Packers Vs. Panthers - 3 Plays That Make You Go Hmmm

Jersey Al picks out three thought-provoking plays from Sunday's game against the Panthers.

After re-watching the Packers game, here are three plays that made me go hmmm, for various reasons.

Long Night for Lucas Patrick

Here's the very first play of the game for the Packers and boy did it foretell what Lucas Patrick's night was going to be like. While on this play he's just out-quicked by Bravion Roy, a rookie 6th round draft pick, he was continually overpowered by all three of the Panthers' rookie defensive linemen as the game progressed. I selected this play because there was some interesting gamesmanship going on pre-snap and it will give you a little insight to what's going on pre-snap. To better show that, after the full speed video, I gave you a slow motion look at what was going on early. As you probably know, the Panthers employ an unusual 3-3-5 formation that is unique among NFL teams and can cause some confusion. I think the Panthers faked out the Packers on this play to think there would be a fourth rusher coming from the defense's left side (you'll see him appear for a brief moment in the video). So the Packers start making protection calls. Jenkins is the first to signal back with his left hand, possible letting Patrick know he's responsible for that A gap. Wagner then points to the outside, as if signaling he's responsible for the linebacker if he rushes. And finally Patrick signals to the right, perhaps signaling that they should slide protection to the right, which is what the Packers do (leaving Bakhtiari on his own), anticipating an overload to their right. As it turns out, the only overload is in Packers offensive linemen, as they end up with four out of five linemen looking to their right. Roy caught Patrick leaning right and easily blows by him to Patrick's left. This is all guess work on my part, and we don't know if Rodgers was barking out protection calls as well, but there's just a lot of stuff going on before the ball is even snapped and I just wanted to show that.

 

Barnes Blows it Up

I've probably watched this play several hundred times now and am still not tired of it. How does a player like this go undrafted? Looking at his UCLA Pro Day results, his 3-cone and 20 yd shuttle scores would have placed him in the top 10 for all linebackers, which includes the OLB pass rushing freaks. Plus, he ran a very respectable 4.68 40 yd dash and showed off smooth athleticism and change of direction skills overall. (You can view his full Pro Day workout, including field drills HERE.) But perhaps more striking than his physical attributes is his football IQ. The Packers gave him the communications enabled helmet this week, putting him in charge of calling the defenses on the field. On this play, look at quickly he recognizes what's happening, and without a moment of hesitation (are you listening Kirksey?), sprints to get past the blocker and is on top of the running back before he knows what hit him. And to top things off, he executes a fundamentally picture-perfect tackle. In addition to Barnes, let me also mention that you should watch Kenny Clark on this play as well. Week after week, as I run back these plays, I see Clark sniffing out screens like few other defensive tackles I've watched. A defensive lineman isn't often going to make the actual tackle on a screen play, but he can sure disrupt things for the offense and Clark is a master at that.

 

Salty Rodgers

The situation here: 4th quarter, 6:44 left in the game, Packers ahead 21-13. After a Panthers field goal, the Packers start out on their own 25 with 8:39 left.  Three plays later, the Packers have a 1st and ten on their own 46 yard line. Rodgers hands off to Aaron Jones, who gains a few yards. I'd call it an expected way to continue what they likely hope to be a clock eating, game killing drive. Yet, after the play, Rodgers reacts like a petulant child who was just told he had to eat his veggies before he could have an ice cream cone. I have no idea what his issue is here, but a definite saltiness was seen throughout the game by Rodgers. He seemed to have a "bug up his ass" about something all day, starting with the first play of the game that I highlighted above. While that clip doesn't show it, Rodgers was shaking his head in disgust after that play and even throughout the first half, only his "gold" TD seemed to quell the saltiness. I'm not trying to make a big deal out of this, I'm just left wondering if some outside occurrence contributed to his ill mood Saturday night.

__________________________

"Jersey Al" Bracco is the Editor-In-Chief, part owner and wearer of many hats for CheeseheadTV.com and PackersTalk.com. He is also a recovering Mason Crosby truther.  Follow Al on twitter at @JerseyalGBP

4 points

Comments (76)

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

December 22, 2020 at 11:03 am

Everybody is saltier when they’re cold. Especially old people.

