OK, let's dive right in. In the first three weeks I thought that might be the case. I'd say less so the last couple games, I mean, they put up 34 points against Dallas, that's pretty good. But it is something to keep an eye on. LaFleur has been part of in-game adjustments for years, but he's been the one making the decisions and then calling the plays for only a little more than a year -- last season at Tennessee, and five games with the Packers. So there's a learning curve.
Hadn't thought about that. Maybe Gary though teams seem to prefer putting 300 pounders out there if they're going to do that. Maybe Lancaster?
Exceeded expectations, I'd say maybe Bulaga. He might seem like a strange choice but his body has a lot of miles on it and I wondered if that would start showing in his play, but he's been really, really good so far. Eglton Jenkins is a candidate too, maybe even Preston Smith, he's a little better rusher than I thought, though they are paying him big money ($14M per). As for the other way, I guess I'd go with Graham, though really I think the Packers should have seen this coming.
The Packers played a really good game on the road against a talented team. So they deserve a lot of credit for that. The Cowboys are capable for being very good. But Dallas probably was overrated, it hammered on three bad teams (Washington, NYG with Manning at QB, and Miami) in the first three weeks so they looked like a powerhouse, but now they've lost to two teams with really good QBs. Prescott is their wild card, he's pretty decent but not a top 10 QB.
Yes, the Packer could use a quality receiver. The question is, at what price? While they could use the immediate help, they have to be careful about doing something dumb, trading a valuable future asset for someone who's only marginally better than what they have. We're still only a third of the way through the season, so there's still the very real possibility that, for instance, Valdes-Scantling's timing with Rodgers improves, and for Allison to produce more. Neither is a given, but it's very possible. As teams start fading from the playoff race maybe some decent receivers will come available. I know AJ Green's name comes up a lot, very talented guy though not young (31). My concern with him would be his injury, had surgery on torn ankle ligaments and still isn't playing yet, you'd want to make sure he's not damaged goods.
I asked a scout that yesterday, he didn't really have much of an answer, thought their QB is playing pretty well and overall they're just riding a wave of confidence. He didn't sound convinced they're that much better than they've been, pointed to tying a bad Arizona team. They've had a year-plus in Patricia's defensive system, that's probably helped them quite a bit. Patricia seems to be a pretty good defensive game planner. Just watching them I kinda like that WR Golladay, he's a big, talented guy. A lot of it is Stafford and whether he turns the ball over. He's a really talented passer, just pure arm talent.
Is that right? I'm not going to take the time to look it up, but it might be Dallas had 580 yards or whatever, so I guess it's possible. But the Packers' defense this year is so much better than last year, it's not even close. The pass rusher is better with the Smiths, the coverage is better because King is playing, the safety play is much much better with Amos and Savage. That said, turnovers have been important, and eventually they're going to have to beat a good QB or two who won't turn it over. That's why they have to get better stopping the run. If teams keep running it well on them and they don't turn it over, then winning gets a lot tougher.
I would think so. It's early, a team's fortunes can flip-flop a couple times during a season, we don't know how things will be looking in six or eight weeks. But yeah, all three defensive FA signings are looking good, and while Turner appeared to be really overpriced early on, he had a good game last week, and I know LaFleur really likes his locker-room presence. Savage looks really promising, Jenkins too.
Going into the season I'd have been pretty heavily this would be his last year. Not nearly as sure now. There's still two-thirds of the season to play, so a lot can happen. But if he keeps this up, then they'd have to think seriously about re-signing him. Not saying it would be a no-brainer, because age and injury history is still a big issue, and there's the better-a-year-early-than-year-late thing. But at minimum it would have to give them pause if he plays all 16 games. Lot of games between now and then, though.
He did. He had a couple good plays breaking up slants, there was a third down on Cooper that got the defense on the field. But Cooper ate his lunch overall, there's not getting around that. Alexander played so well in the first four games that I think you just have to say, cornerbacks get beat in this league, it's a passing game, the rules are skewed to help the passing game, and sometimes even top CBs can look bad. I'm guessing he's a young guy who got overconfident, he bit hard on same fakes looking for the big play a couple times. Cooper obviously is an excellent receiver too.
I don't know, he's looked pretty good to me. He's had some penalties, more than usual, of course that's never good. But he still looks to me like a guy they can put on the left edge and leave him to pass block one-on-one against anybody in the league.
It's disheartening and a sign of the precarious state of affairs in journalism today. Only a few outlets (NYT, Wash Post, I'm sure a few others) have figured out how to make money online. Everybody is experimenting and trying different approaches with pay-wall structure, story approaches, video, podcasts, etc. etc. etc., and it's just not working well. Sports Illustrated was the gold standard for so long, what a great magazine. It's the reason a lot of people from around my area got into sports journalism. Now it's being stripped down, and that's a great shame. The consequences for readers are continued erosion of competition. Experienced people getting laid off for cheaper, younger labor, or not being replaced at all. Lots of really good journalists out there doing great work, but the business keeps shrinking and shrinking and shrinking.
I'm strongly inclined to argue overused. He played really well last year and early this season.
Seems pretty good to me. I've seen Rodgers look over to the sidelines a few times and point after big plays. LaFleur jumped him that one time this year a couple games ago, but there's nothing wrong with that as long as they have an understanding overall.
