Will the Real Packers Please Stand Up?

Things are looking up, but questions remain.

News flash: It’s week 13 and a handful of NFL teams are not who we thought they were just a few weeks ago. Are the Broncos one of the worst teams in the AFC? Nope. Are the Bills Super Bowl contenders? Doesn’t look like it. Are the Lions a new NFC juggernaut? Not based on their Thanksgiving brunch with the Packers.

So what are we to make of our green and gold gladiators, who really should be passing out anti-nausea pills for the roller coaster ride they’ve put us on this season?

Packer nation has swung from sky-high optimism after the opening beatdown of the Bears, to wanting the front office and coaching staff deported after the embarrassing loss to the dreadful Raiders in week 5, which was followed by lousy performances against Denver and Minnesota.

Now, after beating the Chargers and that delicious meal in Detroit, it’s all rainbows, playoffs and hey, maybe Joe Barry should keep his job! 

Let's take a breath, shall we?

As has often been said, this is a young, inexperienced team going through a franchise-altering transition at the most important position on and off the field. This has always been, and continues to be, a developmental year, and if there is one huge lesson from 2023, it’s that we all really need to stop putting an ounce of stock in anything we see or hear from the various training camps and off-season activities. Cell-phone video of a nice route and catch by a fifth-round receiver in shorts says nothing about anything. If players can’t do the vast majority of things we see them doing in the off-season, they wouldn’t be in the NFL to begin with.

The Detroit game certainly showed some of the progress and trajectory we needed to see. Most important, we saw a focused, opponent-specific game plan by Matt LaFleur, dedicated to using the middle of the field and scheming receivers open, particularly Jayden Reed and Christian Watson. The fact is that Detroit’s secondary was suspect from early in the season, and has regressed further in the past month. LaFleur targeted them hard and Jordan Love shredded them with an accurate passing day.

The offensive line is hardly top shelf, but it is slowly improving to at least middling. And although Rasheed Walker will never be an elite tackle, the coaches appear to have been right in playing him more regularly than Yosh Nijman.

As for Love, he had his best game on Thanksgiving, and has put together a solid month of play, helped by better scheme and a solidifying O-line. It is encouraging to see his progress, and his growing confidence is evident.

Regarding Mr. Barry and his defense, I wouldn’t renew his contract under any circumstance, but we have to acknowledge that the Packers have only yielded 24 or more points once, and more than 20 only twice. 

The weakness comes, no surprise, against the run, where Green Bay ranks 27th. As important, the defense ranks 22nd in allowing third down conversions by the opposition. 

Meanwhile, the Packers have regressed on special teams, ranking 31st in kickoff and punt return yards allowed.

What does it all mean? Simply that this team is evolving, in fits and starts, and still has many question marks. Can Green Bay make the playoffs? Sure, if the improvement continues and they get help, as they did from the Seahawks collapsing on Thursday night. 

But here comes Kansas City, the toughest test of the year. Once again, it looks like Aaron Jones will be limited if not out. The Chiefs’ defense is among the league leaders, so the Packers will have to be at their best on both sides of the ball to have a chance. Yes, the Chiefs have struggled throwing the ball, but this is still Patrick Mahomes, and running back Isiah Pacheco must be licking his chops. 

After Sunday, the final five games are against teams with losing records except the Vikings, who stand at .500. Playoffs or not, playing consistent, aggressive and improving football will put a lot of doubts to rest. 

__________________________
Jonathan Krim grew up in New York but got hooked on the Packers — and on hating the Cowboys — watching the Ice Bowl as a young child.  He blames bouts of unhappiness in his late teens on Dan Devine. A journalist for several decades who now lives in California, he enjoys trafficking in obscure cultural references, lame dad jokes and occasionally preposterous takes. Jonathan is a Packers shareholder, and insists on kraut with his brats. You can follow Jonathan on twitter at @Jkrim.

11 points
 

Comments (67)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
Coldworld's picture

December 01, 2023 at 06:31 am

Sorry, I’m not on board with most of this. The OL isn’t improving. It’s still incapable of run blocking. Other than Jenkins playing better (though less so against Detroit) we continue to see the same issues with C and RG as we have all season.

Contrary to your statement on Nijman, he was far better rated than Walker in the last game and clearly our best OL in the run game. To add insult to injury, the next best, on minimal snaps was Rhyan. I’m not anti Walker, but I think he’s better suited to RT. If we’ve alienated Nijman, then Tom is a better prospect at left, though I’d rather see him at C.

As to the D, we gave up 4.8 yards per carry to RBs in Detroit and a little over 330 passing from Goff. Yes, Gary supported by Clark, Smith and Brooks had a great day getting pressure and turnovers, one of which was taken in for a score, but the rest of the performance was highly reminiscent of what has gone before.

On O we scored early, but the real separation came from a ridiculous gift of a short field and a defensive score. That’s despite the best passing performance this year. The run game remains a bluster: our biggest threats are a QB and WR, neither relying on the OL to block.

