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Cheese Curds: Green Bay Packers Updates

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1 minute ago, ArthurPensky said:

Oh come on. Keenum was definitely not even close to comparable to how Huntley played. Keenum's play was good and nearly on par with Cousin's career level of play.

Did you watch those Steelers, Ravens, and Saints games in particular? A  offense led by QB12 would surely have made those winnable.

Did you watch the Vikings? Keenum had a couple of good games in November but his success otherwise required some good luck and great work by his WRs. He wasn't a quality starting QB. The point was that there was a drop-off from a healthy Bradford to Keenum, which there was. 

I'm not saying Hundley was anywhere near as good as Rodgers. I'm saying the Packers in 2017 weren't noticeably better than the 2015 or 2016 teams, who couldn't win more than 10 games despite Rodgers staying healthy. They would've had to win 12 games to tie the Vikings for the division lead, and 13 to win it outright.

Playing more "winnable" games is nice, but sometimes teams lose close games. Not Green Bay in 2017, mind you -- they only had 2 close losses all year (in Pittsburgh and Carolina) and won 3 OT games plus 3 other games by 8 points or less, meaning only one of their wins was by more than one score (home to the Bears with Glennon). 

Projecting the Packers to have won 12 or more games in 2017 requires not only Rodgers staying healthy but every other bit of good luck to go their way as well. While it's possible that might have happened, it's nowhere near likely, let alone certain. The team had major flaws, especially in the secondary, that would realistically have made it very difficult for them to have the best or 2nd best record in the entire NFL given that they were roughly the 10th best team in the league (by DVOA) even when Rodgers was healthy. 

The constant refrain from Packers fans that GB would've won the division if only Rodgers hadn't gotten hurt is wishful thinking, and may be whistling past the graveyard. 

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You know what's fun about this? Rodgers is going to be healthy this year, and the Packers haven't appreciably improved from where they were last year. So we'll get to see this play out in real life, and the results will be quite similar, Barr-ing another catastrophic injury. 

Outside of Rodgers, the Packers have a C-level roster.  In fact, if you took out each team's starting QB, the Packers may have a lower half roster in the NFL. 

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Posted (edited)
45 minutes ago, wcblack34 said:

Outside of Rodgers, the Packers have a C-level roster.  In fact, if you took out each team's starting QB, the Packers may have a lower half roster in the NFL. 

They're better than that. Their OL is good if Bulaga comes back healthy -- Bakhtiari in particular is excellent. Adams is very good, and Cobb is OK even if he hasn't lived up to expectations in recent years. Graham seems to be slowing down but he could still be good this year. The young RBs aren't bad. The DL will be one of the best in the league if Wilkerson rebounds. Top 2 edge rushers are solid if not spectacular. Martinez is pretty good. Clinton-Dix was good until last year. The young CBs have a lot of talent even if they're unproven. 

I'm not trying to say they're bad. In fact I think most Vikings fans have consistently underrated how good the Packers have been over the years, and that in fact plays into the myth around Rodgers making his team invincible -- it obscures the degree to which the Packers' success was based on other high quality players (a long string of very good to great receivers, a tradition of superior OL play, stars on defense like Woodson, Matthews, Daniels and Peppers and a long string of very good DBs). They have had superior coaching for their WRs and OL and Capers' pass coverage scheme was only figured out recently -- until then it consistently produced turnovers and swung games in their favor.  They have great facilities and a big home field advantage and their management has done well managing contracts and the draft. On top of all of that, they've had perhaps the most talented QB of all time starting through his prime for the last decade. No wonder they've been good. But it's not all because of the QB. 

As great as Rodgers is (very), it's no coincidence that his biggest success coincided with the Packers defense being one of the best in the league (late 2010), and that his offensive production has fallen off dramatically when his supporting cast struggles or gets hurt (late 2015). So it's worth noticing how good or bad the team around him actually is, and what factors (age, development, injuries, schemes) could make them perform better or worse.

I don't think the Packers are likely much better right now than they were in early 2017, but they could be, if their roster comes together as their fans hope it will. 

They're probably roughly as good as they were last year, with new additions balanced more or less by departures, aging and injuries. That would make them a top 8-10 team in the league with Rodgers healthy, and they should contend for the division and at least make the playoffs. 

