Impact Players for the Playoff Push

Here are some players who could find themselves in larger roles these next few weeks as the Packers make a push for high playoff seeding. 

The Packers have already clinched a playoff berth for the first time in three seasons, but there’s plenty more at stake for this team. While it’s easy to say that in order to make a deep run in the postseason, everyone needs to make an impact, I thought today I’d look at some key players that could really turn the tides for this 2019 squad. 

Allen Lazard & Jake Kumerow

I’m putting Lazard and Kumerow together because it’s clear at this point they’re the second and third receivers on this team, leapfrogging both Geronimo Allison and Marquez Valdes-Scantling. Head Coach Matt LaFleur even went as far as to say that fans should expect to see more snaps from Kumerow down the stretch. 

While the argument has raged for most of the season that this team might not entirely have an offensive identity, the Packers are still winning football games. If the two young receivers can step up and carve out roles for themselves on offense, that’ll alleviate some of the pressure off Davante Adams and give Rodgers more reliable options in the passing game. 

Pro Football Focus gives Valdes-Scantling an overall rating of 57, and Allison an overall rating of 56.1. In contrast, Lazard has an overall grade of 72.5 and Kumerow is sitting at 66.9. They’ve earned more snaps on offense.

They’re also stepping up in key moments for this team. Kumerow was targeted just once against Chicago, but that one target turned into a 49-yard completion that got the Packers into the red zone. Similarly, Lazard is consistently finding the ball and keeping drives alive; he has 16 first downs compared to 15 from Allison and 12 from MVS, despite playing significantly less snaps for almost half the season. Performances like those in key moments don’t go unnoticed by the coaching staff or the quarterback. 

Chandon Sullivan

Sullivan may have had his best game of the season this past Sunday against Chicago. He’s seemingly always in a position to make a play, and he almost got his hands on another interception against the Bears (his first pick came against the Cowboys in Week 5). 

Currently, PFF has Sullivan graded at 75.7 overall, with a 74.7 in coverage and 78.1 in pass rush. When targeted, he’s only allowed a passer rating of 50. 

With players like Kevin King and Tony Brown nursing injuries, Sullivan has earned more reps, and even with King back he’s still finding plenty of playing time at nickel. Sullivan’s arrow is pointing up as he carves out a larger role for himself on defense. 

Tyler Ervin

Just when we thought all hope was lost for the 2019 special teams unit, in comes “Swervin’ Ervin” to save the day (and the team’s net return yardage). While he’s only played in two games, he’s already making a huge difference in starting field position for Green Bay. He’s averaging 12.6 yards per return on punt returns with a long of 18, and 35.5 yards per return on kick returns with a long of 45. In contrast, Darrius Shepherd averaged -4.5 yards per return on punt returns, and Tremon Smith averaged exactly 0.0 yards on his own punt returns. 

Giving the offense a shorter field to work with is always a benefit, and Ervin is doing his job already. His impact has been felt in a short amount of time, but he’ll look to build on his performances and keep the Packers in promising field positions down the stretch. 

The Tight Ends

It was too difficult to select just one player, so instead I’ll include the entire unit. Jimmy Graham, Marcedes Lewis, and Robert Tonyan have all made plays for the Packers at certain points throughout the season. 

PFF gives Lewis an overall grade of 70.4 with a passer rating when targeted of 124.5. Graham has an overall grade of 57.4 and a passer rating when targeted of 108.9. Tonyan has an overall rating of 56.7 and a passer rating when targeted of 117.0. 

These numbers aren’t bad, but Green Bay is still missing overall production from the unit. As a trio, the tight ends have combined for five touchdowns on the season and 615 yards. 

The offense operates best when Rodgers is able to spread the ball around, using all of his receivers, tight ends, and even running backs in the passing game. Against the Bears, the tight ends only accounted for three of Rodgers’ 16 completions, and only accumulated 11 yards on those three receptions. 

Just like I mentioned Lazard and Kumerow filling bigger roles on offense down the stretch, it’s up to the tight ends to do the same. While there’s no denying this offense runs through Davante Adams and Aaron Jones (which is why they’re not included in this list because it’s obvious), having players in the passing game who can complement the two stars will go a long way in the success of the offense as a whole. 

Note: Jace Sternberger was excluded from this because he’s yet to earn a career reception, but if he wants to get hot down the stretch, no one’s going to complain about it. 

Aaron Rodgers

Now, I debated putting Aaron Rodgers on this list. It felt like an obvious gimme. If Aaron Rodgers plays like two-time MVP, Super Bowl MVP, future Hall of Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers, then the rest of the league is in trouble. 

If Aaron Rodgers doesn’t play like two-time MVP, Super Bowl MVP, future Hall of Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers, then things are a little more up in the air (but not necessarily). 

What I’ve liked about this season specifically is that Rodgers hasn’t had to be a savior. He’s still putting up numbers that are close to his career averages (100.4 passer rating in 2019 vs a 102.9 overall), but the offense isn’t necessarily funneling directly through his arm, and I think that’s a good thing. 

