Matt LaFleur's Packers Quickly Taking Shape

 

With Green Bay Packers training camp entering week three, head coach Matt LaFleur has shown plenty of signs that this is indeed his team.

Besides in title, LaFleur still has had to create his culture and relationship with his coaches and players.  From spring mini camps to now, he has clearly done that.

An early camp practice stayed outdoors during rain, something that would have ushered everyone into the comfort of the Don Hutson Center in past year.  LaFleur joked that the weather was not noteworthy and that simply said "it's football".

A scuffle between previously disgruntled safety Josh Jones and running back Tra Carson quickly led to LaFleur dismissing Jones from practice.  LaFleur wasn't having it.  Whether we agree with it or not, this is his team and it's his rules.

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers, long thought to be luke warm on LaFleur's hiring, referred to his new head coach as a friend and has been just as engaged at training camp as ever.  Rodgers has spoken energetically about the offense and his progression in learning how to lead it.

During a practice last week, Rodgers was seen joking and pranking his new boss.  LaFleur's delayed reaction and smile showed a willingness to embrace the fun while still being dialed into the bigger picture around him.

LaFleur has started post-practice press conferences with injury updates, something that didn't happen under the previous regime.  That type of transparency has to be a welcome change for media and it would seem that LaFleur is likely more transparent with his players than they've previously experienced.

It's not just the players who are learning.  LaFleur, as many new coaches and players are, was taken abcack by the attendance and energy by fans for the Packers' annual Family Night event.  A nearly full Lambeau Field for a practice?  Yes, sir!  And while many wondered if a first-time head coach could handle stepping into such hallowed ground and resurrect a Rodgers-led offense, LaFleur isn't lacking in the optics department.

The Packers' first preseason game is in mere days and we'll start to see all of the work, narratives, speculations and schemes in action.  LaFleur will be on the sidelines managing all aspects of the game in real time.  That's where our glimpse into his style and, more importantly, his team, will get turned up a notch.

The results will all point back to Matt LaFleur.  Whether the Packers make the postseason, how many games they win, how improved their offense and defense are.  Las Vegas has set the Packers 2019 win total at nine games and likely because of both LaFleur's being a first-time head coach and the poor performance of the team over the past two seasons. 

Can LaFleur and his Packers beat the odds?

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Jason is a freelance writer on staff since 2012 and also co-hosts Cheesehead TV Live, Pulse of the Pack and Pack A Day podcasts.  You can follow him on Twitter here

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Comments (99)

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flackcatcher's picture

August 05, 2019 at 06:37 am

MLF is working under a stable organization for the first time since 2015. Thank goodness for that. We fans will have a good idea how he operates on the field after the first 4-6 games this season. Otherwise, we will have to wait and see.

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Bearmeat's picture

August 05, 2019 at 08:09 am

It's all gravy now. Let's see how MLF recovers when the team is 2 games under .500 and tensions are high. I remember 06 with MM. That 4 game winning streak to finish the season was indicative of a good coach who was going to usher in greatness down the line.

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Tundraboy's picture

August 05, 2019 at 08:43 am

You really believed at that time in 06 he was ushering in greatness?

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Samson's picture

August 05, 2019 at 09:35 am

It's called rewriting one's historical perspective to fit one's present perspective. --- Most had little clue who MM was at the time.

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Bearmeat's picture

August 05, 2019 at 11:46 am

Wow! I'm so glad you can see inside my head! I really didn't even know what I was thinking until you thankfully figured it out for me! And you were completely right. I had no idea who Mike McCarthy was in January of 2007, even after he coached my favorite team to an 8-8 record in 2006. Thanks so much for clearing the cobwebs out!

How much for the session, Mr. Freud? And do you take BCBS PPO?

PS: For being a jackass, you just earned yourself a one way trip to the "Bearmeat will never read/reply to another comment of yours on CHTV ever again" bandwagon. Congratulations on achieving what only a handful of DBags have managed!

Have a nice life.

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Leatherhead's picture

August 05, 2019 at 12:31 pm

Bearmeat…...Samson Demon will give two downvotes to everything you post now. It's always personal with him.

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Bearmeat's picture

August 05, 2019 at 12:47 pm

That's more than fine. I have several who do that to most things I post. I'm a big boy and can deal with it.

I come here to have fun. To talk Packers with people who share my passion. I don't have much free time right now, so I want to have fun with what little I have. I certainly don't have the mental energy or desire to deal with drama online. I have enough of that at work.

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Demon's picture

August 05, 2019 at 02:08 pm

Wow ok dumb class at the Old School. You asked for it, you got it

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Leatherhead's picture

August 05, 2019 at 02:25 pm

If I bought you a plane ticket, would you threaten me to my face?

