Cory's Corner: Stick With The Process

The Packers will introduce themselves to the Bears. 

We all know that quarterbacks want to pass the ball. 

Most of them would rather just throw it all over the place and win the game on their throwing shoulder. Ironically enough, that isn’t how first ballot Hall of Famer Aaron Rodgers feels. 

“We maybe reacted to the score a little bit and we were running the ball well,” the 38-year-old quarterback said this week referencing the 23-7 season opening loss to Minnesota. “I think we ran it about 6 a clip, so we’ve just got to stick with the run, make sure we get our attempts where we want them to be because that means one of those guys is touching the ball probably. We have a lot of different packages where they’re in the game in different spots and just finding ways to get them the football a few more times.”

Rodgers isn’t far off. The Packers ran the ball 18 times for 111 yards — good for 6.2 yards per carry. That’s a huge number. 

And let’s be honest, Rodgers knows that the passing game is going to take some time for the passing game to get going. And at the same time, the Packers might have the best running back duo in all of football. 

There’s only problem: they need the football. Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon got a combined five carries in the first two offensive series, but only one more carry the rest of the half. 

This isn’t the time to be scared. I know that bookend tackles David Bakhtiari and Elgton Jenkins were out. That doesn’t mean that you should do something completely different. But first and foremost, you have to find offensive linemen that can block and rookie left guard Zach Tom was overmatched at run blocking and right guard Jake Hanson had the worst pass blocking game of his career by allowing three hurries and one sack in 16 passing snaps. 

Everyone was worried about the Packers coming into this season because there were going to be so many question marks about the receiving game. Those questions will be buried when Jones runs around the Bears and Dillon runs right over them. 

And yes, I know the Bears got a win against the 49ers, who many thought could compete for a deep playoff run. However, Trey Lance didn’t look comfortable and may not be ready to walk in Jimmy Garoppolo’s shoes — especially with Garoppolo waiting his turn to get back in the game. 

The Packers are just fine. I’ve said it numerous times, the regular season doesn’t really interest me about this team. The regular season is for teams like the Lions and Bears. The Packers need to just figure things out enough to be able to be consistent by December. If they lose on Sunday, I will allow a slight panic itch, but they still have plenty of time to figure things out. 

And that all starts with old school football. I guess it’s fitting that Sunday night’s matchup is the 205th matchup between the teams that laid the foundation for the current NFL. 

The Bears have a ton of optimism because they got a win they weren’t supposed to and the Packers aren’t sure who they really are. 

Chicago will figure out that soon enough. And the Packers won’t even need to wear those cheesy “Hello my name is ________” stickers. 
 

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Cory Jennerjohn is a graduate from UW-Oshkosh and has been in sports media for over 15 years. He was a co-host on "Clubhouse Live" and has also done various radio and TV work as well. He has written for newspapers, magazines and websites. He currently is a columnist for CHTV and also does various podcasts. He recently earned his Masters degree from the University of Iowa. He can be found on Twitter: @Coryjennerjohn

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Comments (38)

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NickPerry's picture

September 17, 2022 at 06:42 am

"There’s only problem: they need the football. Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon got a combined five carries in the first two offensive series, but only one more carry the rest of the half."

Wow, I didn't realize it was THAT bad. That just CAN'T happen. Whether it's MLF or Rodgers changing the play at the line, Jones and Dillon MUST touch the ball. This is the strength of your football team right now. Until Doubs and Watson step up, or Rodgers is actually willing to throw them the ball and not ignore them, at least 30 to 40 touches should be mandatory.

BUT...

Obviously, we know there are big issues with the O-Line. I like Zack Tom but he'll struggle some being as light in the ass as he is, especially in run-blocking. But he's a MUCH better pass blocker than Hanson who had a 14.4 pass blocking grade in 61 snaps. Newman had a 47.8 pass blocking grade in 61 snaps. Tom's wasn't great but I have a feeling if he was actually able to practice with the starters he'd improve quite a bit. Put Tom at RT, move Newman into the RG spot (for now) and put Lewis over on the right side to help out from time to time. ALL the time if the right side struggles. Hopefully, Runyan is back and I'd be downright giddy if Jenkins walked out the tunnel ready to go. Jenkins practiced Friday, FULL participation for the first time. I have a feeling though they'll want to give it another week which is probably best.

