2019 Bye Week - That's What Cheese Said

It's a special bye week edition of That's What Cheese Said. Head Coach Matt LaFleur and veteran cornerback Tramon Williams are this week's featured interviews. 

The Packers have returned to Green Bay from the bye week focused on perhaps the biggest challenge yet. Head Coach Matt LaFleur spoke with the media Monday to discuss the team’s self-scout and how they’re preparing for a 9-1 San Francisco 49ers team.

Veteran cornerback Tramon Williams also spoke with the media yesterday, acknowledging how the Packers need to attack a strong 49ers team. 

“They look like a complete team right now.” Wiliams said. “They have a lot of weapons.”

LaFleur shared similar thoughts at the podium. 

“All I know is this,” he said. “When I cut on the tape, I see a damn good football team. They’re 9-1 for a reason. One of the top defenses. I think their offense is explosive.”

That explosive offense currently ranks second in the NFL in points per game (29.5), fifth in yards per game (386.6), and second in rushing yards per game (149). The team’s lowest rank is in passing yards per game at 15th (237.6). 

Part of that could be due to the loss of tight end George Kittle, the team’s most productive player in the passing game (541 yards, two touchdowns). Kittle’s status for Sunday night is currently questionable.

Defensively, the 49ers look just as impressive. The team currently sits in first place in the NFL for passing allowed per game (142.5), second in points allowed per game (15.5), and second in total yards allowed per game (253.0). Where the defense falters is in run defense, where the 49ers allow 110.5 rushing yards per game, good for 20th in the league. 

Williams understands what’s in front of this Packers team, and he’s confident Green Bay will have a better outing than they did a few weeks ago when they traveled to L.A. to take on the Chargers. 

“This time around, we have to show up and we have to play well,” he said. “We’ve gotta treat this week as normal as possible.”

The Packers had their own self-scout during the bye week, with offensive coaches assessing the defense and defensive coaches assessing the offense. 

“There’s a lot of things that’s pretty obvious in terms of what we need to clean up from a defensive perspective of giving up the big plays,” LaFleur said of the team’s self-scout, specifically in reference to the high yardage totals the team gives up without surrendering a lot of red zone points. 

Williams agreed. “We’ve gotta continue getting better from a defensive standpoint. We’ve gotta look in the mirror at ourselves and do better than we did the first half of the year. Which we did okay, but we still gave up too many yards.”

Currently, the Packers rank 28th in the NFL in total yards allowed per game with 384.7. In the passing game, the Packers allow 257.8 yards per game (23rd) and 126.9 rushing yards per game (25th). The team’s saving grace has been points allowed per game with 20.5 (14th). 

The defense has also been able to force turnovers and win the turnover differential almost every game this season. On the year, the Packers are plus-nine when it comes to turnovers. 

Offensively, the Packers sit at ninth in the league in points scored per game with 25. Aside from that category, they rank outside of the top ten in passing yards (11th), rushing yards (18th), and total yards per game (17th). 

“I think from an offensive perspective, staying ahead of the sticks and not having the negative yardage plays,” LaFleur said of what the self-scout showed of the offense. “I think when you look at us offensively, third down and long has been, we’ve had way too many of them. I think we’ve been pretty solid when it’s been third-and-seven or less.”

He also addressed specifically cleaning up the self-inflicted penalties, things like false starts or holding penalties that stall drives before they can really even get going. 

Williams and LaFleur didn’t mince words when they described what the Packers have to do to be successful against the 49ers, and for the rest of the 2019 season. 

“It’s the teams who play well at this time of year. That’s who’s usually tough to beat. We want to be one of those teams,” said Williams. “The goal never changes. The big picture is the goal. That’s understood already. We can’t get there unless we take it one week at a time.”

LaFleur agreed, saying the Packers were going to need to play their best football to leave San Francisco with a W. 

“You can never look ahead in this league. At the same time, you do want to have a vision of what you want to do moving forward,” he said. 

