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Packers Pawsitivity: The Early Storm Can Be Weathered

Sitting at 2-2-1 after the debacle of a game that occurred in Detroit just over 48 hours ago, the sky is absolutely falling for a significant portion of the Packers fanbase.  This young season has come with a sea of emotions for both the players and fans and, based on the high expectations that fell on this team at the start of the year, what the team has shown so far has left a lot to be desired.  But rather than going all doom and gloom, a lot of the reasons for this team’s lack of success so far in the season leaves hope that the ship can be righted.

The reality of the 2-2-1 record is that the Packers are 0-2 on the road in a couple of pathetic performances in Washington and Detroit.  Mistake-prone football has been this team’s identity so far in the young season and the perfect storm came together this past weekend in Detroit.  Leading up to the game, it looked like the perfect opportunity for the Packers to march into Detroit and take down a reeling Lions team.  What ensued from the opening kickoff was just the opposite.

To start, the Packers hero and savior sure appears to be struggling due to lack of practice time during the game weeks.  While we are all grateful that Aaron Rodgers’ knee injury didn’t keep him out for a significant amount of time, the lack of practice time is surely hurting his chemistry with the young wide receivers and new tight ends that have joined the squad in 2018.  This became very evident in Detroit when veterans Randall Cobb and Geronimo Allison were inactive and the rookies had to step up in their place.  Open receivers being missed and careless ball security by Rodgers are highly uncharacteristic and I fully expect these mistakes to be corrected.

Further compounding the loss to the Lions was the all-around bad day at the office for Mason Crosby.  While leaving 13 points off the board in missed kicks truly hurt, Crosby has been the epitome of professionalism as a Green Bay Packer during his time with the franchise and I’m willing to excuse one poor performance.  Based on his past, I’m willing to be that he bounces back in a huge way and the misses don’t become a trend.

The final piece to the perfect storm arising in Detroit was another poor start out of the gates, though this time due to the unfortunate officiating decision coming at the start of the game rather than near the end.  I never have been and never will be the “refs screwed us” guy, but momentum has a funny way of rearing its head against the Packers.  When Detroit was gifted the free seven points early in the game, the entire team seemed to deflate in front of our eyes and came fully unraveled prior to halftime.  Like games prior, they have the ability to pick up the pieces at the half and mount a comeback but unfortunately, it was just a little too late in Detroit for that to happen.

Yes, there is a ton of blame to go around right now for the finger pointers that are looking for a scapegoat.  Have there been coaching mistakes?  Plenty!  Has there been a major lack of execution from the players on the football field?  Certainly!  Are the 2018 Packers shooting themselves in the foot at a higher rate than we can possibly remember from this franchise?  Absolutely!

With mistakes aplenty around the franchise, why even have a glimmer of hope for the 2018 season?  To start with, let’s talk about Aaron Rodgers.  Sure it hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows to start the year with his own performance, but time and time again we’ve seen his ability to carry this team into the playoffs with weak defenses.  As Mike Pettine’s unit continues to gel moving forward, I expect their performances to get better as October turns to November and December.  With an elevated defensive performance, I see no reason to doubt that this team as a whole will make the necessary improvements to win games moving forward.

The other reason for optimism at this point in the season becomes obvious with a quick glance around the NFC as a whole.  As we sit today, just five weeks into the season, only the Los Angeles Rams (5-0), Chicago Bears (3-1), New Orleans Saints (4-1) and Carolina Panthers (3-1) sit with records above the .500 mark.  That is four out of 16 teams in the conference.  With the Rams appearing to be the cream of the crop in the conference with the Saints right on their heels, a lot of football remains to be played and every goal that the Packers had upon entering the season sits wide open in front of them for the taking. 

Sitting at a crossroads right now as the team looks to head into a Monday night matchup against the struggling San Francisco 49ers, the Packers have a chance to steer their ship in the right direction at Lambeau Field prior to heading into their bye week.  A convincing win against the 49ers could do wonders for the mind, body and soul of this team as it looks to prepare for the November gauntlet that awaits them on the backside of the bye week.  A lot of work falls on the coaching staff and players in the coming weeks to become contenders once again in the NFC and if the naysayers are speaking the truth about Mike McCarthy being on the hot seat for his job in Green Bay, I don’t expect the coach to go down without a fight.