Yes, there were a lot of encouraging moments, building on recent games in fact, but we were helped by, for once, an opposing coaching howler and uncharacteristic turnover success. Unless those factors are something to see as likely to reoccur, they have to be taken into account.

Detroit was great for the young skill players and got the future of this team, but it wasn’t a team figuring out its weaknesses on O or D. It was an illustration of why getting ahead early changes games and helps young teams particularly while putting opponents off their game and away from their strengths.

Other than individual performances, maybe the best thing coming out of that would be LaFleur grasping the fact that playing aggressively early not conservatively is the best chance we have. Something the second halves all season have suggested.

Last year 4 games against weak or crippled offenses was leapt on by many to excuse the continuity of Barry and seemingly of all aspects of LaFleur’s staff and approach. Let’s not fall into the same trap again and definitely not rush into it like joyous lemmings.

We are in contention because the NFC has a number of teams that have struggled and the North is rank bad outside Detroit after the Vikings lost their QB and without their star receiver. Context is everything. In this case through, we win by not letting a lack of it excuse the repeated non roster deficiencies of this coaching staff for another year.

6 points
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TCampion's picture

December 01, 2023 at 07:10 am

"Last year 4 games against weak or crippled offenses was leapt on by many to excuse the continuity of Gary bit seemingly of all aspects of LaFleur."
What are you trying to say here?

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Coldworld's picture

December 01, 2023 at 07:38 am

“Continuity of Barry and” was the intended wording, I will edit that. My apologies.

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Since'61's picture

December 01, 2023 at 07:21 am

Excellent post Coldworld! The Packers still have a long way to go in their journey of development. Progress has been made but at what rate will it continue from week to week?

The upcoming Chiefs game present the biggest challenge of the season. Following this week the Packers return to facing 5 teams which are similar to the Packers in their varying degrees of development or decline in the case of the Vikings. As I posted earlier the season the Packers 2023 schedule has been filled with teams still finding their way. The last 5 games will tell us how far the Packers have come on their journey.

OL should have been and still should be, left to right, Nijman, Jenkins, Tom, Rhyan, Walker. The receiving corps has improved but still has work to do. Due to the OL the run game has been mediocre for most of the season. Fortunately Love's shown good growth, particularly over the last 4 games.

Thanks to our pass rush the defense has held it together for most of the season but the run defense and overall tackling continue to be liabilities for the defense. The defense still has problems getting off the field on 3rd down.

We'll see if the Packers have improved enough to win over their last 5 games or if our opponents enable the Packers to victory by playing worse than the Packers as happened in the Packers win versus the Chargers.

One game at a time. For this week the Chiefs will provide an excellent measuring stick for where the Packers stand against one of the best teams in the league. Go Pack Go! Thanks, Since '61

5 points
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Packers0808's picture

December 01, 2023 at 07:46 am

Gee I wish I was a Packer coach.

2 points
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RCPackerFan's picture

December 01, 2023 at 08:02 am

"OL should have been and still should be, left to right, Nijman, Jenkins, Tom, Rhyan, Walker."

I really don't know what the deal is with Yosh. He came in for Walker and played great. But when he has been on the field since he hasn't looked as good IMO. Walker might be a better RT then LT, but he isn't going to be nearly as good as Tom has been. Tom has been really good (when healthy). He has went up against some of the best in the league and has been very good.

So for me the best OL combo is Walker/Yosh (not sure because neither has been great), Jenkins, Myers, Rhyan, Tom.

I know by me saying that Myers should be starting will bring out the pitchforks. But he has been ok overall. Some of the issues with him is that he has had subpar OG play next to him for a lot of the season. Runyan has regressed, or wasn't that good to begin with. At LG, Jenkins got hurt, missed some games and took him several more to get back into his normal form. We need to see what he can do with Rhyan next to him for a full game. That is an easy change and could have a pretty significant impact. Rhyan is a road grader in the run game and his pass blocking has been good.

5 points
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Since'61's picture

December 01, 2023 at 10:12 am

RC I appreciate your feedback. You make a good point about Myers not having much support around him especially at RG. I would like to see how Myers does with Rhyan at RG for at least one full game if not over 2-3 games. Good post as usual. Thanks, Since '61

5 points
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RCPackerFan's picture

December 01, 2023 at 12:07 pm

There was a game a while back (i can't remember which one), but people were calling out Myers for a guy running up the middle. But seeing the replay of it, it was clearly Runyan's responsibility, but he turned outside to block a guy that was already blocked.

I would definitely like to see Rhyan get a whole game as the starting RG. I feel like he has earned it.

0 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

December 01, 2023 at 01:59 pm

Myers has very good movement skills, but gets stoned in bull rush situations. Rhyan, anchoring the RG spot, definitely helps protect Love from inside pressure. The double-down on Bhaktiari showing in 2023, without bringing in LT talent in 2022-23 has disrupted the overall performance of the O line. I would think Gutedkunst would want to protect His QB, not jeopardize Love's health playing musical chairs. LaMooch is a guy who doesn't want to hurt someone's feelings and slog along with the status quo. Most football people can see Rhyan has made plays and held his own.

