Hello Wisconsin: Once Again, the Packers Will Only Go as Far as the Defense Allows

Ranting about the Packers' defense, plus Beer of the Week, some solid rookies and a call for horror movie suggestions.

Throughout the 2020 season, I repeatedly stated that while the Packers should be considered a frontrunner for a Super Bowl championship, they would find it an uphill battle so long as Mike Pettine remained the team’s defensive coordinator.

Pettine’s refusal to get away from a soft, passive philosophy frequently put his players in a difficult position to make plays and disincentivized aggressiveness. Ultimately, the team’s defense bore a large portion of the responsibility for yet another collapse in the NFC Championship game.

The hope was that a change in coordinator (which was much-needed, there’s no doubt about it) would put the players in a better position to succeed and develop a new defensive philosophy. 

But instead, the new-look Joe Barry defense has come out of the gate playing the worst defense to start the year we’ve probably seen since the 2011 season.

As I’ve said elsewhere, it’s very difficult to find anything this defense does well with consistency after two games. They can’t rush the passer, they can’t control the line of scrimmage, they’re not doing particularly well in coverage. Individual players are playing well (thank you Jaire and Kenny) but the unit as a whole came out of the games looking like potentially the worst in the league for six quarters.

Assuming the offense continues to regain its 2020 form (and I believe it will), we’re once again in a position where the Packers will go as far as the defense allows them to go. 

And right now, that defense isn’t taking this team anywhere.

There’s a hell of a lot of season left to go, and plenty of time for things to turn around. The Packers have plenty of breathing room to make the necessary adjustments to turn things around.

But what exactly are those adjustments, and what is the ceiling of this defense?

It appears the team has already made the decision to move Eric Stokes into a more prominent role, and sooner than later (quite possibly Sunday) we will see him take over for Kevin King in the starting role opposite Jaire Alexander.

But there aren’t exactly a whole lot of other moves the team can make personnel wise, given we’re dealing with almost exactly the same crew from a year ago.

Will putting in TJ Slaton and Jack Heflin for Tyler Lancaster and Dean Lowry really make a difference? I mean, it’s worth a shot, given how utterly useless the latter two have been (holy HELL if I see Lancaster getting blown off the line of scrimmage one more time…). But that’s a lot of stock to put into 5th round and UDFA rookies. 

There isn’t really much else for the team to do from a personnel standpoint other than pursue a trade or a free agent, and the team’s financial situation significantly limits the options in those avenues.

Basically, the Packers made a gamble in the offseason that the missing ingredient was the defensive coordinator. And to their credit, changing the coordinator certainly seems to have had an impact… just not the one you’d like to see.

Let’s not sugarcoat it here. There’s absolutely nothing about what the defense has put on tape so far that justifies the hiring of Joe Barry, a two-time defensive coordinating failure, to a team that felt it was a tweak or two away from the Super Bowl.

In this early stage of the season, the defense is worse almost across the board than it was in the latter stages of last season. 

And again, while there is plenty of time to patch things up, the sense of urgency is higher than it’s ever been, given this is the “last dance” / “all in” Green Bay Packers season, likely to be the last for Aaron Rodgers with the team.

Given that urgency and Barry’s own past failure, it’s more than reasonable that the heat should already be turned up on his unit this early in the season.

It is beyond exhausting that for the vast majority of Rodgers’ 14 seasons as starting quarterback, this team has paired him with a defense ranging from bad to mediocre. And now, in likely his final season with the team, the best the team could do in the search for a new coordinator was a guy who flamed out in Detroit and Washington, who was almost certainly not going to be a contender for a coordinator gig anywhere else.

The Packers have plenty of individual talent on the defense to the point where this should at least be an average unit. The defensive line outside of Kenny Clark is utterly irredeemable, but the talent at edge and in the secondary should at least be able to partially cover for that.

For whatever reason, it’s been exceedingly difficult to get that talent working cohesively. 

And two games into the 2021 season, the defensive mess is bigger than ever.

I’m writing this on a site known for the catch phrase “lotta ballgame left.” But the clock is ticking on Rodgers’ time in Green Bay, and frankly, I’m sick of waiting for defensive competence. 

The Packers’ rookie class is off to an outstanding start

It’s only been two games, but right now you’ve got to like what you see out of the Packers’ 2021 draft class.

PFF ranks Eric Stokes as the league’s #1 rookie corner after two weeks of play, and Josh Myers as the league’s #1 rookie offensive lineman. Meanwhile, Royce Newman is putting in some pretty darn solid work at the right guard spot and is helping hold down an offensive line that’s been better than expected a couple weeks in, given the lack of David Bakhtiari and the relative inexperience of the unit.

When you get three guys who are already contributing at a high level in the first month of their careers, that’s a pretty promising start to a draft class.

There’s still a chance for guys like Amari Rodgers, TJ Slaton, Kylin Hill and Jack Heflin (UDFA) to make some solid contributions this season as well. But Stokes, Myers and Newman have been quite good to start their careers. 

The attention will be primarily on Stokes over the coming weeks, as he undoubtedly will unseat Kevin King as the starter opposite Jaire Alexander. Stokes hasn’t been perfect in his appearances in two games, but he’s had some very nice pass breakups and is playing fast and loose. He looks like the real deal so far--very reminiscent of Sam Shields, in some ways (with very different pedigrees, of course). 

But Myers is going to be an unsung hero for this team all year long. After losing a guy who was arguably the best center in the league for several years in Corey Linsley, Myers has come in and done an outstanding job as a rookie. If he continues to play at this level, he’s going to be considered a hell of a draft pick.

If the Packers’ 2020 class was about anticipating future needs (and we’ll see how they turn out), the 2021 class was about filling present needs, and boy has the top end delivered in the early returns so far.