Rodgers himself made a comment at the podium a few weeks ago that this team is finding ways to win differently. One week, the defense forces three turnovers. A different week, Aaron Jones has almost 200 all-purpose yards. Or, there’s the Raiders game where QB1 does have a legendary performance and posts the first perfect passer rating (158.3) of his 12-year career as a starter. 

All I’m saying is, if the offense can produce more consistently, whether that be from sustaining drives, less three-and-outs, less penalties to put the team in long yardage situations, or whatever it may be, this team has a chance. Really, they always have a chance with Rodgers at QB, but the consistency is the biggest factor. 

There are tons of players that could have made this list, arguably the entire team if the goal here is to point out who can step up for a playoff push. But that wasn’t the point. However, I’m curious to hear who you’d pick in the comments. The point being, though, is that this team is close. If the Packers can find production from some of the players listed here (excluding Rodgers because that doesn’t really count), they can be dangerous. 

The Packers are winning games. That’s never been the problem for this 2019 team. But now it’s time for them to put everything together and present a more consistent, cohesive look as they push for a high playoff seed and beyond. 

 

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

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Comments (66)

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Razer's picture

December 20, 2019 at 06:10 am

Good insights Maggie. The WR and TE command much of the article because they are not playing at a high enough level. I will give Marcedes Lewis a pass here because he has made a huge difference on the line. The catching TE is really not a factor for this team. To your point, if they could tilt the field in the catch and run game - well, that would be a huge impact. Still, I am not convinced this is a talent issue. We still don't seem to scheme them open effectively.

And, you are right in devoting a good chunk of the article to our QB. He needs to put together complete games - pure and simple. If Rodgers plays up to a higher standard we will go far in the playoffs. If he drives this sputter offense against the good teams it will be a short run. Monday night is the first test.

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murf7777's picture

December 20, 2019 at 06:18 am

Kenny Clark is a key component. If he disrupts the middle and keeps getting sacks and/or pressures like the last three games our D will be tough to score on. I like how Pettine is getting creative by moving him from the nose at times. One play in particular against the bears is Z was over the nose and Clark was over the tackle and he proceeded to get a sack. They did a similar play later where Clark pressured the quarterback that resulting in an incompletion.

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Razer's picture

December 20, 2019 at 06:36 am

I totally forgot about the defense but you are so right. Add Lowry into the mix as well. If they play a solid game in the trenches, the game gets a whole lot simpler.

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jannes bjornson's picture

December 20, 2019 at 05:27 pm

Might as well add Lancaster to the mix. His play has picked up on run stop and he can go NT with Clark at the 3 tech.Will Montravious show in some form of pass rush?? Can he pick it up as he did in the last few games of 2018??
Kubiak will attack the middle relentlessly with his TEs and Diggs. Theilen may still be a step slow with his hammy?
A lot of this game is on the Packer Oline to control the Time of Possession and get some beat down with the running game. Score points fast and DO NOT let up. The dr mucgillicuddy crowd will shut up and leave by the fourth quarter
to miss traffic if the Pack can stay focused for 60 minutes.

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Big_Mel_75's picture

December 20, 2019 at 10:41 am

ILB need to step up more. Martinez and who ever is lined up next to him. On offense is get the ball to the playmakers hands.. Why are William and Jones not getting any catches?

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jannes bjornson's picture

December 20, 2019 at 05:31 pm

Don't get these guys confused with L'veon Bell.

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Bearmeat's picture

December 20, 2019 at 06:44 am

Great stuff, Maggie.

I agree with all of your choices. I'd also add the DL outside of Clark. They HAVE to keep Martinez clean and Savage has to stop being overagressive and blowing holes in the midfield coverage between them.

Of course, the biggest one (as you wrote) is ARod. He has not played like an MVP since 2016. I see no signs that he'll start doing so, but if he does, this is a super bowl team. If not, next year.

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NickPerry's picture

December 20, 2019 at 07:19 am

GET HIM SOME WIDE RECEIVERS!!!!!

Happy Holidays Bearmeat!

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RCPackerFan's picture

December 20, 2019 at 08:17 am

Exactly... He has made some incredible throws of late that were either dropped or not caught.

MVS had the bomb last week against the Bears. Should have been caught and could have been a TD. Perfect throw.
Also against the 49ers? I believe. He had that tremendous throw to MVS in the back of the endzone. Problem with that was MVS tried to body catch it and didn't get his feet in. If that is Nelson its a TD.

Lazard might be the guy to really watch at the end of this season. He has proven himself to Rodgers.

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jannes bjornson's picture

December 20, 2019 at 10:01 am

And get Sternberger into the Game Plan. Need speed at the TE position on the fast track @ the Shipwreck.

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Gort's picture

December 20, 2019 at 02:43 pm

Too late to "get" anybody new.
Gotta dance with your own date.

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NickPerry's picture

December 20, 2019 at 07:18 am

Even though Sternberger was on IR the first several weeks of the season I can't help but think the kid would be helpful in the passing game. Throw the ball down the seam to him which is something he did hundreds of times in college and see what happens.