-2 points
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Tundraboy's picture

December 02, 2023 at 07:36 pm

Yes. I was just about to say the same. Hard to judge with recent vintage Runyan playing next to him.

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SicSemperTyrannis's picture

December 01, 2023 at 10:35 am

Just like Jenkins ramped up before returning to his best, Nijman might be someone who doesn't come in cold at 100%. I don't know how much he has to play to be at his best, but I can't imagine that's 100% of offensive downs. Likewise, it doesn't have to be Rhyan immediately gets 100% of snaps, but especially against KC I'd like to see him getting at least about half. And if he does really well the first half, why bench him?

Zach Tom is probably better at C than he is at RT, but this switch is riskier for this game, and anytime mid-season. I'd hope they can be comfortably ahead sometime this year to at least try it though. At this point, don't even need to A/B him in combination with JRJ vs Rhyan; in run blocking, we already know he'll do better with Rhyan next to him.

I have no idea how much practice it would take to get Walker at his best at RT. And Mt Caleb at depth is a situation most of the league would envy, except he's never played a snap. That's criminal negligence.

-3 points
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Tundraboy's picture

December 02, 2023 at 07:47 pm

Agree 👍

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SicSemperTyrannis's picture

December 01, 2023 at 08:51 am

'61,

"Nijman, Jenkins, Tom, Rhyan, Walker."

I'm so ready to see that! I don't know if Tom switching to C now can have him ready, near his best, or even better than Myers. Rhyan getting closer to 50% of the snaps split with JRJ seems like a low risk. I have no idea how quickly Walker could transition to RT and be at his best. Nijman at LT is proven.

I'd still like to see all these swaps at least tried, even before next year. "Best 5."

0 points
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Tundraboy's picture

December 02, 2023 at 07:49 pm

" I'd like to see him getting at least about half. And if he does really well the first half, why bench him?

I would like to see that with a number of recent additions!

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Coldworld's picture

December 01, 2023 at 09:09 am

I’m not sure what the Chiefs are at the moment. They are a good D certainly, but they have not been the expected offensive juggernaut to date. That could change on a dime, something a Barry D has facilitated for more than one team, but thus far they look out of balance.

They are averaging less points per game (23.3) than Detroit (26.7). On paper, if they score that amount it’s not beyond our capabilities to exceed it ( we currently average 21). However that D is only giving up 16.5 to our 20.4.

If we can score early it will be a good test of our D. However, they have the second best passing D in the league in terms of yards given up. It will be absolutely critical to get yards on the ground in this game. That takes me back to my thoughts on the OL and why changes are imperative to give us our best chance on Sunday

3 points
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SicSemperTyrannis's picture

December 01, 2023 at 10:39 am

CW,

Mike Wahle previews KC, both sides of the ball. I think you'd enjoy it, I did. He agrees with you that YAC is essential against KC, and a run game would sure help.

0 points
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Coldworld's picture

December 01, 2023 at 01:19 pm

I since have. He’s always a worthwhile listen.

0 points
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LambeauPlain's picture

December 01, 2023 at 10:21 am

"...Nijman, Jenkins, Tom, Rhyan, Walker..."

That's my best 5 too. MLF always talks about "playing the best 5", then rarely does so. I am convinced they play their "favorite 5".

Obviously Nijman is being punished for some reason. He must have expressed his dissatisfaction with his coaches for not starting him even though most everyone knows he should be. I think he has indicated he will leave after this year for a team that starts OL based on talent and skill. So Stenovich and Butkus are petulant and start and alternate with Walker just to PO Yosh?

It looks so petty...starting Walker, then subbing Nijman, now the 3rd best lineman they have on the roster. I think most of the OL room knows this too.

Meanwhile the center of the line looks like a pile up on the interstate.

4 points
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SicSemperTyrannis's picture

December 01, 2023 at 10:44 am

LP,

they're punishing the whole team by not playing Nijman. And if he plays elsewhere next season, that hurts the team even more. People talking about drafting OT, it's not very likely that any rookie plays as well as Nijman currently.

No coach gets a pass from me for this mistake, it's a lack of professionalism.

-1 points
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WestCoastPackerBacker's picture

December 01, 2023 at 12:38 pm

Thank you for pointing out everything you see that is wrong after back-to-back wins on a short week, playing the Division leader on the opponents turf.

I just don't understand why GB isn't a complete team at this point, and why they haven't fixed everything by now. They should be leading the league in offense and defense by now. With all these young guys they should be running circles around our opponents. Heck some of these guys have played over half a season. They should be seasoned vets right now.

It shouldn't matter one bit that our most talented and highest paid players haven't been on the field for much of the season, or have played injured when they have seen the field. Nothing but a Lombardi trophy every year for this team, or the season is a waste. Now we are wasting Jordan Love's window.

-2 points
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PackerBO's picture

December 01, 2023 at 02:24 pm

Good post "61"

1 points
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RCPackerFan's picture

December 01, 2023 at 07:37 am

"To add insult to injury, the next best, on minimal snaps was Rhyan."

