Confessions of a Polluted Mindset - 2019 Packers - 49ers Playoffs

The Weekly Packers Brain Drain from Jersey Al.

I've had but one viewing of this game from a Tiki Bar in Key West (I was in Florida for a wedding), so I can't really comment on the finer points of the game or less-obvious aspects I usually try for. But, it is what it is. 

The Sun also Rises: Having visited Ernest Hemingway's home in Key West this morning, I thought about this book and some of the symbolism that could apply to the Packers. The sun has set or is still setting on the Packers' "Lost Generation" (the Thompson/McCarthy Era teams) just as the sun is rising on the new generation (Gutekunst/LaFleur Era). Stuck between these two solar events is Aaron Rodgers - is there enough sunlight left for him to taste a championship again? 

49ers: I said it after the first game in Week 12 between these two teams and I'll say it again. The biggest differentiating factor I see is speed. The 49ers have it all over their roster, even at the OL and DL positions, and that is where this game was won 

Aggressive play: The byproducts of superior play speed are confidence and aggressiveness. The 49ers know they can beat you to the ball or to the spot and play with the confidence that they will win their individual battles.

Inside Linebacker: The Packers play the majority of the time with a single inside linebacker - part of that is personnel necessity and likely part of that is Pettine's preference. It stands to reason if you can take that LB out of the play, you improve your chances of successfully running the ball. While the Packers used BJ Goodson far more than in any game this season (39 snaps), it didn't matter. The Packers defensive line was neutralized by the Niners OL and then they just took advantage of Martinez's and Goodson's slowness getting to the ball. I remember seeing on almost every play the Niners release an OL who's only job was to seal off Martinez. As we all saw, it worked to perfection with the addition of the Niners' TEs and WRs executing successful downfield blocks, resulting in big gains for Mostert. With the personnel at his disposal, I don't think there was very much Pettine could have done. Outstanding game plan by the Niners.

Garoppolo: In this modern day NFL Era when throwing the ball is everything, never in a million years could I have made a case for a team scoring 37 offensive points while only throwing the ball eight times. So much for you can't win without a QB...

Defensive Line:  I've been saying this all season and the 49ers game just magnified it - While most think WR is clearly the Packers' biggest need, I think the defensive line is right there with it. Martinez is good enough when the DL are keeping him clean, but there just isn't enough beef/athleticism after Kenny Clark to give good offensive lines a tough day.

More Defensive Line: I'll add this - when Kingsley Keke was in on three tackles in only 11 snaps, more than Kenny Clark, Dean Lowrey or Tyler Lancaster, one has to wonder why he's had so few opportunites to play this season.

Food for thought - Let's discuss:

 

That's all I have time for now - I will try to come back with some more thoughts once I get a chance to study the game more closely.

 

__________________________

"Jersey Al" Bracco is the Editor-In-Chief, part owner and wearer of many hats for CheeseheadTV.com and PackersTalk.com. He is also a recovering Mason Crosby truther.  

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Comments (83)

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imnion's picture

January 22, 2020 at 06:26 am

The old adage, every playoff team except 1 loses their final game of the year. I would caution not to make too many decisions on one game. If we finished 9-7, missed the playoffs but won our last two games and looked great, would we be feeling any better? My thinking is that Gute and the brass will look at the totality of the whole season, or at least they should.

A couple things I would like to see:
The hurry-up offense used more and get proficient at it.
Make better in-game adjustments on defense.
Get a "thumper" at Strong Safety. Sorry, I think Amos is over-rated.
Sure hope Gary turns out better. Not another Datone Jones. That would be huge.

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Razer's picture

January 22, 2020 at 06:51 am

Well said. My list is a little longer but we can start with yours

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HankScorpio's picture

January 22, 2020 at 07:07 am

"If we finished 9-7, missed the playoffs but won our last two games and looked great, would we be feeling any better? "

Absolutely not. 9-7 may have been where they really "belonged". Maybe they did get lucky to actually go 13-3. But I'll take that even if it includes the whupping they just took. All those close game wins produced many moments of pressure. We saw lots of guys step up to respond to that pressure. That is a very positive development.

And even the whupping they took isn't such a bad thing, IMO. Leaving them with a sense of being so close but yet so far away is not necessarily a bad thing for 2021. It can be a tremendous motivator for the entire organization from personnel dept to coaching staff to players. I don't think a small tweak is enough for this team. They have some pretty major flaws---primarily pass catching and run defense. Both were on full display for the final game.

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Tarynfor12's picture

January 22, 2020 at 09:52 am

"We saw lots of guys step up to respond to that pressure. That is a very positive development."

We saw guys step up against more inferior players/teams. That is not a positive development but a false positive that will be exposed more on a weekly basis next season when the luck GB embraced this season doesn't return.

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Razer's picture

January 22, 2020 at 11:13 am

...We saw guys step up against more inferior players/teams...

This is the critical distinction that many don't want to consider. Our Dline played well against weaker Olines so we don't acknowledge that they are not a championship caliber line. The signs were there all season long if you took notice.

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fordguy's picture

January 22, 2020 at 11:55 am

At some point the O has to help the D and score some points and not put the D it mid field or worse. Each blow out was helped in part by fumbles, shanked punts and 3 and outs. The O was supposed to help the D by getting fast starts and help the D by making the other team one dimensional and not defend the run. Sadly it never happened.

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HankScorpio's picture

January 23, 2020 at 05:47 am

I don't see a whole lot of people that are failing to notice this team's flaws. They extend beyond the DL, as I'm sure you'll agree.

Having said that, considering they were coming off two years of being under .500, it's not surprising to me that Packer fans would be more focused on the things that have gone right than the things that are still not right. 2 years of constant pissing and moaning because there was nothing at all positive in enough for my tastes. But you shouldn't assume that just because I say the glass is half full does not mean I don't know it is half empty, too.