Speaking of throwing the ball down the middle of the field, this is something Rodgers MUST start doing with more regularity. By Rodgers being so risk averse, refusing for the most part to use the middle of the field, he's just making the Packers offense that much easier to defend. Adams IIRC caught a quick pass in the middle and quickly turned up field last week for a nice gain...MORE OF THIS PLEASE!

More Rashan Gary... I was paying more attention to Gary last week, especially when I re-watched parts of the game. The thing that caught my eye was he gives 100% all the time AND he's getting more pressure. Let him loose these last few weeks and get the Smiths some rest here and there.

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Razer's picture

December 20, 2019 at 07:38 am

...Speaking of throwing the ball down the middle of the field, this is something Rodgers MUST start doing with more regularity. By Rodgers being so risk averse...

While i tend to agree that Rodgers needs to work all the field, my thoughts are changing a bit on this front. Teams have been playing us a similar way these last years and working Rodgers tendencies. Chicago dropped eight into coverage, most teams play us pass heavy and 2 high safety. Middle of the field is fine but we really need to work more out of the backfield and quick hitters underneath. Unfortunately, we don't have the Edleman slot guy and we don't know how to use TEs. So teams sit back in coverage and let Rodgers hang onto the ball. We need to address this - then opponents will really be in trouble.

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PatrickGB's picture

December 20, 2019 at 09:59 am

Razor, you are spot on. I have been saying this for years. But with no Cobb in the slot and no quick twitch player (except for Adams) on the team to play the slot, it’s just not going to happen. So teams plan their defense accordingly.

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ILPackerBacker's picture

December 20, 2019 at 11:49 am

where is it your recollection tells you the two TDs MVS didn't make were thrown?

Would you be happier if throws the middle more like Wilson and gets the same results

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NickPerry's picture

December 21, 2019 at 05:02 am

Hmmm...Remember when the Packers won SB 45 when they RODE a play called 27 Tampa though the playoffs and in the SB? It's a seam pass down the middle and Rodgers throws it with DEADLY accuracy.

OR...Remember the 3rd and 10 play to Jordy Nelson he caught in the middle and then turned up and across the field down to the 2 yard line?

Did you really just refer to TWO passes out of the 474 attempts he's made so far? Just saying friend, EVERYTHING doesn't need to go to the sideline.

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RCPackerFan's picture

December 20, 2019 at 07:46 am

I didn't see yours as I spent about a half hour typing mine up lol.

But I agree with your points.

Sternberger has the speed to run past LB's. I would not be surprised if they try to get him in a matchup against one. Don't be surprised if he has a big play coming.

I agree about Rodgers throwing over the middle of the field. Don't be surprised if we start seeing some more crossing routes especially with Adams involved. That Slant he had, could make them want to run more plays like that.

100% agree on Gary. He has been getting pressure. Think of Clark and his rookie year. He was good, but really turned it on late in the year. Gary could be the same way. He has already been playing well when given the opportunities. Don't be surprised if he starts taking some snaps from Fackrell. Though Fackrell has been playing pretty well too.
Also Fackrell is a guy to keep an eye on. With the Smiths and Clark getting a lot of attention Fackrell could be another one getting to the QB.

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dobber's picture

December 20, 2019 at 07:55 am

"Sternberger has the speed to run past LB's. I would not be surprised if they try to get him in a matchup against one. Don't be surprised if he has a big play coming."

I'd like to see that, and maybe they can set that up, but Minnesota is one of the best teams in the league against the TE. Harrison Smith, Eric Kendricks...very good playing the middle of the field. They're much weaker at CB...I'd expect this game to play to what ARod likes to do in the passing game: downfield and outside the numbers. If they can hit some of those plays and get Smith and Kendricks cheating into the flat and the deeper outs, it opens up the run game and underneath stuff.

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RCPackerFan's picture

December 20, 2019 at 08:33 am

I do agree that Minnesota is much better against TE's and they have been LB's. But we know Adams will draw double coverage. And Jones will likely draw at least safety. I wouldn't doubt at all if LaFleur schemes something up to get Sternberger running down the sideline like the last 2 games. Some sort of out and up.

It might not be this week, but in the coming weeks I do believe they will throw to him running wide open down the sideline!

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Rebecca's picture

December 20, 2019 at 12:40 pm

I do believe and I do declare you are correct sir.

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Matt Gonzales's picture

December 20, 2019 at 09:52 am

You don't even need to get the Smith's off the field. You could put Gary, Fack, and the Smith's on the line with Clark for some all out pressure packages. It's been a long time since GB has had enough healthy and effective OLBs to be able to do those Psycho looks.

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RCPackerFan's picture

December 20, 2019 at 07:34 am

There are so many players that could make a huge impact for the Playoff run. These are some of the guys that I think really could make an impact once the playoffs start.

Allen Lazard & Jake Kumerow-
Lazard has already had his snap count increase. And it sounds like Kumerow will have his increased moving forward. They need to get more targets their way. Both players have made impactful plays when given the opportunity!
But the truth is, what we really need from them in consistency. Especially catching the ball. That is the part that has plagued the offense is the WR's inability to catch the ball consistently enough. Allison and MVS have had some bad drops/non catches the last few games. MVS had 2 potential TD's that he didn't bring in. Allison has dropped numerous amounts of catches.
We just need that consistency.