I saw all his snaps at RG. I don't know how he isn't starting. I really don't get it.
The other thing I noticed when Rhyan was in there, Myers looked better.

I want to see Rhyan get a full game starting at RG. I want to see what kind of effect that has on Myers. They are not moving Tom anywhere this year. Maybe in the offseason they will make the move. But it won't be now unless they absolutely have to.

8 points
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Coldworld's picture

December 01, 2023 at 07:56 am

Two weak links together magnify the problem on an OL. I don’t doubt that better play at either C or G would help the other. If Rhyan is better then it would help Myers without doubt.

If Rhyan is good enough to try then he is good enough to test for a whole game until he disproves that. They were willing to do that with Walker at LT of all positions, over Tom as well as Nijman, so it’s preposterous not to do so at RG.

However, the true solution is to improve both, not simply help ameliorate one. Both could, I believe, be improved with what we have on this roster. I think Walker at RT is a better fit than at LT. I think Nijman at LT and allowed to resettle should get us back to the level of a season and a half where he protected Rodgers. Stability there would help Jenkins too.

Moving Tom isn’t ideal mid season, but I think he could handle it. Sticking to a mistake on the basis of that is just not a good excuse. It was something they refused to try in preseason and that was and is indefensible for depth alone. Just like they refused to train Nijman at RT last year.

Making a team worse to cover mistakes on their part or to prevent their wisdom being shown to be misplaced is just not acceptable coaching. If it’s tried, properly, and isn’t working not only can it be reversed, wholly or partially, but the front office gets wiser planning draft needs and future rosters. It’s a no lose situation to try.

1 points
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RCPackerFan's picture

December 01, 2023 at 08:15 am

I get what you are saying with moving Yosh to LT, Walker to RT, and Tom to C. I just don't see them making that many moves. Also they like Myers. They are trying to develop him. He has improved as the season has went on. I was listening to someone (I can't remember who now) a few weeks back and they said that with Myers he has been very good, outside of a couple of plays a game where he gets beat, which then gets put all over social media so people think he is worse then he is. I have not studied him and watched him down in and down out so I can't say if that is true or not. Also he does things that we just don't see. His line calls and whatnot.

To make a massive move as you are proposing, you also have to look at the impact it has for backups. If Yosh or Walker were to get hurt in game, who plays T? Do they then activate Caleb Jones, and put him in at RT and move Walker to LT? Or do they put Tom back at RT, and bring Myers in at C? Myers is a C only.
Also what happens if Walker or Yosh really struggles. I have no doubt Tom can play C well. He and Jenkins are guys I just trust wherever they play. But moving them out of whatever position likely weakens it.

I just feel that the simplest and most realistic move they can make to have the biggest impact is starting Rhyan over Runyan.

4 points
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T7Steve's picture

December 01, 2023 at 08:59 am

Runyan practiced at center and played some series in the preseason there also.

Anything to keep Myers on the bench.

-1 points
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Coldworld's picture

December 01, 2023 at 09:18 am

That remains an option, but at this point perhaps Runyon has proved an equal or bigger problem. PFF has Runyon rated ten points lower than Myers despite one less sack given up, but PFF tends to favor the C in fault attribution. I believe it’s more equal but both are replacement grade on their performances this year. PFF rates both Nijman and Walker more highly than either.

As RC says, the easy option is to replace him with Rhyan and see how that goes, but real improvement for me lies in accepting that neither are cutting it and, in a growth year, that a broader change is imperative both to possibly lift current performance and improve future decisions.

RC is definitely right in saying that that is the change that these coaches might actually have the courage to make. That, however, speaks more about this coaching staff than what is best for the team.

1 points
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T7Steve's picture

December 01, 2023 at 09:31 am

I don't know why I said Myers I meant the backup center witch I think is Newman and was Hansen.

I don't think Myers or Runyan have regressed so much as they're not practicing and getting adjustments coached right and installed during game planning. Calling the stunt blocking has wrecked them and all the DCs have noticed. I think it has improved, but we'll see if it can continue against well coached and strong D line this weekend.

-2 points
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Coldworld's picture

December 01, 2023 at 09:40 am

Hanson was cut via IR in preseason. Had he stayed healthy I wonder if, despite everything, the coaches would still have had him as the back up C. I do not believe Newman is seen as a back up C. Tom was the one briefly moved in game. Runyon the other who practiced there. Only Myers on the roster and PS is listed as a C explicitly (C/G).

0 points
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Tundraboy's picture

December 02, 2023 at 08:16 pm

" If it’s tried, properly, and isn’t working not only can it be reversed, wholly or partially, but the front office gets wiser planning draft needs and future rosters. It’s a no lose situation to try"

And that is exactly the point. I would only add if ever there was a season to try, it's this one. There's just no reason not to that makes sense, unless it's an opportunity for certain coaches to keep there job by justifying there existence by showing mprovement. Pursuing the narrative that this was only about a return to health, and sticking with their plan, but as others have pointed out, there has been a certain amount of luck involved as well.

