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NFCN Rivals - Packers Thread

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So I am branching off from NFCN thread because I want to talk about Packers more.  I think we should start one for Vikings too and Detroit if they are surprise good.

I like it when its more focused.

Here are my current thoughts on Packers after listening to yet another Podcast predicting them to win NFCN.

This time some lady on Adam Schefter show is loving Green Bay Packers and is picking them to win NFCN.  She is on ESPN I think .  I don't know who she is.  

Anyway, she loves all FA they added.  Thinks it will be a top 10-12 defense. 

Okay.  Is GB defense better than last year?  Yes.  Conceded.  But lets look at who everyone in media is saying in NFCN favorite and SB contender due to FA.  

FA's:

Billy Turner.  OG 28 million.  

Adding talent to OL is never a bad thing, but how good is he?  I haven't personally scouted him, but let's look at his background.

He started 11 games for Broncos in 2018 who let him go in FA.  

He started 1 game in 2017 (broken hand - hey didn't Floyd have a broken hand? - Nobody seems to want to give him any excuse, but I digress).

In 2016 he started 2 games for Dolphins who released him.  Released him.  

This doesn't scream to me perennial all pro.  It says journeyman player who has some good games.  Describes about 30 - 40  OGs in NFL.

Za"Darius Smith. OLB. 66 million.

Packers desperately wanted to upgrade OLBs.  So they hit FA and weren't coming home without 2 new ones.  

One was Z Smith who had a one good year in Baltimore at the right time.   When examining FA from some teams you have to take them with a grain of salt.  OLBs from Ravens is one such team and position.   They are always good at this position.   Another example is OL from Patriots.  

These guys are seldom as good at their next stop as they were for the team that excels at that position. Sometimes they are.  More often they are not.  

It is important to also note that Ravens just got rid of Flacco, have a rookie QB and not a lot of high priced guys.  They could have easily found a way to retain a good young pass rusher entering his prime.  One of the premier positions in NFL.   And they didn't.  

Draft scouts talk to college coaches because you can watch every single snap of game tape 100x and you still aren't getting a fraction of the reps that their coach has scene of that player.   Plus they know the man, which tape doesn't tell you.

Ditka often says biggest lesson he learned in coaching was he doesn't want a guy another coach doesn't want anymore.  I think there a lot of flaws with that as a solid rule, but there is a lot of truth to it in a lot of cases.

I'll add that I went back and watched pre-season HOF game and our back up OT who was converting from DL was far more physical than ZS and blocked him quite well vast majority of time.

Adrian Amos SS 37 million.

We all know Amos.  A heady and good player who doesn't hurt you and before last year's addition of Khalil Mack, Nichols and Roquan Smith never generated turnovers.  Packers got a big upgrade over Brice at SS who was terrible, but they got a better cog in a wheel at premium price.  Not a game changer.  He will be a reason Packers D is better this year because of that upgrade.  But he is not someone to fear.

Preston Smith.  OLB. 52 million

Preston Smith has been a very consistent player throughout his career.  But he is just good, not great.  He is an 8 sack guy and probably will be an 8 sack guy every year he isn't hurt or old.   Again Redskins could have kept Smith a young pass rusher in his prime and passed.  They got a rookie QB and Smith's contract comes off books soon.

Packers Draft:

They added elite athletic ability in Savage and Gary to defense, but they still are unproven rookies.  Gary was inconsistent in college and transition to pro Safety isn't that easy for rookies.  

Conclusion:

The combination of Smith's along with Fackrell is an upgrade on pass rush from last year.  Amos is an upgrade on Brice who was terrible.  These things why I say they are better defensively.  But they are not elite.  Mack is elite, Roquan Smith will show he is elite this year, Hicks is elite, Jackson is elite, Goldman is very good.  They are a collection of decent to good or very good players.

All of Packer hype year after year is ultimately always about this narrative media has that Rodgers is GOAT QB and this is going to be a year in which he plays like it.  Thinking goes if Packers ever had a decent to good defense Rodgers will carry them to easy super bowl.  They have a good defense so now Super Bowl. 