Tyler Ervin -
Could Ervin be this years version of Howard Green/Andre Rison? The mid season pick up that comes in and makes a huge impact?
Ervin has been amazing as a returner since coming to GB. There are times in a game that you just need something to spark a team. Sometimes that is a great return. Ervin can provide that.

The Tight Ends-
This is where I think Tonyan and Sternberger could make an impact. Graham and Lewis are more of the get you 5-10 yards type of guys. Though Graham has had some nice longer plays. The 2 younger TE's could add that speed element to the position that would stretch defenses. In the last 2 games Sternberger has been running wide open down the right sideline. Its only a matter of time until Rodgers finds him.

Gary -
Gary has been starting to make impactful plays. While he doesn't necessarily get to the QB he is putting pressure on the QB. He has been getting closer and closer. Given that we have the Smiths and Clark making big time plays, Gary could be that extra guy that comes in and makes big time plays during the playoffs.

Savage -
Savage has been getting his hands on balls lately. He looks more like where he left off before he got hurt. He made the comment about being frozen after the game. I assume that contributed to his dropping of interceptions. Now that he has played in it, he will know how to react to it. I would not be surprised if he has a pick 6 soon.

Josh Jackson -
This one might be a bit of a stretch to make an impact. But he has been making an impact on special teams. And he played really well against the Redskins on defense. If he plays in the playoffs he could be a guy to really watch if he gets on the field. He has the ability to make plays on the ball. He could make a game changing type of play if he is on the field. And he could make a game changing type of play on special teams.

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dobber's picture

December 20, 2019 at 07:49 am

"Could Ervin be this years version of Howard Green/Andre Rison? "

I don't think anyone will be mistaking Tyler Ervin for Howard Green any time soon...

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RCPackerFan's picture

December 20, 2019 at 08:43 am

You sure?
Here I thought they looked identical. lol

I just really like the signing of Ervin and he has already proven to be a difference maker.

The last player that I can really remember that came in during the season and have an instant impact was Howard Green.

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PatrickGB's picture

December 20, 2019 at 10:07 am

RC, I like your list. I have also been paying attention to Jackson on STs. He does well there and has cut down on his holding penalties.

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RCPackerFan's picture

December 20, 2019 at 01:52 pm

Jackson has really shined on Special Teams lately. They need good players to do it.

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Rebecca's picture

December 20, 2019 at 12:41 pm

Wow! You should have your very own column!

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RCPackerFan's picture

December 20, 2019 at 01:51 pm

lol, I like to ramble on.

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stockholder's picture

December 20, 2019 at 07:45 am

Is pride getting in the way of commonsense? If Rodgers isn't his MVP self, were done. I believe the packers still need the others. More then flash in the pans. They came to Green Bay to do a job. The plan was to use them. I wouldn't put to much in PFFs ratings. The better Idea is to wait and see whats on LeFluers mind. MVS,Allison and Graham must not be thrown under the bus. While others may be nursing their hurts. They will give you more game changing plays. The defense is better with them. Giving more reps to players, won't help those you'll need more. Were in the play-offs now. Everybody must contribute!!! We must know how Rodgers feels. He must be kept happy. Don't kill the hopes of the team trying to push someone else.

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Packers0808's picture

December 20, 2019 at 07:52 am

I might be out of line thinking here, but why not activate Ryan Grant once and see what he can offer/do for the team and sit Allison or someone for a week. Also maybe crazy but Ervin being a running back and returner obviously he can catch why not try him in some combination passing play to him and see what he can do there, he sure seems to have moves to get open! Just some thinking out loud, what you guys think? Possibilities just to shake things up a bit and some different looks!

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dobber's picture

December 20, 2019 at 07:59 am

All in favor, raise your hand... <<raises hand>>

I'd much rather see Ervin, a RB by trade, catching flat passes and playing in space than GMo or Allison. And while Grant is a journeyman WR, he's more of a true slot than any other WR currently on the roster...by reputation, not a physical player (read: blocker) which may not help what LaF has been looking for recently. MN plays the middle of the field very well, but Grant's a different kind of player that gives the Packers a different look from what's on film. Still, he's limited in what he brings to the offense unless ARod starts throwing the ball in the middle.

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Gort's picture

December 20, 2019 at 09:24 am

<<raises hand>>

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Cubbygold's picture

December 20, 2019 at 09:05 am

I wouldn't do that, but can see the argument in favor.

In my opinion, that type of experimentation is for the first 10 games of the season. I think part of GBs issue is they're already rotating so many guys in and out trying to see if anyone can be the true #2 WR or #1 TE. I'd like to see more playing time for Lazard/Kumerow/Tonyan and less of MVS/Allison/Graham now that the end of the year is here.

The offense hasn't been clicking, and I don't think inserting new faces is the way to go, especially with how poor 12 is at incorporating new players with his trust issues.