Wisconsin Beer of the Week

I’m doing a bit of a throwback here because I actually had this beer over the spring, but with the fall weather approaching, it felt like a good time to bust out a malty brown beer. I’ve yet to stock my beer fridge with the requisite amount of Oktoberfest and pumpkin beers (don’t worry, I’ll right that wrong this weekend), so reflecting on this delicious dunkelweiss seemed like a good idea.

This is the Munich Dunkel from Component Brewing Company here in Milwaukee. It felt like a good time to highlight Component once again, as they’re moving into a new, larger space to accommodate their growing production and audience. I believe the move actually happened this week.

Component is a tiny, tiny brewery, but that doesn’t stop them from doing great work, from the standards (pilsners, weiss beers, dunkels, lagers) to complicated IPAs, fruited sours and adjunct-laden stouts.

Munich Dunkel will almost certainly be making a comeback at some point this year. It’s exactly what you want out of the style--malty, drinkable and a pleasant 4.9 percent ABV. Great beer for both spring and fall. 

Grabbing some of my favorite fall styles upon my next beer run, so expect some of that goodness coming your way in columns over the next several weeks!

See what happens when you run the ball?

The way the offense flowed through Aaron Jones so successfully makes what happened with the offense in week one even more astounding. It was like the team forgot they had a stud running back they just signed to a lucrative extension.

You could tell the game plan was to feed Jones as much as possible against Detroit, and it sure worked. With more than 100 total yards and four touchdowns, Jones was clearly the engine for the Packers’ offense in week two. And if the Packers are going to repeat their offensive success they had a season ago, that’s going to need to be the case more often than not this year.

This offense is at its best when Aaron Rodgers doesn’t have to play hero ball and can play within the flow of the game. It should come as no surprise that Rodgers was much more efficient this week as the Packers committed more to the run and to getting Jones the football.

Outside of a few plays, Rodgers wasn’t even particularly outstanding--he did exactly what he needed to do, and executed the game plan while Jones played the star in the offense. 

When you can be a multi-faceted offense, it’s just better for everyone involved. The Packers would do well to remember that in future games this year where they get down quickly.

SURVIVOR is back!

AWWWW YEA FOLKS, STRAP IN! Survivor is back for Season 41!

I know what some of you are thinking. “That show is still on?” “Who even watches Survivor any more?” “Oh hell yeah, give me that Jeff Probst content!’

As someone who has never missed a season in 21 years and has seen most multiple times, this has been a long last year and a half without that Survivory goodness in my life. Season 41 premiered last night on CBS and it just hit different, man.

This season the show had to be pared down to 26 days instead of 39 due to the pandemic and the quarantine requirements before filming, which means all of the action is going to be condensed and even more frenetic than usual.

We got a brand new cast of 18 split into three tribes to start things off, and one of the more diverse casts in memory. Some standouts so far:

-Shan, the pastor who managed to get her own theme song. She’s my winner pick based on the first episode; fantastic combination of people skills and strategy. 

-JD, one of the youngest contestants and a vibrant, eager personality. Kid is just out there having the time of his life. His over-eagerness will probably be his downfall, but he’ll be a lot of fun.

-Danny (McCray), a former NFL player who seems like he’s got a big, fun personality.

A few new twists were introduced, but they’ve also gone back to basics by giving the teams a lot less to start with in terms of supplies. All they got to get going was a hatchet and a pot, and not even everyone got flint! It brings back a true survival aspect that had been missing for some seasons now.

Anyway, if the Packers defense continues to suck this season, at least we’ve got Survivor Wednesdays to look forward to.

Around the NFC North

Here we go once again around the NFC North leading into week two.

-The CHICAGO BEARS got their first look at Justin Fields in meaningful NFL action on Sunday, and it wasn’t particularly great. But Fields will have plenty more opportunity this weekend as he gets the start due to Andy Dalton’s injury. This probably means it’s his job for good, a little earlier in the season than some would have expected. The Bears can still play a little bit of defense, but it’s hard to imagine them scaring anyone this season.

-The DETROIT LIONS have shown some fight in their first two weeks, but the talent gap between them and most other teams they play is going to be significant. It’s a result of how much Matt Patricia and Bob Quinn really destroyed this team over the last several years--it’s amazing how a team that was at least somewhat respectable for a few years under Jim Caldwell could fall so far so quickly to their prior laughingstock status. 

-The MINNESOTA VIKINGS have lost two games by a combined four points. That’s brutal in the NFL. The team got off to a slow start last season, and history is now repeating itself in a way that has to be infuriating for head coach Mike Zimmer (and, of course, Vikings fans). Things don’t get any easier for the Vikings this weekend as they have to take on the Seattle Seahawks. An 0-3 start could well be in the Vikings’ future, which would for the second year in a row give them a winless September.

An unusual wealth of tight ends

Throughout much of the 2000s and 2010s, tight end was a position of weakness for the Packers. Bubba Franks had some decent years in the early 2000s, Donald Lee was serviceable later in the decade and Jermichael Finley had some flashes in the early 2010s, but for the most part, it’s been a struggle for the time to find consistency and depth at the position. In many cases, the McCarthy offense simply ignored the position entirely.

So it really is something that when the Packers waived Jace Sternberger this week just two and a half years after drafting him in the third round, the response was just… “meh.”

The reality is Sternberger was going to be coming back to a team on which he would have been the fifth tight end. Sure, Josiah Deguara and Dominique Dafney don’t play true tight end roles in the traditional sense, but make no mistake--they’d be getting more playing time. 

Meanwhile, 82-year-old Marcedes Lewis is still out there trucking people, and Robert Tonyan came out of nowhere to become the dynamic receiving threat the Packers hoped Sternberger would be when they took him with a relatively high draft pick.