Rodgers arrow has not been pointing up.  He is seemingly becoming more distant, arrogant and harder to get along with.  He is uber talented, but that isn't enough.  Football is ultimate team sport.  

Could it happen?  Yes. Anything could happen in NFL.   But, I am going to stand here on my island and say it won't.  Not in 2019.

Bears take division in 2019 and Minnesota is next scariest rival.  Not the Packers. Tough division though.  Even Detroit has talent.

 

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I like this idea for our own threads to discuss our NFCN opponents.  I'll join in with more once I've had a chance to digest your opener and do some research and thinking of my own.  But in the meantime here's how Gil Brandt evaluates the Bears roster.

Chicago Bears: Third most talented team in NFL

Gil Brandt put out a top-10 ranking of teams he thought were most talented. The Chicago Bears came in at No. 3.

As a Chicago Bears fan, I find my views of the team somewhat biased. As someone who analyzes the team, I have to separate myself from that fandom. This is not always an easy task, especially after a fantastic 2018 season.

One area I struggle with often is how the national media portrays this team. This offseason has not been any different even after a 12-4 season and NFC North title. Just ask John Fox about how bad this offseason has been for the Chicago Bears. The crazy thing is many other national media personalities probably agree with him.

I am typically sticking up for the team and their actions, but I found myself pleasantly surprised when I read longtime football analyst Gil Brandt’s 2019 most talented team rankings. Brandt wanted to take a look at the teams before the season starts because he realizes talent does not always equate to wins.

Injuries and honestly bad luck can be involved when it comes to some NFL team’s records. He mentions how a ball can take a bad bounce and Bears fans can definitely relate. 2018 came with a few too many bad bounces, or should I say doinks, that cost them a chance to move closer to their Super Bowl aspirations. The team holds that feeling close to their hearts as they move forward to the 2019 season.

At first, I was like, wait a minute, the Bears cannot be the third most talented team in the NFL. However, after thinking about it, I am not upset with where Brandt has Chicago ranked. I do not agree with who he has as the number one or number two teams, but the Bears are easily a top-five talented team. Anyone who thinks otherwise is probably a fan of another NFC North team.

As far as the defensive side of the ball goes, I would not put any other team ahead of them. Not the Baltimore Ravens, not the Los Angeles Rams. No one has more talent on that side of the football. Khalil Mack might be the best OLB in the league. Eddie Jackson has made a case for being the top safety too. Now add in names like Kyle Fuller, Leonard Floyd, Akiem Hicks, and Roquan Smith. The list just keeps going. Even their defensive rotation guys are more talented than some teams’ starters.

Special teams is where this team takes a knock. We all know the kicking position is a big question mark, but I do not hate how Ryan Pace and the team have attacked the position this offseason. The hope is one of these guys can be the next great kicker in the league. Pat O’Donnell is not a bad punter and the team drafted Kerrith Whyte and brought in Cordarrelle Patterson to help in the return game.

The offense has a couple of question marks too, but the arrow is pointing up if you ask me. Many would say having Mitchell Trubisky under center is a cause for concern. My response is always the same. Watch what he does this season. He will either put up or shut up and honestly, I think he is going to prove he can be a top-five quarterback in the league this year.

Moving on from Jordan Howard and bringing in David Montgomery is another area some are concerned. Do not be. Montgomery is going to be a stud in the NFL. The offensive line and the wide receivers are overflowing with talent too. The tight end position could be a little suspect, but the hope is Trey Burton takes another step forward.

Looking at the teams as a whole, I really like the Chicago Bears as the third most talented team in the NFL. The Eagles at number one and the Cowboys at number two bothers me. I’d put the Patriots and Rams over both of those teams honestly. The Chiefs and Saints are both up there for me too.

As a fan, I’d easily rank the Bears number one overall. As an analyst who does my best to stay impartial when looking at things, I would have to put the Bears at number three overall. Yep, I’d rank them the same as Gil Brandt. I would just have the Saints and the Rams ahead of them instead of the Eagles and the Cowboys.