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dobber's picture

December 20, 2019 at 09:43 am

"In my opinion, that type of experimentation is for the first 10 games of the season.....The offense hasn't been clicking..."

So what do you have to lose over maybe a dozen odd offensive snaps?

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Cubbygold's picture

December 20, 2019 at 10:11 am

I'd like to see Lazard and Kumerow play the majority of snaps these last two games. I think it'll make the offense run more consistently.

MLF won't completely bench MVS and Allison, they're still going to get snaps, and likely more than I'd like.

So giving additional snaps to new faces is likely to come at the expense of Lazard/Kumerow, not MVS/Allison.

Separately, given Rodgers inability to trust new receivers, I doubt we'd learn much from those snaps.

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Packers0808's picture

December 20, 2019 at 01:36 pm

It would catch other teams off guard in knowing what to expect even if you used these guys as smoke screens. Don't see where a few snaps here or there after being practiced would hurt anything!

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Cubbygold's picture

December 20, 2019 at 04:46 pm

Green Bay isn't clicking on offense. They need to be more worried about getting something to work before they intentionally put guys on the field just to throw people off.

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ThxJackVainisi's picture

December 20, 2019 at 07:34 pm

I agree with both of your two previous posts. Thanks for saving me all that typing.

Rodgers has expressed confidence in 13 & 16 publicly & lobbied for 13 on the sideline. I'd like to see more of those two with 17 in the slot.

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RCPackerFan's picture

December 20, 2019 at 10:50 am

I'd be all for some gadgety type of plays with Ervin.
Maybe come up with a package that might throw off the Vikings. Maybe come out with Jones, Williams and Ervin, to go along with Adams and either another WR or TE.

They would have a lot of options to run or throw. I would send Ervin on a jet sweep or fake it and let the eyes go on him a bit.

They can definitely add something to the offense, that could create some juice to it.

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Matt Gonzales's picture

December 20, 2019 at 12:46 pm

The biggest challenge Ervin would have at this point is the playbook. Returners are basically plug and play from a scheme assignment. As a skill position player he would have a lot more to learn, quickly, and to be able to figure out the verbose play calls in real time. He would basically have 1-2 packaged plays, and would still need to know all the play calls and adjustments AR could make at the line, which is not ideal to put a new player into at the end of the year.

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BoCallahan's picture

December 20, 2019 at 08:26 am

Thanks for the article Maggie, great points. We NEED some young men to step up and produce. I hate to say it and I know I will get booed out of town for it, but I find myself bored with this offense. They seem to go to sleep for large segments of the game and piece together just enough execution to win. I think the Packers of old (just a few seasons ago) have conditioned me to believe they can score on any play from anywhere on the field. I never wanted to miss a play. Now, I feel as though I can step away from the TV for munchies without the fear of missing anything. I would like to add a few more defensive names: Gary, Lowry, Goodson, and yes, DBs with sticky fingers.
Ervin has been an answer to prayer, but have you noticed the lack of yellow flags on STs? Not only are the Packers getting positive yards, they are not giving those hard earned yards away with penalties. Keep the well written articles coming Maggie!

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Cubbygold's picture

December 20, 2019 at 09:02 am

A - you have officially jinxed our ST, get ready for it to start raining flags (just kidding)

B - I think everyone is bored with this offense. I think its a major reason why 12 plays the way he does.

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Cubbygold's picture

December 20, 2019 at 08:44 am

Lazard & Kumerow: I think the reason this duo could really help the offense is that they're consistent. This is exactly what GB needs from this group. They have Adams and Jones that can make explosive plays, what they need the #2 and #3 WRs to do is simply make small consistent plays that keep the chains moving.

Sullivan: In preseason there were lots of missed tackles, is that improving?

Ervin: Great add, has definitely helped change field position. But what's happened to Scott? 27th in net yards per punt. 18th in punts inside the 20. And he's had plenty of opportunities, with the 7th most punts in the league. Why is he regressing?

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Tarynfor12's picture

December 20, 2019 at 11:14 am

This team has won 11 prelims via decisions with two to go. The next prelim is against Minn and likely the toughest opponent this season because both have as much riding on the game.

The writer states..." If Aaron Rodgers doesn’t play like two-time MVP, Super Bowl MVP, future Hall of Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers, then things are a little more up in the air (but not necessarily)."

To think that it's not necessary for Rodgers to play more on the side as the former MVP is absurd as that is the larger reason why we have no knockout punch as seen in the 14 prelims fought, where because of Rodgers failed play, they've come out looking battered with the lack of injuries being a cover as to the battering taken, as it's been unworldly compared to previous seasons.

However,it's the type of injuries that aren't on the injury report that have hurt this team during every prelim that will become even more visible and that ' win is a win however ugly ' won't be enough from this game forward, unless Rodgers DOES play more from the MVP side of his career.

Many can rely on the limited upside seen from a few,Lazard, Kumerow, Ervin, Sullivan and I get it,but this game Monday is the first big boy game,playoff defining type, and our Rodgers will NEED to play more like his old MVP self and not like his,simply, present old self.

