Hello Wisconsin: Tim’s Outlook for 2022

Hello Wisconsin is back, and this week we're previewing the season.

The Green Bay Packers are playing football once more, which means it’s time for me to bring back my weekly column “Hello Wisconsin,” which covers all things Packers, Wisconsin and more. I’m excited to be back for my fifth season writing for Cheesehead TV!

Several weeks ago I published this year’s Packer fan expectation survey results. The general consensus was that the Packers are not as deep as they’ve been but should still be very much considered a contender. In fact, most respondents still believed in the Packers taking home the Lombardi Trophy.

Having spent some time analyzing those results, I wanted to kick off my first Hello Wisconsin of the 2022 season with my own outlook for the team.

Here are a few of the key points that have been marinating in my mind over the last several months.

--WHAT’S BETTER?--

Let’s start with the positive. There’s almost no way the Packers are going to be as bad on special teams in 2022 as they were the last couple years. With new coordinator Rich Bisaccia coming highly regarded, scheme alone should drastically improve. It may take another year or two for the unit to get the players it needs to thrive, but we already saw some attention to special teams in the later rounds of the draft.

Davante Adams is gone, but I’d argue the receiver depth has the potential to be better than it was after the #1 slot over the last few years. While the Packers did lose Marquez Valdes-Scantling, they did gain a veteran in Sammy Watkins who is probably about on par with MVS in terms of expected contribution. Romeo Doubs already looks the part of a solid NFL receiver, and Christian Watson is brimming with potential. Amari Rodgers has looked much more confident in camp so far. The loss of Adams is a big hit, and one shouldn’t understate that, but overall the Packers have managed to assemble a unit that shows promise.

Certain players are going to be back healthy again. Jaire Alexander finally gets to mix it up with Eric Stokes and Rasul Douglas in the secondary. Elgton Jenkins and Robert Tonyan just came off the PUP, a good sign that they will be ready early in the season, if not by week one. 

The defense in general saw some really excellent additions overall. They beefed up on the defensive line, added a fast and capable ILB to pair with their All Pro De’Vondre Campbell, and managed to keep both Campbell AND Douglas when many thought it would be impossible to do so. The only real significant loss on the defensive side of the ball is Za’Darius Smith, who played like six snaps in 2021, so it’s hardly a loss anyway. This could be a top-flight unit in 2022.

Finally, the relationship between Aaron Rodgers and the Packers was a non-issue this entire offseason, and Rodgers seems to be in a very good place with the team. Coming off two consecutive MVP seasons, Rodgers is showing no signs of decline at nearly 39 years old. 

–WHAT’S WORSE?--

Now that we’ve got the positives out of the way, we do need to consider some of the Packers’ potential pitfalls this season.

I noted the wide receiver depth has improved, but there’s no making up for the loss of Davante Adams, the league’s finest wide receiver. When you lose a player of that caliber, it makes your offense worse, full stop. Yes, I do subscribe to the notion that Rodgers may be forced to spread the ball around more now, but when you’ve got that one guy who can do everything and who you can always look to in crunch-time situations, that’s immensely valuable.

Offensive line depth is a problem. The Packers have lost a lot from that position unit in the last couple years. With Elgton Jenkins and David Bakhtiari still hurt (though Jenkins could be back soon, as mentioned earlier), the problems become even more apparent. Adam Stenavich has been a wizard as OL coach the last few years, but he’s now running the entire offense. Hopefully Luke Butkus maintains that magic touch.

It’s hard to know what to expect from Mason Crosby this year. He’s old and banged up and coming off one of his worst years as a pro. I’m honestly surprised the Packers didn’t make a real effort to replace him. 

Behind the starters, secondary depth is concerning. Say what you will about Kevin King, but having him as a fourth corner was actually rather reassuring. At the moment, behind the trio of corners and the pair of starting safeties, it’s pretty dicey for the Packers. Guys are going to have to step up and develop. 

The same is true for edge rusher depth. Rashan Gary is an absolute beast and hasn’t even hit his potential yet, and Preston Smith had a really strong year in 2021. But gone are Za’Darius Smith and Whitney Mercilus. The Packers are going to have to find young players who can step up outside, whether it’s Kingsley Enagbare from the draft class or players who’ve been floating around a bit, like Jonathan Garvin.