The keys to the Bears’ Super Bowl success in 2019 will be the same as many other teams in the NFL though. They will need relatively good health and no more doinks. Now give me a good Bear Down, Super Bowl, Super Bears chant as this team pushes towards greatness this season.

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It's a packers thread, so I don't want to talk about Bears, but since you posted a bears piece I will comment.

While kicker is uncertain and not looking great at moment,  rest of special teams isn't looking bad at all.  

Returner and coverage units are pretty dang top notch.  Can you think of many better or more dangerous KR than Patterson or Punt returner than Cohen?  I can't.

 

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28 minutes ago, dll2000 said:

It's a packers thread, so I don't want to talk about Bears, but since you posted a bears piece I will comment.

While kicker is uncertain and not looking great at moment,  rest of special teams isn't looking bad at all.  

Returner and coverage units are pretty dang top notch.  Can you think of many better or more dangerous KR than Patterson or Punt returner than Cohen?  I can't.

 

Sorry, my intent was to show that at least according to one highly respected analyst we rank in the top 5 as far as talent is concerned whereas no other NFCN team even cracks the top ten.

I realize talent alone doesn't always get the job done but one other factor I'm phasing into it is how much quality depth this team has at many positions.  We still have a few holes to fill in backup and rotation spots but many of the guys competing have seen NFL game snaps so the competition to take their spots will be pretty intense and we finally end up with a better player in that spot.

Now turning the attention to GB.

It's obvious they've added talent especially on defense but they badly needed to do that and they also spent heavily on players who while good I still don't see as having the kind of impact that guys like Mack, Hicks, and Goldman have.  In fact I like two of our rising talents; Nichols and RRH as well as the guys they spent nearly $120 mil on.

For our defense I'll also take HHC-D over Amos and any of the rest of our secondary and LBs.  They had more need to add talent to improve, we didn't.  But I think anyway you cut it the GB defense is not an equal to the Bears defense.

Offensively I'd say it all comes down to whether or not Rodgers plays unconsciously well like he has in the past.  It's been a few years since that's happened and already there's a bit of friction developing between him and LaFleur over how much freedom he'll have to audible out of LaFleur's play calls.  So in some way they have question marks against their offense as well.

1 hour ago, dll2000 said:

All of Packer hype year after year is ultimately always about this narrative media has that Rodgers is GOAT QB and this is going to be a year in which he plays like it.  Thinking goes if Packers ever had a decent to good defense Rodgers will carry them to easy super bowl.

This I simply won't buy into at all.  Not with the receivers he has, a mediocre running game, an OL no longer stocked with All Pros, and an injury history that may finally limit at least some of his mobility.  Leonard Floyd tracked him down pretty easily in that second Bears vs Packers game last season.

I won't take anything away from Rodgers overall talent as a QB and his knowledge of how to win but let's look at the facts of his comeback win against us last season.  Kyle Fuller of all people drops a pick the was right in his hands.  If he holds on game over. Then Eddie Jackson gambles and loses on a pass to Cobb, we miss a couple of tackles, he goes 75 yards and they win.

Rodgers got two huge breaks on that drive and if either doesn't go his way he loses, we win.  The media liked to make him a hero but in reality he got two huge breaks on plays two All Pros wouldn't likely make the same mistakes on again.  In a game of inches the breaks went his way that day but not in the second game.  Without those same breaks he loses.

I'll just say that while for years they held and edge in almost all offensive positions and maybe half their defensive positions I believe the scales are tipped in our direction now and quite possibly with our coaching staff as well.  We rank top ten in that regard as well even with the loss on Vic Fangio.

I fully expect a blood battle in the NFCN this year because everyone has improved to at least some degree but provided we can remain reasonably healthy again we're still the team to beat not GB.

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I think overhyped Packer fans are going to be very disappointed in their season and if I were them I would be very concerned about Rodgers health, mentally and physically...