Many will clamor that they made the playoffs and weren't expected to and some will say the season was a success because they made the playoffs. What's always missing is that the goal is the SB and anything less,especially if you make the playoffs and more so if you have a bye, that goal of the SB is all that defines success for that season.

With every step forward,regardless of how you got there, the definition of success in the previous form is erased and replaced with the largest item being it's award though getting harder to grasp.There is no ' We made it this far ' at a certain point when loss comes,because you made it that far and now success lies another step forward or it's a failure.

You can't climb MT. Everest and claim success, if you didn't reach the top where success is validated. The higher you go the more the demand to reach the top and every step to get there is of no matter but the few in front to make the summit.

If the Packers come out like like a team hungry and with an MVP like play of Rodgers, then expectations change and demand for more with SB cravings can only be satisfied with reaching the top and any falter before, become no more recognized than the climber who didn't reach the top of MT.Everest....your name isn't mentioned as an ' Almost Made It.'

If Rodgers wants this team to achieve the ultimate goal,he better start playing like the MVP many believe he still is and it is 'necessary ' or they'll be punch drunk whether the bruises show or not.

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Rebecca's picture

December 20, 2019 at 12:51 pm

“ This team has won 11 prelims via decisions with two to go. The next prelim is against Minn and likely the toughest opponent this season because both have as much riding on the game.

The writer states..." If Aaron Rodgers doesn’t play like two-time MVP, Super Bowl MVP, future Hall of Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers, then things are a little more up in the air (but not necessarily)."

To think that it's not necessary for Rodgers to play more on the side as the former MVP is absurd as that is the larger reason why we have no knockout punch as seen in the 14 prelims fought, where because of Rodgers failed play, they've come out looking battered with the lack of injuries being a cover as to the battering taken, as it's been unworldly compared to previous seasons.

However,it's the type of injuries that aren't on the injury report that have hurt this team during every prelim that will become even more visible and that ' win is a win however ugly ' won't be enough from this game forward, unless Rodgers DOES play more from the MVP side of his career.

Many can rely on the limited upside seen from a few,Lazard, Kumerow, Ervin, Sullivan and I get it,but this game Monday is the first big boy game,playoff defining type, and our Rodgers will NEED to play more like his old MVP self and not like his,simply, present old self.

Many will clamor that they made the playoffs and weren't expected to and some will say the season was a success because they made the playoffs. What's always missing is that the goal is the SB and anything less,especially if you make the playoffs and more so if you have a bye, that goal of the SB is all that defines success for that season.

With every step forward,regardless of how you got there, the definition of success in the previous form is erased and replaced with the largest item being it's award though getting harder to grasp.There is no ' We made it this far ' at a certain point when loss comes,because you made it that far and now success lies another step forward or it's a failure.

You can't climb MT. Everest and claim success, if you didn't reach the top where success is validated. The higher you go the more the demand to reach the top and every step to get there is of no matter but the few in front to make the summit.

If the Packers come out like like a team hungry and with an MVP like play of Rodgers, then expectations change and demand for more with SB cravings can only be satisfied with reaching the top and any falter before, become no more recognized than the climber who didn't reach the top of MT.Everest....your name isn't mentioned as an ' Almost Made It.'

If Rodgers wants this team to achieve the ultimate goal,he better start playing like the MVP many believe he still is and it is 'necessary ' or they'll be punch drunk whether the bruises show or not.”
What are you trying to say in 15 words or less?

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Tarynfor12's picture

December 20, 2019 at 02:14 pm

That I can bloviate as much as others do at times...how about that.

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Rebecca's picture

December 20, 2019 at 06:37 pm

Ha! I agree with you most of the time. My family are hard core. I'm more realistic. But I am feeling like anything can happen with this team, and that's their magic! They just need to win out. Super Bowl or get out

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Matt Gonzales's picture

December 20, 2019 at 01:32 pm

I agree AR needs to play better, but disagree with pretty much everything else you have said.

An NFL team's number one goal is not winning the Super Bowl - it is to be profitable. Teams that are profitable make the whole league more money, and for the Packers, it means they have more to spend of their money (vs public money) on stadium renovation, enhancement, etc.

That means the ultimate goal of an NFL team is to simply stay competitive and to make it to the playoffs, driving national media attention, ticket sales, etc.

I'd rather have a team that is consistently playing meaningful football in December most years than a team that bets the farm on a 2-3 year window, followed by an inevitable multi-year slump every time.

If your expectation as a fan is that your team is going to win it all, then you have a 3% chance each year of feeling like your expectations were met.

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Tarynfor12's picture

December 20, 2019 at 02:12 pm

" An NFL team's number one goal is not winning the Super Bowl - it is to be profitable."

Profitability is as much a guarantee for every team as long as the money pool is in place and no team compelled to survive on their own ability to create income.

If fans begin to believe that the goal is no longer the SB and all the revelry that comes with winning it, then the NFL will begin to see a real decline in it's following and dominance of the sports world. The reason for watching is above all about winning. Those that declare you should just enjoy the show is why shows die, there's no reason to just watch,there must be something a viewer gets from it and for NFL fans...it's getting the SB and winning it.

