OK everybody, let's get right to it. I'd say it's mostly because they don't have a good return man. Now that Tremon Smith is back on the 53 they're OK at kickoff return, he looks pretty explosive. But I'm just not sure how good a punt returner he is, and when they had Shepherd doing both they had no explosiveness at all in the return game. Not to say blocking hasn't been a factor, I'm sure it has. But Shepherd was not explosive enough to be a return guy in the NFL.
He needed surgery on his ankle, so from what I understood he's out for the season.
I am, especially from what I saw early in camp I thought Vitale might play 30 percent of the snaps. but I just looked it up and he's played 18.8 percent. Now, he's not nearly as good a blocker as Juszczyk, which matters, but I"m not sure he's that much less a receiving threat. Juszcyk plays more than 50 percent of the snaps when he's healthy.
Several questions along this line. A couple points. One, their defense isn't as good as it looked early in the season, obviously, but it's still better than it was the last several years (though that's a low bar). They have their problems against the run, and they've given up too many big plays and a lot of yards overall. But the improved talent on pass defense still shows up on third and medium to long, they get stops there they often didn't get in the past, and in the red zone -- even with all the yards they've allowed, they rank No. 13 in points allowed -- not great, but not bad. They lack explosiveness at ILB, Martinez has some limitations there, and Burks hasn't developed quickly, so they're not getting much of anything from him. That means they have to play more with either a run-stopping second ILB (Goodson), which leaves them more vulnerable to bad passing matchups, or a safety at that spot, which leaves them more vulnerable to the run. Maybe getting Campbell off PUP will help because he can play that S/ILB position, which means Amos can stay at safety, which is his best position. I've had a couple assistant coaches in the league tell me that the Ryan/Pettine defense has its weaknesses against the run because of its emphasis on aggressiveness, so that might be a factor too.
I have to say, without knowing the analytics, when they got that penalty against Carolina putting the ball on the 1 with 2 seconds left in the half, I thought they should go for it. I thought they should go for the throat. I wasn't crazy about lining up in jumbo personnel -- I'd probably do that only if I were going to pass. I think it's better to spread things out, then you can either run or pass. But even before finding out about the analytics of that situation -- the analytics are based on the score, time remaining and quality of the opponent's offense and defense -- I thought in the moment that LaFleur should go for it.
Probably not a lot different than many of you. They're in really good shape to challenge for a first-round bye. They're as healthy as any team in the league, their schedule includes two bad teams (Giants, Washington), two that are struggling with QB issues in Chicago and Detroit (Stafford's back injury), and two against good teams (SF and Vikings). The NFC is pretty wide open. This obviously is a big game because of the tie-breaker implications.
He's been inactive a lot, but even with the J Williams' concussion earlier in the year D Williams couldn't get on the field. That's a strong sign that while they like his running ability they don't think he's dependable enough knowing the offense and audibles, etc., to put out there.
Sternberger actually blocked pretty well last week, much better than most anyone would have predicted. If he can keep that up he could end up playing a fair amount and maybe adding something to the passing game because of his speed and athleticism. I'd agree they should try to get him and Tonyan (if he comes out of the practice week able to return from the hip injury) on the field more to juice up the passing game.
Interesting question, and yes I'd have to think that would be a real possibility if he comes out and is still on the board late in the round. They'd have to feel good about the medical -- that his hip wasn't degenerative -- but yeah, definitely something to think about. It's not like they'd need him to play in 2020, so he'd have all the time he needed to recover. Now, it's a long way from here to there, and if his medical is good I still have to think somebody will take him in the top half of the round, but really, who knows? So much to happen with his recovery and team's evaluations of his play and determining how great a health risk he is -- he's not a real big guy and has been hurt a lot.
I looked at next year's cap a couple weeks ago, they're not in bad shape though they don't have as much room as this year, and they have a couple big contract extensions coming up (Kenny Clark probably next offseason, Jaire Alexander the year after) and some guys they might try to re-sign (Crosby, Bulaga) but with cutting Graham, if I remember right they're going to have in the vicinity of $40M in cap room to work with, so they have some money for a fairly expensive guy, or a couple guys in the second tier, to fill any of those needs you mention. I had TE high on the needs list but let's see how Sternberger does the rest of the season first, maybe that need won't be as acute as it appeared earlier in the season. Teams always need CBs, so I'd have that on the list too, especially because of King's injury history.
I haven't heard any specifics on what happened but Rodgers said what he said after the game, and LaFleur said at his press conference Monday that they're going to SF on Saturday, not Friday like they did for LA. So it's clear LaFleur did not like how things went when they traveled a day earlier than usual.