It's also possible that they'll be worse, if some of the changes they've made with rookies, older free agents and coaching schemes don't pan out, or if they end up having to deal with a rash of injuries or other unexpected problems. Even so, I doubt there are many Vikings fans who'd bet much against GB making the playoffs if Rodgers starts all or most of the year.  

Edited by Krauser

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Despite a pair of clavicle injuries which have shortened a pair of seasons, Aaron Rodgers is feeling good. And thus healthy, he’s going to get asked about how long he wants to play, because that’s just what we do with quarterbacks. The 34-year-old Rodgers (who will hit 35 in December) told Peter King that the plan was to hit the next big round number.

Rodgers: “I’d love to play to 40, I just think that number means a lot. Obviously, Tom Brady is kind of rewriting the book. Brett had a good season when he turned 40. My goal is be able to move like I do or close to how I do and still be able to do that at 40. Just because nobody’s been able to do that and still move around the same. Steve Young’s career was cut short in his late thirties. John Elway, the same — he didn’t really move the same as when he was younger. So to be able to move the same way at 38, 39, 40 would be cool. That’s my aim.”

“It’s only been on my mind [a new contract] because people have been writing and talking about it a lot. There have been many conversations about it. I think that there’s some merit to looking into where you do a non-traditional contractual agreement. If anybody at this point is gonna be able to do something like that, I think there needs to be a conversation about it. I never said anything about [tying the contract to] the cap. I just think there’s ways to do contracts where you can still be competitive so the team is happy about it, but have some more freedom.”

“But I think in my time there, I realize no one is above the team. They can trade Brett Favre, Jordy Nelson. They can not re-sign a Charles Woodson or Julius Peppers. They make decisions that are in the best interest of the team. It could be me at some point. You have to be humble enough to realize that, and I do. How many guys get to actually pick the way and the team how they go out? You know? Hardly anybody. You have to understand that’s a real possibility. But, yeah, my dream situation would be to stay in Green Bay.”

https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2018/07/16/aaron-rodgers-wants-to-play-until-40-preferably-with-packers/

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On 7/11/2018 at 7:11 PM, wcblack34 said:

Outside of Rodgers, the Packers have a C-level roster.  In fact, if you took out each team's starting QB, the Packers may have a lower half roster in the NFL. 

This is not true.  Outside of Rodgers, the Packers have:

A franchise left tackle, a top 12 receiver, a top 5 receiving tight end, two dominant defensive linemen (Clark/Daniels), serviceable pass rushers, an abundance of promising defensive backs, three capable running backs, a wildly improved inside linebacker and more.

Don't let last season confuse you.  Our secondary was depleted and our best corner belongs at safety.  Since the end of last season, the Packers have added King (returning from injury), Alexander, Jackson and Williams.  To put that into perspective, our second best corner went from #2 CB down to our #4 cornerback. 

Dom Capers was a very bad defensive coordinator, and Brett Hundley was a very bad QB.  Hundley was bad.  REALLY bad.

screen-shot-2017-11-06-at-5-53-56-pm.png

See that circled player running wide open with an unobstructed passing lane and Hundley staring right at him?  That's Jordy Nelson.  Guess who didn't get the ball thrown his way on that play.  His name starts with a J and ends with ordy Nelson. 

Add Brett Hundley starting to Brice (third best safety), Bulaga, King, Montgomery, Murphy (best backup OL), Perry, Rollins (third CB last year, 6th CB this year) and Spriggs all going on IR and the Packers still managing three wins with Hundley... and nearly beating the Steelers... With Hundley...

The Packers roster without Rodgers is not as bad as everybody likes to suggest.  It really hasn't been all that bad either.  The Packers have put very talented teams around Rodgers.

 

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I wouldn't say their roster is really bad, but it's a middle of the road roster, as far as I'm concerned.  I love their defensive line, but that's the only thing I love about their defensive talent.  The rest of the defense is average at best.  While Dom Capers didn't do them any favors coordinating the defense, I don't think Ted did a good job at accumulating them any talent either.  Offensively, he did a much better job at accumulating talent in the later rounds on the offensive line, which the Vikings, fairly, have not done a good job at doing so...or at the very least have not done as good a job of coaching them up.  But, I'm not all that impressed with their receiving talent, nor their running backs.  Their running backs are better than they were when they had Lacy and Starks, but they aren't all that dynamic either.  I think they are very thin at wide receiver...not nearly as thin as the Vikings were in 2014 when they had Jennings, Cordarrelle and Charles Johnson at the top of the roster, but they aren't above average either.  They have certainly upgraded at the TE position, but we don't really know where Jimmy Graham is at this point of his career, but he certainly isn't going to look as bad as he has with Rodgers under center.     While a C-level grade could be argued as being hard on them, they aren't an A-level roster either.  I don't think I could grade them any higher than a C+/B- at best.  