It’s a refreshing change of pace. Tonyan will be due a big pay day after this season, and my guess is that out of the offensive playmakers that need to be paid, the Packers are going to be more likely to try to keep him around than Davante Adams.

The time has come: give me scary movie recommendations!

Alright folks, with October just about to kick off, I’m once again seeking scary movie recommendations.

As I posted on Twitter the other day, some recent favorites include The Lighthouse, The Witch, Hereditary, Midsommar, Hush, Split, The Babadook, It Follows, Get Out and A Quiet Place. I tend to like stuff that’s more on the artsy or atmospheric side than things like campy slashers or stuff with a lot of jump scares .Paranormal horror can be good in some cases too.

I know there are some big-time horror enthusiasts out there, so if you’ve got some favorites, send them my way.

Still to be determined if my friends and I will be doing the traditional scary movie marathon this year. We canceled last year due to COVID and the way things are looking right now… well, let’s just say I’m not making very many concrete plans. But my wife and I do try to watch at least a handful throughout the spooky season.

So if you’ve got any good ones, let me know in the comments!

Prediction for Packers vs. 49ers

I haven’t picked the Packers to lose a game since 2019, but I’m doing so today.

In case you couldn’t tell, I just do not have faith at all in this defense at the moment. Kyle Shanahan vs. Joe Barry in a football scheme-off may as well be Bobby Fischer versus my three year old in chess. Unless something changes drastically from what we’ve seen the first couple games, the Packers are going to need to put up at least 40 to win the game, and that may not be enough.

While it was heartening to see the Packers pick it up on offense a bit this week against Detroit, I’m not sure they’re quite “there” yet to the point where I can see them winning a shootout against… well… anyone when their defense is playing the way it is. Especially on the road in a part of the country they’ve struggled in mightily the last couple years.

49ers 45, Packers 30.

 

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Tim Backes is a lifelong Packer fan and a contributor to CheeseheadTV. Follow him on Twitter @timbackes for his Packer takes, random musings and Untappd beer check-ins.

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Comments (80)

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egbertsouse's picture

September 23, 2021 at 06:32 am

Great article about the defense. Telling it like it is without the sugarcoating laid on by most fan sites. Gute completely dropped the ball and decided to cross his fingers and hope rather than improve the talent. Whoever decided on the Barry hire should be horsewhipped. Didn’t they learn their lesson with Menninga that the cheap hire doesn’t ever work out?

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Coldworld's picture

September 23, 2021 at 08:58 am

LaFleur does not look like a gifted judge of coordinators. That’s a HC. For him to make comments about Barry’s D in both of the latter’s first two games suggest that this experiment may need to end very soon. Hopefully we learned from STs last year that it’s better to move in season sometimes. How we avoid future repeats is a problem that is going to be more profound.

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jannes bjornson's picture

September 24, 2021 at 12:52 am

They put all the pressure and Money on Rodgers to cover their asses, no change since Wolf let Holmgren fly in a power struggle, settling for the "mechanic ",Ray Rhodes instead of Andy Reid and a perpetual loser in sherman. Read'em and weep.

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calabasa's picture

September 23, 2021 at 06:37 am

Maybe it is the fault of the scheme, but I don’t see much talent on the defensive side.

Clark
Z Smith
P Smith (?)
Gary 15% of the time
Alexander
Stokes

All the rest are JAGs. Safeties are decent.

What the hell, here’s my list of defensive starters who would be out of the NFL right now if the Packers cut them:

F’ing Lowery
F’ing Lancaster

(I can’t believe that these guys are even on our team.)

King
The rest of the LB’s that I can’t even name right now.

Bad scheme, not enough talent.

And a leader who doesn’t want to be there.

GPG

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dobber's picture

September 23, 2021 at 07:33 am

The leader who doesn't want to be there put up a QB rating of 145.6 on Monday night. And, if you subtract the Jordan Love kneeldowns, allowed the offense to run more than it passed.

Just sayin'...

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mnbadger's picture

September 23, 2021 at 12:51 pm

Or was he talking about Z Smith? GPG!

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porupack's picture

September 23, 2021 at 02:21 pm

disgust at your post regarding GB players. Jeez dude, a fan insulting their players. You way diff'rnt kind of dude.

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calabasa's picture

September 23, 2021 at 07:41 pm

Happy to absorb your disgust. As a stockholder I guess one could call them "my" players, but one of the beautiful things about being a fan is getting to play coach/GM. My version of fandom includes calling out crappy players.

I put the Packers organization over individual players.

Go ahead, justify Lowery and Lancaster's existence on this team.

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jannes bjornson's picture

September 23, 2021 at 09:57 pm

Affirmative, not a stellar collection of draft choices and fill-in-the-blanks.....

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NickPerry's picture

September 23, 2021 at 07:02 am

What the Packers have shown defensively on the field is EXACTLY what you SHOULD expect from a defense that didn't hardly play a down in the preseason and switched coordinators. I could give a flying F### who won individual drills in TC, or how well player X, Y, or Z looked in shells.

The BEST way for a defense or offense to gel and get better is to play together on the field and the Packers did very little of that. Hell if we're being really honest, week one against the Saints was really week one of the preseason for most of the Packers players. I understand these are different times and just about everyone doesn't risk star players to injury. But to expect them to be on top of their game week one WITHOUT any REAL playing time in live action while learning a new scheme is pretty friggen ridiculous IMO.

No offense Tim and I love this weekly piece by you and ANY piece by you or any other CHTV writer. But no playing time by the defensive players, no playing time for the DC to evaluate before week one, and it's going to be a work in progress. Just look at the deep balls to MVS last week...Two overthrows, one underthrow, and it SHOWS that Rodgers didn't do squat in the offseason, at least compared to last offseason when he did EVERYTHNG to be on point week one.