Calling for heads on silver platters at this point of the season is a useless exercise when the brunt of the blame for the shortcomings of the team is not able to fall on one or two people.  Knowing that this team should be winning football games rather than shooting themselves in the foot time and time again gives me a reason for optimism moving forward.  I’m not ready or willing to cash in my chips on the 2018 season, are you?

________________________

Ryan Brunner is an avid Packers fan hailing from Chippewa Falls, WI.  He is a firm believer that punters are NFL players too!  Follow him on Twitter @brunwardo

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (48) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Lare's picture

IMO, nothing is going to change in Green Bay until McCarthy and Rodgers are willing to look in the mirror and admit they're the two biggest problems on this team right now.

They both need to swallow their pride and go with more running plays and quick passing plays to the open receivers.

Unfortunately, I think there's only a 5-10% chance of this happening. That will probably lead to one or both of them losing their jobs in Green Bay at the end of the season. If so, they've only got themselves to blame.

GVPacker's picture

I don't think A Rod is going anywhere anytime soon, Mike McCarthy is probably gone at the conclusion of this season if the Packers don't make a deep playoff run!

Tarynfor12's picture

I guess the Kool-aid this week was double strength.

4thand10's picture

Minnesota is 2-2-1. Their expectations were clearly higher than ours. In addition to that it was Buffalo they lost to at home. Drew Brees....just passed Favres and Manning’s passing yard records...He’s only been to 1 Super Bowl. Anybody talk about him not getting it done? Packers are not playing well right now, all the negative is coming out, myself included...But the reality is, they could surprise people. Did ANYONE think that they would tie the Vikings ALL world defense and beat Chicago...Nope, because on paper those are better teams. They can turn it around, will they? Who knows.

Spud Rapids's picture

Ok Taryn everyone is blind because we don't share you consistent negative outlook. I don't believe everything is rosy but the best quote I've seen on this site is what he has said above:

"Calling for heads on silver platters at this point of the season is a useless exercise when the brunt of the blame for the shortcomings of the team is not able to fall on one or two people."

Let the season play itself out... It doesn't matter what the record is right now until they are unable to reach their ultimate goal which is the super bowl. Do they look like a super bowl team right now? no... do they even look like a playoff team? not right now.. but teams morph and change over a season. I'm not predicting they'll turn it around but I'm not going to delcare them dead either. That doesn't make me a kool-aid drinker nor does predicting they won't make the playoffs makes you a realist. Just sit back and enjoy.

Rebecca's picture

Nice pep talk coach but pre-season is over. How does lack of success leave us with hope that this ship can be righted? Oh yeah, right, the old "it can't get any worse, so it's got to get better!" Blame the officials again, Rodgers is in a slump, the young players will improve. Not a very convincing piece of fluff.

4thand10's picture

The Vikings are 2-2-1....is the sky falling there as well?

Rebecca's picture

Yes

splitpea1's picture

Great response to this ridiculous article. I don't see how a home win against another weak opponent can be construed as anything other than taking care of business. It's not going to do "wonders" for my soul. So far, this team has looked good for one quarter against Chicago, one half against Minnesota, and one game against Buffalo. When the team doesn't execute, makes poor coaching decisions, and constantly shoots itself in the foot, then it's perfectly natural for fans to look for heads on a silver platter.

adamcarlson28's picture

Extremely well written article, a pleasant change of viewpoint from the 10 previous articles I've read. A lot can happen with this much season left, count me as one of those who wouldn't be shocked to see the Packers in the NFC north driver seat, and not the bears come playoff time. The Packers are ALWAYS resilient!

Ferrari Driver's picture

"... due to the unfortunate officiating decision coming at the start of the game."

Perhaps so, but Williams waved off on the punt and King should have been nowhere near the ball to either allow the ball to bounce off him or have the official think it had done so.

When the kick waves off the team it is to keep them away from the area. Mistake by King.

Royalty Free GM's picture

It starts with ST coaches. Packers ST has been below average for years.

fastmoving's picture

yeah….yesterday its started with MM...…..the day before with someone else…….tomorrow its the green keeper

croatpackfan's picture

I did not read that after start of the game against Vikings...