–MY TAKEAWAYS–

This team still has a strong roster, but with more visible holes than in the last couple years. The 2021 team might have been the strongest team ever assembled under Aaron Rodgers, and that includes the one that actually won a championship. It was the best chance the franchise has had to win another ring since 2010, and an inexcusable choke job at home against an inferior opponent cost them big. 

Ultimately, nothing that happens during the regular season this year matters. We’ve seen it all from the Packers already. They’ve won 13 games in the regular season three years in a row, unprecedented in franchise history. They’ve gotten the regular season accolades.

The Packers chose to kick the salary cap can down the road this offseason, but make no mistake: sooner or later they’re going to have to pay. With each year it becomes more crucial that the Packers win a championship or risk coming away from this “second prime” of Aaron Rodgers empty handed.

Can the Packers put it together in the postseason? Does this team have the drive and stamina after three long seasons with heartbreaking endings to come back a fourth time and finally, finally get back to the Super Bowl?

They certainly have as good a chance as anyone in the NFC. The Los Angeles Rams will still be strong contenders, but the Packers have had their number of late and I like their odds should it come down to the two of them in January. The Buccaneers are aging and the wheels could fall off there at any time, especially if Tom Brady can’t play superhuman football. Outside of those teams, the competition in the NFC is weak.

If you’d have asked me a month, two months, six months ago, I’d have said the Packers would fail to make it to the Super Bowl this season.

But with the pain of January getting farther away in the rearview mirror and taking a look at who the Packers are up against in the NFC (all the strongest competition is in the other conference), I do see the Packers having a strong chance at representing the NFC in the Super Bowl. And if they finally get there, I don’t see them losing.

Wisconsin Beer of the Week

A couple weeks ago we took the family up to St. Germain for a few days. My wife’s aunt and uncle have a place on a lake up there, and a few days is more than enough for a four year old and two-year-old twins. It was a great time as always; got in some kayaking, reading, bonfires and relaxing.

As a nice surprise, my wife and I were able to sneak off by ourselves for a bit the first evening we were there. We went into town and checked out Saint Germain Brewing Company, which is new since the last time we’d been up there. 

The atmosphere was cool; they’re located inside an old Supper Club that has a very northwoodsy vibe to it. However, they definitely seem short-staffed and like they may be trying to do too much for a new brewery. They’ve got a food menu of pretty decent size, and the facility is probably larger than what they need. 

I hope they make it, because the beer was decent and the bar snacks we had (giant pretzel and candied bacon) hit the spot. 

The beer pictured above is called Not Your Momma’s Haggis, and is a scotch ale–a much darker one than I’m used to seeing. It’s also on the heavier side, coming in at a 9 percent ABV. It had a smooth, malty flavor with a subtle sweetness that balanced the booze quite well. It also looked good in a glass!

I’m always excited to have the chance to try out new breweries, especially at their own facilities. Next time I’m up there I hope to hit up Rocky Reef in nearby Minocqua, as I’ve yet to visit their premises. 

A word on David Bakhtiari

One of my biggest sources of annoyance this offseason has been the slander on Twitter of David Bakhtiari.

Yes, I understand, it’s frustrating for him to still not be ready to play after more than a year and a half of recovery. But, like, how do you think HE feels? 

This isn’t the situation he wanted to be in, and certainly not what the Packers wanted. So many fans, though, have gotten bloodthirsty, calling for the Packers to cut him or talking about how there’s some sort of cover up happening.

Like, good god people. Have some empathy. It’s a sad situation, not a government conspiracy. I hope Bakhtiari is able to get back on the field soon, and if he’s not… it’s devastating for him, not a sign that he doesn’t care or that he’s running away with the team’s money.

He’s put his body on the line for this franchise for nearly a decade. Show the man some respect.

Protect AJ Dillon at all costs

Is there anyone in recent memory who enjoys being a Packer more than AJ Dillon?

The dude has embraced every aspect of living in Wisconsin and being a Green Bay Packer. His receiving the key to Door County, constant plugs for AC Tap, getting wings from fans at training camp, constant genuine interactions with fans… is there a better ambassador for the team right now than him?

What an incredibly likable dude. He’s the definition of carrying the G. And, he’s become a key player on the field as well. This, the same person whose drafting had Packer fans foaming at the mouth just a couple years ago. 

Around the NFC North

As is tradition, we’ll take a quick look around the NFC North at what the Packers’ rivals are doing.