I'm not suggesting Joe Barry was a good hire, but what I'm not going to do is crucify the man 2 weeks into the season, not yet at least. The 2nd half looked better vs the Lions. Yes, I KNOW it was the Lions. But those dudes get paid too.

BTW... NO WAY do the 49ers put up 45...NO WAY!!

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TimBackes's picture

September 23, 2021 at 07:11 am

I can agree with most of this -- I'm not saying Barry needs to be fired, but I do think his leash, from the fan perspective, is deservedly shorter than it would be in most circumstances. As I said multiple times, there's plenty of time to make a turnaround.

But right now? Sheesh, it's BAD.

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jannes bjornson's picture

September 23, 2021 at 09:58 pm

Players, not Plays

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jannes bjornson's picture

September 23, 2021 at 09:58 pm

Players, not Plays

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jannes bjornson's picture

September 23, 2021 at 09:58 pm

Players, not Plays

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jannes bjornson's picture

September 23, 2021 at 09:58 pm

Players, not Plays

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jurp's picture

September 23, 2021 at 07:35 am

Absolutely on point. Fans don't seem to remember that it took the Offense two years to learn MLF's complete scheme, yet they expect the Defense to be able to run Barry's scheme with no actual playing time in the preseason. If anything, the decision to not play the starting defense together at all during the preseason was an extremely poor one. I don't expect this defense to really "get it" until week 6 or week 7. Until then, it'll stink up the joint a little less each week. As long as it plays well enough to not lose games until then, we'll be fine. It could be very good by December. Yes, even with current personnel, as long as they play Stokes over King and sit Lowry and Lancaster much of the time.

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Coldworld's picture

September 23, 2021 at 09:02 am

I’m a lot less sanguine than you are. Any defense will take time to gel, but I see plenty of signs that Barry is no better than his record as a DC that come down to his decisions and tactical acumen as opposed to growth pains.

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CheesyTex's picture

September 23, 2021 at 10:50 am

Great comments, NickPerry.

I'd also add the fact that Z being injured eliminated a key component for Barry -- both in the on-field performance of the D and in Barry's chess match with offensive coordinators.

Who knows what Z's (healthy) presence might have done, but IMO it would have made a huge difference -- most notably in on-field leadership and familiarity among the players.

Things like Z's ability to line up at multiple positions (and the familiarity of the rest of the D with their role in those sets) were simply not available to Barry. IMO many of the issues such as lack of pressure on QB's resulted from the D losing their acknowledged leader.

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jannes bjornson's picture

September 23, 2021 at 10:05 pm

They have a # one pick and a money-man in P Smith to show it, what the Hell? Apologists? Bring the heat and dump the non-performers. If Gutedkunst doesn't like it, too fucking bad.

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Packerfansupreme's picture

September 23, 2021 at 07:33 am

Thank you Kenny? I love Clark for all the years but this season he's been a ghost just like the rest of the d line.

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TimBackes's picture

September 23, 2021 at 07:39 am

Absolutely untrue. He was the best player on the defense Monday night. Led the team in pressures and run stops.

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Coldworld's picture

September 23, 2021 at 09:04 am

He was, but primarily in the second half, after LaFleur instructed Barry to change his approach. Was it Clark playing better or that change enabling him to?

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jannes bjornson's picture

September 23, 2021 at 10:07 pm

He carries the G. Maybe a Groin injury also. JHC.

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stockholder's picture

September 23, 2021 at 07:38 am

Great article. BUT- The change in coordinator wasn't going to make this a winning Defense. For the last 10 years, the DL and ILB never got the attention it deserved. We not only have slow guys there. But they can't tackle. It was build to stop the pass. Pressure the Qb. And dependent on the secondary. So when your secondary doesn't play exceptional. They need Rodgers. Which Gutey and most people thought otherwise. As long as Rodgers is the QB, we can win the division. I'm sure Barry will make improvements. And it has to start by moving people around. I liked what I saw: after he moved guys around. Forget about making guys stationary. Move them. Let the next guy step up. Lets get the guys who can make the plays on the field. We knew there would be change after Pettine. Just don't change Rodgers. Because there are just to many question marks yet.

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fastmoving's picture

September 23, 2021 at 09:52 am

AR is not even the best Aaron on the team and he is not the reason got a win.
AR is in his play off form and that was never a good thing, besides 2011 of course.
Great post shortseller BUT-only the first two words. On the other hand thats way more good words than in your other posts. So I guess you get something good out of here.

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jannes bjornson's picture

September 23, 2021 at 10:08 pm

Truth Seeker.

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Razer's picture

September 23, 2021 at 07:44 am

...Pettine’s refusal to get away from a soft, passive philosophy frequently put his players in a difficult position to make plays and disincentivized aggressiveness...

You need to have the horses to play aggressive defense. Our D-line is getting pushed around and generating very little pocket pressure. Between the D-line and the linebackers we need 3 decent upgrades. Until this has been addressed, it doesn't matter if Capers, Pettine or Barry are at the helm.

It is a shame that the Packers front office couldn't put ALL the pieces together in Rodgers playing time. If it wasn't the secondary it was surely the linebackers and/or D-line that couldn't get the job done.

Tim - I like the beer selection. Flavour without the punch in the face. I'll have two.

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Packers1985's picture

September 23, 2021 at 11:08 am

Yes even a 10 year old could figure out what's wrong with our defense that's our dline and lb's. Not sure what our front office is thinking in not upgrading both those positions.

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jannes bjornson's picture

September 23, 2021 at 10:11 pm

Bullshit, be creative and use Game Theory, like Belichick and the master Jim Johnson---get Intelligent players and Leaders. Think.