PAPackerbacker's picture

There is hope for a 2 - 2 -1 team, but the work that MM says needs done can not be ignored or put off any longer and the work must be done!! The turn around to the season must start from the coaching staff and get the team prepared to play 60 minutes of football. Once you get behind in a game you become one dimensional and make it a lot easier for the opposing defense. Get more first downs running the ball and play - action will become more effective. Don't abandon the run because on one running play you get no gain or lose yards. You don't give up on the pass when you have incompletions or minimal gains. Stick with the run. It will produce positive results and wear down the defense and keep the defense off balance. And cut down on those penalties. A sure momentum killer. MM says work needs to be done, then get r done. It all starts with the coaching staff. The rest of the success will follow. But it must begin now, not 2 games from now, not 3 games from now. Leadership must begin now.

Doug Niemczynski's picture

I've always been told that "You are only as good as your last game." Having said that the Packers are not very good. The good news is to forget the last game and move on to the next and win.

Mike Sherman said we're only as good as our 53rd man. This could have been M. Crosby, Aaron Rogers etc,. where normally we think of our 53rd man as some bench player it very well could be one of our very best players. Everyone on this team is accountable and has to be a humble leader. Everyone's job affects every player on this team. As Vince Lombardi would say " Winning is not a sometime thing, but it is an all the time thing, unfortunately so is losing." Everything is important. Preperation, knowing yourself, knowing the other team. There is a lot that goes into each and every game plan and training. The Packer org from the commitee to the ceo to the president, GM, Head coach down to the water boy have to be organized. The time is now. We are heading into game 6. This team has to go all out ! We cannot hold anything back. Open up the play books. Don't care if you have to use the statue of liberty play. Lets start thinking, acting and playing like champions!

Hawg Hanner's picture

We can only hope you are correct but with a mediocre roster weakened by poor drafts year after year, an O Line that has little depth and no longer dominates and a problematic linebacking corps, how can you expect even a 9 win season? 8-7-1 is as good as it gets for this bunch in Mike McCarthy's farewell tour as head coach

Doug Niemczynski's picture

The goal as it has always been is to win the division no matter what your record is and your in the playoffs.

At this point and going forward up until the last game the focus has to be win all our home games that are left. We have to not only win, but beat the team's bad enough that the rest of the teams that have to come to Lambeau will think loss before they take one step on the field.

We will destroy Minnesota in Minnesota and we will Destroy Chicago in Chicago.

This team will be ready after the bye week to wreak havoc and unleash everything we have at NE, LA Rams and
Seahawks. All players must understand that teams and referees have no respect for our small little town team and will not be given any good calls by the referees. We have to beat the other team bad enough that bad calls by refs wont matter. We have to play smash mouth football right off the bat against the#1
ranked L.A. Rams. We need to make a statement as Mike Holgren would say "We are not done yet!"

Dash Riprock's picture

Packers Packers Gooooooooooooooo Packers!!

That was for Taryn. lol

Doug Niemczynski's picture

The rule of thumbs

1. Let the teams offense have what they want inside the 20s, but dont give them a TD.
This is what other teams are doing to the Packers offense right now and that is why we have 400+ yards of offense and we are not winning games with FG and or mussed FG.

2. Offense MUST score 21 + points and our defense must hold the opposing team to under 21 points.

3. He who controls the time of possession wins the game. We need to use the running game wisely and consistently to keep the chains moving. Stop the turnovers on offense and create turnovers on defense.

4. This offense MUST SCORE TDs NOT FGs

5. The game is a game of inches and field position must be to our advantage on every single play on offense, defense and special teams.

Doug Niemczynski's picture

You dont need a great team to do the above 5 rules of winning, but it takes ALL 3 offense, defense and special teams to play good each and every game. Everything one player does on our team good or bad affects a teammate and can
cause the team to lose or a win on just one bad play.

Tarynfor12's picture

I agree...Go Pack Go...the problem is they can't and don't seem to know how to get there....tick...tock...tick...tock...tick...tock....the SB train has left the station again and the Packers don't have a ticket to board.

Spud Rapids's picture

predetermined... why even play the rest of the season then right?

nostradanus's picture

Gosh I sure feel better :/

Doug Niemczynski's picture

"Any Given Sunday! All 32 Teams whether we think they are great or suck it always comes down to this.