 

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Posted (edited)

Hey hey hey. As the apparent "Floyd hater" of this board I fully admit it was a hindrance to his play! I just dislike the frequency of his injuries... lol 

 

I like both points made by you and Soulman. I would have a hard time ranking teams exactly since I over analyze (I'd weight positions - QB, EDGE, LT, CB, etc) but regardless and even with Trubisky only starting his improvement I cannot think of a way that the Bears aren't a top 5 team. Even if weighting the QB far above we have Mack, elite FS, elite CB, potentially elite ILB in Smith, etc. This team is more talented than the team that went to the Super Bowl over a decade ago, even if they had Harris, Vasher and Brown at 100%.

 

@dafreak has a good point, remember how down most Packers fans were with Nagy being a rookie HC? Notice how many are boosting LaFluer though? Now to be fair, I don't visit their sub-forum so the more logical/conservative posters may just be mostly posting there, IDK. But some of the more vocal Packer fans are talking alost exclusively about his potential and how big of an upgrade he is over Fat Mac.

Edited by Sugashane

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20 minutes ago, Sugashane said:

@dafreak has a good point, remember how down most Packers fans were with Nagy being a rookie HC? Notice how many are boosting LaFluer though? Now to be fair, I don't visit their sub-forum so the more logical/conservative posters may just be mostly posting there, IDK. But some of the more vocal Packer fans are talking alost exclusively about his potential and how big of an upgrade he is over Fat Mac.

But McCarthy won a lot of games in GB just as Lovie won a lot of games in Chicago.  IMHO both fell victim to same thing, Father Time.

Lovie's great defense aged without adequate younger replacements and depth and the offense wasn't strong enough pick them up because we failed to draft good players there as well.

In GB it was McCarthy's offense that finally declined and their defense wasn't strong enough to hold them up even with Rodgers and when he struggled through some injuries they were cooked.

Both teams have had to go through a "turn around" phase but we began our a little ahead of them.  Also having top ten picks in three successive drafts helped bring us three key players to build off of and Pace has been extremely good drafting in rounds 2-5 as well.

It stands to reason that Packer fans would forget all about their heckling of us over a rookie HC when they too have hired them.  It's the old my date looks like a model, your looks like she howls at the full moon.  They've always been that way when it comes to the Bears.

You'll find a few older ones you can have an honest conversation with but most haven't been around long enough to recall life before Favre and Rodgers and how we owned them in the '80s.  For them that's of no concern, only what's happened since then.

Aaron Rodgers is a great QB.  Not many NFL teams have ever had the good fortune of having HOF QBs back to back.  But Aaron is at least heading for the twilight of his great career whereas Mitch Trubisky is still ascending in his and I truly believe we'll see him take over Nagy's offense and own it this season.  All of the indications are there and words outta OTAs has been uniformly positive.

For nearly 30 years no matter how good our defenses were GB could always count on us having issues at QB even throughout the Cutler era mostly because our offenses were old fashioned and predictable.  That's change now and there's at least an even chance our 2019 offense will have caught up to our defense or at least nearly so.  So in truth GB no longer has a weakness they can easily exploit.

I keep thinking of the Adam Sandler movie Happy Gilmore where he's playing against Shooter McGavin and sinks a long putt, looks over at McGavin and say, "oh oh, Happy's learned to putt".  Only with us it's gonna be, "oh oh, the Bears have learned to play offense".

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1 hour ago, soulman said:

But McCarthy won a lot of games in GB just as Lovie won a lot of games in Chicago.  IMHO both fell victim to same thing, Father Time.

Lovie's great defense aged without adequate younger replacements and depth and the offense wasn't strong enough pick them up because we failed to draft good players there as well.

In GB it was McCarthy's offense that finally declined and their defense wasn't strong enough to hold them up even with Rodgers and when he struggled through some injuries they were cooked.

Both teams have had to go through a "turn around" phase but we began our a little ahead of them.  Also having top ten picks in three successive drafts helped bring us three key players to build off of and Pace has been extremely good drafting in rounds 2-5 as well.

