Hey folks, Ryan Wood here. Still catching up on everything after Packers improved to 3-1 after a win over the Giants on Sunday Night Football? That's why I'm here. Let's get to your questions.
Yeah, James Starks definitely did not have a good game, and it was especially striking after he replaced the injured Eddie Lacy, because Lacy ran wild over the Giants defense. Now, despite Lacy's success, the Giants have one of the five best run defenses in the NFL. Keep that in mind. Regardless, the Packers have to wonder whether Starks is simply having a slow start to his season, or if at 30 years old he's done. I think it's too early to know, but at his age it can't be ruled out.
Well, his 40.4-yard average on punts certainly merits a cut. He ranks 31st in the NFL in gross, 22nd with a 38-yard net average. With that said, I'm hesitant to expect Jacob Schum to be released this week, if only because Ted Thompson has shown extraordinary patience with his specialists. It's only been four games, a small sample size for a GM to admit a mistake. It's certainly possible Jacob Schum punted his final game with the Packers last night. I'm just not sure it's likely.
It's certainly true that this offense appears to lack a dynamic quality. That was supposed to change with Jordy Nelson returning and Jared Cook signing, but Nelson hasn't had many home-run plays, and Cook can't stay healthy. It's also true perhaps the biggest part of Aaron Rodgers' game over the years is his ability to extend plays, something that seems to have become overly reliant on. Rodgers isn't getting the same big-chunk yardage on extended plays, and that puts a significant dent in the Packers' overall offensive production. As for Edgar Bennett, I'm not sure him being OC has any real affect on the Packers' offensive production. At the end of the day, it's still Mike McCarthy calling plays.
I'm not sure it's so much checkdowns as just quick, simple hitters. I think you're spot on that when the offense was moving early in the game, Rodgers was getting rid of the football quicker, and the pass game was in better timing. I'm not sure why that changed as the game progressed, though the Giants tended to drop more in coverage. Naturally, that affects how long a QB holds onto the ball, because he has to go through progressions. Regardless, it's clear this offense is at its best when the QB releases the ball on time.
The Packers still have three QBs on roster, so Joe Callahan could be a candidate to drop to the practice squad if they need to add a running back. Josh Hawkins could drop to the practice squad to make room for Goodson, and Brian Price could drop to make way for Pennel. Or it could be three completely different guys. Always a guessing game to figure out what Ted Thompson will do.
That's a good question. I was wondering the same thing. He missed some shorts throws that were nothing short of shocking. Now, it's impossible to know whether it's the QB missing his target, or the target being in the wrong place, or the timing being off between the two. Maybe all of the above. We just haven't seen this amount of missed throws from Rodgers on easy, open routes.
You could give it to all three: Quinten Rollins, LaDarius Gunter and Micah Hyde. I'd be inclined to go with Rollins, because he filled the role of top CB and had more targets against Odell Beckham Jr. Gunter went unnoticed, which is a terrific thing for a CB. And we can't forget Micah Hyde, who seamlessly made the transition from safety to third CB. Hyde made it look easy, and it's not. I thought the Packers secondary could get torched last night, especially with Damarious Randall joining Sam Shields on the inactive list. That they didn't is a testament to the Packers' pass rush, to be sure, but also guys stepping up on the back end.
The Broncos started 4-0 with Trevor Siemian as their QB, so it's not like a great defense can't compensate for quarterback play. Now, as good as this Packers defense has been, they're not the Broncos. But Aaron Rodgers isn't Trevor Siemian, either. I think this is just who the Packers are as a team, at least right now. They're a gritty group that will ground out games, and ultimately score enough points to win more than they lose. At the end, I expect them to still be in the thick of the hunt.
That's the big question this week. It's far and away the NFL's best run defense against the best run offense. We know the Packers run defense is good. This week, we'll probably find out whether or not it's truly great. I think that's something that can't really be answered right now. Looking forward to seeing that matchup.
I still think Damarious Randall is a talent, young guy, but it is interesting how much he's struggled playing perimeter without Sam Shields available. All the talk this offseason was about Randall playing the slot in nickel, what Packers call their "star" position. He's certainly struggled on the perimeter, and I'll be curious to see whether he returns inside once Shields returns.
Don't forget two poor punts that directly led to a pair of Giants field goals, accounting for six of their 16 points. Yes, the Giants caught some breaks that enabled them to be as close as they were. Jordy Nelson had a miserable game, and his first drop led to the Giants' first interception of the year, and probably took points off the board. So the Packers easily could have won by more, but the fact they didn't is the bottom line. They'll have to clean up those mistakes next week against a resurgent Cowboys team.