0 points
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LambeauPlain's picture

December 01, 2023 at 10:33 am

That is the beauty and the power of the OL when they play together...every snap...in practice and on the field...the teammate next to you can make your good block great...and vice versa.

The Packers are still trying to figure out, with 6 games left, who their best 5 are. Or alternatively, they may have given up on that task and just play their favorites...a dangerous disfunction for a coach of a football team.

5 points
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SicSemperTyrannis's picture

December 01, 2023 at 10:53 am

LP,

it seems favoritism is the strategy of this coaching staff, at least for the O line. That and not even working on fundamentals.

Unprofessional. Get Butkus out of here, it can only help.

-2 points
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stockholder's picture

December 01, 2023 at 07:44 am

The OL is improving! Jenkins is Jenkins!
Myers has been praised, and has played
Perfectly during these wins.
If he reaches All-Pro status;
it will be judged against KC NT Jones.
RG has improved with competition.
Runyon has always played better on the Left.
And Tom is going to play good, wherever
He may end up.
Your only bitch is whats happened at LT.

D- Point to Goff all you want.
But Detroits D, as well as others lately,
couldn’t stop Love from improving.

On O - Jones is the run game.
The speed to strength must change.
Dillion still is too slow, and no threat.

We knew this year was going to be a Trial.
We are in contention because Nobody tanked.

-1 points
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Packers0808's picture

December 01, 2023 at 07:47 am

Tonyan?

1 points
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stockholder's picture

December 01, 2023 at 07:58 am

Typo Wrong Key. Thanks.

0 points
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Coldworld's picture

December 01, 2023 at 08:13 am

Myers hadn’t been as bad the last few games, but he’s not been good and he’s helped to look better by the fact that Runyon has been visibly worse. The suggestion that Myers has been performing at an all pro level is simply preposterous.

As to Runyon (as I think you meant when you said Tonyan) being better at LG. That is true to the extent that he played his best football there, however, Jenkins has been a consistently better player when healthy and the same is true of him. Additionally, Runyon has played better at RG than he is now, so that decline might apply in the left as well, particularly if Myers remains at C.

Both Nijman and Runyon are on expiring contracts. Ignoring that for a moment, I accept that there is a solution that doesn’t involve moving Tom. An OL of Nijman, Runyon, Jenkins, Rhyan and Tom Could also improve things.

So why do I prefer Nijman, Jenkins, Tom, Rhyan, Walker? Well, for one thing that’s only one guy on an expiring contract, not two, but mainly that I think Walker is a better RT prospect than LT. Tom I think profiles well at C and has proved highly adaptable and would greatly help Rhyan over Myers and allow Jenkins and Nijman to become a strength outside Tom in the running game, which is Nijman’s strength. On the other side, Rhyan would help Walker in that regard.

Either solution is better than the current line, at least in paper and avoids the folly of continual rotation. I don’t think we get markedly worse in pass pro and potentially a lot better in goal line and run blocking. That in turn helps OLs as well as our points potential.

So no, my problem is not just at LT, though I believe Nijman helps us in the run game. We could switch Tom to LT and Walker to right, with Runyon, Jenkins, Rhyan in the middle. I just don’t want to move 4 players, think Runyon may be a degraded option even on the left, but that still might be better than the current line, which seems to include both the weaker players and questionable positioning of individuals.

Whatever we do, we need to stop rotating, let guys settle and accept that the mere fact that we even tried that is an admission that the status quo has not been adequate. If change is necessary, fighting it just ensures continuation of inadequate performance.

Yes, that would have been something that should have been worked on in camp/preseason. That would have been much wiser and better for players. However, in the face if sustained issues, hiding behind that mistake is not a luxury a team trying to improve now and for the future can justify. Not trying other options at this point is indefensible and defeatist self harm.

3 points
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T7Steve's picture

December 01, 2023 at 09:06 am

Don't you think it's better to wait till we land in the playoffs to make a line switch as we've done so much in the past? A precedent has been set after all.

4 points
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Coldworld's picture

December 01, 2023 at 09:26 am

That made me laugh. Somewhat bitterly, admittedly.

Have you noticed how the linemen they brought in on that day are doing this year? It makes me wonder if that’s not a sign of the divergence between the roster builders and coaching staff that those players are gone and have been so bad. I wonder whom the coaches would have kept. Not Nijman it seems.

3 points
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SicSemperTyrannis's picture

December 01, 2023 at 10:57 am

Myers has played perfectly?

Lol no. Improved lately, yes. The whole O line has. And it shows up most in Dillon's stats, he's broken off a lot of plays lately. He's still much more effective in tandem, as a #2 to 33.