 

  • The CHICAGO BEARS find themselves in a contract dispute with their best player, Roquan Smith, who seems to be ready to make an exit from the Windy City. Meanwhile, their fans are gleefully falling over themselves to point out Jordan Love’s box score from the first preseason game, without realizing that their starting quarterback was literally the worst in the league in 2021. As is typically the case, Bears fans once again have higher standards for Packers backups than their own starters.

 

  • The DETROIT LIONS are probably going to be a garbage fire again this year because, well, they’re the Lions. Their roster still has a ton of holes, they’re still quarterbacked by Jared Goff, and their coach feels like a stereotypical gym teacher from an 80s teen movie. But hey, they took a wide receiver in the first round, so clearly they’re trying to win football games.

 

  • The MINNESOTA VIKINGS are getting a good look at Kellen Mond this offseason, a QB prospect who seemed to be hated by former head coach Mike Zimmer. But with Kevin O’Connell now steering the ship, Mond may have a chance to put it together. The Vikings will likely be the Packers’ toughest competition once again in the NFC North thanks to their prolific offense, but they have too many weak spots to seriously challenge for the division title.

All you need is Love discourse

I correctly predicted on Twitter before the game on Friday that we would see a lot of immediate reactions about Jordan Love’s future based on his performance in the first half. And boy howdy, did we ever.

Look, here’s the thing about Love. He wasn’t great. He hasn’t once been great yet. And no, if he was going to be the starter today, I wouldn’t feel good about it.

But my god, you’d think he was the worst quarterback of all time the way fans talk about him. Of his three interceptions, two were very clearly not his fault. Even the third, LaFleur stated a couple wide receivers ran wrong routes.

Love is still an up and down player. He seems to be growing in confidence, and looks to have improved since a year ago. 

Is he ready to be an NFL starter? Probably not. Is that concerning for a player taken in the first round entering his third year as a would-be heir to the throne? Maybe.

But here’s the thing – in this moment, IT DOESN’T MATTER AT ALL. As of right now, the plan sure seems to be for Aaron Rodgers to play at least a couple more years of football. This means the team is in no hurry to move on to Love.

Who knows what Love’s long-term future is. He might never be the Packers’ long-term starter. He might be a tank commander for a year after Rodgers retires. He might be a middling starter for a time before the Packers find something better. Or he could end up being yet another stud.

I’m just so exhausted by the discourse surrounding the player at this point when it quite literally does not matter at all. He’s not expected to start football games this year. If Rodgers goes down, then guess what: the team is right where pretty much every other team would be if it lost its starting quarterback–in a situation they did not plan or hope for. 

We have seen positive progression from Love. Is it enough for him to get his option picked up in the offseason? Who knows, there’s plenty more time for the team to make that decision. But right now, it’s costing the Packers nothing to just let him continue to develop at his pace, while Aaron Rodgers remains the team’s starting quarterback.

The stakes are extremely low right now, despite what the rabid haters would have you think.

“Up North’s” simple pleasures

Everyone in Wisconsin defines “up north” a little differently. To me, to be up north you have to at least be north of Wausau, and the tree life around you needs to be primarily evergreen. 

But no matter what you refer to as “up north,” to me there is nothing better than sitting outside in the evening in the northwoods smelling the pine and fresh lake water and listening to the crickets and loons. 

As I mentioned earlier, I got a taste of that the other week and it was quite refreshing. It wasn’t particularly relaxing in the way these trips are for other people given we had three young children with us, but it was nice to escape the suburbs for a bit and re-immerse myself in the northern air. 

The continued effects of climate change will cause a lot of chaos in the years to come (and already are), and while those of us in the upper midwest will be better insulated from it than those in other parts of the country, the northwoods will certainly eventually be effected. So each time I make it up there, I’m going to hold on to those moments so that I and my children will always appreciate the smells, sounds and feelings of “up north.”

What to watch for against New Orleans

The Packers take on the Saints tomorrow night in a game where the outcome is meaningless but the action is not. Here are a few things I’ll be watching.

  • The continued progression of Jordan Love
  • The battle at the wide receiver position and who on the fringe stands the best shot
  • Who’s stepping up in the depth roles in the offensive line, secondary and edge rusher groups
  • Long snapping and general special teams play
  • Learning experiences for rookies all over the roster

Enjoy the game!