So just stop with the nonsense of trying to jump into someone's head about what they acknowledge or don't. It is not a "critical" distinction. It's just a matter of whether someone chooses to be a Debbie Downer or not. Some people have fun being a human barbiturate. Some don't.

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HankScorpio's picture

January 22, 2020 at 03:21 pm

Russell Wilson is about as good as it gets at QB. They sacked him twice to snuff out scoring opportunities. In a playoff game. In the 4th quarter. The first one prevented Seattle from closing to a FG. The second one ended Seattle's time holding the football. But that wasn't the end of the critical moments of pressure. The offense had to make 2 huge third down conversions. They did. And that ended the game

A few weeks before, they had an awful first half to fall behind another playoff team on the road. But guys stepped up on both sides of the ball in the 2nd half to pull out a relatively comfortable win. On the road.

Those are the kinds of moments where you need guys to step up and make plays. They did. Just like they had done against non-playoff teams.

Tell me more about these false positives.

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CAG123's picture

January 22, 2020 at 12:40 pm

I wouldn't say Amos is overrated because his best asset was always making the right play or being where he needed to be and that's why he always graded out so well.....but if the Packers wanted to take a flyer on Kyle Dugger in the later rounds if he's there I wouldn't oppose to that. He's a small school guy playing division two but at 6'2 225 and running a 4.5 he could be the boom the secondary needs. It is kind of crazy the biggest tacklers in the secondary are the corners. Did you see what happened to Savage he clearly wanted no parts of Deebo.

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jannes bjornson's picture

January 22, 2020 at 01:02 pm

He is moving UP boards.

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jannes bjornson's picture

January 22, 2020 at 01:10 pm

I agree on Amos. The SS has to break up the outside zone. He cannot sit and read. I would have a strong safety on the draft list. No guarantee Greene is healthy. I like Savage in an expanded role. He can cover the slot also.. It would be a hard call on Tramon. He is now a step slow to the ball. A CB by round three would be wise. The ILBs should be free agents.

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Razer's picture

January 22, 2020 at 06:49 am

Al isolates 'speed' as the key difference and I'll blunt that point to 'talent'. The Dline is a great place to start. The Packers against the run has been a 10 year decline. We keep touting Kenny Clark as a superstar but are hard pressed to find anyone else on the line that isn't a training camp body. Look at what the 49ers did to our offensive gameplan while only rushing four. Talent was the main difference in both trenches on Sunday.

The truly sad part of this talent gap is the draft capital invested in defense over the last decade from Nick Perry through Datone Jones through Damarious Randal, we have very little to show for the effort. So now we again talk about drafting linemen and linebackers to address persistent problems - very frustrating. The Rodgers playoff losses graphic tells the sad story.

Thanks Al for the mindset contribution and opportunity to interact

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baldski's picture

January 22, 2020 at 04:44 pm

I agree. Talent is what is needed. 49er Defensive line includes four 1st round picks. How do you accumulate that much talent is the problem that needs an answer? How does one team do it an others not?

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Sureshot's picture

January 22, 2020 at 06:53 am

I totally agree on the weekness of our D-Line.
Clark is a monster but Lancaster, Adams et Lowry don't have enough talent/speed/ability to stop the running game consistently.

I hope Keke turns out to be the guy that improves this area in the next couple years

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Leatherhead's picture

January 22, 2020 at 10:27 am

So in other words, Gute was stupid to give Lowry a new deal?

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Sureshot's picture

January 23, 2020 at 02:06 am

I don't say it's stupid but I have to admit I was not completely sold on this move.
But every move doesn't have to be either perfect or stupid. We're not on Twitter ;-)
Lowry has certainly a role to play in the pass defense.
But to stop the run, we need somebody either stronger to play tackle or faster to contain the edge.

We are so good at edge rushers now compared to the previous years that I dream of the same overhaul of the D-Line.

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HankScorpio's picture

January 22, 2020 at 06:55 am

I'm right there with Al on DL being right there with WR for offseason priority. And also with Al on his comments regarding Keke. I expect Keke will make a yr 2 jump. DL is extremely hard position for rookies to impact. Take Clark for example. The rush to judgement crowd had him as a bust after yr 1. Now, he at least a top 10 interior DL, IMO.

Still, I don't think the possible Keke improvement is enough. I think they need another guy in the mix--one that pushes Lancaster to #5 in the pecking order. He's the #3 now. Keke can handle pushing him down to #4, IMO. I don't believe Adams can so they need to move on.

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jannes bjornson's picture

January 22, 2020 at 01:21 pm

He was brought in to be a pass rusher, not a run stopper. Pennell was in town for a try-out. They needed a big body, but they let him drive down to KC. and sign with them. He had a big role in the run stop against Henry last Sunday.
The verdict is still out on Gutekunst. He'll have to be at the top of his game to ready a team to give Santa Clara, payback.

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HankScorpio's picture

January 22, 2020 at 03:04 pm

Funny you mention Pennell. I had to go back and re-read my post to see if I left his name in there. It was for a time. He sure would have been helpful on Sunday.

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RCPackerFan's picture

January 22, 2020 at 07:04 am

The Sun also Rises:
There is in fact enough sunlight left! The Packers came 1 game away this year. In a rebuilding year. A year in which was a brand new year for the offense. (year 2 should be much better). We had 2 legit weapons on offense this year. Adams and Jones. We had 2 over the hill TE's, 1 rookie who missed a lot of the year on IR and another young TE that got hurt and missed a lot of games. We had 3 UDFA WR's playing crucial roles in the offense. I fully expect to see Gutekunst now go out and add players to the offense like he did to the defense last year. I believe he will go out and bring in a WR in FA. I believe in the draft he will add another WR or 2 there. Also we will be getting EQ back. While he missed the whole season he should hopefully have a great grasp of the offense and will be ready to go this off season. Hopefully MVS can take a step. Lazard proved down the stretch that he is a really good WR. He should be in competition for our #2/3/4 WR.
This team is close. They need to add a few players to the offense and defense and we should be right in the mix again next year.

