Hey folks, Ryan Wood here. Welcome to our Monday chat. Another week, another Packers loss. Let's get to your questions after last night's game in New England.
Certainly expecting plenty of #fireMikeMcCarthy inquires today. And I get why you're asking, I really do. To get to the answer before the explanation, we're midway through the season, and nobody on this team is getting fired midway through. Nor should they so long as the Packers are in the hunt, and tied in the loss column for fifth in the NFC, they are still in it. But, if things continue this path, it's pretty obvious at 3-4-1 the Packers are heading to a point where it's time to find another coach. A team with Aaron Rodgers shouldn't miss the playoffs. It should finish below .500, as the Packers are currently trending. The offense looks stale and uninspired, and that's damning for a team with a quarterback of Rodgers' caliber. But this isn't the time to make that call. Still plenty of season left, and the Packers have pulled themselves out of the hole before.
See, this is where it's unfair. Yeah, obviously Bill Belichick outcoached Mike McCarthy, but Bill Belichick outcoaches everybody. To find someone the caliber of Belichick as a coach, you need to hire Belichick. He can't duplicate himself; there's only one. Just look at his coaching tree for proof. That said, the troubling thing for the Packers is how sloppy they've been before the snap, how unimaginative the offense has been, and how little chemistry there seems to be between the quarterback and play caller. That can't continue. If it does, you could make a very sound case it's time for the Packers to move on, but no matter how bleak you think things are right now, it's also possible the Packers can find their way out of it in the second half.
Defense hasn't been the problem for this team. The offense is the issue. So long as Aaron Rodgers is quarterback, and Aaron Rodgers is getting paid his record-setting money, the Packers will have to outscore team. The defense has given them chances all season to outscore opponents, but the offense hasn't been good enough to do it. That's the problem.
Well, the schedule down the stretch, specifically the final five games, is soft. That could propel them. Look, it's no surprise the Packers didn't win on the road at Los Angeles and New England in consecutive weeks. That stretch reminds me of the middle of the 2015 season, when the Packers traveled to Denver and Carolina back to back. Later that season, the Broncos and Panthers played each other in the Super Bowl. It's very possible the Rams and Patriots will play each other in this Super Bowl. The issue isn't these two losses, but the two road losses that came before them. If the Packers played they way they did these past two weeks in Washington and Detroit, they'd probably win at least one of those games, if not both. They needed to win those games, given this stretch of schedule they're in now. In 2015, the Packers lost to Denver and Carolina, but they were 6-0 to start the season. The problem is the Packers started 3-2-1 this year, barely .500 heading into the teeth of their schedule.
I haven't watched the film, so tough to say. If Bryan Bulaga is healty, he'll play. He's their RT. We don't know the extent of his injury yet.
Tell you what, MVS looks like he's a developing stud. He's very talented with rare size and speed, and he's already producing at a rate that's uncommon for rookie receivers, especially those drafted in the fifth round. It's sure looking like a good first draft for Brian Gutekunst, and MVS is a big part of that. What will be interesting is how he adjusts when teams realize they can't single cover him without rolling a safety toward his side, because even with Davante Adams on the field, that time is coming if he keeps connecting with Rodgers on deep balls this frequently.
Ted Thompson does bare a lot of responsibility, but he was already fired. They can't go and fired him again. The Packers made that change already. Even still, there's plenty of talent on this team, given Aaron Rodgers is at quarterback and the Packers have a legit No. 1 receiver in Davante Adams, a franchise left tackle in David Bakhtiari, a solid offensive line at the other four positions, a dynamic runner in Aaron Jones, a good defensive line, and impressive, emerging corners on the perimeter. They have obvious holes at edge rush and safety, but don't be suckered into believing this roster isn't good enough to contend. It certainly has that potential. As for team belief, I think the Packers feel they can play with anybody. I don't sense a defeatist mentality to the contrary.
Frustration that they played well enough to win but didn't, for the second straight week at that. They knew what a win these past two weeks could have done for their season, and they were close. But close obviously isn't good enough. Good teams make the plays necessary, and the Packers couldn't.
Aaron Rodgers isn't playing his best, and he admitted as much last night, but the buck isn't stopping with the MVP QB on that record contract. The reality is Mike McCarthy is much more expendable. He's also the head coach. So the buck stops with him.
No, he's not a HOFer. Not sure I'd go as far as saying his career is just about over, either. His effectiveness as an edge rusher is still very much in question, but I see a lot of potential if he moved to off-ball linebacker. To me, that's the next progression in his career.
Not really familiar with Breeland, myself. He ran a 4.62 at the combine, which isn't fast. But he had a good reputation after four seasons as a starter in Washington. I think he showed a lot of rust last night, and that's pretty understandable. He didn't do anything this offseason, hadn't played until this week, and his first test is to go cover against Tom Brady. That's a daunting task. Give it a couple weeks and let's see.
Don't know. Didn't talk to Davante Adams after the game. Couldn't really speculate without talking to him, but I did see the quote, and it was somewhat alarming.
Yes, but it would be guessing, and very irresponsible to do so. So I won't.
Their presnap operation has been a problem this season. Their delay-of-game penalty early last night was their sixth this year, which is among the most in the NFL. To put that number in perspective, the Packers had six delay-of-game penalties each of the past four seasons, ranking in the league's bottom half each year. So six in eight games is, basically, blech.
He's never played safety. He's a corner. He'll play corner.
Not really, because Aaron Rodgers is far superior to Eli Manning, and it's a quarterback league. But you do raise a legitimate, larger point, that change for change's sake is not always good, and sometimes backfires. The Bears were a good example of that when they fired Lovie Smith. In this case, the Packers would have to conclude whatever they're doing with McCarthy simply isn't working, and if you know it isn't working, it's time to make a change. I don't know that they're anywhere near the point of making that decision, but they can't afford to miss the playoffs in their title window with Aaron Rodgers.
Play better. Not being cute. They need to play much better in the situational phases of the game. Their situational football at the moment is poor, and teams don't win when that happens. Good teams are good situational.
I wouldn't assume anything with Ted Thompson, including his level of input. Brian Gutekunst is his own man. And his first draft is looking quite nice.
My initial thought is if you want pom-poms and cheerleading, go read the Packers team-controlled sight. That's not what I'm here for, and, frankly, you shouldn't want that from me. I call it like I see it, good or bad. The benefit for you is realistic insight into the team. I don't know if I'd go as far as to say I'm "quite confident" in the Packers at the moment, but I do agree with your assertion they can still win the NFC North. It's still a wide-open division, and their game a couple weeks from now in Minnesota looms large. That's why I say it's far to early to give a definitive take on the coaching situation; there's still a ton of football to play, and we don't know what will happen on the field.
This afternoon, as he does every Monday after a game.