I would like Barnes better if he didn’t wear #51, because it reminds me of Goddam Butkus. But yeah, I don’t see how this guy didn’t get drafted. Fast minds are faster than fast feet.

9 points
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Bure9620's picture

December 22, 2020 at 12:12 pm

He is a steal as a UDFA...maybe this further proves Packers personnel right that they think they are able to find a solid ILB without heavy investment in FA or a high draft pick.....similar to RBs. They could be set for a few years at that position if Kamal Martin continues his trajectory as well..

7 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

December 22, 2020 at 02:38 pm

If they were so asute, he would have been drafted by the brain trust. They were lucky he was still there. The rest of the League again showing holes in their evaluation processes.

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Turophile's picture

December 22, 2020 at 12:13 pm

Kirksey. Injury prone plus a $6m saving in 2021, if he is released.

Given the possible cap of only $175m, I don't see he has any chance of being on the team next year.

As for Barnes, it doesn't matter where you came from, it's about whether you can you do it at an NFL level.

7 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

December 22, 2020 at 02:40 pm

Not seeing his value to the team , this year. Wasted cash.

-2 points
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Guam's picture

December 22, 2020 at 12:38 pm

Loved the Butkus reference! I had forgotten Butkus also wore #51.

And yes, how the hell this guy wasn't drafted is beyond me. He is a football player.

2 points
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flackcatcher's picture

December 22, 2020 at 09:41 pm

Football front office guy I know says Barnes is tweener in today's NFL. Too small for the outside and too slow for the inside. Football IQ is not important in the draft process. My response was too foul to repeat here.

4 points
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Coldworld's picture

December 22, 2020 at 11:12 pm

I heard similar comments when we picked him up. Guess the scouts got it wrong.

2 points
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JerseyAl's picture

December 23, 2020 at 09:37 am

For his team's sake, hopefully he's not in the scouting department.

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LeotisHarris's picture

December 22, 2020 at 03:39 pm

Leatherhead, try thinking of Barnes as a 2020 version of Jim Gueno. Couldn't hurt.

2 points
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Leatherhead's picture

December 22, 2020 at 04:38 pm

Wow....that was obscure. I had to look him up. He started 7 games for our famous 1980 defense, the one that Vince Evans hung 61 points on.

Whenever I see #51, my mind goes to Butkus.

1 points
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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

December 23, 2020 at 04:20 am

Butkus was my childhood hero. I think 51 is entirely appropriate. The Packers' defense could use a mean SOB.

1 points
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WestCoastPackerBacker's picture

December 22, 2020 at 11:33 am

Wouldn't worry too much about Rodgers' mood. He wasn't THAT salty after the game; just stated the facts, that playing the way the offense did in the second half is not going to get them into the playoffs. And he still had his sense of humor intact. I think it would be strange if he weren't upset at the way they played. They want to be rounding into form this time of year, not laying eggs while trying to get the one seed.

10 points
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ricky's picture

December 22, 2020 at 11:48 am

I was hoping you'd address the WR screens to Adams that were going nowhere after the first or second time. Yet the Packers continued to go back to that play. All it did was get Adams knocked around unnecessarily. Also, if Rodgers feels the need to run the ball, sliding or finding the sidelines ASAP is the best option, IMO. Because if Rodgers is hurt, the Packers are toast.

4 points
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Leatherhead's picture

December 22, 2020 at 12:23 pm

The more you throw that screen to Adams, the easier it becomes for other receivers to get open behind people. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if La Fleur isn’t setting up a future opponent to fall for the fake to Adams while MSV is going deep.

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Tundraboy's picture

December 22, 2020 at 12:49 pm

Problem is you keep throwing it you won't get that opportunity, and in the meantime is it worth it if Adams gets hurt?

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PhantomII's picture

December 22, 2020 at 01:44 pm

It worked better as a multi WR set and the 2 fwd blocking for him.

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jannes bjornson's picture

December 22, 2020 at 02:42 pm

Iso screens work for guys with 4.25 speed and CBs playing loose.