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Demon's picture

August 05, 2019 at 03:19 pm

That's original Dumb Class. Another internet bad ass huh? Sure i'd love to accommodate your wishes pal. Bring your alter ego Dash Riprock with you.

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Leatherhead's picture

August 05, 2019 at 03:57 pm

Tell me where to send the tickets

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Demon's picture

August 05, 2019 at 05:14 pm

Im not going to do this with you Dumb Class.
My name is Thomas Snyder. I live in Chippewa falls
I'm not the one who comes on here calling people names then whines like a little girl if they get a down vote. Now you want to be another internet bad ass? YGBSM

You want to discuss anything with me, Im not hard to find.

Jersey Al, TGR Cory and Others
I apologize if anything ive said has caused any disruptions in your comment section. I truly enjoy the site. However asswads like Dumb Class (Old School) and others John Kirk, Dash Riprock are here to only antagonize people and argue.

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Leatherhead's picture

August 05, 2019 at 05:13 pm

I was born near there and attended UWEC. Still have family in the area. I’ll let you know next time I’m around.

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Coldworld's picture

August 05, 2019 at 06:03 pm

Come on guys, the real hitting doesn’t start till Thursday.

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Bearmeat's picture

August 05, 2019 at 07:30 pm

agreed

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NickPerry's picture

August 06, 2019 at 06:03 am

Common OS... Your smarter than to feed into something that's NEVER going to happen anyway.

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Bearmeat's picture

August 05, 2019 at 10:12 am

I did. Favre was a full-blown diva by that point who was openly criticizing every move MM made and had been threatening retirement for 4 years. Meanwhile, TT had drafted BLF's replacement, an extremely fast safety named Nick Collins, had an UDFA named Tramon Williams on the team, and brought in one Sir Charles Woodson. Greg Jennings would come in April of 07 too...

If you remember, the Packers stomped the Bears (who went to the super bowl that year) in week 17. Yes, Bears fans would say "we didn't care." Suuuure. That's why you left all your starters in all game and Lovie Smith was so upset losing 26-7 at the end of it.

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Leatherhead's picture

August 05, 2019 at 12:34 pm

This is correct in every detail. I'm not going to say I saw greatness on the horizon, but the record shows that the next 10 years were one of the best stretches in Packer team history. 8 playoff appearances, four trips to the Championship game, a franchise best 15-1 season, and a Lombardi trophy.

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Bearmeat's picture

August 05, 2019 at 12:51 pm

I really did see greatness. I knew that we were going to have a shot at several titles... I knew that we had something in ARod by then. The team was young, physically gifted and hungry, and the coach was on the cutting edge of offensive philosophy at that time. Go back (if you can?) and watch the preseason games in 07. ARod was lighting it up against first-teamers.

Actually, now that I think of it, this team has many things in common with that 06 team, except the replacement at QB on the roster. We'll see if it turns out the same. If MLF can coach (and I've liked what I've seen so far, but that really is YTBD), then I do think there is a title out there for the Green and Gold in the next 3 years. Maybe 2 in the next 5.

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Samson's picture

August 05, 2019 at 02:14 pm

Similar to the tag team of John Kirk & Old School... It's good to see OS has another friend.

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Bearmeat's picture

August 05, 2019 at 02:55 pm

I'm not on anyone's "side" first of all. I'm on the side of talking sense while not being a jackass.

Second, do you have 4 accounts? LOL! Whatever.

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Leatherhead's picture

August 05, 2019 at 03:59 pm

I told you it was personal with Demon Samson.

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Coldworld's picture

August 05, 2019 at 06:07 pm

I am not going to say that I foresaw tiltes but I do remember feeling like we had a sense of direction again. It is not dissimilar to this year. We may not be there yet but I sense that Gute has a purpose, the coaches have ideas and a roster with a lot of potential to grow further fast.

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Bearmeat's picture

August 05, 2019 at 07:30 pm

Exactly.

And to clarify: I didn't think "We're going to be a dynasty" late in '06. I foresaw that we'd get to be a great team. And yes, I guess that does carry the connotation of a title(s) or at least close to one.

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stockholder's picture

August 05, 2019 at 06:55 am

The OL is still a mess. A-Rod needs protection. Wasn't that the problem the last two years? He needs Time, not excuses. MLF was going to fix it. What back -up QB? IF A-Rod goes down and the packers won't gain a thing.

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Bearmeat's picture

August 05, 2019 at 07:06 am

The OL Is absolutely not a mess. A strong case can be made that starting 5 is top 5 in the league. And there is quality depth for the first time in years. Jenkins, Turner's positional versatility, Madison. That top 8 is more than solid.

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stockholder's picture

August 05, 2019 at 07:11 am

No body saying a thing about the versatility. Were seeing Defense dominating practices. While Turner gets praise, the rest aren't. Wake up bear, their changing positions not for versatility.