It doesn't matter if winning it is a 3% chance or whatever, the goal IS to win it. I would have no inclination to support the Packers if I ever thought that winning a SB wasn't on the top on there list yearly regardless of how it plays out.

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splitpea1's picture

December 20, 2019 at 02:44 pm

Good job giving that comment the beatdown it deserves. There's no point in wasting three and a half hours of your life for 16 Sundays (or whatever) if the goal isn't to bring the trophy home. Mr. Gonzales ought to apply for a job in the Bengals front office: they're profitable, sometimes play meaningful games in December, and have absolutely have no hope in winning the whole thing at all because they're a mom and pop organization that doesn't care about it.

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splitpea1's picture

December 20, 2019 at 02:26 pm

No--I don't like this viewpoint at all! I understand the profitability angle, but as a fan, I want to see the team win the Super Bowl.

This comment almost sounds like a justification for the Packers' inability to get over the hump--except for once--this century, despite having two first-tier HOF quarterbacks.

I think most fans are tired of seeing Packer teams that are good, but rarely good enough. And they don't have to "bet the farm", either to reach the Super Bowl; the front office has to be proactive, draft intelligently, and sign the right free agents to fill holes.

Nothing personal, but I'm glad you're not our president or GM.

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Matt Gonzales's picture

December 20, 2019 at 04:13 pm

I don't think you understand that the NFL's goals, and the goal of its franchises, are not the same as your goals as a viewer. The league only exists to generate profit for itself, the means they seek to maximize those profits is a playing field that is as even as possible to make every game played meaningful.

There's a reason Tom Coughlin couldn't keep a job in Jacksonville on either of his stints, a reason the Broncos have basically been an afterthought post-Manning, and why the Bears, Eagles, and Rams will likely be on the outside looking in after selling the farm for a QB and a supporting cast. If your goal is ONLY the Superbowl, you make stupid decisions that damage your team's long-term competitiveness, and while a slim minority of those GM's see those gambles pay off, the majority find themselves fired.

I just don't this "if you didn't win the Superbowl, the season was a waste" mindset. Do you work a job where you are called a failure if you didn't finish with the top KPI's for your position? Does your boss clean house if you didn't finish the year as the undisputed leader in your industry? Your obsession (football) is these guys' jobs. They're driven and competitive, but at the end of the year, the only metric that actually matters to most players is whether A) they put everything out there that they could and B) that they still have a job to come back to next season if they want it.

Adjust your expectations and enjoy the ride.

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Tarynfor12's picture

December 20, 2019 at 06:03 pm

" Do you work a job where you are called a failure if you didn't finish with the top KPI's for your position? Does your boss clean house if you didn't finish the year as the undisputed leader in your industry? Your obsession (football) is these guys' jobs. They're driven and competitive, but at the end of the year, the only metric that actually matters to most players is whether A) they put everything out there that they could and B) that they still have a job to come back to next season if they want it."

To equate the jobs of the everyday to the job of professional sports player is as apples to oranges as can possibly be.
The only comparable is all are trying to keep their job by doing their jobs. The difference is the job where players careers are short and lucrative as opposed to every day where it's everyday and not lucrative for the vast majority. Sports is an outlet from the humdrum and we accept the high dollar reward for those who have the ability for the sport played. It's more than just entertainment and a quote from ' Invicible ' via Dick Vermeil..." We need to find the sole of this team because the people (fans) look to us in troubling times. Win one for them and win one for us." Winning has a goal and in football it's the last game played known as the Super Bowl.

Practice what you preach with the " Enjoy the ride " spiel and just watch the game as you like and cease commenting as doing so means you're not heeding your own advice or ill suggestion to others.

Lastly....
Play to win it all or don't play at all. Only losers play not expecting to win it all. In any career, he/she, who isn't looking to advance to the top of their field,whatever that top is, should never tell those who want it to....'Just enjoy the ride '...those types are appeasers and not doers and certainly not achievers. All that try may not succeed but failing while trying is more an achievement than those who just enjoy the ride even if they have more.

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LeotisHarris's picture

December 20, 2019 at 07:31 pm

Taryn, I knew Dick Vermeil. Dick Vermeil was a friend of mine, and he knew the difference between soul and sole.

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Tarynfor12's picture

December 20, 2019 at 07:49 pm

Yes. I'm not a perfect typist...should I beg forgiveness?

I don't know Vermeil and I'm not sure if he actually said it in real life but it was meaningful in the movie.

Besides, the spelling error is all you took from the comment?

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splitpea1's picture

December 20, 2019 at 08:31 pm

No, I will not adjust my expectations, and as a fan, and want to see the team building to capture the ultimate prize. If we fall short, than so be it--then it's time to rebuild and start again. The idea is to make progress year after year. There's no need to "sell the farm" or make foolish decisions to reach the top. And there are plenty of examples of teams adding players that were instrumental in helping them do so--you're just citing some poor decisions made by other teams recently. If the goal isn't to win the Super Bowl, then why are we watching (or attending)? To enrich NFL owners and players?