1 points
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Leatherhead's picture

December 22, 2020 at 09:32 pm

Or a guy who can break a tackle. Do you remember how hard it was to tackle Sterling Sharpe? If you can’t beat that first tackler, you don’t get to use that speed.

I think Adams and Lazard are both difficult to tackle.

1 points
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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

December 23, 2020 at 04:26 am

Nah, he has to make the tackler miss. There is no evidence that Adams is special in that way, as his YAC for his career has been very average. Great route runner, but he isn't elusive.

I do think LaFleur will have a counter where Adams steps back and then runs a go or other route.

1 points
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Turophile's picture

December 22, 2020 at 04:04 pm

This puts us back to one area MLF could improve.

Having a strategy put together before the game is just fine, but as in war, plans often fail to survive first contact...........and THAT is the time you need to make tactical changes to deal with changed circumstances and things that aren't working.

0 points
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murf7777's picture

December 22, 2020 at 04:37 pm

Sometimes the other team just out plays you and after watching again that is what happened in the later half. Play calling was similar to what we’ve seen. Someone was saying in the 2nd half they rushed 3 and dropped 8, that just isn’t true except for one time I noticed in the 2nd half. Rodgers missed some opportunities, Adams had two drops, they were just plain flat and Carolina played great ball in that 2nd half. We won and we move on with hopefully learning experiences.

3 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

December 22, 2020 at 07:29 pm

Carolina has a strong front and should have more wins in their column. LaFleur needs to get a power game figured out by playoff time.

3 points
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BartySmith76's picture

December 22, 2020 at 11:51 am

Great article and videos Al. Barnes has been a difference make for sure - glad he is not injured and will be on the field against the Titans.

I still think the struggle continues between Aaron and MLF on the commitment to the running game. MLF mentioned in his presser that he should have stuck with the run more in the 2nd half. I'm wondeing if he was taking the bullet here and the issue is Aaron checking down at the line. I'm just guessing here. I also wonder if Aaron had a choice between getting a third MVP or another superbowl which one he would choose.

-6 points
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Razer's picture

December 22, 2020 at 12:50 pm

Unpopular to suggest such things in this forum but very fair. Pick up a first down and keep the chains moving or go for the money is an Aaron Rodgers decision and, as of late, he seems to be looking for Adams and a TD. It has been a cinderella season and we will go as far as Rodgers takes us but his attitude/ego will probably be his grounds for divorce long before any diminished play.

At least they can stop talking about that bullshit "more TDs than punts" stat. Hope the guys keep following the right goal.

0 points
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packerbackerjim's picture

December 22, 2020 at 12:50 pm

If you have to wonder MVP vs SB win Rodgers would choose, put down whatever your drug of choice is.

5 points
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PearlyBakerBest's picture

December 22, 2020 at 01:33 pm

You don’t get remembered and talked about winning MVPs. That happens with Super Bowls. Everyone harps on the defense but it won’t matter good the d is if the offense puts up 0 points in the first half of the NFCCG again. That’s what people will remember. I’ve said before, this team will only go as far as the offense takes it and it starts with Rodgers and he knows it. Will he rise to the challenge this year?

4 points
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Razer's picture

December 22, 2020 at 01:41 pm

...Will he rise to the challenge this year?...

As he is our engine - this is the question. We know that Rodgers can play at a very high level - this season is demonstrating this fact. What I am see less of from Rodgers is his ability to overcome the downturns. Last year's west coast games and this year's Tampa game left me wondering if Rodgers can pick the team up after bad starts or momentum shifts. As Mike Tyson said "everyone has a gameplan until they get punched".

1 points
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PearlyBakerBest's picture

December 22, 2020 at 03:44 pm

Agreed Razer which is why I don’t think MVP even enters the conversation.

2 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

December 22, 2020 at 02:49 pm

The O line is not in synch. The middle is now exposed again with Lindsley on IR. Patrick has to pick up his game and Jenkins is still trying to get his stride playing center. LaFleur has to open up the power game, but is lacking a fullback and Sternberger could be on the sidelines with the concurring Concussion issues.