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NickPerry's picture

August 05, 2019 at 07:36 am

I don't know SH, the defense SHOULD be dominating in practices this early into it. Year two in Mike Pettines scheme with the added draft choices and FA additions we knew this defense was going to be good. Many have suggested a Top 15 defense would be reasonable to assume but I say BS!! I think this defense is going to be pretty nasty and Top 5 to 7 ranking wouldn't surprise me in the least.

Now I'll agree, the #2 O-Line hasn't looked very good at all but all in all considering all the changes I'm not worried a bit. Bakh, Lindsey, Turner, and Bulaga are going to be damn good in any scheme IMO. Is it Taylor or Jenkins starting at LG? Either way the Packers will have an excellent depth piece as a 6th man. Add in Madison who other than when playing Center has looked good you have 7.

I do agree 100% with you on the back-up QB in a previous comment though...Holy crap Kiser has been terrible! Just hoping in game action he looks much better. Otherwise, they HAVE to get a back-up QB.

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Bearmeat's picture

August 05, 2019 at 09:20 am

On the contrary, I don't want them wasting cap space on a veteran backup QB. If ARod goes down, the season is shot. The End. This team, no matter how improved it is, is not going to the playoffs without Zeus at QB.

As a matter of fact, unless the starting QB sucks and the team is designed (with salary cap allocation and all) to play ground and pound and defense, no team survives its starter being out for more than a few weeks. This current itineration of the Packers is probably not good enough to make it through more than 2 weeks of no ARod.

I want them to draft a high ceiling developmental QB in the next 2-3 years.

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NickPerry's picture

August 05, 2019 at 08:27 am

Good point and one I clearly didn't consider (LOL). I'm still hopeful MLF can work his QB Guru magic he worked on Geoff and Ryan and also with Kiser at Notre Dame.

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Coldworld's picture

August 05, 2019 at 06:10 pm

Last year I used to wonder if Kizer really had talent (other than in his legs). Thus far in camp he has showed real ability numerous times. Unfortunately, he will then do a stare down or similar. So I for one see growth already. Whether that will mature into a true NFL QB I don’t know, but progress is occuring.

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Matt Gonzales's picture

August 05, 2019 at 09:17 am

I'm guessing you're being hyperbolic. If not, Keenum, Foles, Kaep, and others I'm sure I'm forgetting would all like a word. Even Flynn was able to keep the season afloat for the Packers in 2013 with two wins and an OT tie when he came in to relieve Tolzien.

I agree with bringing in a higher ceiling prospect, but not at the expense of bringing a ready starter should the worst happen again.

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Bearmeat's picture

August 05, 2019 at 09:24 am

The 2013 team had wayyyy more talent than the 2015-2018 Packers did. It remains to be seen if the 2019 Packers can match the team ability of the 12-14 Packers.

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Matt Gonzales's picture

August 05, 2019 at 02:36 pm

The key questions that will determine the success of this offense is whether the threat if the run will be enough to bring the 8th man into the box, and whether the RBs can still get positive yardage against an 8 man front.

If they can do that, then any QB who can read the field and throw to the open receiver will be successful, and all the razzle dazzle will help open up the mid/deep play by keeping defenses guessing.

If they can't, it's a repeat of 2015-17 and we will have a new HC saying the players just have to win their assignments.

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Coldworld's picture

August 05, 2019 at 06:22 pm

Flynn was great, eventually, until his elbow injury. He developed in house. Maybe Kizer or Boyle will too.

As to your FA example, Kaep, even before the lay-off doesn’t strike me as an upgrade (he can’t play against us if he is on our roster) and would not fit this system well at all. He is the only FA you cite.

Keenan maybe perhaps, though he has had similar issues to Kize, but how many games would he impact for the $6.5 mill cap hit? That might prevent us keeping Clark or Martinez.

Foles would be an upgrade but his 4 year nearly $90 million contract would mean he would have no one to throw to or keep him upright.

Be realistic. There is no decent QB out there unsigned and there isn’t likely to be after cut downs either. There are teams that still haven’t identified their starter.

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Matt Gonzales's picture

August 06, 2019 at 08:43 am

I was not suggesting any of them as pickups. The statement was a backup QB can't be counted on to win a single game. All three players mentioned authored postseason runs (2 of them making it to the SB) starting the year as a backup QB to an above-average starter (Keenum being the #3 QB option for the Vikings if you count Bridgewater getting injured in camp, #2 if you consider Bradford their first starter).

The veteran backup tree is pretty bare right now, but that could change as camp progresses and the season starts.