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, Outpost31 said:

Outside of Rodgers, the Packers have:A franchise left tackle, a top 12 receiver, a top 5 receiving tight end, two dominant defensive linemen (Clark/Daniels), serviceable pass rushers, an abundance of promising defensive backs, three capable running backs, a wildly improved inside linebacker and more.

Fair enough, but this is a glass half full version. The TE might not be top 5 anymore given his age and struggles last year, the pass rushers are only serviceable when they're healthy which they haven't been consistently, the RBs are pretty good but not clearcut difference makers, the ILB is mediocre in coverage and the DBs haven't shown they can be effective in the NFL in what should be a more challenging coverage scheme this year. 

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Add Brett Hundley starting to Brice (third best safety), Bulaga, King, Montgomery, Murphy (best backup OL), Perry, Rollins (third CB last year, 6th CB this year) and Spriggs all going on IR

Aside from Rodgers going out, the Packers weren't unusually affected by injuries last year. Most of the players you listed are backups or rotational guys. Bulaga was the biggest loss. Perry missed a few games, but not much more than usual for him.

Rodgers obviously was an unparalleled loss, but the team beyond him could've been expected to do better in his absence.

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Dom Capers was a very bad defensive coordinator

I don't think Capers was very bad over the years, but the game caught up to him with QBs and offensive schemes now doing a better job of protecting the ball. I thought this article was convincing: https://www.acmepackingcompany.com/by-the-numbers/2017/11/2/16593328/dom-capers-packers-defense-interceptions-numbers-offensive-trend-conservative-short-passes .

It remains to be seen how much more mileage Pettine will be able to get out of the same talent, and how well the young guys will do in the NFL. 

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Brett Hundley was a very bad QB....

Considering the narrative around McCarthy as a QB development guru and offensive coordinator, and the reputation of the Packers WRs (Adams! Nelson! Cobb!) and OL, the fact that Hundley was completely abominable when pressed into service in his 3rd season does not make me think better of the Packers roster or organization. Vikings fans have had to endure Packers fans needling them about QBs for god knows how long (I remember posters on your board saying they wouldn't trade Hundley for then-healthy Bridgewater), but last year the Vikings went 13-3 with Case Keenum fergawdsakes while McCarthy's chosen protege crashed and burned.

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the Packers still managing three wins with Hundley... and nearly beating the Steelers... With Hundley...

True, though worth mentioning the 3 wins were all by 7 points or less against the 5-11 Bucs (in OT), the 5-11 Bears and the 0-16 Browns (in OT). In other words, they didn't have a single impressive win, either beating up a bad team or winning against a good one. 

The close loss to the Steelers was somewhat impressive though that had a lot to do with the Pittsburgh defense making a couple of glaring mistakes in coverage that led to easy TDs. The Packers defense forced some turnovers, but in the end couldn't keep the Steelers from scoring 31 points. 

Again, if you compare that track record to the Vikings playing 15 games with Case Keenum as their only healthy QB, you can see why Vikings fans are not impressed with the Packers roster outside of Rodgers. 

...

I do think the Packers have the potential to be good this year, if Rodgers stays healthy. But there's a lot of happy talk about them (as usual) in the media, driven by Rodgers of course, that mostly glosses over the ways in which the Packers team around him took a step back in recent years, and the degree to which the changes they made to try to reverse that process this year are so far unproven. 

It's annoying as a Vikings fan that the team that went 13-3, retained all its major starters none of whom are older than 30, upgraded at QB and DT with players in their primes, and brought in one of the most highly sought after young coaches to run the offense, is being made second favorite in the division again just because Rodgers is healthy. It makes some sense given that the media mostly is interested in how great Rodgers is (really great), and maybe that's just how it will be for the next 5-6 years or whenever he eventually ages out. Maybe it will just take another year or two of the Vikings playing at a high level, if they're able to do so, before they're given more respect. We can be optimistic that the Vikings will win the division again (3rd year out of 4 if they do), but until they manage to do so, I get the idea that skepticism is still warranted.

