Hey folks, Ryan Wood here. Packers opened their post-Mike McCarthy era ending their three-game losing streak with a 34-20 win over the Falcons. Lots to talk about. Let's get to your questions.
Joe Philbin cleaned up some things that were necessary. It really started during the week when the Packers placed a renewed emphasis on third down. The Packers had been 8-35 on third down their previous three games, but converted 7-13 yesterday. Also though the presnap communication looked crisper, and a big difference was all the personnel groupings. But, maybe more than anything, I thought it was telling that Philbin's first scripted plays as the Packers play caller (McCarthy had been the play caller) emphasized a short passing game. The Packers simplified things, took what the defense gave them, and emphasized getting Aaron Rodgers into a rhythm. I thought that carried throughout the game. Question is whether it can carry into a much different test this week.
I think you sort of debunked your statement with the final three words. It was not more of the same, because it was an actual win. Some fans, nothing will make them happy. A win is a win is a win. It's better than a loss.
I look at it as an even swap. Jordy Nelson was past his prime, and there's no guarantee he wouldn't have declined sharply this season. But, yes, Jimmy Graham has had a very disappointing season, all things considered.
Depends on what sort of writing. A longer, takeout piece, I'll definitely do that. A quick game story, there's no time. The more time you can take to edit, the better the writing. But a quick game story is just about getting the facts of what happened.
It will be interesting to see what they do. There's a chance the Packers starting right tackle next season is not on their team. Depends on what Brian Gutekunst can get done in the offseason. Bryan Bulaga does offer some flexibility, if the Packers wanted to go that route again. He's just had a lot of wear and tear on his body, and he's approaching 30. Bulaga has one more season left on his deal. So we'll see.
The refs were not good yesterday, for more reasons than the opening drive. But I do think they blew the call on the first Julio Jones reception. That looked incomplete to me. The second one, the sideline judge was right on the play, so that makes it hard to overturn. I thought that was close, and ultimately not a wise challenge from Joe Philbin. But I don't get how the first one wasn't overturned.
He's certainly declined in that he no longer runs like he used to. The broken thumb doesn't help things.
They could. Again, it all depends on how the offseason plays out. Lots for the Packers to do.
Mark Murphy said he was going to put a committee together. He's used Jed Hughes in the past, but there was no mention of him specifically in his press conference. And, honestly, I haven't asked around yet, but I will.
Danny Vitale got 2 snaps yesterday and 3 against the Cardinals. I would have thought he got more yesterday. Philbin did motion Jimmy Graham from the backfield more than I can remember.
I can't give a very accurate comment on that because I did not cover Brett Favre, but people who were around then seem to agree. One thing is that the NFL is so short lived for most of its players, that when a veteran gets to the point where they've been in the game more than 10 years, all the teammates they entered the league with are long gone. The dynamics change. So I'd say it's not just that Aaron Rodgers has become Favre, but that his journey is similar to many franchise QBs who long outlast their contemporaries.
I don't see that happening. I think the hire will be external, unless something crazy happens like a deep playoff run. But that's not going to happen.
What Winston Moss said is similar to things I've heard privately for about a year. But Moss put it out there publicly. Then, of course, he completely back tracked with his attempt at damage control on FOX Sports. I don't think there's any doubt the relationship between Aaron Rodgers and Mike McCarthy became fractured. I also don't think it's all that surprising. A decade is a long, long time for a coach and QB to work together. You've seen similar rough patches with Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. The difference is Brady and Belichick continued to win, and Rodgers and McCarthy did not. It's a bottom-line business. Win, and you're good. Lose, and you're not.
No, I wouldn't say that's too optimistic. You're never far away with a quarterback of Aaron Rodgers' caliber. They have a lot of work to do on their roster, but I think Brian Gutekunst's positives far outweighed the negatives in his first year. He'll need to continue that. Now, their $40 million in cap space is relative. With the escalating cap, the Packers are not among the league leaders in cap room. But they have some money to work with.
They could use help everywhere except left tackle and center. That said, I think right guard is the priority. With everything else to do, it would not surprise me if the Packers kept Bryan Bulaga and Lane Taylor in place.
Well, Jaire Alexander is the obvious answer. I also think the rookie WRs, Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Equanimeous St. Brown. The guys that are really interesting are Josh Jackson and Oren Burks. Jackson has some skills but needs more refinement. Burks hasn't played near as much as I expected. The Packers need both of those rookies to pan out.
Well, that's not true. Not even close to being true. Start with the fact Aaron Jones' 17 carries tied a season high. So not sure how you could say he was ignored. The entire offense looked different, in that it actually looked like an offense, and not sandlot football. There were quick-hitting passes. It actually looked like the West Coast scheme. But to each their own.
He has positioned himself as the Packers de factor owner. The information he'll provided the fan base is the name of the next head coach and, presumably, why he hired him.
Aaron Rodgers did release the ball quicker. Is this really in question? There were some extended plays, for sure. But there was much more quick passing, too. I actually think an interesting point you make, whether intentionally or not, is that the backup offense line probably played a part in why they went with more quick passing.
Well, in your analogy, Joe Philbin would be Chip Kelly, the offensive guru who replaced Reid. Pederson didn't come along until after the Eagles not only moved on from Reid, but also chose to not retain Pat Shurmur. And Pederson was an external hire, while Philbin is an internal candidate. None of that is to say the Packers should not retain Philbin. Just pointing out that the analogy really doesn't work.
It's, uh, not the brightest idea.
Yep. Not to mention just winning one of the games they had a chance in November. Alas, they did not. And they are where they are. But the Cardinals game was big, because I do think 9-6-1 would have had a real chance of cracking the playoffs, but now that's out of reach.