49ers:
Simply put the Packers lost 4 games this year. 2 of which were to the 49ers. The 49ers are in our way of where we want to go. We have to aim to become bigger/faster then the 49ers.

Aggressive play:
This is where the Packers lack of playmakers hurt them. While on offense the defense knew that they only had to stop Adams. That was the only player they had to truly worry about on the outside. Then they had to worry about Jones out of the backfield. They could be more aggressive because they didn't have to worry about anyone else beating them. This is where on offense they have to get more weapons. Plain and simple. If the Packers can spread them out and have 3-4 threats to throw to, that makes it a lot harder to defend.
As for the Packers defense, they figured out pretty early that running outside was to easy. Packers ILB's don't have the speed to get there.

Inside Linebacker:
The problem here is that the 49ers had a good plan to get blocks on Martinez. Whether it was with the FB or the OL getting to the 2nd level, they got to Martinez to prevent him from making the play. Goodson should not have played as many snaps as he did. He is an in the box run stopper. That is it. They honestly should have went with Burks more to use his speed.
It was a good game plan by the 49ers on how to run all over the Packers. The problem in my opinion was that Pettine didn't do enough personnel wise or scheme wise to stop what they were doing. When the DL was getting pounded they should have rotated DL a lot more to keep guys fresh. Keke came in fresh in the 2nd half for 11 snaps. When he was on the field he did help stop the run. Adams only got 6 snaps. Gary got 3. Had Pettine rotated guys more it could have helped. Also later in the game I saw he went to a 3 OLB set. I saw it one time (maybe there was more, but I only saw it 1 time) and they stuffed the run. Pettine needed to react faster to what was happening on the field. I don't think he did everything possible to try and shut them down.

Garoppolo:
My favorite headline I saw on twitter after the game was Garoppolo leads the 49ers to the Super Bowl. And it had a picture of Montana and Young as well. My response was simple. "he looked marvelous handing the ball off.." they could have had any QB back there. It wouldn't have mattered.

Defensive Line:
WR is a top need. Honestly I still say its the #1 need. They had 3 UDFA's playing a lot of time this year. Allison was terrible. Kumerow should be a 5 or 6 and barely see the field. They need a big upgrade there. For me my #2&3 needs they need to improve the DL and the ILB spots. Assuming Martinez will not be back you could flip a coin on the 2. Its clear they need some more run stuffing players on the DL.
But if you compare our DL to the 49ers. Look how many 1st round players the 49ers have. And then look at our DL. 1-1st round pick (Clark). 1-3rd round pick (Adams). 1-4th round pick (Lowry). 1-5th round pick (Keke). 1- UDFA (Lancaster).

More Defensive Line:
I really don't get why Keke didn't get more playing time down the stretch. He flashed to me every time I saw him play. And not only Keke. Why did some others get little playing time? Why did Gary only get 3 snaps? Why did Josh Jackson get little playing time, especially after Alexander got hurt? Why did Burks get little playing time? These are all high draft picks and aren't on the field. I just would like to know why?

Food for thought - Let's discuss:
I have seen this a few times. While not all of it is black and white in looking at just the scores. Can't say that Rodgers was flawless in any of those games, but this pretty much sums up why the Packers haven't made it back to the Super Bowl.
I do feel like they have taken a step in the right direction this year on defense. Bringing in the Smith Brothers and Amos. Drafting Gary, Savage. Having Clark, Alexander. But its clear they need more added. And is Pettine the right DC for the job?

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Razer's picture

January 22, 2020 at 07:49 am

A lot of good stuff here RC and good questions. One thing I stopped doing is questioning the use of one player over another. I will differ to the coaches on that every time. I don't see these guys in practice and don't see their mental and physical mistakes. Lancaster is playing before Keke, Adams and the rest of the jags because these guys are not showing enough day-in, day-out. Same probably applies to Josh Jackson, Oren Burkes and our TEs.

Again, my bottom-line is that the talent isn't there YET to compete against the better teams. That even applies to the guys within our own roster.

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RCPackerFan's picture

January 22, 2020 at 08:09 am

Thanks Razer.

I typically try not to ask why certain players don't play more. But it is a natural habit to do so.

The part that I really question is when a player like Keke comes in on 11 snaps and has 3 tackles. It kind of shows that he should have played more then 11 snaps. And have to think a better rotation maybe would have helped throughout the game?

And then we see Gary their top pick plays 3 snaps? 3? WHY?

Now Jackson and Burks, obviously didn't earn the trust of the coaches throughout the year, but if we are questioning the playing time of Keke and Gary in the last game, I think its fair to ask why Jackson and Burks didn't get more playing time this year. They are high draft picks and didn't get on the field. That is a lot of higher draft picks not playing.
I think its fair to ask they why.

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PeteK's picture

January 22, 2020 at 08:28 am

Totally agree. However, I am surprised that Lancaster wasn't more of a run stopper because last season he was able to hold his ground and create a pile, but this year he and many other D lineman seemed to be slanting into the gap too often and giving up an angle to be blocked.

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dobber's picture

January 22, 2020 at 09:26 am

Perhaps when he was playing more on the nose, he was better suited to stand-up and shed C than OTs when he's playing DE. I think he's mis-cast as a DE...but that tells you how little confidence they had in the DEs behind him on the depth chart.

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RCPackerFan's picture

January 22, 2020 at 09:41 am

I did notice that Lancaster wasn't as good this year as last year. That is a little concerning to be honest.
Last year Lancaster was a rock on the DL. This year he was pushed around a lot. Was there injury issues he was battling? He definitely didn't play as well this year.

Not just Lancasster either. Lowry was inconsistent. He had flashes of really good play, and a lot of not great play.

For me, they need to upgrade the DL. If Lancaster can get back to last years level of play that would be a bonus. But I think they need to plan on moving on without him or at least not relying on him.