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Handsback's picture

September 17, 2022 at 07:32 am

The problem of last week can be traced back to the preseason games. The offense of the Packers has to figure out that run/pass ratio. Should have been done in games that don't matter, but the coaches didn't want any injuries. I think we all get that, but you pay a price esp. when you are changing your offense from a passing strength to a running game.
When they figure it out....it will be pretty to watch!

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gpt999's picture

September 17, 2022 at 06:24 pm

I agree! Preseason used to a way for teams to "tune up" before the real season begins. Now its ONLY for evaluating 2nd and 3rd stringers. Yuk! OK, so maybe a vet like AR doesn't need preseason snaps however his last 2 season openers would challenge that thought? You can't tell me that a quarter of play in the last preseason game wouldn't help starting O-lines and defenses get some continuity at full speed action? Again, MLF just doesn't learn from his mistakes! Sigh. Accordingly, I will NEVER watch GB preseason games in seasons to come.

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mrtundra's picture

September 17, 2022 at 07:33 am

I hope Tom is part of the OL, this week. If Jenkins returns, I think they can line him up wherever they want him to play. LG or RT, it makes no difference. If Jenkins plays LT, put Tom at RT. Lots of options on the OL. It's just a matter of finding the best fit. We still have Caleb Jones and Rasheed Walker on the bench, as well. GO PACK, GO!!!

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HawkPacker's picture

September 17, 2022 at 08:40 am

I sure hope that Jenkins does not play LT, if back, but RT and move Newman to LG. Tom will have to probably sub in at LG. LT is fine as is.

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Guam's picture

September 17, 2022 at 08:44 am

I know you like Tom, but why would you bench our best O-lineman, Nijman, in favor of Tom? If Jenkins is ready, our two tackles should be Jenkins and Nijman. Newman and Tom can fight over the RG spot.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

September 17, 2022 at 09:38 am

There are indeed lots of options as to the OL. Again, having 11 OL on the roster usually just means that you don't have 5 good ones. Just like keeping 7 or 8 WRs usually means the team doesn't have any idea who their 4th and 5th WRs are, and/or suspect that they aren't any good.

The 2nd rounder is very good no matter where he plays. The other 2nd round center is sub-average. The 3rd-rounder can't play at all. The 4th rounder is interesting. The other 4th rounder improved and then for reasons got moved to a new position where is a well below average. The 6th rounder is a sound player. The other 6th rounder got hurt and is out of the league. The coaching staff is enamored by the final 6th rounder for reason not apparent to anyone else. Another 6th rounder got traded. The 7th rounder had a nice quarter against 3rd string opponents, so the jury is out. Most of these guys are young enough that the jury is out on them. Really, the three UDFAs, one starting, and two promising, are the most fun to contemplate.

Damn, no wonder the media guys thought the defensive line was going to be dominant. The only answer is the return of Bakh and Jenkins and getting at least one more of these jury is out guys coached up to be at least average. Since Jenkins is very good everywhere, improvement at RT by Walker or Jones means Jenkins can boot Hanson to the curb. If Bakh can play LT and Nijman can play RT without losing his fundamentals too often, same result.

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Coldworld's picture

September 17, 2022 at 11:36 am

Bottom line. When you don’t have a true RT and your RG has a sub 15 pass protection rating, bad things are going to happen.

When you ignore plentiful warning signs against vanilla seconds and still think the answer is going to be different, this should tell us all that this is the tip of the iceberg, not the problem. When the head coach makes it clear that he’s in absolute denial of the issue after the game it closes the book on the question.

This is a team that shot itself in the foot on OL in the championship and is doing so again in the new season. This is the Head Coach who refused to face up to the Drayton nightmare. I am tired of hearing that we forgot about Jones and Dillon.

This from a coach who lamented his failure to run up the gut with Taylor once Dillon went down in the championship and has been on about getting the RBs integrally involved ever since. This is a guy who blamed his players for lack of intensity 40 minutes into a season. A guy who committed to not being as rank in game one as we were last year.

Face it, there is a lot wrong with this team and it stems largely from LaFleur. Instead of helping Rodgers win he’s hampering potential and making the climb harder.