0 points
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PeteK's picture

December 22, 2020 at 03:51 pm

I thought the run blocking somewhat weaker than expected in many games this season, especially vs Vikes and Jags. However, I see it improving as players get more experience and play together. We could be deep with Runyan and now Stepaniak practicing. RT is a concern for me as I feel Wagner is an injury waiting to happen and too expensive as a backup.

0 points
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Coldworld's picture

December 22, 2020 at 11:17 pm

Wagner has been incredibly good value. Not expensive and has performed very well at RT

3 points
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dobber's picture

December 22, 2020 at 04:07 pm

Just a week ago we were talking about how good this OL alignment has been.

3 points
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Leatherhead's picture

December 22, 2020 at 04:50 pm

Our Oline is good. Even minus two starters, it’s still better than most. They are better than they looked against Carolina.

Wagner played in 102 out of 112 games before this season. He has shown some pretty good durability, and he’d probably start for more than half the teams in the league. We’re fortunate to have him under contract.

1 points
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PeteK's picture

December 22, 2020 at 06:16 pm

Our line is good especially in pass blocking. Wagner has become more injury prone of late. Lions released him with two yrs and took a 6 mill cap hit. However, we probably will not have a better choice.

-1 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

December 22, 2020 at 07:32 pm

Wagner is not the weak link.

3 points
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Coldworld's picture

December 22, 2020 at 11:15 pm

Linsley has just been reactivated

3 points
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Jonathan Spader's picture

December 22, 2020 at 12:00 pm

What would be in a drink called the salty rodgers?

2 points
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gkarl's picture

December 22, 2020 at 12:42 pm

Piss & Vinegar???

1 points
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JerseyAl's picture

December 22, 2020 at 01:37 pm

Tequila, for sure!

1 points
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x24's picture

December 22, 2020 at 06:43 pm

Tequila and the tears of a bear

1 points
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PeteK's picture

December 22, 2020 at 03:55 pm

Rum of course as related to the Jolly Roger pirate flag( skull and cross bones).

2 points
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Leatherhead's picture

December 22, 2020 at 04:52 pm

I don’t know, but you need Rohypnol to make a Creepy Sharper.

0 points
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Point-Packer's picture

December 22, 2020 at 12:15 pm

You throw for 40 and 4 and almost 4k 14 games into the season, you can have whatever pissed off I gotta eat my veggie face on the field you want. From my vantage.

7 points
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PeteK's picture

December 22, 2020 at 04:12 pm

Absolutely, and lead a team to an 11-3 record in this crazy season of upsets. Maybe he had a bad case of piles.

0 points
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Mojo's picture

December 22, 2020 at 12:16 pm

I think the J. Love pick bothers Rodgers more than he lets on.

Players often say the individual awards and accolades don't mean much - it's the winning that matters. But,
I believe, Rodgers would like nothing better than to indirectly say to Packer management, "You drafted a replacement for the league MVP instead of bolstering the current roster - brilliant."

6 points
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Guam's picture

December 22, 2020 at 12:41 pm

Ten thumbs up for this comment. Rodgers is well known for having a chip on his shoulder for being drafted #24 when he should have been #1. Drafting Love is just another insult he can, and I believe does, use for fuel.

1 points
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jeremyjjbrown's picture

December 22, 2020 at 02:39 pm

"another insult he can, and I believe does, use for fuel"

Wasn't that the point?

0 points
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Guam's picture

December 22, 2020 at 03:49 pm

Just finishing the parallel between Rodger's draft status and Love's drafting. I had already confirmed the original point when I wanted to give Mojo ten thumbs up.

0 points
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Razer's picture

December 22, 2020 at 12:59 pm

I totally agree. It bothered me as well BUT it appears to be the catalyst that has Rodgers playing at his highest level in many years. You can't really kick a guy like Rodgers in the ass but you can challenge him in other ways. Seems like the 'chip on the shoulder' works for this guy

0 points
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MarkinMadison's picture

December 22, 2020 at 01:00 pm

It is really a bit of a no-lose situation for the Packers. Either Rodgers rises to the challenge or they replace him. We can never prove it one way or the other, but I think he needed this.