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Sol's picture

August 05, 2019 at 01:02 pm

Bearmeat, I would have to agree on that, you can have one great quarter back or a young good one on a rookie contract just to be able to compete in the NFL. The way the cap is structured I don’t think teams with good veteran QB’s have a whole lot of options. I really think the best backup was the one they tried to slip through to the practice squad a couple of years ago, Taysom Hill, heard he is doing good things down in the big easy. On a lighter note I notice Rodgers tuck and run for a first down on family night and I was impressed it looked like his giddy up and go was back. That alone should help keep guys honest and account for a few more first downs this year. Plus maybe even help on the likely hood of injury. If he tucks and runs, he controls the hit. If you can’t get away the defense gives you the best lick they can get away with.

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Coldworld's picture

August 05, 2019 at 06:27 pm

Look at Seattle before and after Wilson got paid. Look at Chicago before Trubisky has to be. Youth is the only way with a vet star QB, supplemented by lower cost value finds like the Pats model. Gute is doing a good job of that in my view.

Part of that is not being able to throw 6-10 million on a QB who is not starter grade or is not any more in the hope of scraping an extra win or two in the hopes Rodgers can return, otherwise just lowering your draft pick.

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Bearmeat's picture

August 05, 2019 at 08:22 pm

You're right, but the Pats are a bad example. The single biggest reason that the Pats have been so good for so long is that Tawmy Terrific has taken a criminally low salary. Not every NFL QB has a wife who makes more in a year than they will in their career. That just sucks for the rest of the NFL.

Everything else you said is right on. This team is going nowhere without Rodgers. The salary cap is just not set up that way. If he misses more than 2 games, not to the playoffs certainly. I'd rather have a worse team with a higher draft pick than be 8-8. Give me 10-6 or better. Or 6-10 or worse.

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stockholder's picture

August 05, 2019 at 09:06 am

This is what I question. IT should be TURNER at LG. He would end the 2 years of BS. Is Bulaga getting that bad, that he can't have Jenkins or Madison there? If Turner goes down it's a mess again. Most were saying it was because Taylor was playing hurt. Now Jenkins is there and Taylor with the second? Is it Taylor or Jenkins starting at LG? Correct question Nick.

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Coldworld's picture

August 05, 2019 at 06:35 pm

Taylor has been really impressive in camp. I do not know what you are watching.

So far, Jenkins and Madison have been schooled by the number 2 D at every opportunity when playing on the number two O line. I expect them to get better, but they are not there yet.

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Packers2020's picture

August 05, 2019 at 08:35 am

Were talking about practice...…

Wait. Wait. Were talking about practice.....

Let's wait until the games start before we say the o-line is not good.

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Coldworld's picture

August 05, 2019 at 04:01 pm

Not due to the O line though. The second O line is definitely a mess at the moment.

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carusotrap's picture

August 05, 2019 at 07:52 am

The OL is a mess? Are you watching old video or something? Of course the D is ahead of the O. The O is being redesigned from the ground up, and the OL still looks gold.

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dobber's picture

August 05, 2019 at 08:21 am

Agreed. Minimal contact, new blocking scheme. Huge difference between 1 on 1s and team play...

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stockholder's picture

August 05, 2019 at 08:46 am

Bear and Nick are on it with the QB. But the LG is not gold. Exposed ? Listen to how LeFleur is praising them. Ground up? There is no praise. Switching guys is a form of giving demerits. Taylor had injuries. Spriggs had injuries. One on One drills is the ground up. {The guards were the problem last year.} Jenkins was not a LG in college. (He is versatile) But being to understanding is going to get A-Rod Hurt.

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Spud Rapids's picture

August 05, 2019 at 12:14 pm

You can't jump all over the shortcomings of the O-line last year and fail to acknowledge Byron Bell... you didn't even mention him once. He was the worst guard in the league last year. Anyone replacing him is a major upgrade therefore the O-Line is improved.

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Coldworld's picture

August 05, 2019 at 04:04 pm

Taylor has looked good in camp. Your boy Jenkins has looked OK in one on ones for a rookie but not good at all as part of an O line. Better at center but a way to go yet.

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Coldworld's picture

August 05, 2019 at 06:37 pm

You are in fantasy land.

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Leatherhead's picture

August 05, 2019 at 12:37 pm

Why is the OL a mess? At the most important line position, we have one of the best in the business. At center, the second most important spot, we have Linsley. Bulaga is a better than average RT. Lane Taylor is a good guard who battled injury last year.

PFF and Footballoutsiders both rated our line as pretty good last year, and we've added Madison, Turner, and Jenkins to the group. I'd rate the Packers offensive line as a strength of the team, quite frankly.

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Coldworld's picture

August 05, 2019 at 06:39 pm

It’s not. It has been good. The number 2 has been bad. Jenkins particularly had a dreadful night on Friday. OK in one on ones for a rookie, but not there yet.