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dobber's picture

September 23, 2021 at 08:04 am

The offense AND defense looked like they were playing vanilla, preseason, unschemed ball against the Saints. It was almost as if they decided that game was a mulligan before the kickoff. Monday night was more encouraging on the offensive side and there was a real plan...although the LaF preference for pre-snap motion seems to have disappeared. As for the defense, they've got to play with a lead, and that was the biggest difference between the first and second halves on Monday. If they can't keep Sunday night's game in Santa Clara at least a see-saw affair, it could get ugly fast--and we'll be right back where we were last week. This defense misses Zadarius Smith (or someone like him).

I'll hearken back to the 2016 Atlanta Falcons team that played atrocious defense out of the gate, but scored a lot of points. That defense had quite a few young athletic guys who grew into roles and that defense was far more respectable on it's way to the SB (remember they beat an injury-depleted Packers team in the NFCCG), so there are differences, but that kind of progress is probably the best we can expect from this group.

NFC North--
Vikings seem dead set on playing Zimmer out of a job. They're going to score (I'm glad they weren't on the schedule week 2 for the Packers), but they're making a lot of mistakes--many at key times--and have an old, expensive, and exploitable defense. I had Arizona as a dark-horse SB candidate going into the season, so it's actually a credit to the Vikes that they had a chance to win at the end, but that was a game they should have won even absent the FG miss at the end. If you haven't listened to the Paul Allen call on that missed FG, listen here. It's priceless.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=961NDc_WZNk

I keep saying the Lions have done good things in the trenches. They're subpar everywhere else, but they have good players to grow with on both lines. Campbell might be a lunatic, but they might finally have a front office that knows what it's doing--and with that Matt Stafford trade capital, they might be the up-and-comer (after they can Campbell in a year or two--his kind of schtick doesn't weather well) in the NFCN.

Bears still suck. Justin Fields will get pounded into the turf by Cleveland this week and will look bad doing it. Even against a meh Cinci defense at home last week that likely didn't prepare for him aside from gadget play packages, he looked lost and confused. Good luck, man, that Bears team will be bad for a long time.

I've been a Survivor fan over it's whole run, and Survivor Wednesdays are a staple in our house in the fall and spring. It's good, escapist fun.

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nostradanus's picture

September 23, 2021 at 08:24 am

The Paul Allen call was classic Vikings buffoonery 😂

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Coldworld's picture

September 23, 2021 at 09:11 am

“ The offense AND defense looked like they were playing vanilla, preseason, unschemed ball against the Saints.”

So true. And the D looked to be doing the same until half time on Monday. In truth they didn’t do a lot more after half time but there did seem to be a change in approach among the front. There seemed to be a genuine effort to disrupt not merely hold the line. It was still vanilla, but to me suggests Barry is so extraordinarily passive he was seemingly willing to trust his backs to give Goff no downfield options despite having as much time as he needed. This while playing king in off man during the first half. Barry should be a source of great concern.

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jannes bjornson's picture

September 23, 2021 at 10:15 pm

They will see them in 20 F temps come January. Only the FANs Panic.

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nostradanus's picture

September 23, 2021 at 08:17 am

Defense: like I mentioned last week, the Packers D linemen are like passive cows that are being “cow tipped” by Offensive Linemen (Clark excluded) they need a damned Bull in there!

Draft: Stokes, Myers, Newman,
maybe the packers should start drafting more for “need” instead of 3-4 years down the road! It has seemed to work this year so far!

I also expect Hill, Rodgers and Slayton to contribute quite a bit this season. Good job Gutey 👍

Run Game: part of the reason the run game was forgotten in game 1 was Rodgers inflated ego from his MVP season, he had to be reminded what got him there….Aaron Jones!

Tight Ends: Dafney was an outstanding pickup and is another of Gutey’s excellent rummage sale finds! He blocks well, is an underrated receiver and is a major special teams contributor. He may be on par or better than Degura.

Game Prediction:
Packers 35 49ers 31
Should be a Sunday Night Classic!

ND

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dobber's picture

September 23, 2021 at 08:23 am

"Defense: like I mentioned last week, the Packers D linemen are like passive cows that are being “cow tipped” by Offensive Linemen (Clark excluded) they need a damned Bull in there!"

Dominant 5-tech, please!

"Run Game: part of the reason the run game was forgotten in game 1 was Rodgers inflated ego from his MVP season,"

He doesn't like to be criticized and he doesn't like negative press. Hopefully the off-season and Saints game will be enough to carry through the season.

"He may be on par or better than Degura."

Starting to think we might never see enough of Deguara to find out.

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jannes bjornson's picture

September 24, 2021 at 12:02 am

Gutedkunst with his head up his ass; even Everson Griffith would settle in as a five tech and play multiple front with 4 man looks to protect the ILBS. Only dominant interior linemen can carry a 3-4 look. Been there, done that....

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jannes bjornson's picture

September 23, 2021 at 10:34 pm

More organic,pasture-feed American Moo, Less steroid-induced factory farm clones. Get ready to rumble Pack annihilates the 49rs

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Handsback's picture

September 23, 2021 at 08:17 am

Want to help the defense…run the ball and don’t stop doing it. Long drives, keeps the Packers defense on the bench where they can’t mess anything up.
The defense will get better, but the offense can’t keep throwing the ball around and going 3 and out or it will be a long game.

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nostradanus's picture

September 23, 2021 at 08:26 am

Absolutely! Ball control, other teams do this to Rodall the time and it works

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jannes bjornson's picture

September 23, 2021 at 10:27 pm

WCO a' la the Master, Bill Walsh. Hackett should know the basics. from his old man. Where is your FULLBACK ? Ingold playing for Gruden and he was raised in your backyard. Clean haus on 1265 Lombo Avenue and you may have a chance.