0 points
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murf7777's picture

December 01, 2023 at 10:06 am

Is it really Mlf grasping the that playing aggressively early and not conservatively is the best chance. You act like he’s some idiot or doesn’t know what he’s doing. Might it just be that the OL isn’t false starting and holding as much, which keeps this young team in reasonable down and distance where you can call a more aggressive game? There’s not a lot of aggressive play calling that works when you have 20 yards to go. In addition, it also helps to get ahead when the pass catchers are actually catching the ball and running mostly the right routes. Once again, if they don’t catch the ball and you are in 3rd and long, it’s hard to play aggressively. Mlf playing calling isn’t much different, you just seem to want to take him down any chance you can get by using a narrative that just isn’t true.

Also, you mentioned the 2nd half’s being good, maybe Mlf deserves a compliment in half time adjustments. Let’s keep in mind that with mostly rookies still learning as they go, the play calling needs to be a bit vanilla at times. Putting too much on these young players could ruin their confidence. Just another looking into some of us who feel he’s doing a very good job. IE: the youngest team in the playoff hunt.

1 points
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Bitternotsour's picture

December 01, 2023 at 10:37 am

It's not so much that I think MLF is an idiot, it's that I think he lacks the courage of commitment. He talks the talk and then fails to walk that walk. Whether it's commitment to the run game ("that's my fault we didn't get Aaron Jones the ball more"), or a failure to call a smart game. He needs someone in the press box chattering in his ear to keep his nerve.

0 points
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murf7777's picture

December 01, 2023 at 10:45 am

My comment was from CW’s post, not yours.

0 points
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LambeauPlain's picture

December 01, 2023 at 10:27 am

Half the NFC is still in the playoff hunt. The cream is in the AFC. I frequently think about where this team would be if the Packers had a creative, aggressive, talent evaluator for a DC. A coach who knows the key strengths of his players and employs them differently against different opponents based on a unique Battle Plan.

If you were to make a list of the top 25 DC coordinators in the NFL, the Packers would not be represented in the tally.

0 points
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WestCoastPackerBacker's picture

December 01, 2023 at 12:31 pm

Gosh, do you have a background coaching football? Do you sit in on the practice sessions? What is it that makes you think you know what the offensive line make-up should be as a fan that sees only games, knows nothing of the true injury issues that are plaguing starters throughout a 17 game season? Unless you know the actual responsibility of each line guy on each play or stunt, you can't really know for sure who is failing.

I don't think the Packers even draft for the run game, probably on either side of the ball. They seem to prefer having offensive line players that can pass protect, and do just enough in the run game to try to keep a defense honest. With a QB like Rodgers that made some sense, and they must be expecting Love to carry the offensive load as well, with minimal success in the run game. Though honestly, this would have all looked different with a healthy Aaron Jones for the season.

I agree there were a lot of encouraging moments. But those turnovers didn't come from the Lions fumbling of their own accord. That was the defense, forcing fumbles and hurrying Goff all day. All the negative naysayers here seem to think that was luck. No, that was the defense doing a good job. Why can't fans admit that?

I'm convinced that some fans have such negative filters over their eyes that it doesn't matter what happens in the games. They will only see what GB did wrong. And there is a clear lack of perspective if fans are holding this team to the standard of the best teams in the league. It was never about that this year. They were never going to compete with the top teams, given the youth and inexperience of the roster, and the sheer lack of talent at some positions, due to having no salary cap room to bring in better players.

But to beat the Division leaders, not at Lambeau, down 8 preferred starters and on a short week? There's nothing about mid-season that suggests GB would have won 2 games in a row 4 days apart. That shows the team hasn't given up and they still believe in the system, the HC, and the new QB.

A few weeks back, fans were saying Christian Watson was trash, and then he scores twice in 5 days and comes very close to hitting triple digits. Another site had an article about Romeo Doubs being the worse WR in the league via stats, but with his 7 TDs, he has more than twice the scores of any of the top WRs picked above him, like London, Wilson, Dotson, Burks.

Some folks just seem to need to point out what isn't working, every step of the way, particularly when anything positive or semi-positive is written about the team. All this article really said is that the team is evolving and improving, but it's been a roller coaster, and there are alot of question marks still.

It doesn't matter that we won because we had a poor defense.
It doesn't matter that we won, because of the turnovers.
It doesn't matter that we won because the line can't run block
It doesn't matter that we won because Ballentine gave up 170 yards
It doesn't matter that we won because DET is not playing well.
It doesn't matter than we won and are in contention; it's that our division is so bad.

Well, GB lost to some awful teams earlier this year (though to be fair, DEN doesn't look as bad now) but they beat the Lions, who had one of their best W-L records in decades. I think it does matter.

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Tundraboy's picture

December 02, 2023 at 07:28 pm

"Other than individual performances, maybe the best thing coming out of that would be LaFleur grasping the fact that playing aggressively early not conservatively is the best chance we have. Something the second halves all season have suggested. "

And God do I hope that continues. Coaching progress. We need to be up a couple of tds late for me to ever relax in a game.

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T7Steve's picture

December 01, 2023 at 07:02 am

Baby steps.

Get turnovers and don't give up turnovers. It would be nice to score off all the turnovers, but that's another step.

Keep in the opponent's backfield and at least make the other QB hurry, which makes All Pros of the backup DBs.

No pre-snap and stupid personal foul penalties.