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MarkinMadison's picture

August 05, 2019 at 06:56 am

Does anyone have the data to compare injuries this point in TC v past years? The timing of the practices seems to be very analytics-driven. If they come out of the gate slow (and I suspect they will for a number of reasons) the nay-sayers are going to point to short practices, lack of hitting, and maybe too much "fun" as the culprits. Getting the Bears with that D in week 1 is pretty brutal. I hope the Packers D is good enough to carry the game.

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Bearmeat's picture

August 05, 2019 at 07:07 am

And then following that up 10 days later with Minnesota, who's defense is just as good... I really hope we win one of those games.

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NickPerry's picture

August 05, 2019 at 07:50 am

In the week one game last season the Bears really didn't do much offensively against the Packers defense if you remember Mark. They had that first drive where I all think we went "Is that still Capers up in the booth?"

But after the first drive, it was pretty much a decent effort by our defense, and remember that was with Matthews, Perry, and Daniels. I honestly believe this defense is going to be pretty tough to move the ball on consistently. I'd also imagine by week one the offense will be able to move the ball somewhat effectively, have some plays and variations of plays they'll be able to run successfully against anyone.

That's STILL Aaron Rodgers, Davante Adams, Aaron Jones, a slew of 2nd and 3rd WR's who I think are more than good enough, and a damn fine O-Line.

Let's just get there healthy (hopefully), hope Kevin King is going to be alright (please God), and I think our Defense slaps the S### out of Trubisky and Cousins (Good Possiblitlty) and we win BOTH games (Optimistic). I think the first 2 games will tell us quite a bit. But BM brought up a great point about the 2006 team above. THIS team is probably better than that team...At least defensively. AND they have a running game, something 2006 didn't have.

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Johnblood27's picture

August 05, 2019 at 09:32 am

"they have a running game"???

What are you smoking?

The 2019 GBP have exactly what they had under MM. A promise to have a running game.

Even a commitment to a running game with adequate reps doesn't give them a running game.

There has to be SUCCESS with this "new" commitment to the running game and an ability to play keep away in the 4th quarter (think Holmgren with Levens) when (if) they have a lead.

Thgere can be no statements like "they have a running game" at this point.

Sheeesh... SMH

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Freezn's picture

August 05, 2019 at 10:51 am

Aron averaged over 5 yards a pop last year and I think that's pretty good considering last years offensive line. Now we have a decent offensive line and watch them make some holes for Aron

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Leatherhead's picture

August 05, 2019 at 12:40 pm

Our offensive line made holes in the run game last year. Footballoutsiders had us at #7 in run blocking.

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dobber's picture

August 05, 2019 at 04:26 pm

I'm trying to find run/pass selection and yards/rush by quarter. I found a stat that says that teams that trail in the 4th quarter average 4.9 yards/carry on run plays in the 4th quarter. I'd like to see how that kind of analysis influences the Packers' numbers.

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Matt Gonzales's picture

August 05, 2019 at 04:46 pm

How many of those runs were made by winning teams wanting to put away games, and how many were against defenses that knew the game was put away as long as they protected against the big play downfield?

If I'm up by 2 TDs I'm going to play prevent defense and let the opposing offense churn rushing yards (and clock) all day long.

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Matt Gonzales's picture

August 05, 2019 at 02:22 pm

Per yard stats mean very little compared to the how/where/when situational usage. The Packers are still sorely missing the versatility they had in 2013-14 with Lacey, where they could line him up behind Rodgers, with everyone knowing the run was coming, and still consistently get positive yardage. That kind of running is what opens up the pass, as it forces defenses to stack the box and not immediately drop LBs and the dime safety back into coverage.

If the offensive play design can scheme people open or make defenders second guess their assignment, great, but there will be a point in the season where the razzle dazzle stops working (look at what happened in 2011 with the passing game), and when the rubber meets the road, players simply NEED to win their 1 on 1s. Everyone hated MM for saying as much the last couple years, but he was right. If you can't consistently show run, and then run the ball for positive yardage (3-4+), then you don't have a running game defenses have to respect, and you're going to be consistently trying pass into a loaded backfield.

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Coldworld's picture

August 05, 2019 at 04:06 pm

It isn’t impossible that Aaron Jones will be the only holdover back. I’m scratching my head at this thread.

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Mark Gaedtke's picture

August 05, 2019 at 07:02 am

Although I hope we come out of the chute firing on all cylinders, I suspect this new offense is going to take some time to come together. Games against the Bears and Vikings in consecutive weeks will certainly test our grasp of the new system. Fortunately I believe our revamped defense will keep us in games, provided we stay healthy. I'm fired up about the changes. Bring it on!