“I think our guys have done a great job all season long of just attacking it one game at a time. And not only one game at a time, but one day at a time. And that was the message,” said LaFleur. “Again, they’re 9-1. So you can’t look any further than that right there.”

The 8-2 Packers fly out Saturday to face off against the 9-1 49ers for a game so highly anticipated it got flexed to Sunday Night Football. It’s a game that weighs heavily on playoff seeding in the NFC. Without looking too far ahead, but keeping the team’s long-term vision in mind, it’s going to be a big one in San Fran.



Maggie Loney is a writer for Cheesehead TV and podcaster for the Pack-A-Day Podcast and Pack's What She Said. Find her on Twitter at @MaggieJLoney.

4 points

Comments (14)

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Turophile's picture

November 19, 2019 at 03:32 pm

The 49ers schedule hasn't been very hard (Bucs, Bengals, Steelers, Browns, Rams, Redskins, Cards (x2), Panthers). The toughest team they faced was the Seahawks (which they lost 27-24).

The Packers had a tougher schedule and are just a game behind. If both teams show up and play as they should, it will be close. I'd say the 49ers are slight favourites due to playing the Pack at their home (I'd favour the Packers, if the game were at Lambeau).

Biggest question mark for the Pack............facing the 49ers defensive front. Biggest question for the 49ers, the Packers DBs are better than many that the 49ers face, and they may have some problems with the Packers run game (did I really say that ?.......and how long since I COULD last say that). One small advantage for the Packers is that they are coming of a bye week and the 49ers had their bye week fairly early in the season.

PS The remaining games for the 49ers are the Packers (of course), Ravens, Saints, Falcons, Rams, Seahawks. That is a brutal series of games for them.

Both coaches know the other well........................it should be a fun game.

6 points
Thegreatreynoldo's picture

November 20, 2019 at 01:36 am

I agree that SF lost to the only good team they've played. They played a bunch of teams with bad offenses. 9 of the 10 teams had an offense 15th or worse by DVOA. That includes the 15th, the 15th, 19th, 21st, 22nd, 24, 28, 29, and 30th ranked teams. The opposing QBs stunk as well, with DVOAs ranging from 18th to 28th, except for the Seattle game, which they lost. Russell Wilson is 4th by DVOA as a QB.

Still, the DL 5-guy rotation consists of rookie Bosa (who looks like he will be a monster), and a bunch of guys who have been good for a few years: Buckner, Armstead, Jones, and Dee Ford. The two safeties and two top CBs are having good years, and Ward, Tartt, and CB Richard Sherman have been good for a while. Nickel back KWaun Williams has been good for years.

So, it is true that SF has played weak opponents which has allowed them to build nice stats and nice PFF grades, but most of them have done it for a couple of years now: I think the defense is for real. Ford is out, as is Kwon Alexander, not that he matters too much since he was average and a massive overpay. MLB Warner is adequate at best, and their SAM LB looks weak. CB Moseley was a UDFA in 2018, but was signed to the practice squad and paid $480K. He got promoted and played one game, got injured and went on IR. He has played well in 2019, but GB should see if he is for real. SF has CB Witherspoon sitting on the bench. If he wasn't a starter for GB, Witherspoon would see a lot of snaps were he on the Packers.

GB has to be able to and should be able to run against SF. Getting behind and being forced to pass would be a really bad thing. SF has a good pass rush even without Dee Ford and is loaded with DBs, including four CBs who might start for GB.

1 points
SterlingSharpe's picture

November 19, 2019 at 04:58 pm

Y'alls predictions?

2 points
Demon's picture

November 19, 2019 at 06:24 pm

Pack 27 9ers 21

0 points
Lphill's picture

November 19, 2019 at 06:27 pm

The 49 ers had a much easier schedule so throw out all the stats and it’s a fresh start , plus they are more banged up than the Packers , I think the Pack wins by 7.

1 points
SterlingSharpe's picture

November 19, 2019 at 07:33 pm

I still have a very sour, bitter, taste in my mouth from the luckyass Viqueens getting a win over the Broncos last week.

