Hey folks, Ryan Wood here. Just landed in Detroit from LAX. Figured I'd take some of your Packers questions during my layover. There's plenty to discuss following Sunday's 29-27 loss to the Rams. Let's get to it.
I haven't heard anything specifically, but I've read NFL Network Michael Silver's excellent reporting. I do remember seeing Montgomery sort of drop his head when he was pulled off the field during his last drive, which I believe was the Packers third-to-last drive of the game. Honestly, I didn't think anything of it at the time, and I didn't follow him with my eyes to the sideline. But what Silver reported certainly makes sense. Montgomery has been bleeding snaps and opportunities, and that can't be easy. Still, the plan clearly was to take a knee and stay in the end zone for a touchback. So Montgomery either didn't know the plan (unlikely), or he didn't care (more likely). Neither option is good. You'd think there would be some accountability this week. We'll see.
Yeah, it does feel like a broken record at this point, but it's important. The Packers don't seem to have a clear picture of how to most effectively use their backfield. In Aaron Jones, it's like they're sitting on a mountain of gold, but unwilling to invest. Just so bizarre. I wrote about it today, but a huge moment in that game came early. The Packers were up 10-0 when they trotted out for their fourth possession, which isn't much cushion against the Rams vaunted offense. But with a touchdown to put them up 17-0 on that drive, the Rams would be in serious trouble. Instead of sticking with Aaron Jones, who had 46 yards on seven carries at the time, the Packers put Ty Montgomery on the field and ran two plays for him. It was a three-and-out. Just seems so clear that they should feature Jones in their offense.
Terrific question. In terms of accountability, removing Montgomery's kick return responsibilities seems to make the most sense. To me, releasing Montgomery outright seems a little like an overreach, though I would understand if that happened. Given the Packers overall health, I think this is an ideal season to use one of two IR return designations on a specialist, so I could see the value in bringing Trevor Davis back. (Packers fans who don't think Davis is a good return man, go look at the production and get back to me.) But, I don't believe Davis is able to play until after New England at the earliest. So who returns next week? Good question. Perhaps Marquez Valdes-Scantling will get a shot. He got reps at KR in the preseason.
It's too early to know which way this will go, but I do think the next four games, especially, are a critical part of answering that question. If the Packers crater, and they might, it would be a hard sell to return a coach with one year left on his contract, and an even harder sell to extend him. If the Packers respond from this and really take off, and they might, I think McCarthy will be in good standing. Like any other coach, his future will be decided on the field.
Already gave my take on the Packers releasing Montgomery, but I'll add that it won't be Mike McCarthy's call. As GM, Brian Gutekunst has autonomy of the roster. I'm sure Gutekunst would take McCarthy's recommendation into serious consideration, but it's Gutekunst's decision.
Well, Sunday was dreadful for the Packers special teams. Not just the fumble on a kickoff return, but the 25-yard punt that gave the Rams a short field and led to their go-ahead field goal, the fake punt conversion and having a few kicks downed inside the 10. Put it all together, and the special-teams unit cost the Packers a win. They've got to do better.
Some would say it's holding his players accountable publicly. Given the situation, I'm not surprised Mike McCarthy made it clear the plan was to stay in the end zone.
In short, yes. It's both. It's hard to say who is more at fault, but fans do seem to forget Aaron Rodgers had a lot of latitude at the line of scrimmage.
No, if anything, the Packers are more likely to pick the WR who actually does double as a return man. Trevor Davis is much more likely to be designated than Jake Kumerow, because he can provide clearer value.
Right. I think he could be used effectively in some situations, but the Packers haven't figured out the proper mix. And that Montgomery is showing frustration with his diminished role suggests he's unwilling to take a suitable role for himself, or that it's at least a hard sell. When that happens, it's sometimes best to part ways.
That's not double talk. I think it's an overreach to outright release him, meaning if I'm the GM, which I'm not, I would not release him. But I also would understand it, because I trust the actual GM would be able to make a more informed decision in this specific matter.
That's actually a great point I hadn't considered. Not that the run call was broadcast to the Rams defense. The Packers had 10 players near the LOS and only Marquez Valdes-Scantling split wide. But it's a great point that Aaron Jones being on the field also broadcast a run, because he sure a heck wasn't in there to pass block. Even more reason it should have been Jamaal Williams on the field in that situation. Not only because Williams is the power back -- and a pretty good one, at that -- but he's also the best pass blocker at that position, which presents more room for a surprise pass. Again, great point.
Well, I think the quarterback and head coach have certainly been on better terms. Ultimately, that doesn't matter -- if they win. So long as the Packers win, Mike McCarthy is going to be safe. If they lose, that's when coaches get fired.
If I'm remember correct from my colleague Jim Owczarski's story, that was the play when a couple of the interior offensive linemen said they heard a whistle, so they stopped. Don't know anything more than that, including any presnap confusion. But that might help explain better.
Josh Jones was excellent in special teams yesterday. One of the only positives for those units. As far as defense, he had far too many mental mistakes as a rookie. It would seem the coaches lost some trust in him, just based on play time. I do wonder if he's about to get a shot though, especially with how well he played yesterday. Shoot, if they trade Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, they might have to plan Jones on defense.
I would not expect that to happen.
That might be the biggest question going forward. What I saw yesterday was the best perimeter pass coverage I can remember since at least the 2015 season. When healthy, it looks like the Packers really have something in Kevin King and Jaire Alexander. But the biggest difference yesterday was their pass rush getting home much more frequently. One of the things you always hear about Mike Pettine's system is that he can scheme unblocked pass rushers. You saw that quite a bit yesterday, especially on third down. If that continues, I'd think the Packers defense will continue playing at a high level. But that's a fairly significant "if".
I've thought for a long time that's the role that makes the most sense for Ty Montgomery. Won't happen so long as Randall Cobb is on the field, because Cobb is simply better at this point. But if the Packers want to save money this offseason, and they want to keep Montgomery on their team, I could see that happening.
Fair point. Although, I believe, Pettine has had some success scheming pressure against Brady. It will be interesting which approach the Packers take defensively in New England, whether that's blitzing the quarterback like they did in L.A. or dropping 7 and 8 in coverage.
Pray? As good as the Packers have been at times covering the perimeter, their safety play has been very poor in coverage. That's not a great matchup for the Packers.
Yeah, it was a pretty pathetic showing for Rams fans. I get that the World Series was in town, and cheaper tickets could also be found with the Kings and Clippers playing at the Staples Center, but there were absolutely more Packers fans than Rams fans yesterday. As for last time that happened, the only other example I can think of since I started on the beat in 2014 was when the Packers traveled to Tampa Bay that year. You always see a lot of Packers fans on the road, but rarely is it ever like Sunday.
I don't know who they are, but Alexander had five pass breakups, not six. Still a terrific game for him, though.