Hey, Packers fans. Ryan Wood here, chatting live from the Pittsburgh airport. Got a plane to catch in an hour or so, but until then I'm all yours. Let's get to your questions after last night's loss to the Steelers.
There's no question turnovers are among the most important facets to a football game, and for the Packers to win that 3-0 played a big part in the team keeping it close. But the Packers probably should've done more with them. They only scored 7 points off turnovers, despite getting a pair of short fields.
It was difficult to know what to think. I expected the Steelers to wipe the field with the Packers, so for there to be a realistic chance to win was greatly exceeding my expectations. With that said, the loss was a crushing blow to playoff chances that mathematically were more alive than fans probably thought. I think it's hard for fans to rationally be upset with losing in Pittsburgh. The Steelers are a good team, and they were playing at home. It happens. As well as the Packers played, though, it makes last week's egg at home against the Ravens even more indefensible. That's the loss that really stings for their playoff hopes, not this one.
The better question is if he can do it without massive lapses in coverages. The Steelers had one blown assignment on the Cobb touchdown, and Adams was wide open on his 55 yarder. An NFL quarterback needs to be able to take advantage of those, and Hundley did that. But they were not difficult plays. The key moving forward will be whether he can make the difficult plays, not the easy ones.
I can tell you what he was thinking: if Mason Crosby makes this, it's a 2-possession lead. So there was a high reward there, but also high risk. It gave the Steelers possession at the 47-yard line, and the momentum flipped on its head. Maybe the Steelers score anyway if the Packers pin them deep, but a short field did not help their defense. Considering the longest field goal ever made in Heinz Field was 54 yards, seems silly to think a field-goal unit that's had so many moving parts this season could make it from 57.
You're right about Blake Martinez. He's made a big jump, and last night he started doing what elite players at his position need to do, namely being opportunistic with the fumble recovery and interception. When you're playing in the middle of the field, you're going to get opportunities to make plays. Need to make them, and Martinez did. Kenny Clark and Dean Lowry have also had terrific seasons. As for most disappointing second-year player, there's more than one to choose from. Jason Spriggs was drafted to potentially be their right tackle of the future, and he hasn't shown that yet. Kyler Fackrell was expected to figure more into the edge rush rotation, and he hasn't. Both played decent last night, and Fackrell had his best game as a pro against Baltimore, but both have a long way to go.
Yep. You're right. With that said, I remember the play, and that's a catch Jordy Nelson needs to make. Got to drag that second foot, like Antonio Brown did on that 23-yarder to start the final drive. But there's no question timing is critical on releasing the football, and a split second can make a big difference. Could have been an easier ball to catch on the sideline.
Well, he needs to. At minimum, this defense needs two productive pass rushers and one more good corner. That's three players at the two premier positions. A lot to do in one offseason if the Packers plan to rely solely on the draft.
That seems highly subjective.
Nobody. It happened once this season, that's it. Since their fourth game of the season against Cincinnati, immediately after Donald Trump's "son of a bitch" remark, the Packers have only locked arms during the national anthem.
Yeah, maybe. I wouldn't give up on Kevin King so quickly though. Let's revisit this after their third season. You very well may be right, and it was a big blunder to draft King (and Biegel, the pick they got in their trade) over Watt, but it's too early to really know yet.
I'll be honest, I didn't get a good look at it. Wish I had a better answer for you there.
Davante Adams is the true No. 1 right now. Still think he's most ideally suited to be a really good No. 2 than a No. 1, but the Packers aren't the only team in the league he'd be a No. 1. So he's going to get No. 1 money on the open market. That's not to be confused with top-5 money at the position. As for when Aaron Rodgers returns, who knows? Rodgers and Adams were building their connection (see the end of the Dallas game), but Jordy Nelson has been Rodgers guy. Adams is Brett Hundley's guy. Would think Nelson remains Rodgers' guy, but more even than in the past.
Yeah, they've got to figure something out here. He's paid to be a consistent rusher on the edge, and he hasn't done that. But Packers fans who think it's as easy as demanding a pay cut aren't thinking logically. The problem is the Packers have no leverage to demand a pay cut. Clay Matthews is still one of their two best edge rushers, and there's next to nothing behind him and Nick Perry. Matthews gives value especially in the run game, but that's not what he's paid to do. I'll believe a pay cut when I see it, but something needs to be done there. Will be interesting to see if anything happens.
Agreed. I think this Packers defense is almost perfectly average. If I had to give them an overall grade, it would probably be C-minus. They're going to play well against bad quarterbacks. They're going to play bad against good quarterbacks. Other than the Seattle opener, that's been pretty consistent. The defense is good enough to have a real chance at winning a Super Bowl with Aaron Rodgers. Without him, they have no chance. That unit has to get better, but six straight years of drafting defense with their first pick hasn't worked. What that stretch has done is prevent the Packers from using their best picks on the offense. To me, this offseason is screaming for the Packers to sign a significant free agent at either the edge or corner position. Will that happen? Wouldn't bet on it.
No, I don't think it was a matter of scheming guys open. Now, Mike McCarthy did seem more creative with his scheme, using several different personnel groupings. That helps keep a defense off balance, but the routes were the same.
I'll just give you one here: the Packers can't afford to be afraid of free agency this offseason because of the Martellus Bennett failure. There are too many needs. We've covered the issues on defense, but on offense the Packers need another productive tight end, a young, athletic and polished receiver, a guard and right tackle. There are needs most places you look. Don't see how it's going to all get fixed in the draft.
Unlikely. He was expected to start throwing six weeks after operation, and that date is Thursday. So he isn't really all that early in his recovery. Still think he's a few weeks away.
The Packers aren't done, done until/unless they lose to Bucs or Browns. So I think the whole "tank" theory is still premature, especially from their perspective. But it's getting very close to the point where that plan has merit. Not that they would ever, ever admit to that.
It's probably underachieved slightly from the astronomical expectations the group earned in camp, but it isn't the issue.
I think Davon House has a lot of value in the right role. That role is a veteran guy who brings depth off the sideline, not the No. 2 perimeter corner. House's presence is worth having in the locker room at the right price. He's just playing too many snaps.
Damarious Randall has been the biggest playmaker in the Packers secondary this season. He's inconsistent, but his playmaking is a real asset. I think he's the slot corner going forward past this season. The Packers need another perimeter corner to pair with Kevin King.