Know your assignments and CTFB! (to paraphrase geengold)

Continued use of the steps gained above and keep making more steps in the right direction.

That's all we can realistically hope for this season. Anything more (like run blocking as CW already posted) is gravy.

7 points
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Razer's picture

December 01, 2023 at 09:22 am

Baby steps for sure. If we can build a foundation this season then we have succeeded. Lot of young guys and some medium talent learning to play together would be quite the achievement. Still need some O-Line, RB, D-line and safety talent to continue the rebuild.

2 points
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Cheesey51's picture

December 01, 2023 at 07:22 am

A cheesy Tidbit:
The Packers started the first half of the season basically only scoring in the second half
Now:
The Packers in the second half of the season they are winning games
Go Pack Go
MLF is 12-0 in December
And
One can now purchase Carry the G @HyVee in Eau Claire. Just in time for Sunday night’s Game

4 points
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mrtundra's picture

December 01, 2023 at 07:31 am

I still feel the Chiefs are ripe for a beating. GO PACK, GO!!!

6 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

December 01, 2023 at 09:23 am

A Primetime Game will bring out the best in Mahomes and Andy Reid will want to tune his team for the the big push. LaFleur will have to prove he can keep pace and stay aggressive.

6 points
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Razer's picture

December 01, 2023 at 09:41 am

Prior to the Thanksgiving game, I thought that LaFleur was more likely to be outcoached and out-prepared by the opponent. On a short week with a pile of injuries, he did a masterful job with a young Packers squad. The KC game will be another test for the whole staff. We may not have the horses but we can at least put our guys in a position to compete. This is a big test for the staff.

4 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

December 01, 2023 at 02:59 pm

The Eight one picks have to show up for the Defense and assume their responsibilities. Yes, stay aggressive and get the Turnovers. Stop the 3rd and long. Get off the field and let Love have control of the Game. I would like to see a repeat of the Lambeau experience Dallas received last season.

3 points
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RCPackerFan's picture

December 01, 2023 at 07:32 am

"What does it all mean? Simply that this team is evolving"

This is exactly right. This team is evolving. The offense is evolving as the young players are finding their way. Having one of the youngest teams in the league means you have to learn and grow and evolve. That is exactly what is happening before our eyes. Sure we won't see just a gradual slope upwards. its Rocky. there are bumps in the road. But we are now starting to see the team putting things together. One of the reason is they are starting to see the success in games.

These last 3 games or so you can see that the light bulb is going off for Love. He is starting to see things and is starting to let it rip. While he hasn't been flawless he has really played better each game. The reason why we are even talking about playoffs is because Love has really improved.
But its not just about Love. Its the guys around Love. It starts with the OL. From the start of the year the OL has been a mess. Bakhtiari gets hurt and lost for the season. Jenkins gets hurt and misses a few games and takes him a quite a few games to get back to his normal level of play. Runyan imo has regressed. Myers really hasn't grown a lot, but I do feel like he is playing better overall. And Tom who has been very good was hurt earlier in the year as well. But now Tom and Jenkins are clearly our best 2 OL. Myers overall has played better. Runyan and Walker have been splitting reps in games with Rhyan and Yosh. Rhyan should be starting at RG after his last game tape. But as a whole the OL has improved and that has allowed Love to have time throwing.

And the other part that has really taken the offense up a level is the young WR's finding themselves. Watson just had his best game. Reed is probably our most reliable great target. Doubs has been showing fantastic hands of late. Wicks has been very good. Heath has come on all of a sudden. This group of young WR's has really grown as the season has gone on.

For me at this point in time, I am happy that we are in talks for the playoffs. But that isn't my main concern right now. My main concern is for this team to keep improving and keep getting better. I want to see them keep building momentum and keep improving. I want the next game to be better then the last. This is a young team building something for the future.
Now that being said, if the Packers are able to go and upset the Chiefs Sunday night, then I'm all in on a playoff run.

4 points
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Razer's picture

December 01, 2023 at 09:31 am

The improvement in Love is fundamental to this team competing these last weeks. I am totally impressed with his poise and decision making. He is learning his WRs, the system and starting to play at NFL speed. I don't know how we could have asked for more.

You are also on point with the O-line. I am disappointed that Love had to start his career behind this cobbled group and with little run support. At least the line is young and by playing together we are seeing some cohesion starting to happen. Gotta hope that this keeps up.

2 points
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RCPackerFan's picture

December 01, 2023 at 10:47 am

Love's poise, and command couldn't be better for a first year starter. I love how he is with the players around him. He knows the offense and knows the situations and what he needs to do.

The crazy part is our OL was supposed to be the strength of the offense. But Love's pocket presence has been very good. He has been able to avoid the rush a lot which has been a really good thing.

I just hope we keep seeing the progress.

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SicSemperTyrannis's picture

December 01, 2023 at 11:12 am

I see JL as improving more than the O line, and his progress came first. Very unusual! He's getting the ball out FAST. With basically NO time to spare, most of the time. Yes, pass pro has given him ample time, but that's on a minority of plays.