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Freezn's picture

August 05, 2019 at 12:40 pm

It will sure be fun watching apposing teams continually picking up their Quarterback out of the turf. Our Defense is fast big and has an attitude. I especially want to watch the smith boys and Mr. Gary dismanteling offenses

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Coldworld's picture

August 05, 2019 at 07:13 pm

One thing I have noticed in practice is the amount of rushing from the ILB spots. It’s really looking like it will come from any quarter on any given play. Going to be fun.

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SmallmouthBass's picture

August 05, 2019 at 07:20 am

Challenges we face early on will include player and coaching performance into the second half and/or fourth quarter of close games, as well as the "2 min drill" when we need a quick score.
Both I believe will show if the adjustment period for Matt and #12 is transitioning. The ability to make those minor adjustments in-game to sustain leads and make plays down the stretch (road games) will be key. Then maybe Rodgers will be comfortable pulling out his magic wand to win us some close games ;-)
GOpackgo

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blacke00's picture

August 05, 2019 at 08:11 am

As I've said before on this site. The OL will determine will determine their fate. It may take some time to jell. I saying 10 wins...heck last year they could have easily had 9 win. The defense will be better. As was said above a top 7 defense wouldn't surprise me. If the offense comes around they'll be in the playoffs for sure.
But just come down to the OL.....

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Cubbygold's picture

August 05, 2019 at 08:30 am

GB ranks #32 in the league in defensive spending. If they're a top-7 defense I'm voting Pettine for President.

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Leatherhead's picture

August 05, 2019 at 12:42 pm

I'm with you, but not because of spending. I just think that Chicago and Minnesota both have a better defense at this point, and if you're the 3rd best defense in your own division you're probably not in the Top 7.

If we can be in the top half of the league defensively I'll be happy.

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dobber's picture

August 05, 2019 at 12:48 pm

"If we can be in the top half of the league defensively I'll be happy."

I think people are expecting more than this, but I'd have to agree with you.

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Coldworld's picture

August 05, 2019 at 04:12 pm

I’d be happy with that too. But let’s be clear, with Rodger’s salary, we have to rely on youth and there is a lot of youth on this D (first contracts or cheap FA like Brown).

The question is whether that is youth with ability and how quickly that will gel. Looking at it, I’m very optimistic in terms of both talent and scheme. There will be growing pains though. If we crack the top 15 this year, the potential for the next year is truly significant.

Right now, we need our offensive skill players (not named Adams) to settle in and start to take off.

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Matt Gonzales's picture

August 05, 2019 at 04:41 pm

TL;DR - the Packers defensive spending rank is directly related to the defensive performance from 2012-2017 and the number of bust picks made during that time.
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This number is deceptive to me. The Packers have a cheap defense because they have been investing their top draft picks on defense consistently for the last several years, and their previous medium/big money guys that were on the roster last year are all gone (CMIII, Daniels, Perry).

What is more troubling to me, that I didn't fully see until just now, is that the Packers have invested so much draft capital in defense since 2012, and so few of those players are still playing for GB. The amount of churn (especially on defense) that has taken place in GB since their last Super Bowl win is astounding. Since 2012, the Packers have invested 50%+ of their draft picks on defense, and there is now not a single player remaining that was drafted in 2015 or prior. So not only are the Packers constantly drafting high at defense, but because they're not retaining their defensive players, it also means they're basically always filling the same holes. The guys that were drafted in 2013-15 should be playing out their second contracts right now, and with Daniels being released, every single one of them is gone. 2017 looks like an attempt to patch 2015 and prepare for the impending departures of several big name players, but the success of that is questionable, as they had to essentially use the 2018 draft to "reset" their 2015 mistakes and backfill for 2017 players that weren't making the jump yet. 2019 finally looks, defense-wise, like they are building depth at positions. Other than Tramon (who technically doesn't count as a departing and then returning vet), I don't think there are any Packers defensive players, drafted as Packers, who are playing on their 2nd+ contract.

The good news is that the 2016 and 2018 class have looked fairly strong so GB could be finally turning a corner (pun intended). The bad news is by clustering high round defensive picks in the same position groups, the Packers are set for some really tough decisions in a couple years.

2012 - we now have no remaining players from this draft class.
2013 - no remaining defensive players (out of 4 drafted)
2014 - no remaining defensive players (out of 4 drafted)
2015 - no remaining defensive players (out of 4 drafted)
2016 - 100% defensive retention
2017 - 3 of 4 defense retained
2018 - 5 of 5 defense retained (2 or 3 have seen little/no gameday action)

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4zone's picture

August 05, 2019 at 08:23 am

Who gets to the Bear's Trubiskit first?

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Cubbygold's picture

August 05, 2019 at 08:29 am

Amos. Pettine is going to design something nobody's expecting on the opening play.