Still, in the meantime, it's hard to be sympathetic to Packers fans who feel their team is unfairly underrated right now. The Vikings upgraded a 13-3 team. If they play well this year, they're winning the NFC North. 

Edited by Krauser

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Just now, Krauser said:

Fair enough, but this is a glass half full version. The TE might not be top 5 anymore given his age and struggles last year, the pass rushers are only serviceable when they're healthy which they haven't been consistently, the RBs are pretty good but not clearcut difference makers, the ILB is mediocre in coverage and the DBs haven't shown they can be effective in the NFL in what should be a more challenging coverage scheme this year. 

Jimmy Graham managed to be an effective receiver in a system that used him horribly.  Everybody seems to accept that Graham was misplaced in Seattle.  He won't be in Green Bay.  Perry struggles with staying healthy.  Clay's health problems are largely overstated, and he's still significantly better than he's given credit for. 

Blake Martinez was not merely mediocre in coverage last year.  He was above average in every category.  Packers have essentially added 3 1st/2nd round corners and a veteran at CB.  Their 3rd CB from last year is 6th at best on the depth chart this year. 

Aside from Rodgers going out, the Packers weren't unusually affected by injuries last year. Most of the players you listed are backups or rotational guys. Bulaga was the biggest loss. Perry missed a few games, but not much more than usual for him.

This is unequivocally false.  Starting RT, second RT, third RT all went on IR.  That's three tackles.  Bakhtiari missed games.  The Packers had the most starting combinations of offensive linemen in the NFL last year.  Montgomery missed games, Jones missed games, Williams missed games.  Davante Adams missed games.  Our first, second, third and fourth corners missed games.  Morgan Burnett missed games.  Clay Matthews, Nick Perry, Mike Daniels missed games. 

https://www.pro-football-reference.com/teams/gnb/2017_injuries.htm

17 times a Questionable player missed a game.
18 times a doubtful player missed a game. 
24 times a player was simply out.
193 games were missed out of IR players.

It's annoying as a Vikings fan that the team that went 13-3, retained all its major starters none of whom are older than 30, upgraded at QB and DT with players in their primes, and brought in one of the most highly sought after young coaches to run the offense, is being made second favorite in the division again just because Rodgers is healthy.

I'll see this point and raise you this one:

The Packers/Vikings game was tied at 0/0 when Rodgers got hurt.  The Vikings took two more drives before they scored AFTER Rodgers got hurt.  Hundley managed to tie the game the very next drive.  The Vikings scored 16 more points the rest of the game.  In the second game, in spite of Hundley's awful play, the Vikings scored 16 points. 

Now let's be fair.  Let's say that the Packers and Vikings SPLIT those two games had Rodgers stayed healthy.  That would bring the Vikings to 12 wins.  Assuming Rodgers had stayed healthy, the Packers, with their alleged terri-bad roster, would have had to win 6 out of these 9 games to tie the Vikings for the division win:

Saints, Lions, Bears, Ravens, Steelers, Buccaneers, Browns, Panthers, Lions. 

I'll raise you another point... The Vikings upgraded their QB and their DT.  Packers added a top 18 pick (Vikings added a top 30 pick).  They added a just as capable DT as far as talent.  Their QB is the best/second best in the league.  They added an elite receiving tight end.  Most importantly, they added a new defensive coordinator who doesn't suck while the Vikings lost their offensive coordinator, who did not suck.  And most importantly, Kirk Cousins is 4-19 against teams with a winning record and a lot of people think he's not much better than Keenum. 

 

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26 minutes ago, Outpost31 said:

They added a just as capable DT as far as talent.    They added an elite receiving tight end.

which DT are you talking about? pretty confused here.

 

Also Graham is not an elite receiving tight end, don't kid yourself.

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Posted (edited)

Argh, the formatting hurts...

I watch the Seahawks regularly. Graham wasn't good last year.

Why are you showing Clay Matthews highlights in response to a comment about Blake Martinez's coverage ability? I know Matthews is still effective, though he has slowed down a little with age. Martinez meanwhile wasn't "above average in every category" -- PFF graded him -5.8 in coverage, which ranked 46th of 52 qualifying ILBs. 