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HawkPacker's picture

September 17, 2022 at 01:07 pm

Like I keep saying....he is terrible at in-game planning/adjusting.

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MooPack's picture

September 17, 2022 at 08:32 am

Curious what everyone's opinion is on what Oline combination would be best for this game?
Bakh ain't going.
Jenkins - 50/50
Runyan - I'm guessing will clear protocol having practiced Friday.

This would be mine, if Jenkins can't go:
Nijim - Runyan - Myers - Newman - Walker

Why?
I believe there is obvious agreement that Nijim/Runyan/Myers offer the best combo center > left. The right side is the question. So it reads that Tom is the better pass blocking Guard and Hanson is the better run blocker. Which do you go with? Either? Newman has faults as well, but is probably better than either at this point. And is better at Guard than Tackle. I don't think he belongs at Tackle. So, I believe that Walker or maybe even Jones is the better option at RT than Newman or Tom. They both seemed to grade out well in pre-season. If their going to run more, then get some more size on the line. I do think Tom is going to turn out to be a good lineman. Heck I had the Packers taking him in the draft all offseason. He's just a little light yet, but I'd take him over Hanson any day. In any scenario, I wouldn't want to see Hanson on the field. I don't see what coaches see, but I think from our vantage point he is a liability.

This would be my line, if Jenkins and Runyan can go:
Nijim - Jenkins - Myers - Runyan - Walker
or
Nijim - Runyan - Myers - Jenkins - Walker (if you think Runyan doesn't know how to play RG)

Why?
Nijim is the best LT at this point. Myers obviously at C. Jenkins may be the best option at RT, but then that leaves Newman/Tom/Hanson as the options at RG. I'd rather go with Walker/Jones at RT and give the Packers a very solid interior line. If Walker/Jones struggle a bit, give TE help to chip the edge. Also, Jenkins coming off injury probably won't be 100% at first. Let him get his feet under him at a less stressful Guard position and statistically a less prone to injury position. I don't want to see a repeat of Bakh coming back too soon. Probably not an apples to apples injury comparison or circumstances, but let's not push it.

I'm really hopeful they get this straightened out. Hate to see a repeat performance from this group again.

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HawkPacker's picture

September 17, 2022 at 08:46 am

Not bad thinking MooPack but I don't agree on your last line up if Jenkins is back. He should be our RT. Newman has the experience at LG and last year he did struggle early but got better as the season went on. Otherwise, I do like your left side.

Walker still needs some seasoning but the Pack believes in both him and Caleb Jones....but for the future if at all possible.

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Guam's picture

September 17, 2022 at 08:50 am

You are putting a lot of faith in Walker when he played in only one preseason game and only part of the game at that. He could get our aging QB1 injured if he doesn't hold up. I would rather push Jenkins a bit more than trust a rookie seventh round draft choice at RT.

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jannes bjornson's picture

September 17, 2022 at 09:01 am

Tauscher.

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Since'61's picture

September 17, 2022 at 09:24 am

jannesbjorson - Might as well go with Gregg if we're going to go with Tauscher. Thanks, Since '61

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marpag1's picture

September 17, 2022 at 09:28 am

Exactly. A 45 year old retired guy who isn't actually on the team is probably still a safer bet than Walker.

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jannes bjornson's picture

September 17, 2022 at 11:21 am

More coffee, boys. It was just a response regarding a 7th round pick starting and performing. Larry Beightol liked his guys regardless of draft status. A hard-core Line Coach.

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Coldworld's picture

September 17, 2022 at 01:33 pm

But Walker could still be a better bet than Hanson.

Bulaga might have enough knee for a game or two.

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Coldworld's picture

September 17, 2022 at 12:13 pm

If Jenkins is fully healthy, he should be the RT, without any hesitation in my view.

Moving him elsewhere would require Bakh back and resilient and Nijman getting time to hone his technique at RT in practice or Bakh out permanently and some time doing the same if they think there’s enough upside to switching mid season. Jenkins, Nijman and Bakh are the only players whom we should want playing either T except in emergencies at this point.

Newman was arguably our best G in the last quarter of the last season. He should be first option at RG. If Runyon can’t go then Tom at LG, but ideally Tom is swing everything. At RT, if no other choices, I’d go with whichever of Jones or Walker they think is the most ready and back him up with Lewis and Tom, if he’s not already playing, or the other of the two if he is as extra “TE” blockers.