 

__________________________

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.

11 points

Comments (47)

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

August 18, 2022 at 06:33 am

I don't agree that the 2021 team was the strongest under Rodgers, the D line had Kenny Clark and then some guys, that has improved this year and Z Smith won't be missed because Engabare will be a much needed surprise, inside linebacking improved as well, once the O line is settled the offense should find its groove.

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LambeauPlain's picture

August 18, 2022 at 08:28 am

The STs alone would not make the 2021 team one of the strongest under Rodgers.

However, the D of "Kenny Clark and then some guys" named Lowry, Slayton, Campbell, Stokes, Douglas, Amos, Savage kept the 49ers pinned to the mat until last field goal winning drive as their gas tanks bounced on empty.

It was one of the best Packer playoff defense performances in a long time until the last drive. And a floundering Packer playoff offense performance in the 2nd half that was suddenly, shockingly bad.

And to doom any chance to advance was the worst Packer playoff ST performances ever.

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Lphill's picture

August 18, 2022 at 08:41 am

I just meant the D line in general was nothing to brag about as opposed to this years rotation.

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LLCHESTY's picture

August 18, 2022 at 01:12 pm

A healthy, deep and cold-blooded DL come playoff time can make up for a lack of depth at other spots.

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PewAuKeeFan's picture

August 18, 2022 at 07:16 am

Great piece Tim!

I also like that you took the effort to proof-read and make sure your writing was clean!

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LeotisHarris's picture

August 18, 2022 at 03:10 pm

Edits:

Great piece, Tim.

I like that you proofread your writing to ensure it was clean.

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PackyCheese500's picture

August 18, 2022 at 07:26 am

Great Article. I don’t know if last years team was the best ever; Quay Walker will be better than Barnes and the D line was not good. Also a heathy Jaire for the whole season will help too. Running the ball more should help as well. I agree that the Rams shouldn’t be too much of a problem for the Packers, but the Buccaneers are a very good team (who I think will be the no. 1 seed this year) and it will take a lot to beat them. The Packers are definitely a more well balanced team now, and if they can get to the super bowl, I have little doubt they’ll win (the one time in franchise history they lost was te year right after they won the SB). Vikings will be tough, but if we can split with them at least, we’ll be good. I hope AR sticks around for a couple of more years (partly because I want to see highlights of him throwing to Christian Watson after he’s more experienced).

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stockholder's picture

August 18, 2022 at 07:35 am

Wow. Pretty good Tim. You certainly do have your favorites. But let's not forget this is a Business. If Bahk doesn't get in there. Somebody will take his place. Dillion isn't a 1000 yard rusher yet. And this team shouldn't suffer the consequences of Loves mistakes. The rookies have a long way to go. WE Need; Tonyan and Jenkins to get back in there. If your old school. Seeing is believing.

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JL26's picture

August 18, 2022 at 07:41 am

Thanks for the article

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Handsback's picture

August 18, 2022 at 07:57 am

Three things the Packers do very good:
1. Field and develop competitive teams.
2. Keep their cap in check.
3. Hire solid people to run the show.
(I'm using the hiring of Wolfe as the starting point)

The areas where the Packers have had issues with:
1. Injuries
2. Failures in the playoffs
3. Kelsey being able to post in Cheesehead articles.
I think this team has the opportunity to be great because of their defense. The offense will be good enough, but the defense will carry the load. The defense will need to avoid INJURIES because depth can only be so good in today's game. If the defense stays solid, easier to win in playoffs. Sort of like good pitching beats good hitting in World Series.
The Packers have had good offenses but as we all have seen...it only takes you so far!

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Johnblood27's picture

August 18, 2022 at 12:23 pm

um, begin with the elevation of Bob Harlan to team President, then move to his hiring of Ron Wolf.

Who is Kelsey?

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LeotisHarris's picture

August 18, 2022 at 03:17 pm

JB, are you suggesting Kelsey being able to post in Cheesehead articles is not an area where the Packers have had issues? I don't think anyone around here is going to stand for that blasphemy.

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Johnblood27's picture

August 18, 2022 at 05:27 pm

Who is Kelsey?

do you mean the bot posts?

I truly do not know.

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LeotisHarris's picture

August 18, 2022 at 08:53 pm

I don't know either. Just being a wiseass.