2 points
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Point-Packer's picture

December 22, 2020 at 01:34 pm

I don't disagree. But he can already go to them and say you traded up to draft my replacement, instead of giving me weapons, and I just went for 40 + TDs and over 4000 + yards with a ridiculously high QBR and led GB to a top 3 (maybe 1) offense. You kidding me?

I mean, that's what I'm thinking.

3 points
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PeteK's picture

December 22, 2020 at 06:20 pm

So at this point in the season he still thinks that they should have bolstered the roster. We're 11-3 and have the second best offense with a varied group of high level performers. Mojo and Guam need to stop watching soap operas. LOL

2 points
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Guam's picture

December 23, 2020 at 07:53 am

And a good rookie DL (think Blacklock or Davis) wouldn't have made this team a better SB candidate than the #1 draft choice who hasn't been active all year?

1 points
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RCPackerFan's picture

December 22, 2020 at 01:14 pm

Patrick had a really, really bad game.

Barnes had a really, really good game.

Rodgers I think wanted to throw the pass to Adams but maybe was told to run the damn ball. Just a guess. no clue if its true.

I'm looking at Barnes and hope he continues to be the top ILB. He should be. He is better then Kirksey. And if he makes a mistake he is fast enough to recover.

I will be interested to see how Patrick plays this week. If he struggles again do they consider going to Runyan?

4 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

December 22, 2020 at 03:26 pm

Were any other WRs open? Seemed Tonyan missed a couple of reads. Where's the # two Wr in this equation?

0 points
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flackcatcher's picture

December 22, 2020 at 10:04 pm

First time I've seen Tonyan miss so many chip blocks. Had a game to forget. Both Adams and MVS were doubled on the outside for the entire game. Adams had either a OLB or a Slot DB online threatening the blitz. In short, the Panthers were running triple coverage on Adams. MVS always had under and over coverage plus the Panther slid a SS over to side. Al's right, the Packers have never seen this kind of 6 DB coverage. It really threw Rodgers off his game. Too many RPO that didn't work. It happens.

2 points
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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

December 23, 2020 at 04:32 am

I've read that there were 28 or 29 RPOs in this game. Yeah, that's a lot.

0 points
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Coldworld's picture

December 22, 2020 at 11:21 pm

Yes, Tonyan and Lazard were open over the middle at times, which has been Carolina’s weakness.

1 points
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dobber's picture

December 22, 2020 at 04:10 pm

I think ARod and the pass-catchers are going to get every opportunity to run up numbers this week against Tennessee.

4 points
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PhantomII's picture

December 22, 2020 at 02:07 pm

With them running a 3-3-5 and Williams out they should have had Dillon as a FB for jones until they changed up the scheme and then rotated Dillon to RB and Jones to the slot.

5 points
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Ferrari-Driver's picture

December 22, 2020 at 03:15 pm

There are just a couple of issues with Patrick which occasionally will lead to plays like the one you highlighted. First he is not a super athlete and didn't dominate when he played at Duke and was undrafted in the NLF. He is an average sized guard, and wasn't blessed with quick feet nor overwhelming strength. Granted, the play that Al highlighted made Patrick look bad, very bad. Line play is my favorite part of the review I watch on taped games and IMO Patrick will only be a serviceable player who is much better qualified to be a top backup guard than a starter. I wouldn't be too hard on the guy; not everyone is born with superstar talent.

5 points
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PeteK's picture

December 22, 2020 at 04:48 pm

You might be right. It's good to know that we have choices (Runyon).

0 points
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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

December 23, 2020 at 04:35 am

Better is Linsley returning to OC and Jenkins replacing Patrick, who moves to RG. Wonder if GB slides Turner back to RT and benches Wagner? I really hope not. I'd just remove Patrick. Wagner looks better at RT to me than Turner by a substantial margin.

1 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

December 23, 2020 at 04:08 pm

It would keep the best five on the field. LaFleur has to follow his mantra.