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Freezn's picture

August 05, 2019 at 12:41 pm

Our whole defense LOL

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Coldworld's picture

August 05, 2019 at 06:44 pm

Well at least we won’t be sitting there calling the plays in advance for beer money this year

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Freezn's picture

August 05, 2019 at 12:44 pm

Bears might have Mack but we have three large hungry OLBs and the bears will be seeing three Macks that will be coming after the QB all day long

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Cubbygold's picture

August 05, 2019 at 08:28 am

So King is hurt again. Letting Breeland sign elsewhere for $2M is just odd. Hope they can use some of that money saved on Daniels to make sure CB isn't a weakness. Sounds like some of the young guys are looking good, but this team has been over-reliant on young players the past few years and it's burned them.

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LambeauPlain's picture

August 05, 2019 at 08:45 am

Wouldn't you know it...King announces to the press he's 100% healthy and ready to make a statement this season...then he pulls a hammy. Those can be a season long, reocurring issue.

I hope Hollman and Brown continue their good camps and Josh Jackson finally finds the field. If King goes back on PUP or starts the season on IR its time to cut bait. No way they should keep him on IR as designated to return.

You would have thought TT learned his lesson with Harrell...but then he again uses a high draft pick on an oft injured college player.

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Cubbygold's picture

August 05, 2019 at 09:33 am

For sure, if this is another major limiting injury, you've seen enough to know who he is.

I hope Gute is already looking for a legitimate CB to fill his spot. Young promising players are great, but this team is already relying on Alexander/Burks/Savage/Gary/Jackson to play important roles.

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Matt Gonzales's picture

August 05, 2019 at 03:16 pm

King isn't eligible for PUP - he has already practiced.

He either stays dead weight on the 90/53, or they IR him now so he can get waived with an injury settlement or come back at week 7.

I'm guessing they'll wait a few weeks to decide. Unless they really need the roster space there's no rush, and leaving him inactive lets him continue going through walk-through installations.

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Coldworld's picture

August 05, 2019 at 04:14 pm

Or he returns to practice in a week or so .... sheesh

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Matt Gonzales's picture

August 05, 2019 at 04:58 pm

I was presenting worst case, but based on his previous injury history. I sincerely hope this is a cautionary holdout and MLF's TC injury reports are some Belechick level subterfuge. We won't know either way till injury reports are league mandated.

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PackfanNY's picture

August 05, 2019 at 08:47 am

I am very positive on this team. I love what they have done with the defense. We will see how that works out.

Now with that being said, the test for LaFleur is the success or failure of Aaron Rodgers and the offense. The personnel give or take a tweak is essentially the same group that struggled last season. Rodgers needs to stay healthy and receivers need to get open more frequently. Packers also need to get the ball to Aaron Jones.

If the defense fails we will be looking at Pettine or Gute. The offense fails I think we all look at LaFleur. Doesn’t seem fair or logical but I think this is what will happen.

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JohnnyLogan's picture

August 05, 2019 at 09:01 am

Still worried about corner opposite Jaire. Lucky to have him, but I was against the trade down with Derwin James available. Gute's maneuvers worked well I think. The question today is would you rather have Jaire and Savage or Derwin James and two 4th rounders?... I think I'd go with Jaire and Savage, but James is awful good.

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Freezn's picture

August 05, 2019 at 10:55 am

I believe we could find a corner on final cut downs to fill that hole and will be fine

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Coldworld's picture

August 05, 2019 at 04:14 pm

I think we have enough depth as we are.

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JohnnyLogan's picture

August 05, 2019 at 09:03 am

Za'darius will prove to be our Khalil Mack. Either he or Gary.

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porupack's picture

August 05, 2019 at 09:06 am

>>>Las Vegas has set the Packers 2019 win total at nine games and likely because of both LaFleur's being a first-time head coach and the poor performance of the team over the past two seasons.<<<

No margin of error; every head to head game in the NFC North is a make or break game. All 4 teams have strong rosters, and invested against their 2018 weaknesses. On paper all 4 teams are on par. The team(s) that beat(s) or ties Vegas' 9 wins are in the playoffs. The record in the division will be more important this year than usual due to the strength of all 4 teams. So, I hope MLF doesn't start out first 2-3 games of vanilla, MM-conservative offense. That Chigo game is a.....well, let's say, the mentality better be a "must-win" game. If MLF has that team prepared and beats Chigo, I'll be impressed by "MLF's Packers" and if his system "quickly took shape". Up to that, all of the "plenty of signs" are like reading kardishian gossip in people magazine. Much ado about little. Not being critical of the article, and THX Jason for the summary view of MLF till now. Agreeing that we're all looking for signs in preseason that we come out game 1 ready and firing with "must win" attitude, and better not start out 2019 in deficit W-L record or it will be hard to recover. THX Jason.