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Coldworld's picture

August 18, 2022 at 08:00 am

The 2021 team had a very strong roster but the D was a work in progress with at least 2 significant long term injuries that has been improved on the DL and at ILB. It’s a more talented unit this year.

Special teams last year was perhaps the worst run unit I’ve ever seen in the pros. This year it should at least be a decent one.

Yes we had Adams. Yes he’s a tremendous WR. But the “can do everything” mantra is misleading. He might have been able to excel but he has thrice been show to have not been enough to carry the team against good teams. That’s not in him. It’s really a ridiculous proposition to expect one player to do so. It’s a prime example of a strength too heavily relied on becoming a flaw.

This year we have more talent on O. Unfortunately a lot of it is “potential” at this point, but it is there. We have 2 or 3 true deep threat options. We have guys who are sudden and athletic. The challenge will be to get them involved around Watkins Lazard and Cobb.

For this team to win it will have to illustrate to show why the 80% Adams approach was a trap in post season. We need to use our various pieces cleverly and to their strengths and that means different formations, more deception and a willingness to use young players despite inevitable errors. We can do that most efficiently by not trying to make them all mini Adams masters if everything in year one.

If we can stay reasonably healthy, we have a roster to succeed, but to realize that potential we are going to need to see LaFleur and Rodgers be more imaginative tactically, more willing to use alm weapons and better able to change to attack opponents weaknesses and shield ours.

This year will show if Rodgers and LaFleur can really work together in a constructive partnership and whether LaFleur really has what it takes as a coach not just a communicator. That will lead to a very different looking approach on O, more varied and more flexible and making the most of everyone not revolving around what’s best for one or two. If we in fact look like last year but missing Adams then this year too will be wasted. Lazard, Watkins and Cobb are not going to win the Super Bowl if they represent 80 percent of the offensive strategy as enacted in the field.

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mrtundra's picture

August 18, 2022 at 08:39 am

I have to disagree with your police work, there, Tim! I think the Lions will be GBPs toughest opponents in the NFC North, this season. At season's end I expect the NFC North to look like this: Packers 14-3; Lions 9-8; vikings 8-9, again, and the Bears at 6-11. The Packers should sweep the NFC North and the Lions will beat the vikings and Bears, twice. GO PACK, GO!!!

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LambeauPlain's picture

August 18, 2022 at 09:00 am

The 2022 Packers have a chance to be special.

Rodgers, Alexander, AJ/AJD, Amos, diverse, talented WRs. Really great skill players in the backfields, but the men up front will lead the march to the Playoffs.

I cannot recall when I have been so bullish on both Packer lines. I am old school and firmly believe in the proven football axioms: "the game is all about blocking and tackling" and "it all starts in the trenches."

Still concerned about STs but it seems Coach Rich has taken the machine apart during his overhaul and is now rebuilding it part by part.

But I do love watching great defense and the battles on both lines.

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wildbill's picture

August 18, 2022 at 10:56 am

I can’t really be bullish on our O/l till they prove themselves. Getting Bakh and Jenkins playing would put our best 5 on the field and that’s when I feel confidence in our O/l. I know the Saints are a really good defense but from what I can gather, from notes about the scrimmages, we couldn’t run the ball against them. An odd good run or two doesn’t put any pressure on their D.
It’s early and I hope all the O/l shuffling isn’t about not being able to identify our five best at the moment, which would be a very bad sign.

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dobber's picture

August 18, 2022 at 09:38 am

"Bears fans once again have higher standards for Packers backups than their own starters."

mic drop

"Everyone in Wisconsin defines “up north” a little differently. To me, to be up north you have to at least be north of Wausau, "

Yup. North of highway 29.

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Johnblood27's picture

August 18, 2022 at 12:26 pm

Up north to me is anything north of Gainesville...

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HarryHodag's picture

August 18, 2022 at 11:08 am

I agree with your assessment on David B. Someone elsewhere pointed out the sudden end of another very good Packers offensive tackle named Ken Ruettgers. His knee was injured and he couldn't go forward. I hope this isn't the case with David B. but the truism of football continues: you're exactly one play away from retirement.

I also agree that the Lions are the team to keep an eye on this year. Whether they overtake the Vikings is questionable, but the fanatical style Campbell has instilled in his team is worthy of watching.

