OK, let's dive right in. I was thinking about that myself as it was happening. In thinking it through, I'm leaning toward thinking that's the way to do it. You have to have a TO in the bank so if you blow the snap you can call time out and kick again. But yeah, if you're kicking off with eight to 10 seconds left in the game, you should be in really good shape to win. The risk is, if you kick a touchback, then they hit one play to your 45 or inside, there's probably enough time left to call TO and try a 60-yard FB. If you squib kick it there's always the risk of a return to FB position, though I'm not sure whether that would run out the clock, depending on how much time is left. It would take more studying than an off-the-cuff answer here, but I'm thinking you might be right.
I don't know anything about the college QBs other than what you could find on ESPN or SI.com. As for the picks, much agreed, I've been lobbying that Olivia should have to put her neck out there by making picks too. The reason it's been that way isn't a particularly good one -- the pre-set format for the picks in the newspaper was good for four people. But that's not a good reason, and even if that's the case she (and my boss, Packers editor Stu Courtney) could pick for onlilne. We'll do what we can to make that happen. They should have every opportunity to be wrong as the rest of us on the beat.
I tend to agree that the offense needs help in playmaking -- TE, WR, even RB if the guy is good enough. I wouldn't say winning more than a game or two would be out of the question, but they're definitely shy on weapons. The difficulty of finding a true No. 2 is the cost. Teams aren't just giving guys away. If the guy is young and ascending, a team won't want to part with him or will want a lot in return. If he's an older guy, he could be on his way downhill, and is a half-season rental going to be worth what it takes to get him? Those are the questions Gutekunst has to answer to his own satisfaction in making or not making a deal. But I have to think it's something they're exploring hard. Look at the move the Rams made trading for Ramsey. Wow.
I'm not ready to say Lazard is the No. 3 but agree completely he needs to play more to see if he can be, because that's at least a possibility. I don't know what's up with Allison's drops, I don't remember him having issues in previous seasons or training camps. Just not sure what's going on there. But he hasn't been the player I or I'm sure many of you thought he was going to be so far. We're not quite halfway through the season, so he still has time to rebound, but he hasn't produced like he did early last season before he got hurt. As for as KOR, they traded their best one, Trevor Davis, a couple weeks ago, then cut Tremon Smith last week to make room for the TE Baylis. I though Davis was pretty decent, and Smith looked at least OK. Shepherd just isn't fast enough to be a KOR.
I'm going to kind of address that in a column this week, so I don't want to get too much into it here. I guess in part you alluded to it by implying that the defense is a big part of their identity this year. They're a team that can play pass defense. They can rush pretty well with four, have a good blitz package, and have some cover guys with ballhawk skills. So they can get off the field on third-down passing downs, they can take the ball away some, and they seem pretty decent in the red zone. They kind of feed off their defense. On offense, it's starting to look like it will be running the ball a decent amount, and if teams take that away they have more trouble dealing with Rodgers, who's playing a little more in rhythm this year than the last couple. A little more of a ball-control. methodical offense. That's kind of my early take based on the last three or four weeks.
That's a different way of saying what Eric Baranczyk and I said for the game video review that ran online today. There's no question in my mind the refs were wrong on two significant calls that favored the Packers: The non-call on an interference by Redmond downfield in the fourth quarter, and the second hands-to-face penalty. But you can go through games and find other calls made and not made, and there's no telling how those changed the game. The calls generally even out over a game, and definitely over a season. And as you say, there's no guarantee Detroit gets the winning FG. With the way the Packers' D is playing, it might have gotten a big sack, or an INT, or a stop. We just don't know.
No clear indication on the injuries. Based on the practice schedule the Packers gave to the media this week, they're not practicing today -- I'm assuming they're just having a walk-through after having played on Monday night -- so there's no media availability to see who's practicing today and who isn't. They'll release an injury report with estimated Wednesday participation later in the day. Meaning, there's not much to go on for predicting Adams' and Savage's returns. If I had to guess, I'd say both are at least three-week injuries, maybe four or five. That's just a guess, no inside info there. Maybe Adams will be back this week,but if I were a betting man I'd say next week or the week after would be more likely. For Savage, those high-ankle sprains are serious too. He's missed one game, and I'd guess he'll miss a couple more. As for St. Brown, he's done for the year. They put him on IR before final cuts, which means he's not eligible for IR return. To be eligible for IR return you have to be on the 53-man roster first, so they'd have had to have kept him on final cuts (and cut someone they kept), and then put him on IR the next day.