The Packers had some injuries last year, but it wasn't way outside the norm for an NFL team. FO put their adjusted games lost 21st in the league: https://www.footballoutsiders.com/stat-analysis/2018/2017-adjusted-games-lost . IIRC that's the first time in the last several years they had more injuries than the Vikings. The non-Rodgers injuries definitely had an effect on their season but it's not like they should've been insurmountable. 

We can assume if you like that the Packers and Vikings split if Rodgers stayed healthy. That puts GB at 5-2 (excluding the Panthers game, including the first 5 games and the 2 against the Vikings). Assuming both Vikings games were close ones, the Packers would at that point be 1-1 in games decided by more than 8 points, and 4-1 in close games (which is unsustainable).

To tie the Vikings they'd need to go 12-4, and to get there they'd need to go 7-2 (not 6-3) over 9 games including the 11-5 Saints, the 13-3 Steelers, the 11-5 Panthers, and home and home against the 9-7 Lions. Remember that the Packers with Rodgers healthy got blown out by the one playoff team they faced with Rodgers healthy (trailing 34-10 entering the 4th quarter in Atlanta) and needed OT to beat the Bengals at home. They were 10th in the NFL in DVOA heading in to the Vikings game,. 

So why would they be expected to win 7 or more of those games and end up with the 2nd best record in the NFL?

44 minutes ago, Outpost31 said:

I'll raise you another point... The Vikings upgraded their QB and their DT.  Packers added a top 18 pick (Vikings added a top 30 pick).  They added a just as capable DT as far as talent.  Their QB is the best/second best in the league.  They added an elite receiving tight end.  Most importantly, they added a new defensive coordinator who doesn't suck while the Vikings lost their offensive coordinator, who did not suck.  And most importantly, Kirk Cousins is 4-19 against teams with a winning record and a lot of people think he's not much better than Keenum. 

Wilkerson is talented but hasn't played well since his injury. Graham is 32 and seemed to be slowing down last year. Alexander is a great prospect, I think he'll do well.

The Packers may have added more talent than the Vikings this off season, but then their roster as of last year was clearly inferior. 

Rodgers is great, yes, we've established that. 

Pettine is probably good, but DeFilippo is probably good too.

Kirk Cousins' record in Washington is about as relevant as Case Keenum's with the Rams and Texans. If the Vikings get Cousins to play "not much better than Keenum" did last year, they should win roughly 12 games this year. 

Edited by Krauser

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Just now, MattVikings said:

which DT are you talking about? pretty confused here.

 

Also Graham is not an elite receiving tight end, don't kid yourself.

Two time second team all-pro and one time pro bowler (as opposed to one time pro bowler for Richardson) Muhammad Wilkerson, who had 30 sacks over 4 years under Pettine, who is the new DC in GB. 

Richardson, I think, is an overrated signing.  He's had 2.5 sacks in the past two years.  Wilkerson has had more in spite of getting into New York's doghouse just this past season alone.

And Jimmy Graham just had ten touchdowns last season. 

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All other talking points aside, I'd be willing to place a friendly wager that Wilkerson does better than Richardson (in sacks and PFF rating), that Keenum wins more games than Cousins, that the Packers finish with a better record than the Vikings and that Jimmy Graham is a top 10 receiving tight end in yards, catches and touchdowns this season.

Rules:

1. Somebody from this board will have to remind me, win or lose, so set your calendar now.  Not good at remembering when I'm right since I'm right so often.  ;)
2. Health has to be factored in. 
3. Winner gets a like from the loser, and winner gets one free tasteful gloat in the opposing team's board. 

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4 minutes ago, Outpost31 said:

Keenum wins more games than Cousins

Your take is that the Vikings went 13-3 mainly because of Keenum, not the rest of the team? And you think Cousins' record in Washington is mainly his own fault?

The Broncos were 5-11 last year. The Vikings have been clearly better than that throughout Zimmer's time as HC, with QB play no better and probably worse than we can expect from Cousins in 2018. 

They had the #1 defense last year and should be roughly that good again this year. Even if you think Richardson is worse than Wilkerson, he's an upgrade from Tom Johnson, which was my point.

What do you predict the Vikings record will be this year? 

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