Up North: I live up north and this year I've noticed an abundance of license plates from Texas and Arizona. As their heat intensifies, more of them will be heading our way. From what I'm told this year has been a record-breaker for tourists coming here. Along the same line, the COVID numbers also have risen. No coincidence there. A real contradiction happens when you talk about how nice it can be up here which brings more people and development and helps to wreck the very thing you enjoy.

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Johnblood27's picture

August 18, 2022 at 12:28 pm

Don't you just HATE having a free country where people can go where they please?

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HarryHodag's picture

August 18, 2022 at 03:30 pm

Simply pointing out development changes the landscape, nothing more.

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LLCHESTY's picture

August 18, 2022 at 01:16 pm

Ruettgers quit run blocking about two years before he actually retired. It was time.

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dobber's picture

August 18, 2022 at 02:02 pm

My recollection was that he had a couple years where he skipped most of camp and threatened retirement, too.

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LeotisHarris's picture

August 18, 2022 at 03:24 pm

That truly is a contradiction, Harry. Do you live near any tribal lands? Just curious if you've shared your angst with any members of the 11 federally recognized tribes in Wisconsin. If not, I'd encourage you to do so. It'll make for a lively conversation.

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HarryHodag's picture

August 18, 2022 at 03:29 pm

Simply pointing out development changes the landscape, nothing more.

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LeotisHarris's picture

August 18, 2022 at 04:51 pm

Understood, but we all must step aside because Dick and Liz Uihlein like their Northwoods neat and tidy.

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Gman1976's picture

August 18, 2022 at 11:25 am

Love the article, but 2021 had the same Achilles Heal as year before: the offensive line injuries really hurt us in our final game

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LeotisHarris's picture

August 18, 2022 at 03:30 pm

Achilles' Heal would be a great name for an sports medicine clinic.

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Swisch's picture

August 18, 2022 at 11:55 am

Yep, the climate is changing all the time; if not, Wisconsin would still be covered by glaciers.
***
I agree that Davante has been the best wide receiver in the NFL, but last season it seemed that the focus was so much on him that it cost us a stunning loss in the playoffs to the 49ers.
Sometimes the best and brightest can cause the most trouble if they get carried away with themselves and lose perspective on the big picture.
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To me, that's the key question this season as to whether the Packers finally get another win in the Super Bowl; and to think otherwise is to miss the most critical point between success and failure in any endeavor of life.
Our supremely talented quarterback can provide a bountiful array of spectacular plays, but it will all come to naught if he falters in crunch time due to arrogant uncoachability.
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Just last night I was reading about the best quarterbacks of the 1960s. Apparently, Bart Starr has the highest quarterback rating in the history of the NFL playoffs at about 102. One list rightfully had him at the top of the list for the decade, with a comment to the effect that he simply did what it took to win.
If Packers fans don't appreciate that aspect of Starr as the key to his amazing greatness, they will continue to be fooled by Rodgers with more heartbreaking, gut-wrenching endings to the season.
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We must encourage Rodgers to embrace a measure of humility, not enable his egoism -- for his good and ours.
As Packers fans, we have been privileged to have with us until recently the winningest quarterback in NFL history in Starr, a true leader for the most legendary team in NFL history.
To not learn from his ways seems an absurdity, as agonizingly exasperating as losing a playoff game by throwing incomplete into double coverage when another receiver is running across the middle of the field wide open for what would probably have been the winning score.
***
P.S. For those who might say I've pointed out this epic fail too often, I would ask if they've heard Rodgers address it even once. If he doesn't come to terms with it, how can he overcome it?

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Johnblood27's picture

August 18, 2022 at 12:30 pm

nuthin but net... again!