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Leatherhead's picture

January 22, 2020 at 03:32 pm

Our aim shouldn't be to become faster and stronger than the 49ers. First off, our aim should always be to be better than, which encompasses a lot more than fast and strong. And secondly, SF is not in our division. Our focus should be where it always belongs....winning the division. You have to get to the playoffs before they matter, and that means winning regular season games, especially against the Vikings, Lions, and Bears.

IF WR is a top need, then the following questions come to mind:

Does this mean we should throw more? Or we should be throwing to other positions less? And that Lazard and MSV and ESB and Kumerow need to have their snaps and targets reduced....or eliminated? And since on most plays, the #2 WR is a blocker or a decoy, why do we need a high draft pick for that when we already have other guys?

Regarding the defensive line....our top 3 are Clark, Lowry, and Lancaster. After that, we have question marks with Adams, Brown, and Keke. Even if one of these guys makes a leap by next year, we still need a hog to play ahead of or alongside of Lancaster.

I think we're going to have to play with two linebackers on the field more, and only 5 DBs. I'm not sure that Burks or Summers are parts of the answer.

Food for thought: That's an impressive string of losses in playoff games the Packers and Rodgers really has had some exceptional playoff performances during those losses. Those are facts. If the point is that Rodgers isn't responsible in any way for those losses, then I'll disagree. If the point is that they're his fault, then I'll have to disagree with that.

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Lare's picture

January 22, 2020 at 07:13 am

I agree with the need for more speed, but I also think the Packers need to improve their tackling. There were some runs I counted 2-3 missed tackles on.

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splitpea1's picture

January 22, 2020 at 11:07 am

The secondary, especially the safeties, are supposed to be able to tackle, too, right? They missed a lot in this game.

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jannes bjornson's picture

January 22, 2020 at 01:32 pm

Practice make s perfect.

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croatpackfan's picture

January 22, 2020 at 07:47 am

Only post season games of all you mentioned under "Food for thought" that Packers showed capable D was 2013-2015. In 2013 Packers gave in 60 minutes 23 points to opponent, 2014 22 points and in 2016 20 points. All of those game Packers lost in last possession (2013) or in OT (2014, 2015) .

All others losses, especially 2011, 2012, 2016 and 2019 was combination of bad D and not so good O (talking only about the game Packers lost in the post season!).

I truly believe that Packers did not have good game plan for the their last game this season. Probably they did not admit 9ers are much quicker and faster than them and that was base in their wrong game plan. I agree with Al that the main advantage of 9ers is their speed and only 2 teams I see as teams which can match that speed are Ravens and Chiefs. But they lost 2 games against 2 teams that are slower than them - Seahawks and Falcons. Those 2 teams were able to slow them down enough to be able to play game competitively with them. Seattle did that twice.

Would Lambeau Field gave that in January to Packers? Probably. Because in mud and on ice, speed is killing disadvantage.

I do not believe that Packers coaching staff did not analyze those 3 games 9ers lost. If they did are there anything they might apply against 9ers but they decided not to? It is ridiculous to think that is possible...

At the end, thank you Al for sharing your thoughts during the season and I'm looking forward for your article in the future...

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PeteK's picture

January 22, 2020 at 08:10 am

Niners had trouble with mobile QBs. Also, I saw players in position to make a tackle being blocked and driven 5 yds down field, so it was speed but even more a lack of aggressiveness. As soon as the ball was snapped the front line was driven back 3 yds.

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MarkinMadison's picture

January 22, 2020 at 07:40 am

Keke and Gary could both pay off next year. Remember that a lot of posters here said Clark was a wasted pick after his rookie season. Gary has a lot of speed for a big man. He needs to be on the field next year and he can realistically play 5 out of 7 positions in the front 7. Find a starting spot for him. Put him in there. Have him gain 5 lbs. and put him beside Clark and put Keke on the other side. Hell, get a bigger NT, kick Clark out and use Gary to replace Martinez. If you ask him to drop 10 lbs. he could easily do it. Sitting Gary on the bench waiting for one of the Smiths to need a breather is a criminal waste of talent.

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RCPackerFan's picture

January 22, 2020 at 07:52 am

While I agree that they both could pay off big time next year. My question is why weren't they used more this year?

I don't want to just throw shade at Pettine specifically. But he was the DC. I would like to know why Gary and Keke weren't used more. Because it seems like when they were in there, they made plays.
And when we are asking about players getting little playing time, why weren't Jackson and Burks on the field more too?

Another one I was wondering about too is why was Raven Greene not active? I get that he may not have been ready, but then why did they add him to the 53? That part is just kind of odd to me.

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MarkinMadison's picture

January 22, 2020 at 08:05 am

I think they have lost confidence in Jackson. I still think he needs to move to S. Iowa guys play a ton of zone and the Packers play more man. Burks is similar - they don't trust him. The Green moves may have been a mistake in understanding his recovery or maybe they were just trying to throw a little uncertainty at the 49ers? He is definitely valuable.

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RCPackerFan's picture

January 22, 2020 at 08:42 am

I know that Jackson and Burks got hurt and that was part of it.

But Jackson when he played however many weeks ago showed up good. He might be a better S? I am not sure. I do think he needs to play more zone as well. So that is probably part of it.

Burks adds a lot of speed. He was having a great training camp and preseason before his injury.

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Tingham's picture

January 22, 2020 at 09:36 am

Jackson is an enigma to me. He was not on the game day roster for the last several weeks. I had the same thoughts as you that he should be a valuable ST piece but apparently not. Him and Burkes are not trending in the right direction. M Adams appears to be a bust at this point.

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Tingham's picture

January 22, 2020 at 09:36 am

Jackson is an enigma to me. He was not on the game day roster for the last several weeks. I had the same thoughts as you that he should be a valuable ST piece but apparently not. Him and Burkes are not trending in the right direction. M Adams appears to be a bust at this point.

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Leatherhead's picture

January 22, 2020 at 10:25 am

Mark, mostly I think you are on target. Keke, Gary, Savage could all be better next year, and considering how much we improved from 2018 we could conceivably be a Top5 defense next year.