So Nijman, Runyon/Tom, Myers, Newman, Jenkins.

If Jenkins can’t go: Nijman, Runyon/Tom, Meyers, Newman, Jones/Walker, (Lewis, Jones/Walker).

If Bakh is not truly 100% I wouldn’t start him. Nijman is good enough and I’d rather Bakh had longer than we rush him. Jenkins is the much more urgent need in the short term.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

September 17, 2022 at 08:50 am

The Packers didn't run much because they stunk at it in the first half. That OL could not run block. That's why they stopped running.

Yes, when Minnie got up 20-0 and went into prevent mode, running got easier and the numbers while running the ball got better. The 6.2 yards per rush or touch is an accurate number but is just one of those bullshit stats.

Then again, the OL was not much good in pass protection, either. Go figure.

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PeteK's picture

September 17, 2022 at 09:44 am

Proof: disaster at the one, even with Dillon.

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GregC's picture

September 17, 2022 at 10:01 am

Thanks for pointing that out. The running stats for that game mean about as much as Jordan Love's passing stats.

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TarynsEyes's picture

September 17, 2022 at 10:09 am

"The 6.2 yards per rush or touch is an accurate number, but is just one of those bullshit stats."

Stats are an 'excerpt' used to fit a narrative that ignores the entire context of an issue.

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Oppy's picture

September 17, 2022 at 02:56 pm

Poorly cited stats might be an excerpt used to fit a narrative and stats can definitely be used to mislead, but stats are no different than words. Words, like stats, are not misleading unless someone chooses to use them to mislead.

Words, like stats, can be misunderstood if not used accurately within context.

Stats aren't the issue. People's ability to use them correctly and honestly, or people's ability to understand their full context or lack thereof- that's the issue.

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TarynsEyes's picture

September 17, 2022 at 03:51 pm

Which is exactly what I implied.

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Coldworld's picture

September 17, 2022 at 12:29 pm

Running is tough in the first half typically, most of the time. That’s a BS excuse in this context and a dangerous one for this team particularly.

LaFleur is seemingly incapable of sticking with the run game unless it comes out gashing. In that circumstance, forget your run game, because it’s going to be great against weak teams and disappear against most good ones. Let’s assume that it’s true (at 6 ypc the alternative is theater the line got dramatically better-I don’t think it did, just that we ran more determinedly), even then it misses the point completely.

One doesn’t run early just for yards. One runs early to get and keep defenders honest. One does it to start to tire the box and to get them guessing and shading. One does it not just to draw defenders in and open space for passing, one does it to slow the rush. It doesn’t make your line better, but it does cause defenders to hesitate and coaches to be more cautious with calls.

When we run 5 times in a half and even when someone whose views I respect like you asserts that we stopped because it wasn’t working I call BS. This is a long term trait and the facts of that game don’t support or excuse it it one iota.

This team has to seriously commit to establishing the run with this roster. That’s why excuses like these are so dangerous. If Dillon and Jones are just window dressing in games we won’t get far with this roster. The running game must be real and central to our planning in first halves and before we have leads. That sadly has been true for a while, but it’s essential this year.

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Oppy's picture

September 17, 2022 at 02:04 pm

Agree 100%.

Running the ball successfully starts with attempts

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Oppy's picture

September 17, 2022 at 02:00 pm

Aaron Jones was averaging 5 YPC on his three runs in the first half

That's pretty good where I come from

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NitschkeFromTheGrave's picture

September 17, 2022 at 09:10 am

When you/we are a Homer as much as we are it's easy to believe in your own Kool-Aid. From time to time I will try to get out of that bubble and look at what the "PEOPLE IN THE KNOW", know....
Vegas line for the Bear game: Packers -10

I felt a little better. (a little)

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Since'61's picture

September 17, 2022 at 09:50 am

The Packers need to get their OL right, especially if they want to run the ball more often, which they should IMO. But an OL needs cohesion to run block effectively.