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LLCHESTY's picture

August 18, 2022 at 01:24 pm

🎵glory days yeah, they'll pass you by🎵

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Swisch's picture

August 18, 2022 at 06:05 pm

Whether it's a nation or an individual life or a football team, the glory days will pass us by if we fail to stay true to the principles that got us to the top in the first place.
Lombardi literally used the word love to describe the camaraderie and sacrifice that built the greatest personification of teamwork in NFL history -- the stuff of legends that are actually for real.
When it comes to championships, it's not like fantasy football in amassing the most talent and the gaudiest stats on paper; it's about guys working together for a human synergy that is greater than the sum of the parts.
The shared glory of the Lombardi Packers seems to be of such a magnitude as to bless all of its players for the length of their lives.
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The incredible 68-yard-drive in the final minutes of the Ice Bowl, in the most adversely bitter conditions -- with Bart Starr navigating the frozen tundra to score the winning touchdown on a quarterback sneak in the waning seconds -- is the culmination of the Lombardi Packers achieving excellence and success beyond all reasonable expectations and into historic greatness.
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Aaron Rodgers' recent failures in the playoffs in consecutive years -- against the 49ers as noted above, and against the Bucs with first-and-goal from the 8 -- are so painful because it seems the Packers performed below expectations.
(Even when Tom Brady and the Bucs lost in the playoff game to the Rams last year, it seems their heroics down the stretch gave a satisfying dimension to a comeback effort that fell just a little short. Losing is okay if you max out.)
For all of Rodgers' endeavors of self-improvement, he seems to be overlooking the prime example of winning right before him as preserved in Packers history and embodied in the man he had the pleasure to know.
I'm rooting for Rodgers to get it in time for a Super Bowl victory or two with the Packers to bolster his legacy before he rides into the sunset.

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LLCHESTY's picture

August 18, 2022 at 01:29 pm

"Starr is the highest-rated quarterback in NFL postseason history with a 104.8 mark.

Rodgers is second in that category with a 103.1 rating."

"One would think that Rodgers would have a similar record to the one that Starr had based on his almost parallel stat line.

The big difference between the records of Starr and Rodgers are the defenses which played behind each quarterback.

The defenses behind Starr allowed 121 points in 10 games, or an average of 12.1 points a game.

On the other hand, the defenses behind Rodgers allowed 242 points in nine games, or 26.8 points a game."

https://syndication.bleacherreport.com/amp/1929039-comparing-aaron-rodge...

3 points
3
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Coldworld's picture

August 18, 2022 at 07:26 pm

The rules have changed a tad. It would be interesting to see that D deal with modern rules. Likewise Star and co against some modern ones.

-1 points
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1
LLCHESTY's picture

August 18, 2022 at 07:41 pm

I'm sure Starr's passer rating in the playoffs was much higher than his regular season one but they also played a lot less playoff games in those days and the Packers were clearly the best team in 3 of the 5 championship seasons. I guess you could say that about 2011 but there were obvious holes to exploit in that team.

Also have to compare how many teams there are now compared to back then. Talent dilution.

1 points
1
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LLCHESTY's picture

August 18, 2022 at 01:36 pm

"One of the first times we met, he said that playing quarterback in Green Bay is about more than winning championships,” Rodgers said. "He was trying to say that there’s a way to carry yourself, there’s a way to get involved in the community, there’s an expectation of class, and there’s nobody better who exemplified that than Bart, a true gentleman.

"But over the years, him and Cherry would write me letters. Nobody really writes hand-written letters anymore, but I got a bunch of them, and so did Brett. As we were sharing stories at the service, he actually shared a letter that Bart had written to him about the way he was wearing his hat one time, which was pretty funny."

“But Bart was just a great man, a great husband, a great father, endured some tragedy in his own life, some ups and downs and always kept a great attitude. And like I said, he handled himself with a lot of integrity and class. We had a great relationship and, obviously, he had the strokes, and the thing that I go back to is how important it was for him to get back in ’15 when they were retiring Favre’s number. Just how much that meant to him, and if you guys had known how much he was struggling to even move or speak or get around, it just makes that feat even that more amazing.”

4 points
4
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Tedlyflyfisher's picture

