Hey folks, Ryan Wood here. What a wild week this will be. After dispatching the Dolphins in what amounted to their first must-win game of the season, the Packers got another huge game upcoming. In three days. The NFL did them no favors with this short-week trip across the country to Seattle, but that's how it goes. Let's get to your questions.
Always refreshing to hear another fan perspective. I'm not sure stale is the operative word here, either. I think the better term at 4-4-1 is mediocre. The Packers generally beat the teams they should, but they haven't yet been able to beat good opponents. Mediocre teams also struggle on the road and win at home; the Packers are undefeated at home and winless on the road this season. Look, this is always evolving. The Packers could change their perception this week with a tough win in Seattle. But through nine games, they've been the picture of mediocrity. That's not what a team should be when Aaron Rodgers is the quarterback.
Ah, yes, the other perspective. Here's the deal: I'm going to let this play out. The Packers control their own destiny right now, both in the division and wild-card races. They've been mediocre, but that doesn't mean they'll stay that way. Is it false hope? Only if the Packers lose. If they win, it's signs of a turnaround. I have no idea what will happen. That's why they play the games. My advice would be to wait and watch.
I still don't think it was a bad idea. I'll be honest, I'm not sure how Ha Ha has played in Washington, because I haven't watched them. Saw he had a fumble recovery yesterday, and those are nice, but also fortuitous. I think the Packers are better with Tramon Williams as their deep, free safety than Clinton-Dix, but that does thin out their secondary. Especially when injuries hit. Bottom line, they need to continue the luck they've had with their health.
The Packers have moved the ball all season. The difficulty has been converting those yards into points. I think a lot of it comes down to situational football, which was much better yesterday, especially in the red zone. Part of it, too, is finally committing to Aaron Jones. He's a dynamic runner, a dynamic playmaker, and the Packers are only going to be better the more he touches the football.
He's obviously not the fullback Aaron Ripkowski was, but then the Packers didn't expect him to be either. Their tradeoff was that the fullback position was so unimportant, it wasn't worth a spot on their 53 just to keep one. Can't say I disagree with that thinking.
People who hate the Packers. Just kidding. In all seriousness, the NFL did the Packers no favors with this schedule. It is an absolutely brutal November, but I will submit one fact for context: the Vikings had a rough short week too. In Week 4, they had to travel to Los Angeles. A similar situation the Packers find themselves in now, though you'd probably prefer to have that trip earlier in the season than later.
To be honest, I came to that realization weeks ago. They aren't a good team, and they aren't a bad team either. They've been very average. Again, that might change, and it might not. We'll see. As for yesterday, that was really two games in one. Everything that happened through the early third quarter (the 14-12 portion of the game) was disheartening if you're a Packers fan. If you want something positive, the 17 unanswered points the Packers scored thereafter was a promising response. Will that carry over into this week? No guarantees, obviously. It's better than the inverse, though, had the Packers gotten off to a hot start and then struggled to close.
Josh Jones had 61 snaps (90 percent) and Oren Burks didn't play at all. That's primarily because Jones was their sub LB, not Burks.
I might be in the minority here, but I don't think he was a bust. He just isn't he 28-year-old Jimmy Graham, either. Still, he'll probably finish with about 60 catches, 750-800 yards and five touchdowns. That's not only more than the Packers have gotten out of the tight end position since Jermichael Finley, it's also more than they would've gotten out of Jordy Nelson. That said, the Packers continue to pay for the mistake of letting Jared Cook go in free agency after the 2016 season. Not arriving at a deal with Cook was a big blunder.
Sure, but then keep in mind that Aaron Jones entered yesterday's game leading the NFL with a 6-yard-per carry average. In other words, he's been doing it against everybody, not just Miami.
If that happens, and there's no guarantee it will, I imagine you'll see Tramon Williams line up at corner, with Raven Greene getting a lot of snaps at safety. You'll also see rookie Josh Jackson, and Tony Brown/Will Redmond would get snaps. Again, though, we'll have to wait and see who's available.
I've thought all along that 9-6-1 gets it done, and I still think that. The NFC is just so middle-heavy, this feels like a season where 9-6-1 would trump 9-7 for a wild-card spot. Ask me again in three weeks, though. As for being flat, I think excitement/joy/having fun is symbiotic with winning. They aren't winning consistently. I wouldn't expect them to look like they're having fun.
It's an extension of their run game, basically. A high-percentage, low-risk play. If they get 4 or 5 yards on that, I think they're fine with it.
Maybe, but unlikely. You can't completely rule it out; he turns 35 next month. Still, he's been playing hurt -- heck, he played flat-out injured early this season -- and that's a much more likely explanation for being off his game than age.
I'll give you this, Mike: I think this Packers team is better than the team in 2016. And that team made the NFC title game. Now, that's because Aaron Rodgers played the quarterback position as well as it's ever been played down the stretch, and he isn't doing that right now. Still, this team has more pieces -- especially in coverage -- than that team did. It's all going to depend on how Rodgers plays.
That's certainly a better option than what he did.
I would disagree with saying Equanimeous St. Brown is not there. I think he's made some very nice plays, and he's a promising prospect. It obviously hurts to not have Geronimo Allison, who really was poised for a breakout, but I think the receiver group is in very fine shape.
I mean, that's the question. I don't know. Not sure the Packers do either. It's certainly a risk for him to have an increased workload, but it's probably a bigger risk for the Packers if he doesn't. Best I can say is, stay tuned. It'll be interesting to see.
Yeah, that's probably a good idea. Would think Clay Matthews might be able to fill that role.
Can't disagree. Just think it's premature to know whether that will change or not.
I think that might've been a more optimal time for the Packers to do what they did this offseason, reshuffling their front office. They were late on removing Ted Thompson from his GM seat. Whether they were late with Mike McCarthy, I think, is yet to be determined.
Kyler Fackrell has gotten more and more snaps, and you know what, he's deserved them. Fackrell isn't a dominant pass rusher, but he is a gamer. He's also the Packers sacks leader with five, tying Kenny Clark. I think you'll continue to see him get snaps. As for moving Clay Matthews inside, I don't see that happening. Especially considering the Packers have been going with one off-ball linebacker (Blake Martinez) on a lot of their snaps. They still need Clay Matthews near the line of scrimmage. Think he stays there.