I'd start looking at this year's draft. Doesn't mean they have to do it, but if there's a guy they really like and he's available when they pick starting in R1, I'd take him if I were them. If Rodgers ends up playing a long time, they can always trade the guy. But the old saying is so true, the hardest time to find a QB is when you need one.
I'd be much more inclined to draft/sign a RT to be the starter if they don't bring back Bulaga. Turner's versatility is good in a pinch, but he's a better guard than tackle.
Sure, it's wide open. I still think New Orleans is the best team in the NFC, maybe SF because of its defense though I'm still not sure about Garoppolo and his WR corps. But really it's wide open. Just remember the outlook can change even over the next six weeks. I say this a lot but did anyone think the Packers were going to win the SB at this point in 2010? They were 6-4 but showed in the playoffs they were indeed the best team. That could happen with any of the teams you mentioned.
Very much agree that he and this offense are at their best when, generally speaking, the ball comes out fast and the play is quick-rhythm. That said, those occasional plays where he breaks the pocket and makes a great throw are important too, it's a weapon most teams don't have. So they need some of both. But the outside-the-pocket plays should be the exception, not the rule. It can be a fine line.
The ILB position has been de-emphasized league wide over the last 15 to 20 years as the game has become more passing and matchup oriented. You can see that in the pay -- ILB is on the lower end of the pay scale for the franchise tags. But it might be coming back more into vogue because of the need to find someone who's physical and explosive in the run game but also fast enough to cover TEs and RBs. Last year we saw two of them drafted high in the first round (Devin Bush and Devin White), and the year before another was a top-10 pick (Roquan Smith). So maybe Gutekunst will put more into that position in the offseason. He did use a third-round pick on Burks in '18, but so far he hasn't done anything.
Probably will be shared by Adams, Allison, maybe a TE. You can't have everything in this league, just not enough draft picks and money for that. Agreed that they could use a smaller, quicker guy for that role, and I have to think they'll try to find that in the offseason, maybe even make it a priority to get a guy like Kupp, or a super explosive guy like KC drafted in Hardman.
Tough matchup because the 49ers can and will run the ball, and the Packers have been vulnerable there. Also, the 49ers' DL has outstanding talent, capable of dominating a game. Packers have their hands full.
I think his drafting has been pretty good. Not like New Orleans had in that draft a couple years ago -- the draft with Lattimore, Kamara, M Williams and Ramczyk is one of the best drafts by any team in recent memory. So not saying he's done anything like that. But if Alexander keeps improving and becomes a Pro Bowl-type guy, which is very much a possibility, that alone makes for a decent draft, a difference maker at a prime position. There are potentially a couple big misses in that '18 draft with Jackson and Burks in rounds 2 and 3, that's very true, but still not time to make final judgments yet. Valdes-Scantling looks like a pretty decent pick for the fifth-round, and while Scott has had a couple bad games, I'd say he's still looking like a good pick. Don't forget about St. Brown, for all we know he'd have been playing a lot now if he hadn't been lost for the season at the end of camp. Not calling it a great draft or a really good one, but I don't think it's bad. This year's draft looks promising. Savage looks like a talented player with a bright future, and Jenkins already is rock solid. As far as Gary, who knows? There have been numerous questions about him today, and all I can say is I still wouldn't be surprised if he ends up being a down lineman. I just don't think the drafts have been bad. Not suggesting they're all-time great drafts or anything like that, but certainly not bad, at least I wouldn't say so at this point. Maybe it will look different two years from now, but that's my take as of today.
No. He's a good, young (just turned 24) player. Those are guys to hang onto.
It's got to be on the table.
Just wanted to give Jim his say. It definitely takes a mix of the system, quick-rhythm stuff, and the playmaking. It was all outside-the-pocket in McCarthy's last couple years, definitely to a fault.
This will have to do it, have to get out to 1265 Lombardi for open locker room. They did a pretty good job on McCaffrey, he had good numbers but didn't dominate the game. This week will be tougher, though, the 49ers will keep running it and running it, and have multiple backs with good speed. So a much bigger challenge, and Garoppolo is better than Kyle Allen at QB, though he will make some bad throwing decisions. Curious to see how much Goodson plays at ILB as opposed to Campbell at S/ILB. With that we'll call it another chat. Thanks to all for coming by, good to hear your thoughts and questions. Thanks especially to our subscribers who help foot so much of the bill that makes our extensive Packers coverage possible. And for those who don't subscribe, you can get the Packers News app for $4.99 a month, that's a great deal. Big game this week, should be plenty to talk about next Wednesday. Until then, take care everybody.