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Sol's picture

August 05, 2019 at 09:31 am

I remember watching the 2016 playoff game with the Packer playing the Falcons and I knew right then we were in trouble and need of a rebuild, they were just so much faster across the board, Fast forward two and a half years and our team speed and youth have improved considerably. I went to family night and the thing that impressed me the most was the speed in the defensive back field. I didn’t know it was humanly possible to run that fast while closing on the ball the Packers have absolute burners on the back-end. Couple that with the infusion of youth and talent on the D line and you have a defense that can keep you in any game. I am looking for a dramatic turn around and I would venture to say there are going to be a lot of teams that don’t want the Packers coming to town this year. Go Pack

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PackfanNY's picture

August 05, 2019 at 11:00 am

Sol, I thought the exact same thing with the Falcon disaster. This is a great post. However, I hope with all the attention on the defense that we haven’t added enough to the offense. Time will tell.

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Sol's picture

August 05, 2019 at 12:09 pm

PackfanNY I think you just hit the nail on the head!

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Leatherhead's picture

August 05, 2019 at 12:45 pm

So, we made it t?o the Championship game with a team whose healthiest receiver had broken ribs and you decided we needed a rebuild?

And what has the might Atlanta done since then?

We had Ladarious Gunther guarding Julio Jones because of injuries to our secondary. IMO, that 2016 team was loaded but had a bad run of injuries that kept it from going to the Super Bowl.

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

August 05, 2019 at 10:46 am

Lots of good and interesting comments!

We have four pre-season games and a week + for the Pack offense to gell. I believe they will be ready come week 1. I am a big believer in teaching. I like the new practice format of shorter practices (less injuries) and more classroom training.

If a player is struggling to comprehend their role in various plays it makes ZERO sense to keep having them repeatedly run the play incorrectly. This approach embarrasses a player and eats at their confidence.

I believe LF's offense will be ready against a tough Bear defense in week 1 with Rodgers at the helm.

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Since&#039;61's picture

August 05, 2019 at 11:25 am

Lombardi ran plays over and over again until they got it right and that produced 5 Championships in 7 years including 3 in a row and the 1st 2 Super Bowls. If it means embarrassing a player to achieve those results it is probably OK. The problem is that the current CBA does not allow for enough practice for all players to get it right. Plus these are allegedly professionals they should be able to deal with being coached and even criticized when necessary.

If a player cannot grasp their role in various situations they probably should not be playing. Professional sports are fractions of inches and fractions of seconds between winning and losing. Coaches like Lombardi and hopefully MLF get that and coach their players to win those fractions for their team. Thanks, Since '61

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Leatherhead's picture

August 05, 2019 at 12:47 pm

I won a helluva lot of high school games with 10 plays to the left, and the same 10 to the right. Dive, sweep, counter trey, reverse, etc. Execution wins, always.

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Coldworld's picture

August 05, 2019 at 04:18 pm

As usual it is a combination of both. These days options and reads are more fluid and players need to understand not just learn by rote alone.

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Since&#039;61's picture

August 05, 2019 at 11:30 am

It sounds like MLF and his staff are moving in the right direction. But for the sake of managing expectations these are only practices up to this point. I'm confident that every team feels pretty good about their chances right now.

The key is for the Packers to remain healthy until Week 1 and hopefully get A. Jones, J. Williams, King and Jackson back and ready for the season opener.
Thanks, Since '61

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packerbacker-53's picture

August 05, 2019 at 12:27 pm

Everything comes down to Rodgers. The defense will be better. The offensive line has depth and hopefully stays healthy anyway. The receivers and running backs are good just not great save Adams, but I do believe with a coach who understands running the ball more than 11 times a game we will see a huge season in Aaron Jones which will sit him in the top of the league by playoff time. So long as Rodgers buys in. I know he can make all the spectacular, even impossible throws, but why take a chance on a 40 yard play on 2nd or 3rd and 4 when the defense gives you an easy 6 for the first down. That is what will determine if we win. Take what the D gives. It will be hard for him, but if he is patient, we will win, and sooner than later the big plays will be there.

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greengold's picture

August 05, 2019 at 04:19 pm

Offense always starts out slow, and given this is a totally new system, with a lot of new bodies, I'm not the least bit surprised they didn't show well in this practice v. HOU. Nothing to fret about. Seems like LaFleur has a good plan, and I believe he will get results.

As for King, the Packers staff held him out to avoid this becoming a significant injury. GOOD! The guy deserves more credit than he gets. Glad to hear this wasn't anything more significant. What? A shocker that a CB would pull a hamstring? In camp? Really? Come on...! Give the guy a break. Smart move by the staff to be cautious with it.

Sounds like we have a bunch of good players making great plays. More will show well, I'm sure.

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