We need bigger, stronger, more physical guys on the defensive front. After Clark/Lowry/ Lancaster we have question marks on Adams, Keke, and Brown.

I think we also should re-examine how much we play a 4-1-6 defense with two D linemen, two edge rushers, one linebacker and six DBs. We’re pretty light when we do that.

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jannes bjornson's picture

January 22, 2020 at 01:38 pm

Bob Brown? Fadol Brown? Jim Brown.

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jannes bjornson's picture

January 22, 2020 at 02:45 pm

Wasting Gary at the end of the year and Sternberger is ultimately on LaFleur. Now, he will have to take charge. People tied to the old regime may just have to be cleared out. It's a results business. Ted is gone.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

January 22, 2020 at 07:47 am

"Martinez is good enough when the DL are keeping him clean"

Agreed, but someone is going to overpay him.

That last tweet is a shocking Damnation on TT MM and DC.

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Razer's picture

January 22, 2020 at 07:55 am

I am not sure that I would put Dom Capers on that list. He tried to make something out of the lunchmeat our front office gave him. He felt the lash like Pettine is now feeling.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

January 22, 2020 at 09:35 am

Well, if it's not DCs fault at all then MM is innocent too.

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Razer's picture

January 22, 2020 at 10:47 am

I almost give MM a pass because he suffers as the talent is lacking. His teams were lacking in solid Dline, RB, Safety, LB, TE and CB talent. Each year we hoped that some training camp UDFA was going to be the next Sam Shields. Where I can't give MM a pass is his position as head coach. He buried his nose in his play calling at the expense of the whole team. He should have been pounding on TT door or Mark Murphy's office to get more talent. Instead we heard him talking about pad level and differing to Dom Capers or ignoring the persistent problems with Slocum and that mess.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

January 22, 2020 at 11:11 am

"He should have been pounding on TT door or Mark Murphy's office to get more talent."

We don't know that he didn't try that. What he did publicly and privately I expect are very different.

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PeteK's picture

January 22, 2020 at 07:51 am

Perfect analogy for the season, but Pack needs to act now because the bell is tolling for Rogers. KC had trouble stopping the run all year, but they were able to stop the best back in the league, even with a hobbled Jones, with tough play by their safety and LBs. Mostert gained 142 before first contact! Frightening how we could not shed or avoid the blocks.

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NickPerry's picture

January 22, 2020 at 08:12 am

I wouldn't call in a "Lost Generation" but with the success Gute had this year and the VERY FEW holes the Packers had on the roster from 2011 through say 2016 makes you wonder what could have been. We saw first hand once again in 2019 what throwing UDFA at a Packers weakness at a position (Thompsons preferred method).

Now I'm not blaming Gute, not even a little. IMO Brian Gutekunst has done a remarkable job since he took over 2 short years ago. He HAS added speed to this roster but by the time Thompson left he left a shell of a football team...At least one that might go 13-3 and play in a NFCCG. WAAAY to many missed draft picks and lack of team building with any other avenue. Personally I think Mark Murphy deserves a LOT of the blame myself for allowing Thompson to continue when it was clear he wasn't well. Hell we picked that up in one press conference. Murphy walked the halls daily with him...WTF Murphy!?

Gute had a LOT to try and fix when he was named GM 2 January's ago. I for one am excited as hell about this Packers team and staff moving forward. Gute and MLF and the rest of the Packers FO now have a 2 game measuring stick and know EXACTLY who they need catch up to in the NFC. The Packers aren't that far off despite what the score read in SF. Get Rodgers some more weapons because ONE WR isn't enough. Get WR, ILB, O-Line and D-Line in Free Agency or the draft and go back and hit it again.

This team isn't going anywhere but up. ENOUGH of the dome and gloom... The future is bright in GB!

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RCPackerFan's picture

January 22, 2020 at 08:56 am

Gutey has done a great job of adding talent to the roster the last 2 years.

His first year he brought in Graham, Lewis, Williams, Alexander, Jackson, Burks, MVS, EQ, Scott, Bradley, Lazard, Raven Greene, Lancaster, Campbell.
This year he brought in Smith Brothers, Amos, Turner, Gary, Savage, Jenkins, Sternberger, Keke, Sullivan, Ervin, Veldheer.

That is a lot of players that have had some wort of role with this team. While not all have been stars some have either played well, or shown flashes that they could have a good future.

A couple of things I loved that he has done has been to bring in proven veterans in the middle of the year. Last year he went out and brought in Campbell. This year it was Ervin and Veldheer. He used free agency to bring in impactful players.

That is what makes me excited for next year. We have a GM that is willing to go out and get pieces we need!

Also, after a year with LaFleur's new offense I think we will see him go out and get players that fits what LaFleur wants to do. I expect more WR's, more TE's, and RB's brought in through FA and the Draft. I think our offense next year will look much more improved!

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dobber's picture

January 22, 2020 at 09:23 am

"This team isn't going anywhere but up. ENOUGH of the dome and gloom..."

I agree! Football is meant to be played outside and in the daytime!

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Spock's picture

January 22, 2020 at 10:29 am

Ha, dobber, I read that line and had the same thought. :)

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NickPerry's picture

January 23, 2020 at 03:36 am

Oops...DOOM and Gloom...

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flackcatcher's picture

January 22, 2020 at 09:41 am

Two points Nick: Injuries did far more damage than many of the critics of Thompson-McCarthy era acknowledge. Outside of 2011 and 2014 this was one beat roster throughout McCarthy's tenure. It also shows how good Thompson's front office was for most of his tenure in keeping the Packers at the front as a Superbowl contender. Most fans here refuse to see the damage Murphy did is Packer President in player personnel matters. My personal belief is Murphy used Ted illness to mount a takeover of the front office with Ted as GM in name only from 2015-2018. It was only when Gute left that the executive committee acted under pressure to remove Murphy from that role. From Rodgers extension to those drafts I believe Gute is still cleaning up the player mistakes done while Murphy controlled the front office.