Guess I'd begin by saying he wouldn't need to start to have a big role. Z Smith often moves inside on passing downs, so that's a lot of important plays where all three would be on the field. Also, they're playing the Smiths a lot, they'll probably want to cut back their snaps at least a little as the season goes on and in the next couple years, so there are more snaps for Gary there. If Gary just takes off they'd get him on the field one way or another. I still very much wonder if he'll end up being an interior player before it's all said and done.
It could. I wouldn't want to spend a D3 on him just for the rest of this season. But I'd also be very concerned about that ankle injury, it's a significant injury. I wonder if he'll be the same guy going forward. That would be an important question the Packers would have to answer before making that kind of deal.
They might, there have been a few egregious hits where guys probably should have been thrown out. I don't watch much college football but in past years I kind of felt like they were a little quick to kick guys out for targeting, a little too severe. But there have been some hits where guys really should have been kicked out of NFL games this year.
No idea on whether he'll be able to play, we won't know until late in the week or on the weekend with the game Monday. No, the running game was not better without him. It was better with him.
He should get more playing time. He's their most athletic TE at this point, and his blocking has improved at least a little from last year. I doubt Graham could have caught that ball at this point in his career. Tonyan is another guy who could get better with playing time. Tonyan played in all 16 games last year, I'm not sure injuries have been that big an issue with him.
OK. He's kind of a one-trick pass rusher for now, basically a bull rush. His effort on a few plays in a couple of the preseason games was bad, but in the regular season it's looked good to me. He got beat on a wheel route by Elliott last week but that's a really tough cover and Prescott threw a pretty good ball. Looks like a guy with some talent who needs a lot of work if he's going to be a playmaker. Still very much an open question of how good he's going to be.
Overall I'd say he's been pretty good. He breaks well on passes in front of him, pretty aggressive coming up and tackling in the run game overall (had a bad miss on Cook's TD run Week 2). Made a nice INT against Denver I think it was. Looks like a good player to me. He's going to make rookie mistakes, no getting around that. But a big upgrade over what they put back there the last couple years. He's also fast enough to outrun at least some of his mistakes. I'm guessing he'll miss at least a couple games with that high ankle sprain.
I'm wondering that too, don't know if that was more a matchup thing with the Cowboys or if there's something about this line and back that are better suited for the inside zone. The Packers are better at guard in the run game over last year, so maybe that makes them better suited to inside zone. We'll see in the coming weeks. It's all part of the coach figuring out what his guys do best, and their learning his scheme.
Agreed. It's hard to separate it all out and assign a percentage to each. But we saw last year against LA that the defense was noticeably better when both King and Alexander were on the field -- that was the first game since the opener both played all game, and while LA put up I think 29 points, its offense was blowing up the league at that time, and it punted a season-high seven times in that game plus had a fake punt after another third-down stop. Thought I saw a tweet this morning that almost all the Cowboys' points came when King was out of the game last week. The safety play too. Amos is very steady, and Savage is talented.
I was thinking about that too. Haven't asked anyone yet but my guess is, yeah, it would nullified the TD because it happened during the play. Either way that was a bad idea on his part, but if it would have taken the TD off the board and backed them up 15 yards, well, that can lose a game.
I have to say I've been kinda impressed with him from the start. He hasn't been afraid to part with former stars (starting with Jordy Nelson last year), and he's been open to adding players any and every way possible, including free agency, which can be a big risk. The thing that jumped out about the big spending he did this year, he mitigated the risk some by going after guys who were still young, in the 25, 26 range. Nothing's guaranteed, but at least with guys like that their best seasons still might be ahead of them.
There have been in the past, and everyone in my business will run into that at some point in almost every season. If anyone is doing that to me now I'm unaware of it. I haven't interacted with the players nearly as much as columnist the last few years as I did as a beat writer, I spend more time in the office calling coaches and scouts and doing things like this chat than in the locker room. So maybe a guy or 2 is upset and I'm not aware of it. But it happens to everyone in this business. Most of the time it passes, but not always.
Just to let you know, no injury update today. With the game Monday, LaFleur gave the players today off so there was no practice or media availability.
Wouldn't rule it out. Not sure how he was playing in Tampa, if it was a scheme-fit issue or if he's declining or what. But in Arizona he played that S/ILB position that Pettine likes to use -- Bucannon was one of the first guys to basically move from safety to full-time ILB in that role. So the Packers might be interested. Burks is back so he'll get a lot of those snaps as he gets back into game shape. But with Greene done for the year, and Amos better suited for deep safety than that role, I wouldn't be shocked if Packers were interested, put it that way.
Burks, yeah, though he might need a few weeks to get back into game shape. Lowry and Lancaster already have been playing a lot on early downs, so I'd think that will continue.
OK everybody, this will have to do it, final question of the day. I went 8-8 before the season but that's looking light right now. I bumped that up to 9-7 last week but was anticipating a loss at Dallas. Guess I'd have to lean to 10-6 now. But there's a lot of season left. Teams' fortunes can turn on a dime in this league, and that can happen multiple times in a season. But the Packers' defense is unquestionably improved, and the offense seems to be starting to come around. An injury to any one of several guys could change things in a big way, but I guess I have to say 10-6 at this point. Thanks everyone for coming by and sharing your thoughts and opinions, very much appreciated. Thanks especially to all our subscribers, you help pay for the thorough coverage we provide. Also remember you can get the Packers New app subscription for $4.99 a month, that's a great deal. And with that, we'll call it a chat. Until next week, take care everybody.