" Who wants it more?"

Who wanted it more in the Super Bowl Patriots or Falcons? Eagles or Patriots?Who wanted it more Buster Douglas or Mike Tyson? Who wanted it more 2 years ago in 2016 The Cavaliers or Golden State. Super Bowl 3 Jetss over Indianapolis. The list goes on in every sport.

"This is why we play the game!"

Tundraboy's picture

Jets over Baltimore.

Doug Niemczynski's picture

oops..

kedrowiczr's picture

Very fortunate to be 2-2-1 at this point of the season. This is not a very good football team in all areas and it starts at the top with MM & staff. This team should be 1-4 if not for Chicago & Minn. giving us gifts. You can point to Ted Thompson for depleting this Franchises talent pool over the past four yrs. Ron Wolf's biggest regret was not surrounding Brett with more talent. You would have thought the organization would have learned from their past? 1 SB for Brett & 1 SB for Aaron. Very Sad...

Royalty Free GM's picture

25+ continuous years with two HOF QBs and only two SBs

Bearmeat's picture

The Vikings have had 3 HOF QBs for over 30 years total. How many super bowls do they have?

Royalty Free GM's picture

We

Samson's picture

Nice positive analysis Ryan.
Just one quick question.
What will be GB's record be after playing SF at home & the Rams & Pats on the road?

The one game against SF is similar to the one game against Buffalo. --- GB needs to beat good teams on the road to be legitimate.

Since '61's picture

Ryan - you are correct that it is too early to give up on the season. I think that much of the frustration that is being posted is due to the fact that the Packers seem to be in this slow start situation every season.

This season, with the return of AR after missing most of 2017, there were high expectations and looking forward to some solid offensive football at least. It hasn't happened and there is blame to go around for both players and coaches. Anxiety builds with each game.

Can the Packers turn this season around? Absolutely. But the frustration is caused by fans realizing that these annual slow starts affect our playoff chances in terms of seeding. So yes, we can still make the playoffs, even win the division. But at 2-2-1 after 5 games we're likely to get in as a 3 or 4 seed at best, meaning that even if we get through the wild card week we're on the road against #1 and 2 seeds and we all know what that has meant since the 2010 SB season. Worse yet we probably get in as a #5 or 6 seed.

Can we get hot come playoff time and go on a run? Of course. But this roster hasn't demonstrated anything close to the 2010 team, especially on defense and especially in terms of pass rush. The defense looks better than recent seasons but without a better pass rush against some of the league's best QBs coming up after the bye it looks like a long climb right now.

Hopefully we can start on Monday night with a victory over the 49ers. Right now I don't care if we win 2-0 on a safety. I'll take it, get into the bye hit the reset button and go from there. Thanks, Since '61

Spud Rapids's picture

Slow start every year? 4-1 last year out of the gates

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Jersey Al thought CHTV needed to write a positive article and Ryan got the short straw? Just kidding, unless Ryan has to write the 5 reasons we might win and the 5 reasons we might lose articles henceforth. Reasons we might win:

1. Healthy OL. Bell can maybe play OG.
2. Increased mobility should help in the RZ.
3. RBs are good if underused.
4. Defense does look better.
5. Teams that shoot themselves in the foot repeatedly at some point learn that it is hard to walk much less run without feet. Of course, it can take years. See Cleveland.

stockholder's picture

It will take longer than that. I say MM won't take the crap from the Press, A-Rod, and people that just don't have confidence in him anymore. 50/50 he resigns at the end of the year. And there will be a bunch of veterans that follow him. People.= Lombardi left. Holgram left. And just about anybody connected with winning left. Your comments of this being a bad team, will affect the positivity of the players for years. Like Starr, he needed better. So who stays and who goes will only be after the money. The young players don't sign on to lose. Players like Barry Sanders will refuse/object to be drafted by the packers. Like the Browns story. We just will loose the best this team could offer. MM.

Doug Niemczynski's picture

Good Teams make a run 1st game in November winning ALL their games so the Pack better get their act together.

byu.tech's picture

why all these journalists forget how the packers were without aaron rodgers?
how they can´t see clearly how bad is our HC???
the big big mistake of mark murphy was not to fire ted thompson and mccarthy after the seattle debacle. that is a mistake the packers are still paying for.