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Razer's picture

January 22, 2020 at 01:07 pm

Really?! Mark Murphy was the hand behind all those missed picks?

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flackcatcher's picture

January 23, 2020 at 03:54 am

Your a smart commenter here. Go back and read the stories on Gutes hiring. Go back and and look over the reactions to Murphy's sports media tour when he announce he was the 'owner. Or McCarthy's midnight firing. What makes you think with Ted's illness that Murphy wouldn't take the chance to step into Ted's role. Vacuums get filled. And when Gute wanted to hire a new special teams coach this off season, remember what happened. Don't tell me with the talent in the Packer front office (Gute, Wolf, Highsmith and Dorsey as a consult) that group missed so wide often. What was the X factor. Think about it...

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murf7777's picture

January 22, 2020 at 08:32 am

I think our #1 need is DL a big heavy run stopper followed closely by WR. If we have a great DL with the Smiths the MLB position becomes less important. Against SF and others who gashed is by running they could expose our lack of Speed at the MLB position. If we had greater push and disruption from the DL position that lack of speed wouldn’t have been exposed as much. So, if Martinez wants 10+ M then let him go and spend the money on DL and find MLB by draft or fringe FA.

I’m a big believer that great Lines make up for mediocrity at other positions. If your DL is weak the other team can scheme away from a very good MLB with blocking. SC won’t allow you to have above average players at every positions so you must decide what positions are most important to spend the capital and draft picks. Spend it on DL ala SF.

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Lphill's picture

January 22, 2020 at 08:39 am

The defense was embarrassed on national TV, Pettine should be fired , you know their running but you can’t stop it. Draft a receiver early but find a run stopper in free agency who can be plugged in right away we can’t wait for someone to develop . Gary was under utilized, he made an impact on his limited snaps this season, I don’t know the reason for this but he is not a bust . Lowry and Lancaster are just guys nothing special , they are not play makers.

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Guam's picture

January 22, 2020 at 08:53 am

Reading tea leaves is always an uncertain proposition, but it appears as though the Packers are moving on from Martinez. Martinez was quoted as saying neither he nor his agent have had much contact with the Packer FO regarding a new contract. Since the Packers usually resign guys they want to keep fairly early in the process, it appears they are they are going to let Martinez test free agency and likely will lose him.

In his two years, Gute has not been one to let problems continue (see: OLB position, 2018) so I see changes coming for the Packers run defense. Since the Packers would have had to pay Martinez $8-10 million to keep him, I suspect they will use similar money or slightly more to go after Littleton or Schobert. I also suspect that we will see changes on the D-line as Lancaster and Lowery should be rotational players, not starters. I believe the D-line changes will be a combination of a free agent and/or a high draft choice.

Assuming they also resign Bulaga, I suspect that will eliminate any further free agent moves and that will leave draft choices to shore up the offensive playmaker issues. The draft is deep is WRs so that won't be a problem, but the draft is thin at TE so Gute may have rely on the development of Sternberger and hope that solves the TE issue.

I think the resources will be there to plug a number of the Packer's holes and I have great confidence that Gute will do so.

Go Pack Go!

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Lphill's picture

January 22, 2020 at 09:16 am

I think we have our tight end of the future on the roster, Sternberger. No need to waste a high pick on TE .

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Guam's picture

January 22, 2020 at 10:24 am

I think you might be right on Sternberger as he is a willing and effective blocker with good speed to get open. However we will need to find one more TE to run MLF's zone blocking schemes. Graham is done and Lewis may be done. I am not a big fan of Tonyan.

I wouldn't mind seeing the Packers use a later round choice on a developmental TE.

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flackcatcher's picture

January 22, 2020 at 09:20 am

I think Croat pretty much crushed Al's last tweet. I do understand what Al is trying to get at, but his Thompson McCarthy hate blinds him. Most of this is how close we came again, and fell short. Somebody must to be blamed. First Dom Capers, then Mike McCarthy and of course Ted (who never did what I as super fan wanted) Thompson. I get it. We all get it. In pro sports there can only be one, our team is so close, why not us. Look at Pettine hate. It would be amusing if it wasn't so stupid. A rebuilding team got a whole heck a lot further than anyone here thought, and all we hear is whining and moaning. (smiles and shakes head) Heck of season....

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JerseyAl's picture

January 22, 2020 at 09:38 am

Huh? I don't have Thompson McCarthy hate. My take has always been that they did a lot of good but fell off the horse the last 3 years. I also supported Capers more than anyone, feeling he had little to work with in the final years. Finally, I wasn't getting at anything with showing that tweet other than trying to start a discussion here.

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flackcatcher's picture

January 22, 2020 at 12:50 pm

Heck. You sounded more like my Mother in Law on that last paragraph... :-) And I should have been clear that this was not to criticize you over your post, but of a class of commenters who have a nasty habit of hitting then running. The lack of critical thinking from some, well bugs me to no end. Sloppy on my part.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

January 23, 2020 at 06:15 am

The hate is deep, almost hidden. Let it flow!!!!

The hate for Pettine is inchoate, but is building in ever increasing rivulets. If the offense lays a few more eggs (it laid quite a few but we won most of those games), the hate will build for LaFleur, but never wholly focused because it will always be divided between him and AR.

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Doug_In_Sandpoint's picture

January 22, 2020 at 09:21 am

I posted a bit of this before, but I’m working on a theory of NFL “success”. It bugs me when the talking heads laud GM Lynch/coach Shanihan about how awesome they are without looking at last year’s 4 win total brought to you by the same guys. Same with McVay last year. Short attention spans abound in the “what have you done lately” NFL. It creeps into these pages when people comment that we cannot compete against the best teams in the league.

So my theory goes like this...there are poorly run franchises (Browns, Bucs, Raiders, Lions, Bengals, etc.). They rarely taste the playoffs for decades and we don’t have to worry about them. Then there are the well run franchises that rarely miss the playoffs (Seahawks, Steelers, Texans?, Vikings?, Packers, Pats). They recurrently end up with at least 9-11 wins per year over time. Then there are the boom-bust teams or yo-yo teams. SF is one of these.