OK, diving deep into Packers history. I just glanced at the Packers press guide numbers section, and Lambeau happens to be first because he's the only player to have worn No. 1, in 1925 and '26. He also wore No. 14 (later Don Hutson's number) in 1927, No. 20 in 1929. I don't have to time to carefully go through it, so I don't know what other numbers he's worn. But I do wonder if they won't give out the No. 1 because he's the only person in franchise history to have worn it. They never did have a ceremony for Canadeo, Packers historian Cliff Christl has done the research on that. I don't know the franchise's stand on conducting a ceremony for him going forward. I'll check into it.
He's on IR with an ankle injury. He is eligible to be one of their two IR-return guys..
I thought he'd be more impactful than he's been as far as a consistent receiving threat. He's definitely a deep threat and can stretch defenses, and that deep ball he caught against Detroit was a really good play. But agreed he needs to make more plays in the intermediate areas. I'd still say he's their second-best receiver, though, at least as of right now. And remember, young guys can improve a fair amount over the course of the season. Lot of games left.
I thought Clark played great early, then had a bad game against Philly, was fine against Dallas and played well this past week against Detroit. He's playing a ton of snaps -- he's out there on third and long with three OLBs as the other pass rushers, so they might need to cut back a little on his snaps. But aside from the Philly game I'd say he's having a good year. I think it's wrong to just dismiss the injury concerns, those things are real. That often happens in this league -- not all the time, but often -- players get older, usually around 30, and they start getting hurt, and it affects their play, and they go downhill fairly fast. It remains to be seen if that was the case with Daniels, but he was already declining last year even before the injury. He wasn't quite the pass rusher in '18 that he'd been before then. Still very good against the run, but his pass rush was slipping a little. Gutekunst decided to be proactive and move on before it got worse and to save a lot of cap money. Also, Daniels had missed all the offseason work recovering from I think it was ankle surgery, and there's a real chance the Packers' medical staff was concerned about his recovery. Look, my take earlier this year was that if it had been my call, I'd have kept him, that at some point injuries would hit and they'd have wished they had him. But with each passing week I'm thinking it's more and more likely I was wrong. I don't know this for a fact, but I'd guess they might have had trouble trading him because he wasn't cleared to play in the offseason. I think he even missed early camp practices with the Lions. As for Sitton, yeah, they'd have been better off trading him in the offseason, but I don't think they knew then they were going to get rid of him. I think the problems arose when they were unwilling to extend Sitton's contract during camp. They considered it addition by subtraction because they thought he was becoming a problem in the locker room.
The aforementioned Eric Baranczyk thinks Jenkins is a stud, and Eric has a great feel for line play. It's early, but yeah, Jenkins is looking like a fixture, he can really run block.
I was wondering that too. I looked at the play right before the first hands-to-face penalty, and Flowers basically grabbed Bakhtiari by the top-front of his shoulder pads -- sort of the opposite side of a horse-collar -- and then pushed him basically in the throat while holding the pads and jersey. That looked like a penalty to me, either illegal hands or holding.
Haven't heard anything on Bucannon though I wondered the same thing when he was cut. Two thing son that, I guess. One, Oren Burks' return should mean they'll play less of that S/ILB package, and two, maybe they think Ibraheim Campbell can help in that role when he comes off PUP. If they added Bucannon, they'd have to cut somebody, so they'd have to be sure he's an upgrade. He's 27, so age shouldn't be an issue yet, and he's played that position -- when he was with Arizona, their regular defense lined him up at ILB. He's been cut a couple times now, so maybe he's lost something. As for WR or TE, I'd say either. They just need somebody who can help them out in the passing game. The problem with trading for Eifert is that his entire career has been an injury waiting to happen.
I think he's playing really good football right now, throwing the ball with excellent accuracy. They all miss some throws, I watched the Patriots the other day and Brady had a couple passes that were off. I just don't know if the collarbone injury on Rodgers' throwing side has affected his throwing at all. I've said this on here before, but a doctor with another team told me that one of the reasons you put a plate in there is ensure the bone doesn't lengthen or shorten and thus affect his throwing. This doctor said Rodgers should have come out of it without any issues. I'm guessing if it has affected him, we won't find out until late in his career or after he retires. It seems plausible it could have cost him some arm strength. But all I know is, to my eyes he's playing really good football right now, and throwing the ball accurately and all over the field.
