogan's picture

October 07, 2021 at 11:05 am

Adams. Sneaky of you to throw in last year's stat of 70% completion. This year it's 64% with Adams getting almost 3/4 of the targets. Adams has 31 catches. MVS and Lazard combined have 11. That's on average less than 3 catches for both, combined, per game. We need another receiver.

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Leatherhead's picture

October 07, 2021 at 01:32 pm

So we can throw more? Expose Rodgers to more hits? Reduce the targets to our other receivers? Give it to Jones and Dillon less?

This TEAM led the league in offense last year and they’re going to do fine this year. The drop from 70 or 64 is two passes per game that are incomplete, dropped, or thrown away. Maybe interference should have been called Two plays out of 65.

And only four games into a seventeen game season. That’s premature evaluation, IMO. A small difference over a small part of the season is no reason to abandon the plan……especially when it’s worked so well.

Talk to me about our failings when we’re 6-1. I’ll be waiting.

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LambeauPlain's picture

October 07, 2021 at 02:18 pm

Doesn't Cobb count as another receiver? (Had we not signed Cobb, Gilmore may be a Packer today.)

Cobb finally showed up in week 4. Let's hope he keeps it going.

Any team that had Adams would be labeled incompetent if he didn't get a majority of WR targets. You don't just "spread it around" just to "spread it around". Adams sublime footwork gets him quickly open about 3/4th of the time. And the RBs are getting targets, making catches and getting up the field.

I think the O is good and going to get better when Jenks and Bahkt return.

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jannes bjornson's picture

October 07, 2021 at 09:53 pm

Ask the QB.

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jhtobias's picture

October 07, 2021 at 11:36 am

Great Article. People complaining about gilmore and trade have absolutely no clue that it is more complicated than a 6th round pick.

Great job trying to explain this to the uneducated packer fans who should stay on twitter to complain. Carolina was smart, they new if he hit the open market he might have been a packer becuase contract adjustments could be made.

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LambeauPlain's picture

October 07, 2021 at 02:30 pm

I read the Patriots agreed with Gilmore to trade him so he could take his huge existing contract to his new team. He's a happy Gilmore today.

Jaylon Smith will cost the Packers very little since Jerry Jones is keeping his bank account fat for all of 2021. 2022, & 2023. His 5 year 2019 deal was for $65 M with $35.5 M guaranteed.

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LayingTheLawe's picture

October 07, 2021 at 12:28 pm

The hope is that this has been Rodgers preseason and now he will be ready to roll heading into the 2nd quarter. His accuracy has been spotty so far. He will laser in one of those dart throws but miss on the long bombs.

...And if you tink Da Crusher should not be in dat der hall of fame thingie, then you got another tink coming! And when he does we can all hang out at the saloons and drink with the dollies all night long der hey.

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LeotisHarris's picture

October 07, 2021 at 07:10 pm

Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene....

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LASVEGAS-TOM's picture

October 07, 2021 at 12:38 pm

Hello Everyone, I'm still here. Because of Covid, I haven't bet seriously in 2 years. Taryn are you still here. I've lost most of my Football edge that I had. I've been trying to come back lately, but can't see the $$$ like I could 2 years ago. I don't know enough about the teams yet. Taryn you are the only one I would ask here. Have you got a couple solid picks you could help me out with. What do you think about Dallas -7. I kind of like them, only because I think it's too many pt's for this game. How do you see GB -3. I kind of lean towards Cinn, but I'm still thinking 2 years ago when GB carried the $$$ every week. That has changed now. Can LA beat Seattle at Seattle. It would have been an easy pick 2 years ago. Any other betters here have any ideas on these games. I hate to say it, but I need the help. I'd like to say Hi to everyone here, friend & foe alike. Taryn, Dash Riprock, Since 61, & others I can't remember. Been to the Casino, GVR, 4 times this year. Hit $4200 the 1st 2, & gave 1/2 back the 2ond two. Been picking Football games with a friend in WI, but I'm only 9 for 16 for 3 weeks. Not where I want to be, but not to bad, considering. Up a little. Can anyone help me out? I want to get back where I was 2 years ago Picking the games. I hope some of you remember. Taryn let me hear from you. Good Luck To All this week.
LVT

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stockholder's picture

October 07, 2021 at 04:53 pm

I remember. Dash was booted. Jimmy the Greek would have helped.

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LASVEGAS-TOM's picture

October 07, 2021 at 06:24 pm

Why was Dash Booted? Seemed like a Decent guy.
LVT

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Since'61's picture

October 07, 2021 at 05:17 pm

LasVegas-Tom it's good to see you back here. Taryn is still here but she hasn't made too many comments during the season yet but she appears to be sharp as ever.

I'm not a gambler so I can't help you with picking the games. Sorry. But as always I look forward to your posts and I wish you the best. Thanks, Since '61

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jannes bjornson's picture

October 07, 2021 at 09:57 pm

Try the rat poison or the Ivermectin. I hear it works wonders for the red hat death cults and other long-view bettors....

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

October 07, 2021 at 05:52 pm

Technically, GB could have afforded Gilmore and his $5.7M cap space hit. It looks to me like the Packers need to carry over as much cap space into 2022 as possible, though. There is nothing that prevents Carolina or the Packers had they traded for Gilmore from re-working his deal and pushing cap into 2022. My concern is that he wanted more money THIS year, and that 2022 looks pretty grim to me.

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LeotisHarris's picture

October 07, 2021 at 07:06 pm

Thanks, but I'm sorry to learn this because I thought he was unattainable for the Packers. Still, do players come back from a torn quad at age 31? And, is Gilmore ready to play now or does he still need time to rehab?

I wish I could read Greg Bedard's Boston Sports Journal article on the trade. Damn paywall. In the portion I could read, he points out the Patriots currently have 10 wins in their last 26 games. They are 8-12 since Brady left. All is not well in New England.

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jannes bjornson's picture

October 07, 2021 at 09:59 pm

If he was all-in he would be with the Pack. He wanted to stay at home and play it safe--why not?

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