The Lass Word: Cowboys Have Shown Packers The Way

Brace yourself for a national media frenzy no matter what the outcome Sunday.

Let’s see.  The Green Bay Packers are being forced to send a young quarterback out on to the field Sunday to make his first NFL start.  Hmmmm.....where have I seen this before?.... seems like just recently....oh, now I remember!  The Dallas Cowboys had to do just that last Sunday night. 

 

With Dak Prescott out, the Boys had to start Cooper Rush, a former undrafted free agent, under center.  They had to play the Minnesota Vikings on the road.  No way they win, right?  Wait a minute.  Final score:  Cowboys 20  Vikings 16.  How did they do it?  Let’s take a look. 

 

Rush had the benefit of a solid one-two rushing attack with Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard.  They only ran for a combined 76 yards, but they were enough of a threat to force the Vikings to load up the box to stop the run.  That opened up the passing game.  Rush had the benefit of top notch receivers in Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb.  He also had an offensive line that generally protected him well, despite giving up three sacks.  Meanwhile, the Dallas defense rose to the occasion, limiting Kirk Cousins to 184 yards passing, and keeping running back Dalvin Cook under control, allowing him to run for 78 mostly ineffective yards.  The Cowboys trailed much of the game, but stayed within striking distance.  Then, with Rush gaining confidence throughout, went on an eight play, 75 yard drive, scoring the go-ahead touchdown with two minutes left to play.   

 

I can see this scenario being a real possibility for the Packers against the Chiefs on Sunday.  Jordan Love will also have the benefit of a stout one-two rushing attack in Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon.  In addition, both backs are good receivers in the short passing game.  Of course, the Chiefs will load the box to stop the run.  Like Dallas, Love should have the benefit of good receivers, led by elite pass catcher Davante Adams and the return of Marquez Valdes-Scantling along with Allen Lazard.  Kansas City ranks 29th against the pass.  There are going to be yards to be made.  The offensive line has held up reasonably well against much fiercer pass rushes than the Chiefs have been able to muster thus far. 

 

Now, can Green Bay’s defense do its part?  The Chiefs will bring a much stronger attack than the Cowboys had to deal with against Minnesota.  But Joe Barry, who should be back from the Covid list, and his staff have managed to devise schemes that held explosive units like Arizona and Cincinnati from taking over the game.  They have to find a way to keep Tyreek Hill from running past them, and Travis Kelce from running through them. 

 

But Dallas had to deal with Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen, and they got it done.  They did it with the nineteenth ranked defense in the league.  The Packers D is currently rated seventh, and appears to be getting better every week, particularly along the defensive line.   

 

Then take into account the creativity and resourcefulness of Matt LaFleur and his offensive brain trust.  I will them over Mike McCarthy in a battle of game planners any day. 

 

In the preseason, playing with reserves, we got to see Jordan Love flash his potential on a few drives, but struggle to finish them off, making mistakes typical of young quarterbacks.  Same story when he came in for mop up in the season opener against the Saints, again playing with back-ups, as he led the Packers on a nine play, 54 yard drive to the five yard line, where he fumbled the ball away after a strip sack.   Would it have been different if he were throwing to Davante Adams and Marquez Valdes-Scantling, instead of Malik Taylor and Randall Cobb?  If he had had Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon to hand off to instead of Kylin Hill? 

 

Brace yourself for a national media frenzy no matter what the outcome Sunday.  If Love plays well and leads the Packers to victory, expect the talking heads to resurrect the whole Aaron Rodgers controversy.  They will expound tirelessly on whether Rodgers should be traded, and whether the three time MVP will become a locker room problem because he is envious of his replacement.  They will sow the seeds of a “quarterback controversy” because they relish the viewer emotion that conveys.  

 

If Love is a disaster, they will mount an attack on Brian Gutekunst for drafting him in the first place, replaying the false narrative that Gutekunst should have focused on drafting more help for their future Hall of Fame signal caller.  They will ruminate on the incredible leverage Rodgers now has regarding his decision whether to return next year. 

 

Both story angles will be, of course, over reactions. The truth is, no matter how Jordan Love does Sunday, it’s probably not a harbinger of his long term future.  There are few quarterbacks who look great coming out of the gate.  He could turn out to be Peyton Manning.  He could turn out to be Mitch Trubisky.  It won’t be determined by one game, especially a game against an opponent who has been to the Super Bowl the past two seasons, and will be playing at home in front of a raucous crowd. 