SF has really good players. Fast, young, mostly drafted in the early first rounds. Here are their win totals over the last two cycles: since they made the playoffs in 2002 they had 7-2-4-7-5-8-6 wins. Then they made the playoffs in 2011-13. Then they won 8-5-2-6-4 before this year. That affords a ton of early first round draft picks while the stands sit empty on Sundays (and they did). When the inevitable success happens, the bandwaggoneers jump onboard and they can have 1-2 years of success before the salary cap catches up again and they can’t pay the second contracts. Closely related to the yo-yos are the teams with excellent QBs on rookie contracts. There is enough $ to buy good players until the QB gets paid. Russel Wilson getting his means no more Legion of Boom. KC will see this when Mahomes gets paid. Finally, there is the team that gets hot (Titans). I have no explanation for this lightning in a bottle phenomena.

The Packers (and the better run franchises) can compete with anyone EXCEPT the yo-yos in their up years when they are so loaded with talent and speed that they overwhelm. So the dilemma is, would we rather have the high degree of amplitude with SBs and playoff appearances followed by severe suckiness, or would we rather have a team that excels but rarely makes it over the hump? Tough question.

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dobber's picture

January 22, 2020 at 09:28 am

"Then there are the well run franchises that rarely miss the playoffs (Seahawks, Steelers, Texans?, Vikings?, Packers, Pats). "

But...but...but...Murphy is killing this team! But the power structure can't work! But Russ Ball is a problem and making too many decisions!

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flackcatcher's picture

January 23, 2020 at 04:03 am

Well the executive committee fix that problem. (after being pushed to the wall) Gute runs the football side of operations period. The Packer experiment with Jerry Jones like ownership is over. (And not a moment too soon..... :-)

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dobber's picture

January 22, 2020 at 09:43 am

People are calling for a big, stout, run-stuffer. That's OK, but he's only likely to be a run-down player and teams will exploit that, too. I would argue that's not what they need. So long as this team is running a 3-4 -- and to those who say the 3-4 is the problem, look at defensive rankings and you'll find that 3-4 teams trend at least even if not a little better than 4-3 teams -- they need a true 5-tech who can play run AND pass. These are guys who are 6'5", about 300 lb., and can move...SF has guys in that mold: tall, powerful, long arms. Armstead. Bruckner. Lowry isn't that guy. He's tall and has the mass, but is slow-footed and short-armed. He's a try-hard guy, but will be at least serviceable playing opposite a better DE on the other side. Keke isn't that guy, either. He's a situational player in a 3-4, but could evolve into a disruptive MIke Daniels type.

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Doug_In_Sandpoint's picture

January 22, 2020 at 10:31 am

Dob, that is my point exactly. Buckner was picked 7th overall. Armstead was 17th overall. Lowery was 4th round and Keke was 5th round. Suckiness begets big fast people.

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Guam's picture

January 22, 2020 at 10:52 am

I am less concerned about long arms/ short arms (see: Donald, Aaron) than I am about foot speed. You nailed it when you said Lancaster and Lowery are slow footed. We need more athletic D-linemen who can beat an offensive lineman to a spot or shed a block and slide quickly. Daniels was not a prototypical 3-4 DE, but he was quick and disruptive. We need more than just Keke, but I have hopes that Keke can be another Daniels type.

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Tundraboy's picture

January 22, 2020 at 10:21 pm

Good point but they need at least two 5 techs, a real ILB,and a big load in the middle with some nasty in him. That and another WR that strikes some fear. Anything else without that is window dressing.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

January 23, 2020 at 06:09 am

That tough DE who can play the run and pass cost exorbitant amounts. GB would have to draft one, and hit the jackpot.

I know you prefer the DE to a NT, but finding a fat guy who has little juice is a lot easier and cheaper than your DE. True, maybe the fat guy only reaches his highest value against SF and Tennessee, but he would still spell Clark on early downs.

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HankScorpio's picture

January 23, 2020 at 07:13 am

Between Z, Preston, Gary, Clark and Keke, I think they have enough pass rush. You'd also like more but you're darn right that finding interior pass rush is both hard to find and costly. You certainly cannot count on a rookie to provide it. Look at Clark. It took him 2 years before he got good. Which is also why I am counting Keke and Gary more on faith than production. It takes two years for most guys.

I'm with you in thinking they need fat guy run stuffer. It was evident all year in run defense.
That is really what Lancaster brings to the table but not well enough. So the target is improving on him. Whether that is through competition that pushes him to greater play or different guys that are better. This type of player is far easier to find. 2 of that, please.

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Handsback's picture

January 22, 2020 at 09:43 am

Last game of the year and now an off-season of speculation. I'm not sure if more play-makers will make a difference, if your QB can't get the ball to them. We have seen the Pats win SB after SB w/o multiple all star wideouts or RBs. The difference is a QB like Brady. Rodgers isn't Brady, he's a great passer, just not a great decision maker. So having said that, IMHO the Packer's offensive plan was very flawed. The passing game should have been designed to go through Jones. Make those LBs to cover him and once that wouldn't work look for the one-on-ones to the TE, Adams, or Lazard.
These proposed passes to a RB are usually a 3-step drop backs. The Oline could handle that and frankly could open holes for quick opening run plays. This would also take more time off the clock and help the defense.
The defense was undermanned meaning they didn't have the manpower to stop their running play. I would rather see a dline guy face-planted at the LOS verses being pushed back several yards on a running play. I'm not sure playing more reserves would have helped or not, it was just obvious that the OLB's weren't holding the edge. They are big and strong enough to do that and maybe next year will be better. Better coaching and instructions should help. This year they couldn't do it.

