Before we get into it just want to let you know, Packers are practicing a little earlier than usual today, so open locker room will be earlier than usual, so the chat is starting earlier and will end whenever practice ends and locker room opens. Thinking we'll have at least an hour, maybe more like 1 hour, 15 minutes or so. As for Digger, I really comment on whether you're crazy, I do know he left the game for a while with an injury, don't remember what it was, but he came back. I re-watched the Packers' offense but won't see the defense until probably this afternoon, but he did leave for a little while. He played 41 of the 60 snaps total, Z Smith played 54.
Yeah, I'm pretty sure a huge, huge majority of them want to be in the playoffs, they're competitive and want to be the best. The ring means a lot, plus there's monetary value in being a SB champion. Just think of all the guys on the 'Packers' '96 Super Bowl team who still make money making appearances and signing autographs. Being a SB champ allows them a higher profile and to charge higher fees.
I don't think they have to be ready to start, though many or most do., but I would say you're looking for immediate contribution in the rotation except for maybe a QB. I'd have thought Gary would have contributed more this year, though he does seem to have played better the last couple weeks. I have to think the Packers thought he'd have contributed more also. But I do think it's smart to give Gary until this time next year before making any strong judgments on him.
If they'd kept Brown, either he or Hollman would have been inactive, so they would have had the same number of DBs active on game day. It is unusual to go one man short on the roster, agreed. Teams usually don't make a roster move until they have to. That's an indication they wanted to cut ties with Brown. He was big personality and I get the sense he rubbed some/a lot of teammates the wrong way. If you're at the bottom of the roster it can cost you your job, as it did with Brown.
Have to agree with you on that, a lot of flat-footed throws that are all arm and upper body. I texted a coach with another team about it, he'd watched some gave video on Rodgers while studying an opponent, that's what he said, almost a direct quote that when Rodgers sets his feet and steps into the throw he's "deadly" but that his footwork has been like this for a few years and wondered if it's a sign of fatigue or age. I agree that as he gets older he probably needs to be more fundamental. I have to think that's one of the reasons Brady and Brees have aged well, they appear to have excellent throwing fundamentals.
He played a lot last week so if by more you mean play him as much as he did against the Lions, yeah,. They line him up basically as a flanker even though he always run jet motion. But agreed, he has some zip to him, brings a little more explosiveness to the offense. He played 17 snaps against the Lions, that strikes me as about right, not sure playing him much more than that would be worth it, there are probably a limited number of things they can do with him because he's not a receiving threat like a real WR would be. But he does bring some speed to the offense, and he and Aaron Jones can stretch defenses horizontally with one going one way and the other going the other way.
No on Daniels. I've said this several times on this chat, at the time they cut him I leaned toward thinking they should keep him because they needed the depth, though I understood why they made the move. I was wrong, he was hurt all season and didn't do anything with the Lions. Sure looks like age has gotten him. Lowry has been a little tough to figure out. He played well early, struggled some during the bulk of the season, played better down the stretch but was only OK against Detroit. I don't know that they overvalued him, he's an early down player, and he does OK in that role and it was worth extending his contract last summer, but I do think DL should be fairly high on the priority list for next year.
I'd think the Packers would prefer to play anybody but the 49ers in SF. So if, say, Seattle wins at Philly and then upset the 49ers in the divisional round, I'd think the Packers would be thrilled. But they're in no position to get ahead of themselves. Assuming NO beats Minnesota, I have to think the Saints will be the favorite to beat the Packers in the divisional round even with the game at Lambeau.