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nostradanus's picture

September 23, 2021 at 08:28 am

Maybe the Barry head butt into Stokes helmet will be the Defensive galvanizing play of the year! That was awesome 👏😂

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jannes bjornson's picture

September 23, 2021 at 10:31 pm

The only cheerleader football coach who knows his shit is Carroll. He was a DB and learned under Bud.

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Starrbrite's picture

September 23, 2021 at 08:54 am

The “cow tip” comment by Nostradanus is one of the best ever—I spit out my coffee!
This defense reminds me of the Bart Starr years, when we had to score 40 points to win. I recall Lynn Dickey once remarked that Bart told him to throw it up and not worry about INTs because they would have to overcome their own defense.
The difference IMO, Bart’s defense played with passion and some reckless abandon; Ezra Johnson and Mike Butler could rush the QB.
This defense however appears to be on some form of opioid addiction—lifeless; in need of a defibrillator or Narcan.
Wake up “D”!!!

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Leatherhead's picture

September 23, 2021 at 08:58 am

Complete, backwards, nonsense.

If you really believe this, you’d trade all our offensive stars for defensive stars.

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BAMABADGER's picture

September 23, 2021 at 12:11 pm

No, you start by drafting early round DL and ILBs... not the year-after-year merry-go-round of DBs being drafted. The Packer FO has wasted a decade drafting 1 - 3 round DBs. There are plenty of JAG Lowerys, Kamal Martins, Burks, Lancasters out there. For what ever reason, the FO doesn't know how to analyze and draft quality, aggressive DL and ILBs... or worse yet fail to.

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jannes bjornson's picture

September 23, 2021 at 10:44 pm

You recognize and acquire smart players who have a pair and let them play.

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jont's picture

September 23, 2021 at 09:38 am

SF wins 45-30?

I don't see it, amigo. I think it'll be pretty close and fairly low scoring with the winner decided late-- a field goal, could go either way.

Why? I watched the Niners-Eagles game last night and a 49er offense just isn't special. I'm not sure Garapolo is even a top-20 QB, and Philly's D did pretty well. They lost because the Eagle offense was not good. It seemed to me to be one of those "Eagles lost more than SF won" kind of games. The 17-11 score could have gone the other way.

The key for GB this week will be matching the Eagles' defensive intensity and straight up power. Philly looked strong on the D line and in the box, and this hurt SF. If GB can do the same, then the Packer Offense will score enough to win.

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jannes bjornson's picture

September 23, 2021 at 10:46 pm

This is the revenge game for LaFleur, time to make his mark or shrink like a fraud. He will be on the attack, unlike the Fans.

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ricky's picture

September 23, 2021 at 09:40 am

This bears repeating, and I've said it several times before: the Packers are tightwads when getting coaches. They don't want to pay for quality coaches at either DC or ST's. So, these groups fail to do well, much less flourish. What are they saving the money for? It doesn't count against the cap. Are they afraid a good coordinator would threaten the primacy of the HC? Or are they just cheap? Until this changes, they're going to be second rate. Also, as long as they hang onto JAG's on the DL and hope that somehow they'll turn into true difference makers, they're going to be stuck with no pass rush. Do these go together? Yes. But if you pay a coach more, chances are he'd have a bigger voice in the room when it comes to getting the players he needs to succeed. I'm not hoping for the next Reggie White, but someone like Sean Jones would be very welcome. A guy with attitude and a leader by example.

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jannes bjornson's picture

September 23, 2021 at 10:49 pm

Truth Bee told

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Since'61's picture

September 23, 2021 at 09:42 am

The Packer defense was a hot mess for the 1st six quarters of the season which was approximately 75 snaps. I don't think 25-30 snaps during the preseason would do anything to change the paltry level of play we witnessed until the second half against the Lions. Good defense is more than just scheme and technique. It's also about attitude and and confidence. Defense needs to include a sense of urgency combined with a nasty attitude. To achieve that the defense needs to be confident in their assignments and ready to read and react.

Despite the coaching change the Packers defense still lacks a nasty attitude and a sense of urgency. I do see some sparks of change/improvement from Stokes and Campbell. Stokes has the talent and he looks like he has the correct attitude. Campbell isn't going to be confused with Nitschke but he goes sideline to sideline and he is always around the ball. I should mention that Rashan Gary consistently brought pressure on Goff even in the first half. He needs to keep playing the majority of defensive snaps to develop various pass rush moves.

SF will be a significant test for Barry and the defense. If our defense is going to improve this is the game when we need to see it start.

MLFs offense is built around Aaron Jones so it makes no sense to me when Jones does not get at least 15-20 touches per game. However for the offense to work the defense needs to keep the team in the game. If they get blown off the field early in the game as they did against the Saints it's difficult to remain patient and stick with Jones and the ground game. Allowing 15 play TD drives twice in the first half is the surest way to keep Jones and Rodgers off the field and an offense can't execute a game plan when they are not on the field.

If the defense can play an entire game as they played the second half against the Lions we're going to be in the game against any team. GPG! Thanks, Since '61

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Dragon5's picture

September 23, 2021 at 02:21 pm

Despite Adams playing, Monday's game was quite reminiscent of Jones usage--a microcosm if you will, of life without Davante in 2019 due to turf toe. While Monday wasn't the case, it also brought back memories of Rodgers reluctance to check down in MLF's inaugural season as the trust between QB & HC was developing. Keeping drives alive is paramount (over pride).

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jannes bjornson's picture

September 23, 2021 at 11:00 pm

The deep to Adams and the absolute LASER to Tonyan were incredible plays. I've seen the Hillbilly Favre deliver blink shots from the ten yard line for TDs, but Rodgers let the red Hats know he wasn't in decline with that blast-remarkable.