It really helps when it happens. I just wish those learning to play well together and gelling included our "best 5."

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TKWorldWide's picture

December 01, 2023 at 07:42 am

Fans tend to overreact.

Also, this article is by far the worst article in the entire history of written communication, and I’ve been reading since the Great Depression.

Everyone even remotely connected to this atrocious piece should be fired immediately.

4 points
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Razer's picture

December 01, 2023 at 09:43 am

Ha, ha

3 points
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dobber's picture

December 01, 2023 at 11:24 am

It's fun reading peoples' comments as they try to rationalize their hawt takes from a few weeks ago.

2 points
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Green Bay Shareholder's picture

December 01, 2023 at 12:00 pm

I wonder how many millions of dollars a year the author is paid to put out this drivel - still gets paid though, win - lose or tie !

-4 points
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WestCoastPackerBacker's picture

December 01, 2023 at 12:44 pm

IT's hard to say, isn't it? Every article is by far the worst article in the history of written communication. The facts are wrong, the observations ridiculous, the subjective judgments are baseless. Fire everybody!

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Handsback's picture

December 01, 2023 at 10:11 am

Nice article, but as a team this year’s Packers still have a long road to go before they maintain their play of excellence. They seem to be learning how not to lose. The next step is how to win and then how to dominate. The players have to realize that as starters their play has to match the standard set by the top players in the league not the best on the team.

2 points
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LambeauPlain's picture

December 01, 2023 at 10:50 am

We will not know just how good the Defense can be until Barry is gone.

The O is ascending while the D players are trying heroically to make Barry Ball complimentary. It has never been complimentary in almost 7 years trying.

Barry was brought in to play with a lead, not to dominate with 8 first round draft choices. With Rodgers the O was going to score at will and Barry's job was to maintain the lead.

Now, with a young developing O, his defenses will continue to get "ground pounded" with first down after first down while Joe hopes for a TO while continued loss of field position and giving up scores when it is most damaging. It is a defense that loses more games than it wins.

Always has been.

2 points
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WestCoastPackerBacker's picture

December 01, 2023 at 12:50 pm

Nice article, but? But they have a long road to go?

That's the whole freaking point of this article. As the title suggests. Why point that out? Everytime there is a suggestion there was some improvement by this team, a number of folks have to point out that they are not where they need to be. Well, isn't that beyond obvious? That with the youngest roster in the league, a new QB named starter, injuries to most of the highest paid players on the team, and down 8 starters against DET?

Some players are NEVER going to match the standard set by the top players in the league. Not every player is blessed with the same talent level, so if that's the expectation, you might want to think about dialing that back a bit. GB has some talent, but nowhere near the talent of most of the top teams in the league. That's due to youth and years of drafting low-ish due to having a Hall of Fame QB. GB needs some top talent, a ton of mid-level players, good coaching to bring out the best, and some roster depth.

The number of first and second day draft picks next spring will help, but this team was never going to dominant this year, and probably not for a couple of seasons at least.

-1 points
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CanPackFan's picture

December 01, 2023 at 10:53 am

I don't agree with the title of this article that suggests that there have been 2 different Packer teams this season - one distinctly better than the other. This IMO is just a case of a young team (1) getting better through sheer game reps, and (2) learning how to win.

I do agree that this team is very much a Work-in-Progress. Players are evolving thru reps. Even the coaches are slowly evaluating different players, albeit far too slowly for my tastes (especially on the Oline).

Yes, I'd like to see them sneak into the playoffs. But realistically, they would likely get devoured in the first round. There is no shame in that as long as expectations are kept low and reasonable. That particularly goes for the upcoming KC game!

Let's enjoy the ride with an evolving QB and some great, young receivers. Let's hope they just play hard and don't make a lot of mistakes against KC! GPG

1 points
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217Packer's picture

December 01, 2023 at 12:06 pm

I know the advantages of deferring the coin toss, but maybe this teams needs the ball first. Start fast, set the tone, and if we have the lead at halftime, I think our D comes out stronger. The Pack usually tend to peak when December rolls around, Sunday night is the key to the playoffs. The home crowd better be at a fever pitch and stand up! #CarryTheG

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jannes bjornson's picture

December 01, 2023 at 03:03 pm

Holmgren always wanted the ball and ran his script down the field to Score First. Getting the ball in Qtr III doesn't help if you are down 2-3 scores.

1 points
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BruceC1960's picture

December 01, 2023 at 06:04 pm

I would like nothing more than to see the Packers play well Sunday nite. However, I’m trying not to read too much into the win over the Lions. Is everyone over-rating the Lions. I give them credit for the opening day win at KC. Trying to keep in mind it was the 1st game of the year and the Chiefs didn’t have Chris Jones or Kelce. Since then, Lions have played 2 games against teams at or above 500. They lost both games. After KC, what is their next most impressive win? MVS was the Chiefs leading receiver in the opener. Lions are good, but not real good. Don’t see them staying with the Eagles, 49ers or Cowboys.

0 points
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