 

But beating the Chiefs is far from impossible.  The Cowboys have shown the way. 

 

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Ken Lass is a former Green Bay television sports anchor and 43 year media veteran, a lifelong Packers fan, and a shareholder.

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13 points

Comments (9)

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LeotisHarris's picture

November 04, 2021 at 04:29 pm

Well said, Ken, but no need to "brace yourself for a national media frenzy" with "talking heads" working both sides of the outcome for maximum emotion. That'll happen quicker than you can say "Bob's your uncle" right here in our cozy little corner of the internet on CHTV.

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dobber's picture

November 04, 2021 at 06:16 pm

"They will expound tirelessly on whether Rodgers should be traded now, "

The trading deadline passed last week.

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PearlyBakerBest's picture

November 04, 2021 at 09:33 pm

At the very least we will get to see a Matt Lafleur game plan that probably won’t be deviated from.

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Starrbrite's picture

November 04, 2021 at 07:44 pm

I believe the Giants also helped show the way. The Giant’s defense played the deep two-safety look and Tyreek Hill and Kelce were clearly frustrated. Tyreek especially was not allowed to get behind the defense for deep passes and a decent Giant’s pass rush kept Mahomes in check.

As for Love, well, we’ll see. I felt the effusive praise lauded on him each time he completed a pass during the preseason was overdone. I am interested to see what happens under live fire.

9 points
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PyschoDad3's picture

November 04, 2021 at 09:54 pm

Hoping I can find some other sound feed for Sunday's game so I can leave my TV sound off and not have to listen to Buck, Aikman and the rest of the Fox losers regarding Rodgers and Covid-19. Sure to be a S--- show. Here's to rooting hard for Jordan Love to give it his best and help get the W.
In the end, I think the only people whose opinions mater regarding Rodgers are the rest of the team, and I think the question for Rodgers is just how he expects to lead this team going forward after this mess. Oh well,, Deflagate didn't seem to hamper Brady much after that went down,, I guess we have to hope Rodgers will be OK after Covidgate. Guess that's just the way it is these days.

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GregC's picture

November 05, 2021 at 05:27 am

Good take on how the Cowboys won in a similar situation just a few days ago. Why hadn't I thought of that? The media bashing in the last 1/3 of the article was a bit over the top, though. Yes, it's ridiculous how all of this stuff is hyped, but it's the fans who are to blame for gobbling it up like so much popcorn, not to mention Aaron Rodgers for giving the media so much ridiculousness to work with in the first place.

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PAPackerbacker's picture

November 05, 2021 at 05:51 am

I am rooting for a Packer win as always, no matter who the starters are during any particular game. I'm happy to see the veterans return when they are able to. But also happy to see the young players step up when called upon and do their part to get a win. Even veterans have bad games. The Saints game a perfect example. I wish the team well under the leadership of Jordan Love. It will take a team effort to win, just like a team effort can result in a loss. Jordan Love will make mistakes. Even veteran players make mistakes. Learning and growing from those mistakes is what makes a championship caliber player and team. Here's wishing the Packers go to 8 -1 after the Chiefs game and a game free from more injuries or more players being put on the reserve/Covid list. Go! Pack! Go!

4 points
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PackfanNY's picture

November 05, 2021 at 10:11 am

The Packers need to be able to show enough pass to set up the run. Even a horrible Chiefs run defense can slow the running game if you become one dimensional. They will try to “stack” the box.

So, the Packers will need to play in “reverse” of the normal run to set up the pass. Love has the arm strength to get it done. The one concern will be staying away from the turnover. A young QB trying to force it is always the concern. He does have a little mobility and it will be interesting to see if he “uses” it. I have to think throw it away is the direction because lord knows we don’t have another QB if he gets hurt. GPG!

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PatrickGB's picture

November 05, 2021 at 11:02 am

I liked the analogy until I remembered that it was the Vikings that were beat. Even a faltering Chiefs team is better than them. Yet I think that if (like the analogy), if our defense is as good as or better than they were against the Cards, then this game is in reach.

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