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jannes bjornson's picture

September 23, 2021 at 10:56 pm

La Fleur is Conservative to the nth degree, or he is being hectored from above. With an array of WRs, RBs and with the newbie Hill etc let it roll until they stop you. The defense has no spine as long as Lowry and Lancaster take significant snaps. Belichick would have rookies filling their voids. When a D lineman is on skates in Retreat, Stop the bleeding. you know the deal.

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Guam's picture

September 23, 2021 at 10:52 am

Gute's team reflects what he has drafted. Since his elevation to GM, Gute has spent 7 draft choices on O-linemen (two seconds, a fourth, a fifth and three sixths) and three draft choices on D-linemen (two fifths and a seventh). The proportions are about right since the Packers typically play five O-linemen and about 2.4 D-linemen per game, but the quality emphasis has clearly gone to the O-line. Gute has not emphasized the D-line in his drafts and we are seeing the results.

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flackcatcher's picture

September 24, 2021 at 01:37 pm

Gute usually drafts positions in depth. But with the rules favoring the offensive side, it makes sense for the front office to draft offense first. With the Packers Cap situation it would not be surprising if the Packers favor the defense (mostly the secondary and go for DL in 4th through 7th rounds)

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RCPackerFan's picture

September 23, 2021 at 11:11 am

One thing to keep in mind with the defense is that it is new. Barry is new. It will likely take some time for him to figure out who he needs to play and where. And what is working and what isn't. For example, the Detroit game. 1st half the defense struggled in the first half. 2nd half we started to see Stokes play more. They went with more blitzing and the defense really played better.

I think Stokes will be a key player in the defense. I'm curious to see how they plan to use King. If he plays the slot, if Alexander moves in there. The one thing about moving Alexander to the slot is he could potentially be a dangerous blitzer from there. But Stokes playing more should help long term.

Rookies:
Speaking of Stokes, it is early, but he is a guy that needs more playing time. He showed his skills already, and the more good he does, the more his confidence will grow.
Myers has been very good very early at OC.
Rodgers has yet to really do a lot but give it time. He is buried deep at WR right now, but I think they will find ways to get him involved in the offense.
Newman has been yet another 4th round OL that has come in and performed well. Could he be our next Bakhtiari, Tretter, Lang, Sitton, Babre. I get that Tretter and Babre moved on, but both as 4th round picks have been really good picks. Newman could be the next in line for that.
Slaton has been getting some snaps. While he hasn't stood out much yet, I think he is a guy that will improve as the season goes on.
Jean-Charles will likely be a guy to watch towards the end of the season. He could be a guy that earns snaps as the season goes on.
McDuffie will likely be a special teams demon for a while.
Hill's KR was probably the best KR we have had in a long time. I would love to see him getting a few more snaps on offense becasue I really think he is that good. But can't really take it away from Jones and Dillon.

I agree that this team will only go as far as its Defense. But the offense needs to become unstoppable also. We need the balance of the run game along with the pass game. The defense I believe will have some rough patches early. That being said I do think they could be a top 10 defense by the end of the year. They have the players, just need to get it figured out. Will it happen? I don't know. We will have to see how it comes together and the most important thing is how it is playing at the end of the year.

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jannes bjornson's picture

September 23, 2021 at 11:08 pm

Who is new on the d? Stokes, maybe Slayton. Put up or shut up--no excuses.

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Bearmeat's picture

September 23, 2021 at 11:29 am

Joe Barry is bad and he should feel bad. That said, remember 2011 when Capers got aggressive and the D got a lot of turnovers or got toasted? The problem is, without Z, is that our front 7 sucks. This won't change, regardless of the coordinator.

The defense will be the end of the season in January. Just like in 14 and 19.

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Leatherhead's picture

September 23, 2021 at 11:45 am

Facts, courtesy of pro-football-reference

Scoring defense, 23rd
Total defense, 10th
Yards per play , 17th
Rushing TDs, 1st

Eventually, as the season wears on, you will be forced to concede this is an average to above average defense. Two games is a small sample, but by the 5th or 6th game, it’ll be clear.

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jannes bjornson's picture

September 23, 2021 at 11:10 pm

Do numbers lie or do liars use numbers to lie, PFR not significant in the real world.

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jurp's picture

September 24, 2021 at 08:20 am

Away with you and your damn facts! I Believe the defense sucks, so it does!

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flackcatcher's picture

September 24, 2021 at 01:56 pm

Most folks on this blog want the Steel Curtain back. Sure, I could bring back the 90s too. That's not going to happen, and those kinds of defenses are DEAD DEAD DEAD! Matchups rule the day, and more often than not the matchups favor the offense, because the rules favor the offense period. While Pettine was a scapegoat for fans who couldn't understand how much the game changed, he brought for the most part a first-rate defense bringing pressure by the off-line and protecting the end zone for the most part from the long ball. The same people screaming for Barry's head where the same who were screaming for Mike Pettine's head for two years. Of course the guy who is really sorry is Matt Lafleur. He just learned one of the oldest lessons in life. 'The grass is not necessary greener, on the other side.' That said, the DC staff is good, and they will carry Berry for the most part. Like the saner fans are saying, it's going to take time.

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Irish_Cheesehead's picture

September 23, 2021 at 11:53 am

Can we vote Joe Barry off the island?

Oh, and for horror movies, it’s gotta be Scooby-Doo! on Zombie Island!

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SwedeBayPacker's picture

September 24, 2021 at 08:27 am

'Oh the ghost is here and it's always a fake,
The ghost is here and there's no reason to shake,
The ghost is here, oh give us a break,
It's fake.'

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Thegravedigger's picture

September 23, 2021 at 11:55 am

I just wish joe barry would play to win a bit more. Send 5 guys. Stunt some more. I havent seen a stunt yet this season. Play press. Do what the Ravens and bucs do. When you call an agressive game, and cause a negative play or 2, the fire and energy will come with it. The confidence will follow that. Stop playing to lose, with this pettine Jr bullshit. Why would you hire this guy if hes gonna play this soft ass shit? Lafleur obviously wants to play agressive, so why did he hire a guy whos not going to do that?