It's called "Titletown" for a reason, not "Let's Be Competitive in Decembertown". Do you really think the Packers would enjoy the following they do today without their history of winning in the biggest games? I think YOU need to adjust that corporate perspective of yours and get real.

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jannes bjornson's picture

December 20, 2019 at 05:44 pm

1992-2019, Two HOF QBs running your show and three SB appearances. You do the math.

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Tedlyflyfisher's picture

December 20, 2019 at 12:06 pm

Great stuff, Maggie!

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Pierre's picture

December 20, 2019 at 02:41 pm

Rodgers is being paid elite money to play QB for Green Bay because his position is the most important in the NFL in terms of determining whether a team ultimately wins or looses. The expectation, once the Packers made it to the NFL playoffs this season, is that they’ll compete in a Super Bowl since Rodgers is being paid as the best QB in the NFL.

The questionable aspect of this expectation is that he has only taken the Packers to one Super Bowl in over twelve years...so if he does so this season it will be against steep odds and actually quite amazing. But...it could happen for any team once you get in the playoffs.

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Matt Gonzales's picture

December 20, 2019 at 04:20 pm

Aaron Rodgers does not have the ability to catch his own passes, call his own plays, or keep his pocket clean. Rodgers received a top of the market contract because he was an entrenched starter GB did not want to move on from because he is better than the unknown, and every QB who approaches the end of their contract in that position is likely to reset the market, because a GM who DOESN'T keep their franchise QB is more likely to be fired than a franchise QB who does and whose franchise QB fails or can't sustain success.

Those same contracts are also what make it more difficult to retain your top draft picks when they approach free agency, and are also what make it difficult to dip into free agency to get quality, impact-making players to patch the holes left by the draft (you can't draft everyone) and the natural attrition of players wanting to seek greener pastures, because there's almost always someone willing to pay more for your services if you're a top talent.

Your franchise QB ultimately defines the success or failure of your season (fairly or unfairly). It's a great thing that, in a relatively down year, Rodgers is still putting up better numbers than the vast majority of QBs. Even if he isn't the player he was in 2011, 2014 and stretches of 2016, he still tilts the field.

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jannes bjornson's picture

December 20, 2019 at 05:54 pm

Well, he doesn't command the highest salary anymore. It may be harder to sign all "your guys", but it doesn't help by enabling Perry and missing on countless high picks that contribute next to nothing beside filling the Dead Money Pool
for your CAP. When you have the Franchise Guy, the other part of the equation should not be as onerous.
Staying conservative and static with your management group and coaching also leads to Epic fails like the 15-1 and done @ Home and the Seattle meltdowm. That has been the Packer Way dating back to Vince leaving for Washington. eg. Why do you pick a guard at # two and keep Taylor around and his salary?

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

December 20, 2019 at 10:30 pm

Per a recent previous post, teams with HOF QBs appear in super bowls every 5 or 6 years and win one every 10 years or so. GB is due.

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Qoojo's picture

December 21, 2019 at 07:51 pm

You got that right. They totally should have had Rodgers on the "hands" special team in Seattle instead of Bostick, right?!

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SterlingSharpe's picture

December 20, 2019 at 04:15 pm

Great stuff. I remember the struggle of the 2010 season. Nobody had us as a Super Bowl team at this point in time in 2010, week 16. But the Bears suspected we were capable of it prior to week 17.

Anyway, are there no REAL PACKER FANS HERE?
You need these shirts. Unless you like the Bears and Anthony Barr.

Barr!! https://www.ebay.com/itm/333157096056
Keep Calm, the Bears Still Suck! https://www.ebay.com/itm/333434836709

Probably too late for Christmas, but for a real Packer fan, this will always be in style!

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AKDan's picture

December 21, 2019 at 05:27 am

After listening to press conferences with both Coach LaFleur and OC Hackett I think the team does have an identity: Selflessness.

Also from the press conference the play to MVS worked in practice and Hackett mentioned playing time is related to execution in practice. The age old mantra, "You play how you practice". I'm wondering if some of the disjointedness on the offensive side is due to some players not successfully translating practice into the game.

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Qoojo's picture

December 21, 2019 at 10:01 am

I am not as down on MVS as most. I just remember how Adams had a sophomore slump. MVS does serve the purpose of blowing the top off the defense. He just might actually catch the ball one of these times :)

Allison needs to ride the bench till released, and most of that playing time devoted to Lazard and some to Kumerow. Seems to me that Allison always gets hit hard whenever he touches the ball, and I always wonder, "Is he hurt badly?"

Rodgers and Graham seem to have a low success rate for connecting, although much better than Allison. I always cringe when I see the target is Graham because the pass will probably drop incomplete.

I think the Packers need to focus on running everything through Jones, then look to spread it around as the defense compensates trying to stop Jones and opens others up.

On defense, really need the Smith Bros to continue the pressure, and need Green back or Sullivan to fill that hybrid role. I thought the defense looked much improved vs chicago against the run. Let's see if that holds up.

Also, need whoever gives Ervin a break to just fair catch the ball.

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