Put the best 5 on the field and keep them in their positions. Hanson is not one of the best five. If he is our OL is in trouble. It would be great if Jenkins is back this week. My staring 5 left to right; Jenkins, Runyon, Myers, Newman, Nijman. Possibly flip Jenkins and Nijman but if Jenkins is ready to go he is our best OL and he should be the LT protecting Rodgers blind side.

Hoping to see the offense come together this week, run the ball, set up play action and get the ball to Jones as often as possible. Defense needs the hyped up DL to step up. Stop the run, pressure the QB. Playing at home, get our first win. Go Pack Go! Thanks, Since '61

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Oppy's picture

September 17, 2022 at 02:46 pm

"Hoping to see the offense come together this week, run the ball, set up play action and get the ball to Jones as often as possible."

I agree 100% that we need to run the ball to set up play action. The key, however- and this is something Rodgers fudges up throughout any given game- is to continue to stay committed to the run after the defense starts cheating up.

Historically, Rodgers tends to hand the ball off just enough that the defense starts to honor the run, then he repeatedly attempts to take advantage of play action passing without ever sprinkling actual run attempts back into the mix.

You can't just run the ball 5 times on a drive then quit handing off the rock and only use play action fakes for the next full quarter. That's not how this thing works. For the smartest guy in the room, I'd think Rodgers would have figured this out by now. But yet.. that's his M.O.. Only run enough to get a defense to bite, then basically ignore the run for long stretches while executing multiple PA pass attempts.

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PatrickGB's picture

September 17, 2022 at 09:53 am

I am interested in seeing how our special teams do. It’s not always about the returns. New special teams coordinator is Richard Hightower. He spent his last five seasons running San Francisco’s special teams. In our playoff loss to the 49ers, Hightower’s special teams blocked a punt for the game-winning touchdown. Last Sunday our punt team looked a bit leaky in blocking.

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PackyCheese500's picture

September 17, 2022 at 09:56 am

Here are my thoughts:

Dillon and Jones need to get the ball more. Tom needs to start over Hanson. Newman needs to be at RG. Barry’s game plan for good WRs needs to be better. However, I think the defense will be the key to victory here. Gary and Clark should have a field day, and the Bears don’t have a JJ. Last week was the Packers’ defense first time playing together in their current state, so they should jell and work together better. Remember, last year, they went from allowing 38 points and 322 total yards to the Saints to become a top-10 defense by the end of the season. I still have faith in this group, and I hope it isn’t misplaced. They need to prove themselves.

Also, the Bears only started to win because the 49ers defense isn’t used to playing football in a swimming pool. I think it was a big-time fluke. Before, they were being shut out.

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Oppy's picture

September 17, 2022 at 02:51 pm

I don't know about your claim about the 49ers defense.. rain games in San Francisco are a huge part of NFL lore.

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PackyCheese500's picture

September 17, 2022 at 07:00 pm

Rain games are different than the entire field being a swimming pool…remember, before the field started to get underwater, the 49ers were ahead.

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gpt999's picture

September 17, 2022 at 06:37 pm

I don't know what scares me more (1) an offense where the best players are not utilized to their fullest (GB running backs) and/or (2) a DC who refuses to change his coverage schemes due to his own stubbornness and acknowledge that his scheme is NOT working? All I do know is that GBs coaching staff has to stop drinking their own copious "koolaid" and scheme for the teams they are facing! Chicago can seriously beat GB if the coaching staff cannot or will not make needed changes during games! Urgency is the word...

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PackyCheese500's picture

September 17, 2022 at 06:59 pm

Both, I would say. I agree completely with you - the coaching staff should be willing to do whatever puts the Packers in the best position to win.

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TarynsEyes's picture

September 17, 2022 at 10:17 am

I think they'll kick with who they used last week, less if either Bahkt or Jenkins plays. Rodgers has a stake in this game, called 'Ownership' and he'll show us that he can overcome issues when needed for his sake.

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Coldworld's picture

September 17, 2022 at 12:47 pm

I don’t think any QB can consistently overcome blocking as dreadful as Hanson’s. Especially one nearing 40. Rodgers isn’t the mobile guy he could be a decade ago. It’s just lucky he was unhurt. When route one to the QB is open that often and that quickly then it’s asking way too much of any QB to consistently win. That is especially true when Rodgers doesn’t have guys he knows will be in a position without even looking to take the dump off.

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