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jannes bjornson's picture

September 23, 2021 at 11:11 pm

When you ain't got nothing, you got nothing to lose.

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Ferrari-Driver's picture

September 23, 2021 at 12:00 pm

Tim, nice article and there have been a bevy of constructive football comments made by the Packers fans here and I am one of those "Scary Movie" fans that you were thinking may lurk here and I do have two recommendations for fellow "Scary Movie" fan.

Number one: The original 1931 "Frankenstein" starring Boris Karloff and Colin Clive in which "Victor Frankenstein" (Clive) as the scientist creates a large, living, body "The Frankenstein Monster". Instead of using the intended brain of a "normal" person, an "abnormal" brain was delivered by the assistant. This is one of the true masterpiece horror films which was made 90 years ago.

Number two: The 1980 movie entitled "The Shining" starring Jack Nicholson and Shelly Duvall with Scatman Crothers and the young child played by Danny Lloyd. Jack Torrance (Nicholson) who is somewhat of a down and outer took a job to occupy and maintain the "Overlook Hotel" located in Colorado during the "snowed in" winter months with the intent of writing a book. During his time there he goes "off his rocker" and tries to kill his wife and son. There is plenty of action and excitement with the famous "Here's Johnny" line and a surprising ending that will stick with viewers.

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Blood-McNally's picture

September 23, 2021 at 07:01 pm

Night of the Living Dead

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Alberta_Packer's picture

September 23, 2021 at 12:05 pm

For me the woes of the D begins and ends with the D-Line. A bad d-line will compromise all other parts of the D - particularly when the opposing QB is given an eon to pass the ball - as we have seen this year. Because the D-line remains the same as last year - I think it is logical that we can expect the same defensive results as last year. Perhaps worse due to a more difficult schedule. And it's a hail mary to expect the rookies, Slaton and Heflin, to significantly fortify the line at this point. Another D disappointment - Kingsley Keke - who hasn't made any sort of jump from last year - so...

I appreciate a good beer review. Like the technology boom - it's more and more difficult to keep up with the new wave(s) of products.

As for "Survivor" - I've never been a fan of the series but I do understand its appeal. It's just that I prefer a reality series to be less scripted and a little more natural. For instance, if Survivor dropped-off a bunch of "alpha" people - for a minimum 3 months - on a uninhabited island (say Pitcairn Island) - with only the clothes on their back, a book of matches and a jack knife - then I'm watching!

Speaking of reality shows and movies - "Packers vs. 49ers" - genre: Horror/Disaster (potentially).

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Dragon5's picture

September 23, 2021 at 12:14 pm

Tim,

Have you tried Ahnapee's Two Stalls Stout? https://www.ahnapeebrewery.com/ Had one earlier this month. Smooth with no bite right out of the bottle; I usually let stouts breathe for 5 minutes and didn't need to for this one.

Scary movies...anything in the Conjuring or Annabelle series...Conjuring 3 is recent--haven't watched yet but will be next scary flick on the queue. "The Hills Have Eyes," series 2006 & 2007 have also been memorable.

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CheesyTex's picture

September 23, 2021 at 03:13 pm

You're killing me -- absolutely love a good Stout.

But I live in TX.

Checked their website and it looks like I'm SOL...

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PhantomII's picture

September 23, 2021 at 08:57 pm

I saw zero Blitzing in the first half when we got no pressure and QB had all day to throw. The other HUGE problem is we have entirely wrong players on the DL. We need big strong guys that do not get pushed out of their gap and that CAN collapse the pocket and pressure the QB with 4 man front, like most good teams can. Pettine didn't ask for them and Gute is oblivious to the need and his answer was Slayton. I like him but we are suppose to be competing for a chance to go to and win a SB. We need a good veteran DT. Stokes should have started day 1 outside, another thing that bothered me. Hopefully Stokes increased snaps continues to happen from here on out. ILB was very active this last game.

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jannes bjornson's picture

September 23, 2021 at 11:20 pm

Bee multiple, bee creative , or die. Four -five -six man fronts and let the QB guess. Packertown does not have the Players to pull it off on the D. New front office??? Let Rodger run the spectacle. Za won't bee showing until the fourth quarter of the season.

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SwedeBayPacker's picture

September 24, 2021 at 08:12 am

I'm pretty sure The Lighthouse was supposed to be comedy. I laughed my ass off watching it.

Anywho, scary movie recommendation you say.

'Harbinger Down', if you liked The Thing and Alien.

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Ferrari-Driver's picture

September 24, 2021 at 08:38 am

Thanks for the recommendation. Looks good and I rented it on Amazon Prime for $3.99 with 30 days in which to watch the movie. I will try to watch it sometime this weekend.

The Thing (all three versions) are great as well as the original Alien movie.

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SwedeBayPacker's picture

September 24, 2021 at 08:48 am

Nice, I hope you'll enjoy it. I personally liked it a lot for what it was. Can't go wrong with practical effects and Lance Henriksen.

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Ferrari-Driver's picture

September 28, 2021 at 11:42 am

I did watch it Saturday night. Great flick and thanks for the recommendation.

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crayzpackfan's picture

September 24, 2021 at 11:17 am

This defense looks like roadkill bloat in a losing battle against the clutches of rigor mortis. Hopefully I’m wrong and/or just being hyperbolic. Regardless, I’m not gonna poke it with a stick! Pew!

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SwedeBayPacker's picture

September 25, 2021 at 04:25 am

I'll add 'The Empty Man' to my recommendation, based on the movies you listed that you liked recently.

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