0 points
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Qoojo's picture

December 22, 2020 at 03:36 pm

As far as Rodgers goes, isn't the speaker on in helmet, and he could be reacting to the next playcall or perhaps the delay in the next call.

5 points
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Bearmeat's picture

December 22, 2020 at 05:21 pm

Regarding Rodgers pouty face:

1. He's always been like that when we're losing or not playing well.

2. That said, MLF indirectly called him out for shit-canning too many run/pass options to passing plays. It's quite possible that MLF called a series of no-option runs in the last few drives, and that pissed Rodgers off.

3. Yes, Rodgers is a world-class diva. So was Michael Jordan, so is LeBron. So are many people who are excellent in their fields.

4. Because of this, I STILL think it's possible if Las Vegas or New England or someone else in the AFC makes an offer of 3 1st round picks, salary cap hit be damned, Rodgers might be gone in March. I do absolutely think that BMG, who in general is a old crank, got a few things right about the FO using the Love pick as leverage over Rodgers.

5. That doesn't mean I don't still really appreciate Rodgers as a QB, nor that I'm not all in on this team making it to (and winning) the big game.

2 points
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PeteK's picture

December 22, 2020 at 06:23 pm

Leatherhead , please serve Bearmeat a Creepy Sharper. lol

0 points
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Bearmeat's picture

December 22, 2020 at 06:33 pm

LH knows better than to try and "educate" (really just insult) me. He'll just get ignored. Or laughed at. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

0 points
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Leatherhead's picture

December 22, 2020 at 09:26 pm

Now see, there you go throwing personal disparagement around at me for no reason. And this is after I quit giving you shit for the stupid and insulting things you said about our WRs (and by extension, our personnel people and management).

You credit me with “knowing better” , which is true. It’s embarrassing that you don’t realize that coin has two faces.

2 points
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Bearmeat's picture

December 23, 2020 at 06:01 am

As I was saying. lol

1 points
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bccoop's picture

December 22, 2020 at 08:59 pm

If they move on from Roger's for unproven love who can't even suit up and was terrible his senior year at a small college they should all be fired including Murphy it was the worst pick in the draft eagles got much better qb in 2nd round we used a1 and 3 for a reach we didn't need Roger's has 3 to 5 good years left the odds of love being a thing better than average are great .we did nothing to help this year or next when we had a real shot . Face with out Roger's we would such. Took a qb 2 years to soon should have waited

-1 points
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Packerpasty's picture

December 22, 2020 at 05:49 pm

your not going to make a big deal of it (Rodgers) yet thats exactly what you did!!! One of three things!!...obviously it bothers you, after all these years you should be accustomed to how Rodgers acts..his different moods...

1 points
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Since'61's picture

December 22, 2020 at 07:21 pm

I’m thinking that Rodgers wasn’t happy with the team’s execution and/or MLFs play calls. If we as fans get upset over perfectly thrown passes which are dropped think of how much that would upset a perfectionist like Rodgers.

Winning is the best medicine and since we won the game Rodgers expressions really don’t matter. Whatever he was upset over he’s past it by now.

Patrick was outplayed most of the game, fortunately it didn’t cost us the game or an injury to Rodgers.

As I posted on another thread Barnes made what proved to be the play of the game.

I think the offense gets healthy against the Titans. The question is can the defense contain Derrick Henry?
Thanks, Since ‘61

4 points
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Leatherhead's picture

December 22, 2020 at 09:14 pm

Four best offensive teams: Packers, Titans, Seahawks, Chiefs. I’d bet a cold six pack of Pabst that one of those four teams wins the Super Bowl.

2 points
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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

December 23, 2020 at 04:58 am

The blocking on that third video was not so great. Jenkins fires out and gets part of his man, but Jenkins' man is in on the tackle. Turner pulls into the middle and shoves the pile back a bit. Lucas helps Turner briefly and then releases to the 2nd level where there is no one to block because they are all busy tackling Jones. Wagner's man rushes upfield and Wagner simply seals him off nicely. Bakh can't get the reach block and pushes his man off balance towards the hole. Three yards and a cloud of dust.

1 points
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