I was surprised as well that the Packers stopped going to their different personnel groupings on an almost snap-by-snap basis. It seemed to throw the Giants off early. The other benefit, I thought, was it allowed the Packers to control pace of play. That's what they want their no-huddle to do, but their mix of substitution and hurry-up felt like a pitcher mixing fastball with slider and change. Makes it hard for a defense to get into a rhythm. The one thing to keep in mind is the first however many plays in a game are scripted, so McCarthy and the offense likely knew who would be out on the field for what plays early. Still, they need to find a way to keep that kind of aggressive personnel changes going throughout four quarters. It was successful.
Well, they're defensive backs for a reason. You raise a good point though. The Packers aren't just giving up copious yards and first downs through the air (until last night). They also only have two interceptions this season. Only the Colts, Dolphins, Saints and Bucs have fewer. That's not a group of defenses you want to be comparable to.
Really no way of knowing that right now, but it's unlikely he'd be activated immediately off PUP. We have to see if he practices first, and he'll probably need at least a week to get into game shape. Maybe more. I'd say Week 6 will be the earliest we'll have an idea of whether that's a possibility.
Good question. It's odd, only because he seemed to have perhaps the best training camp of all the receivers. The easiest answer is to say the Packers almost always have three receivers on the field, and they have seven on their roster. That doesn't leave much of anything in regards to snaps for the seventh WR, which Jared Abbrederis clearly is right now. In theory, he could be cut this week for a roster spot if the Packers want to keep an extra cornerback or defensive lineman, because he isn't giving them anything currently. Definitely surprising.
Eddie Lacy said his goal is to play Sunday vs. Cowboys. He was limping around the bench area last night, trying to get his ankle ready to play. While that could be a sign he's going to be OK, sometimes injuries can be worse the day after a game. The Packers medical staff will obviously keep a close eye on him this week.
There might be numbers available on Football Outsiders. I'm not really sure.
While the Packers defense certainly deserves credit, I thought the Giants (and Eli Manning especially) played rather poorly. With that said, give credit to the Packers coaches for keeping things simple with their young guys in the secondary. They didn't switch sides, with Quinten Rollins mostly lining up left and LaDarius Gunter lining up right. I think it's also possible that despite their struggles early this season, this young secondary has more talent than it's shown. Overall, very impressive performance, but probably aided by a quarterback who is not playing well at the moment.
This is far from the colossal train wreck of 2014, but also a significant ways away from 2015. I think the coverage unit is somewhere in between right now.
Well, Felipe, that's certainly a fair question. Aaron Rodgers turns 33 years old in two months. Peyton Manning won two MVPs at 33 years old or older, so it's certainly not impossible. Still, that's probably not the likelihood. There's a real chance Rodgers has had his best seasons, because his best seasons have been some of the best the position has ever seen. But is he done playing good or even very good football? No, I think he has plenty good years left.
They certainly do. Currently, the Packers only have two healthy tight ends on their roster, and they usually keep four. Jared Cook was supposed to be a big help, but he can't stay healthy. They'll be lean there until Cook returns. What will be important to see is whether Cook's inability to stay healthy early in his time in Green Bay damages his long-term transition to a new QB and offense.
Joe Montana and Steve Young combined for five Super Bowls in roughly 15 years, so you could say two with Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers would be disappointing. Of course, it could be worse. The Colts have on Super Bowl title to show for almost two decades of Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck. It would be foolhardy to pretend the Packers' window is close, however. They're going to be in the thick of the hunt, as they have been. From there, it's part crapshoot, part clutch.
At this point in his career, probably. He's only played three games into his second season. For every Marcus Peterson, there are plenty of cornerbacks who take time to develop before becoming elite. The Packers could've done much worse than Damarious Randall in the late first round. Remember, he had a good rookie season. My hunch is he'll still wind up being a very successful pick.
There is no question this defense with a healthy Sam Shields has a chance to be special. Their run defense is dominant, and they have a legitimate No. 1 cornerback. Not every team has one. You also make a good point, Brent, about the Packers being 3-1 despite the offense struggling. If Aaron Rodgers ever consistently hits his peak groove again, watch out. For all the rough Septembers the Packers have had (they started 1-2 in September, remember), a 3-1 record is perfectly fine at this point in the season.
Not entirely, because the WR position give the Packers plenty on special teams. The Packers also have two receivers who can line up in the backfield and carry the football. So the position's versatility is also beneficial. That said, if the Packers continue playing three receivers predominantly, keeping seven receivers on the roster is probably a luxury they can't afford throughout an entire season.
Because Mike Daniels is playing at an All-Pro level, and Letroy Guion has been well above average. In the Packers' nickel, they only need two down linemen. When those two are an All-Pro talent and a good to very good talent, you're in business.
Who isn't questioning the Packers' offense? That's been 70 percent of this chat. In case you missed any of it, make sure to scroll back through and read the transcript. This is a good place to stop today. Thanks for everyone who participated. Until next time, take care everyone.