So they finish 14-4, not bad at all, in fact great record. Congrats for a great year.
Players needed next year:
DE (may have to move up to get a good one)
ILB (need a difference maker, Martinez is pretty damn good if you replace him...better be really good)
OT( one with raw ability is OK if BB is resigned.)
TE (yes another TE over a WR)
WR(need a slot and boundary prospect/proven producer)
Can see Gutsey make a FA aquistion for one of these positions, and also see him move up the draft board for talent. Draft 30 won't get many difference makers but moving up isn't w/o risk.

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Since'61's picture

January 22, 2020 at 09:57 am

Al, great time of the year to be in the Keys. I hope that you are enjoying your time there and I hope that you enjoy fishing because the fishing is great down there. Have a great time.

As for the Packers, your last comment/tweet about Rodgers playoff losses would make him the Packer's version of Dan Marino if not for the 2010 SB win. Both are two of the greatest QBs of all- time who never had a championship caliber supporting cast. In Rodgers case the defense usually has not been good enough to stop our opponent's offense.

Just for comparison. In 10 post season games, Lombardi defense gave up 104 points or 10.4 points per game. The results, Packers go 9-1 winning 5 NFL Championships in 7 years including 3 in a row (65-67) and the first 2 Super Bowls. In the 8 playoff losses mentioned by AL in his post the Packers defense allowed 291 points or an average of 36.4 points per game. With or without a great QB, regular or post-season, no team is going to win many games when the defense is allowing an average of 36+ points per game. That means the Packers would need to score at least 38 points a game against at least an actual NFL level playoff defense if not a championship level NFL defense.

It's way too early to accuse Gute of failing to provide Rodgers with an adequate supporting cast but there is absolutely no excuse for the TT regime not to get the job done or for Murphy not paying attention for 7 seasons following the 2010 SB win. Case closed. Thanks, Since '61

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Razer's picture

January 22, 2020 at 10:57 am

Good summary Since 61. Yes, the offense and Aaron Rodgers could use couple more weapons and that would get us further down the road. But, the defensive failures of these teams ALWAYS undermine the potential of the team. While many embraced the "winning ugly" mantra, you knew that the better teams were not going to give you any free passes.

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jannes bjornson's picture

January 22, 2020 at 02:07 pm

Gute was part of that regime. Let Pennell walk in Nov. Lucky Ervin showed up on the street and Veldheer.
There may be a changing of the guards by the end of this week. LaFleur did not sound happy.

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stockholder's picture

January 22, 2020 at 11:03 am

I was in Key West Just before the Atocha hit the headlines. Good Treasure hunters know how to find Gold. Striking it Rich says it all. So how can the Packers strike it Rich? Gute found some pieces that hinted for a big strike. The waters are rough for everyone. But navagating free agency is the key. Gute must hunt again. The pieces aren't as big as last year. But the stakes are. Dts= Got just the two bargains. Andrew Billngs and Jarron Reed. ILBs =Joe Schobert and Littleton. Why not Martinez? Disappointment. New blood makes any heart pump better. The Body of the packers needs speed. Wr speed. And the best way to get it is the draft. If Gute wants to strike it rich. Draft Offense. Pay Defense. Gute's golden ship will come in.

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stockholder's picture

January 22, 2020 at 11:08 am

X

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Swisch's picture

January 22, 2020 at 11:40 am

* In this the era of Derrick Henry, when even the Chiefs are running the ball in a big way, the key question for the Packers is not only whether Aaron Rodgers has the desire to implement small ball with the Packers, but whether he has the ability as far as temperament for patience and touch on his passes. While I'm all for keeping Rodgers if he is for the most part willing and able, I'm concerned that he may be a stubborn enigma who is resistant to change, and whose skills are deteriorating significantly, or largely unsuited for the Packers going forward.
* In this the era of Derrick Henry, etc..., as the Packers were gashed by the run in so many games, and embarrassingly so in the 49ers fiasco to end the season, is Mike Pettine the guy to be our defensive coordinator? Can he adjust our defense to the new physicality of the NFL that also features speedsters; and can he make adjustments within a game?
* Only after these two critical decisions have been made can we go ahead to decide how we can get ourselves some more players with physicality and speed. These are extremely difficult calls, but our future depends on honest assessments and bold resolutions by our general manager and head coach.
I don't know the answers, and it's difficult to know the inner workings of a team, but I'm very interested in what other fans think as far as observations and insights and impressions and opinions.

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ILPackerBacker's picture

January 22, 2020 at 12:57 pm

Shocking how many people are still apologists for Blake.

It is significant how many times NOBODY blocked Blake and Blake did nothing. NOBODY. They schemed out blocking that ignores the IN LB as a non factor.

Who was right?

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fthisJack's picture

January 22, 2020 at 03:27 pm

Pettine's defense was underwhelming most of the year. they did play well in the red zone but struggled between the 20's. got to do a better job of getting off the field on third down.i think LaFleur should bring in his own guy as DC.

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jlc1's picture

January 22, 2020 at 05:27 pm

the whole question of talent seems to me to be an organization question. And the question is does the coaching staff and FO grasp the talent they have. Arguably McCarthy and Thompson whiffed on guys like Aaron Jones, Micah Hyde, Casey Heyward and some others. Hard to see that this regime is keeping that kind of talent on the bench though (obviously Jones' talent is now fully recognized). Who needs more snaps next year that did not get them this year? There is a pretty good consensus here on who needs fewer snaps.

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bryno1234's picture

January 22, 2020 at 09:51 pm

One problem with Green Bay.

Rodgers, Rodgers Rodgers.
A man who can not back up his bravado.
A man who is as arrogant as they come.
A man who has no rapport with his team.
Not a risk taker.
Not a leader.
Not a winner.

And how can you screw things up with Olivia Munn??? Total loser!!!

I am all for sending him on his way back to California where he came from. Maybe he can find time to heal his relationship with his family.

Adios Sandy!!! (Our nick name for him after he was injured in 2008, the year he started. Based on South Park Episode 502).

Put in Boyle!!! Why not give someone else a chance to get us to another Super Bowl.

Bryon

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