It stands to reason that Packer fans would forget all about their heckling of us over a rookie HC when they too have hired them.  It's the old my date looks like a model, your looks like she howls at the full moon.  They've always been that way when it comes to the Bears.

You'll find a few older ones you can have an honest conversation with but most haven't been around long enough to recall life before Favre and Rodgers and how we owned them in the '80s.  For them that's of no concern, only what's happened since then.

Aaron Rodgers is a great QB.  Not many NFL teams have ever had the good fortune of having HOF QBs back to back.  But Aaron is at least heading for the twilight of his great career whereas Mitch Trubisky is still ascending in his and I truly believe we'll see him take over Nagy's offense and own it this season.  All of the indications are there and words outta OTAs has been uniformly positive.

For nearly 30 years no matter how good our defenses were GB could always count on us having issues at QB even throughout the Cutler era mostly because our offenses were old fashioned and predictable.  That's change now and there's at least an even chance our 2019 offense will have caught up to our defense or at least nearly so.  So in truth GB no longer has a weakness they can easily exploit.

I keep thinking of the Adam Sandler movie Happy Gilmore where he's playing against Shooter McGavin and sinks a long putt, looks over at McGavin and say, "oh oh, Happy's learned to putt".  Only with us it's gonna be, "oh oh, the Bears have learned to play offense".

I think McCarthy was more of a product of the offensive talent around him than being a good coach. Guy had a historically talented QB/WR corps and that allowed him to exceed his abilities to coach. It hid his deficiencies. Lovie had much of the same as there was a stellar group to fit for the Tampa 2, but when they started aging he couldn't adapt. Granted, Angelo screwed him by his terrible drafts and much of his FA acquisitions as well. But Lovie was a guy who would get his players to run through a wall for him, but he wasn't a great X and O guy. McCarthy wasn't either, and he wasn't a guy who could get his players to devote themselves to him. He just was lucky to get a future HOF QB and great cast and then also Clements is who I credit the most for Rodger's development. Hell I give Phibin more credit than McCarthy for his development. Some people say Rodgers would have been a nobody if he went to Chicago, but McCarthy is proof otherwise to me. Would he have as stellar personal numbers? No. But he'd still have at least one Super Bowl and likely more postseason success overall. His natural talent would put him above what we had and with postseason success we wouldn't (IMO) been forcing the hand that caused the rotating OC carousel.

 

Love the Gilmore reference, I read it in Sandler's voice.

 

 

 

 

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To my post above I should also have added Kahlil Mack as this year top ten pick equivalent gotten with a mid 20s pick we traded along with a mid round pick we did just fine without.

I'm not even gonna count next years #1 since we get Oakland's #2 in exchange so that's more like a simple swap of picks and frankly Pace has shown he can do just as well with 2nd round picks as he could probably do with a late 1st.

GB has stocked up on some extra picks as well which should help provided they draft better than they have been lately.  I think Savage was a good pick but Gary seems like a reach to me.  I don't see him as an OLB and unless he add some weight he's smaller than ideal size for a 3-4 DE.  Maybe the plan is to play him more like a 3 tech DT and hope he becomes another Aaron Donald.

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I think Amos will be great for them, and Preston will end up being the more reliable Smith, although he won't be a superstar, or anything. (However, "solid" is such a clear upgrade from "putrid" (Clay Matthews), that Bears fans should be concerned.) Gary will probably bust, but even if he doesn't, there are a whole lot of new pieces on that defense. I don't expect them to be playing well together until the second half of the season...

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44 minutes ago, beardown3231 said:

 

It seems like this a clear overpay. Am I wrong? :|

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1 hour ago, Heinz D. said:

It seems like this a clear overpay. Am I wrong? :|

Lowry is a decent player. With financials he can be easily cut after year two. Not a bad deal for them but also nothing special

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4 minutes ago, dll2000 said:

Mike Daniels released.  

Very surprising. I thought he was one of the best players on their defense?

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