Yeah, Jones is their guy. And agreed, against a playoff team it would be tough for the Packers to come back from a two-TD deficit, they just don't have the horsepower on offense. When they've been at their best this season, they've started well, then found a way to keep the cushion or at least hang on. And as you suggest, getting that lead or at least staying in a one-score game means they can run Jones more. I think Rodgers is still really good even though he's declining. He's not as consistently good as he was, and that's what happens to older players. But he still can make throws that only a handful of guys in the league can make. I also wonder if they'd be better off going to game plans (and his decision making) to do more of the quick game. I realize it's not always as easy as doing more quick game, it depends on what the defense is doing and the matchups and all that. But it does seem that when they do the quicker stuff that it's pretty effective and leads to bigger things as the game goes on. Anyway, back to your question, I think he's still one of the better QBs in the league, and I do wonder how other QBs would be doing with this receiving and TE corps. Brady has always done a lot with lesser receiving corps, but look at him this year now that he's only got one guy (Edelman), with Gronkowski or Amendola to help out. I was bullish on the Packers' receivers going into the season and am very surprised Valdes-Scantling and Allison have not improved and produced more than they have.
I don't know if anybody keeps stats on running the play clock down, and it did cost them some TOs earlier in the season, but I can't say I've noticed it being a big problem in the second half of the season, or at least the last month to six weeks. Rodgers likes to take the play clock down because it forces the defense to come out of its disguises and reveal coverages, which is a huge help for the quarterback. I know there are advantages at tome to getting a good tempo going, and something to be said for changing up speeds to keep the defense off balance, but quarterbacks have to assimilate a lot of info in a short amount of time to help them make decisions, so there are big advantages to taking the play clock down too.
I don't think they're saving him, they really weren't in any position to because they needed to win games down the stretch. But maybe as his playing time has increased in games and in practice he'll eventually get targeted some. Because you're right, t think he's been targeted only like three times all season. He brings much needed speed to the TE position, the question is after missing half the season on IR whether he knows the offense well enough to understand audibles and coverrages, etc.
I still think the GM-as-football-czar structure is preferred and wonder if this structure will face trouble down the road -- either with success or failure, having three people report to Murphy opens the door to the principals politicking and taking credit-assigning blame with him. But you're right that he appears to have made good hires for the two most important football jobs in the building, the GM and coach. Gutekunst surely has a good shot at being executive of the year in the league, and LaFleur is probably among the top three candidates for coach of the year (Harbaugh and Shanahan the others). Murphy hired both of them, and they've both off to excellent starts in their positions. He deserves the credit for that, no question.
I don't know that anyone will make that big a jump, it's late in the year and they've all played enough to see what they are. But if I had to choose, I guess I'd go Tonyan or Sternberger.
To a large degree the offense is what it is at this point. The one thing I'll say though is that while Rodgers isn't the player he was he's still capable of playing great or at least really well in any given game or two. So they are capable. But really it's just a matter of winning a game, by hook or crook, and moving on the next round. The bye should help them a lot, they'll stay healthy while their next opponent might suffer a meaningful injury or two. Aaron Jones is an excellent player capable or making a big play any time he touches the ball. A couple plays from him could go a long way toward winning a game.
I'd be inclined to let him walk if I'm the Packers, assuming he's in line for a contract of at least $6M a year and perhaps a fair amount more. He has some good qualities -- availability, a good quarterback for the defense, etc. -- and if he were the No. 2 ILB he'd be good. But for the No. 1 spot they need someone more dynamic for today's game and all the coverage involved.
OK, this has to be the last question, the locker room is about to open so I have to hustle down there. Sounds like they wanted to take some of Dorsey's responsibility away or bring in someone above him, and he wouldn't go for it. I think it's a good move by him. That owner is just a disaster. You can't keep changing people every year or two. Dorsey made a bad hire for his coach, but hell, Ron Wolf hired Ray Rhodes. Dorsey also improved their personnel a lot and had a great track record building a roster going back to KC. So IMHO a big mistake by Haslem to not give Dorsey a couple more years to build up one of the two disastrous franchises in the league. I don't know a lot about his relationship with Gutekunst, so don't know about the chances he'd return to GB. Might be hard for a guy who's been in charge to come back to a place he's been and be a subordinate. With that, have to wrap this up, locker room is open and I've got to go. Thanks all for coming by, look forward to doing a longer chat with you next week. Until then, Happy New Year!