August 18, 2022 at 12:49 pm

1. I don’t agree that the 2021 roster was better than this year. I realize that we haven’t played a single real game yet, but the additions to the roster have given us a real boost. Of course, as always, injuries can make or break a team’s trajectory.
2. It was time to move on from Kevin King. Someone else needs to step up to be the dime corner, or even further up the roster if any of our top 3 CB’s are injured. If those guys can’t do it, I trust Gutey to find someone who’s not currently on the roster. (Speaking of Gutey, it’s amazing to me how active he’s been this year in bringing in guys for tryouts, and in some cases signing them to the roster).
3. You may be underestimating the Lions. They had an excellent draft, imho. Yeah, they have a long way to go, but I think they’re going in the right direction.
4. The “wefense “ will be crucial to propelling this team to the top. We’re all excited by Bisaccia (sp?), but last year’s group was historically bad, and just having a new coach may not make these guys world beaters. Granted he helped bring in Rico Gafford and Dallin Leavitt as ST studs, but it looks like Leavitt’s injury is serious, so that’s concerning. How many of the ST players will be the same people who sucked last year? Yes we do have a new LS (hard to believe how exciting an LS is!), and HOPEFULLY by the end of the season all of us fans will be “cuckoo for Coco”!). But have we solved the ST problem of blocking during FG attempts? Crucial!
5. You’re right that replacing Davante is going to be very difficult. But you’ll have to call me a homer because I’m incredibly excited by what I’ve seen of Doubs, Watson and Toure. Yeah, yeah, I know … they haven’t played a single snap in the real season yet, and it can take years for WR’s to develop. But I see Toure as a deep threat and Doubs just seems to be a natural. Hopefully Lazard and Cobb can be the steady Eddie’s of the group while the youngsters work on getting their shots at glory.

Go PACK, GO! (And Badgers! and Boise State Broncos!)

3 points
3
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dobber's picture

August 18, 2022 at 02:07 pm

"3. You may be underestimating the Lions."

They're doing the right thing, which is building from the lines out. Yes, they fleeced the Vikes and got another high pick, but we'll see what Williams does when he actually plays...otherwise, theirs is a team lacking on offensive playmakers and back seven defenders.

0 points
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Leatherhead's picture

August 18, 2022 at 04:54 pm

Dobber, as old as I am, I’ve never known them to be worth squat. They were 2-15 last year, including a meaningless win over GB. My Dad used to tell me about a time before color when the Lions were good, probably the 50s. They had a brief period of decent teams.

Underestimate them? I think if I had bet against the Lions steadily for the last 30 years I could have made a lot of money.

2 points
2
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LLCHESTY's picture

August 18, 2022 at 07:45 pm

If the find a QB they could be a tough out for awhile. Agree they are building the right way.

0 points
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GregC's picture

August 18, 2022 at 12:54 pm

I agree with most of the article. Like the author, I was surprised that the Packers did not make a serious effort to replace Mason Crosby in the off-season. I enjoyed the author's take on the NFC North opponents, though I think the Vikings could be serious competition. They had back luck last year with multiple injuries to their defense. They could make a big jump if they stay healthy.

I think that Jordan Love's performance in the preseason DOES matter because he easily could be called upon to win some games in the regular season if Aaron Rodgers goes down. They lost a winnable game in Kansas City last year because Love wasn't ready to play. This year he should be able to win a game like that, and he may need to win a few of them.

Overall, I think the Packers should be about as good as last year. The defense should be improved, but I think the offense will sputter a times due to O-line problems and Aaron Rodgers not being in sync with receivers. The team will be relying on some rookies (Romeo Doubs and Quay Walker and maybe Christian Watson and Zach Tom, or even Sean Ryan), and rookies often fade down the stretch because they've never played so many games in a season before.

2 points
2
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dobber's picture

August 18, 2022 at 02:12 pm

"I was surprised that the Packers did not make a serious effort to replace Mason Crosby in the off-season. "

I think the only way that would've happened is if he chose to retire.

"I think the offense will sputter a times due to O-line problems and Aaron Rodgers not being in sync with receivers. "

I think we won't know for sure how the OL will line up or function until after the third PS game. After that, we'll see who the real 1's are, and whether Jenkins (or even Bakh) will be ready for week 1. I don't expect either Jenkins or Bakhtiari to play in the PS at all, but one or both could be in the lineup against the Vikes. Adding just one of those guys takes a very average OL to a good one.

1 points
1
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Fubared's picture

August 18, 2022 at 07:29 pm

I see this season being a dog fight. If our young receivers can catch, run routes and have speed we will score points. If not, who knows.
Sorry for Bakh but didn't think giving him big money made sense without seeing if he can play. wasn't like he was going anywhere.
Our comp got better too. Rodgers will see better pass rushers this year in the nfc North. won't have Adams to bail on and he has got to be concerned already. can't run the ball all the time or throw screens either.
IMO I don't see Love being NFl material. Who knows, but it's just something I' m looking for that's not there.
Let's play football.

0 points
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dobber's picture

August 18, 2022 at 08:30 pm

"Sorry for Bakh but didn't think giving him big money made sense without seeing if he can play. wasn't like he was going anywhere."

Wait...what?

1 points
1
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