5 points
SevenMountains's picture

November 20, 2019 at 04:39 am

Against the 49'ers 3 different RB's I'd like to see GB start 5 on the D-line (something like Kenny Clark, Dean Lowry, Z'Smith, P'smith and Rashan Gary) and 6 DB's behind them. Ibraheim Cambpell could take Blake Martinez's snaps, he is faster and can cover TE's better.

Obviously if this would work, Mike Pettine would have done this already. What's the weakness in this strategy ( 5 DL's/EDGE and 6 DB's)?

-2 points
RCPackerFan's picture

November 20, 2019 at 07:24 am

I saw a thing on twitter yesterday that had the teams that have played the most teams with winning records and what there record was against them. Packers were the only unbeaten team against teams with winning records. They have played 4 teams and won all 4 games. For comparison the 49ers have played 2 and are 1-1.

This is a week to week league but you can look at the whole picture and still determine how good a team really is. While I don't really care about the Power Rankings it is at least a view at where people think teams are ranked. According the NFL.com this is where teams are currently ranked. The 49ers have played the Bucs (28th Ranked), Bengals (32), Steelers (16), Browns (21), Rams (11), Redskins (31), Panthers (17), Cardinals-twice (26), Seahawks (4).
Meanwhile the Packers have played Bears (23), Vikings (7), Broncos (24), Eagles (13), Cowboys (8), Lions (25), Raiders (12), Chiefs (9), Chargers (19), Panthers (17).
Comparing the 2, the 49ers have played 1 top 10 team and lost. Packers have played 3 and beat all 3.

The interesting thing going forward the 49ers play Ravens (2), Saints (5), Falcons (22), Rams (11), Seahawks (4). That is after the Packers who are currently ranked 6th.
Packers meanwhile play Giants (30), Redskins (31), Bears (23), Vikings (25), Lions (25).

This is a huge game to control the #1 seed. If the Packers win they have a much easier road ahead then the 49ers. But the 49ers remaining schedule is not as easy as their schedule that got them to 9-1.

0 points
Razer's picture

November 20, 2019 at 09:05 am

Regardless of what teams they played, the 49ers beat 9 of them and did so convincingly. Playing up to your potential is something the Packers are having a hard time doing. If we put together a complete game we should beat SF otherwise the 49ers will do what the Chargers did to us.

Keys to the game:

OLine needs to play a solid game... so that Rodgers can play a solid game.

Defense needs to get off the field...so that Rodgers can play enough of the game

Special teams need to secure good field position...so that Rodgers can...

Go Packers

1 points
Houndog's picture

November 20, 2019 at 10:02 am

Well said Razer,
If the Pack had played as many complete games this season as the 49ers have there'd be no questions.

0 points
ILPackerBacker's picture

November 20, 2019 at 12:11 pm

Beating cinci is that same as beating the vikings

schedule really matter unless you are cowboy fan or not paying attention

0 points
Handsback's picture

November 20, 2019 at 09:04 am

I still say 24-17 Packers win but could be closer at the end (like holding off score that either ties or wins for 49ers).
STs could make a difference in setting up a score for the first time this season.

0 points
Leatherhead's picture

November 20, 2019 at 11:19 am

I am laughing.

MLF is quoting McCarthy when he talks about negative yardage plays. It was a point of emphasis for the first couple of years, and then it wasn't.

It's tough enough to put a drive together without making the field longer. I applaud MLF for acknowledging that, just as I applauded McCarthy. But the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. We'll see if we can stay the course and remember that it's about the basics, not the highlight plays.

0 points
Sol's picture

November 20, 2019 at 11:41 am

LaFleur is no hayseed he will have the boys ready to play. The packers defense and offence match up nicely to be able to stop and score on the niners. The one big difference is we have Aron Rodgers, a guy that just doesn't turn the ball over and they have a guy who seems to love turnovers and hate ball security in the pocket. I know everyone always says this but, it is really true when evaluating this particular contest, who ever wins the turnover battle will win the game. I think we will win going away 31-17 and a plus 3 on the turnovers.

Go Pack

0 points