The run defense was a big red flag, but Pettine seems to have adjusted and gone to more of a sound approach to stopping the run, with the linemen holding their gaps at the line rather than trying to get up field and be disruptive. Now, it worked against Detroit, but the Lions' RBs aren't very good. We'll need to see a few more games to know whether the adjustment is for real and improves the run D. So that's something to watch. I'd say the biggest concern for them at this point is making sure key players get or stay healthy. Either of their tackles, but especially Bakhtiari, would be a big loss, as would Aaron Jones. They have several guys on D (the Smiths, Alexander, King, Clark) who need to stay on the field. And they need somebody to emerge in the receiving corps (MVS, Tonyan, Allison, Lazard) to give them something to go with Davante Adams. I'm assuming they traded Davis because they got more than they thought they could (a sixth-rounder) for him, but it did cost them their best return guy, and somebody who could have helped them in the jet-sweep game. That could be a mistake. I realize they really like Shepherd, he had a good camp and is smart and reliable and all that, but he's ordinary as far as talent goes.
Agreed, that has to be part of it. In past years he knew he had to go outscore teams to give his defense a chance, there was a lot of pressure to get points on every possession because the defense was going to give up a lot. That's not the case anymore, this defense has shown it can get off the field (with the exception of the Philly game). That has to play into his mind-set, and I'm sure he and LaFleur talk about it.
Have people been that critical? The offense struggled early, but the odds of that were pretty good with learning a new offense and the new coach and his staff adjusting to new players. But they found a way to win early, and as I said earlier, to me it looks like Rodgers is playing great, regardless of what his passer rating is. If he keeps playing like this, he'll at least be in the MVP discussion, though obviously Russell Wilson is the front-runner at this early stage, with Mahomes a good bet to make a run when his ankle gets healthy.
He had a really good game, and he's a solid inside runner. And agreed they need to play him more to increase the odds that Jones stays upright. Two RBs still isn't enough in this league, they really need one more guy, because injuries happen at that position, it's almost inevitable. And I'll be more convinced about Williams if he runs like that again. Up to now, he's struck me as a solid, strong runner who will get what's there and will pass protect well, whereas Jones can create yardage and spring a big play at any time. I'd still say the offense is a lot more dynamic with Jones. But they do need to play Williams a fair amount to keep Jones healthy.
I like they eye-in-the-sky idea. have a video official who's part of and hooked up with crew to step in and say, there was a penalty there or pick up that flag, it wasn't a penalty. I know Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk is a big proponent of that, and I agree it's probably the best solution and where we're likely to end up somewhere down the line.
No question in my mind that super-slow motion and high def TV means there's a lot more scrutiny on calls, and easier to pick them apart, no question about that. I did see a stat from Rick Gosselin that compared with I think it was five years ago, they're calling about three more penalties per game. That's a big increase, so the game has become more officiated. And it does get tiresome to see all these flags. The replays and slow motion probably affect the way we (and the league) think the games should be officiated too. It's all very fluid as the league figures out what works and what doesn't, what's plausible and what isn't. I do think they need to make these guys full time, that's one thing I just don't get. It's not like they can't afford it. I'd fault the league for that more than anything. Pay them more and have them study their craft year-round and get paid for it.
OK, this has to be the last question, many other duties to get to. My quick take is, so far, so good. LaFleur certainly was helped a lot by the moves the GM made to improve the defense, that was huge. But the players seem to respond to and like him, he seems to encourage positive self-expression as a way of the players taking ownership of the team, and that contributes to their vibe so far this season. We'll learn more when harder times hit, which they inevitably will. But his job No. 1 was getting Rodgers playing like an MVP-candidate type player again, and things appear headed in that direction. Rodgers is playing really well. Lot of football left. And with that, we'll call it another chat. Thanks again for everyone stopping by with your thoughts and opinions and questions, so many responses today I didn't have time to get to even half of them. But if I didn't answer your question (or one like it), try again next week. Thanks also to all our subscribers, your subscriptions help make possible our thorough coverage of this team. And remember, anyone not subscribing, you can get the Packers News app. for $4.99 a month, it's a great deal. And with that, we'll put another chat in the books. Until next week, take care everybody.