Donster's picture

Monday Night's game will tell a lot about this Packers team. If they continue the poor start, high penalty output, and barely win, or even worse lose, the hopes of getting into the playoffs is toast. Can they turn it around with a drubbing of SF if they put things all together. Sure. But many of us here said after the draft, this team is a year or two away from being a very good team.

arthurl's picture

Offense has been disappointing from the standpoint it hasn't been consistent and seems to gel only after falling behind. That's not a good trend, but I have a feeling they will get it together as the season continues. I liked what I saw from the rookie WRs and the more they play, better chemistry will be with AR.

Outside of our overpaid OLBs and their crappy performance, the defense looks better than prior years. I see them also improving as the season wears on.

Overall, it looks like Rams, Saints, and Panthers are the best teams in the NFC and one of them will be playing in the SB.

Packers might make the playoffs, but they can't hang with these three teams. I feel this is end of road for MM.

Gort's picture

Im neither optimist nor pessimist, I am a realist.
The Packers appear to have believed the preseason hype on TV. They thought they were entitled to wins without showing up. "We are the almighty Green Bay Packers and you inferior teams should just accept the upcoming loss then go away!"
Realistically, they are not as good as the hype. There are too many "holes" in the roster to compete at first round playoff level. The always start slow and are forced to abandon the apparent strength that is the coache's dog house. They can't get out of their own way. The only way they will get to 500 is another tie. I see 3 potential wins in the remaining schedule = 5-10-1. Who are they going to beat, other than the Niners, Cardinals, and Jets?

JohnnyLogan's picture

Still think everyone is ignoring Gute. Obvious to everyone and his wife that we had no edge rushers. Clay and Perry are worthless. There was hope for Gilbert but he's been invisible. And yet no effort made in draft or FA. QB's are standing in the pocket forever as they have for the last few years. Yes we needed CB's and he drafted 2 good ones, but there were still young rushers available at 3 and 4 but instead he drafted the invisible Burke, probably two rounds too early, and a receiver who never sees the field. Inexcusable. Now, my daily rant, he let's the best pass rusher available since White go to the Bears instead of trumping their offer, which wouldn't have been that hard. Everyone gushed over his first year's draft and FA acquisitions. Now after five games, still think he did a good enough job? I don't. He showed by letting Mack go he doesn't have the guts to make the obvious big play, right in front of him. Every single media outlet had the Packers getting Mack. And yet Gute let him get away. His cowardly fail worries me more than anything else that's happening to the Packers because it has long term implications.

PatrickGB's picture

An FYI for Tayrnfor, the drink consumed at Jonestown was “Flavorade” not “Kool-aid”. It was a cheap knock off of the real thing. Just like our coaching.
But, like others, I remain hopeful that Monday night we will see improvements. And I agree that a lot of good teams seem to be struggling too. There have been a lot of weirdness going on. If our team can clean up its mistakes and have the ball bounce our way then I see a better season despite the flaws that we all have noted.

Doug Niemczynski's picture

Just wondering? Have we done any no huddle plays this year? Or, draw plays?

ILPackerBacker's picture

A well written article by someone who watched the game........I just relogged in and I am on cheesehead so let me repeat that

A well written article by someone who ACTUALLY WATCHED the game.

Did not read about the game on twitter, did not listen to a podcast from an expert who admits to not watching but who would eventually look at the box score.

Good for you Ryan, hope you can continue.

Spud Rapids's picture

Serious question.... does blaming McCarthy, calling the team bad, saying they won't win a superbowl, all this negative talk.... does it make you feel better? Taryn? Stockholder? I'm serious... I like to have hope, what's wrong with that? I've seen season get turned around R-E-L-A-X, "run the table", hell in 2010 they had to win out in the regular season to even make the playoffs.

splitpea1's picture

Back then they had younger, better talent and a pass rush. This is not the same team. So far, they ARE bad. When the players don't perform, the coaches get blamed. That's the way it is and will always be.

Some of these overly optimistic posts kind of remind me of the violinists on the Titanic...

Since '61's picture

"We're the dance band on the Titanic singing near my God to thee". Harry Chapin, Singer and Song Writer. Thanks, Since '61

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