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swede700

Cheese Curds: Green Bay Packers Updates

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I enjoy the headphone commercial where he's walking through the stadium and all the Bears fans are disappearing. It's not funny but it's relaxing.

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Packers have been better than their record this year suggests. By points differential they should be a .500 team -- closest comparables are Carolina, Washington and Denver. By DVOA they're above average (10th), just behind the Patriots. They're clearly not a contender this year (and never should've been considered as such, as I argued this offseason), but they're not a bad team.

They won't make the playoffs unless they win their last 5 games and get some help along the way. Four of those games are definitely winnable: Cards, Falcons, @ Jets and Lions, though it it wouldn't be a shock if they lost to at least one of Atlanta or Detroit.  I don't expect them to beat the Bears in Chicago in mid-December but they might. Based on the quality of their team so far, I think they should end up 8-7-1, maybe 7-8-1. 

Hard to believe they're about to elevate their game as a team and go on another Run The Table winning streak. Their roster has a number of significant weaknesses.

The young WRs aren't bad and have made some big plays, but they're not really on the same page with Rodgers yet in terms of reading coverages while running option routes and adjusting on the fly when Rodgers improvises. Graham has made a few big plays but hasn't been a consistent contributor, and he's got a broken thumb. The pass protection has been mediocre, especially the guards, though the OL is doing a very good job run blocking. Daniels is hurt, and Wilkerson is on IR, so while Kenny Clark is playing at a very high level the DL is thin. Fackrell had a couple of big games but hasn't been consistently productive as an edge rusher. Matthews has made some splash plays in pursuit but he's not very effective. Perry is on IR. So they don't have a difference maker as an edge rusher. The secondary has been pretty bad thanks in part to injuries (Kevin King was playing well), age (Tramon Williams is done as a CB), youth (Josh Jackson isn't very good yet) and incompetence (none of their safeties aside from Clinton-Dix who was traded for futures would start on a good defense). Jaire Alexander is a stud but he's had to do it all back there. 

...

Even so, I have to point out that the Packers have more, better young talent than they've had in years.

Back on the old board, around 2015, I had a few posts comparing the Vikings and Packers young players. My line was that most of the Packers who were good weren't young -- and we've seen that, with Sitton, Lang, Nelson, Matthews, etc aging and/or moving on, and those who were young weren't good. I have to admit I didn't expect Davante Adams to develop into an excellent WR, but I will say the idea that Randall, Rollins, Clinton-Dix, Cobb, Perry etc were overrated as the future of the Packers has held up well. 

But now it's fair to say the Packers have added some legitimate blue chip young players:

  • Jaire Alexander is already a high quality CB, and he's 21
  • Kenny Clark is one of the best NT/DT in the league, finishing his 3rd season in the league already, and will still be 23 until October 2019
  • Aaron Jones is an excellent RB who can contribute in the passing game. He turns 24 in a few days.
  • Davante Adams has developed into a legit WR1, is already signed long term, and turns 26 at the end of this year

On top of that, they have some promising young WRs (ESB and MVS), a young CB who might still develop into a good starter despite a mediocre rookie season (Josh Jackson) and a young starting quality CB who's been dogged by injuries (Kevin King). 

The roster still has a few prime age blue chip players: Bakhtiari is one of the best LTs in the game, still only 27 years old, and Mike Daniels is a very good DT, turning 30 this off season. Plus Rodgers of course.

My complaint about the Packers roster circa 2016 was the lack of high end talent. They had a bunch of pretty good players like Perry and Clinton-Dix and Adams (at the time), but they had very few players who might be top 5-10 in the league at their positions -- only Rodgers, Bakhtiari and maybe Nelson (if healthy). The defense in particular had no real difference makers, closest to that was Daniels and even he's never been an elite DL. 

Ironically, they now have the opposite problem. They've got some great players, from Rodgers (turning 35 next week) to Alexander (over 13 years younger) -- elite talent at all the cornerstone positions (QB, WR, T, DL, CB) except edge rusher.

What they're lacking is the solid contributors now. They have a few -- Linsley is a good C, Bulaga is a good RT when he's healthy, Martinez is a good downhill LB -- but they're starting too many guys who aren't really good enough. All 3 guards (McCray, Bell, Taylor) are mediocre or worse. They don't have a starting quality TE beyond the aging Graham. Their 2nd best off-ball LB is Antonio Morrison or Oren Burks. Their 3rd best corner is Josh Jackson, 2nd best if King is hurt. The entire post-HHCD safety group (Brice, Jones, Tramon Williams converting from CB, etc) isn't good enough.

...

A number of autopsy-style articles have come out this week documenting the strained relationship between McCarthy and Rodgers, the dysfunction within team management in the later years of Ted Thompson's reign as GM and the struggles of the team to produce at the expected level on the field. The SI article How It All Went Wrong in Packerland is particularly worth reading. It has a real end-of-an-era feeling. Looks very much like McCarthy won't be back next year. 

Whoever takes over from him will have a fairly straightforward path to turning around the team. Get Rodgers' head right. Clear away some of the leftovers from the end of the peak years under McCarthy. Find a young edge rusher who the other team has to game plan for. Add another receiving weapon for Rodgers, ideally a middle-of-the-field target assuming one of the MVS/ESB rookie WRs can be the deep threat. Beyond that, build up roster depth and strengthen the weak links. 

By 2020, a Packers team built around Rodgers, Bakhtiari and the young blue chips listed above should be deep enough and experienced enough to contend for the division. 

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23 hours ago, SteelKing728 said:

We were told that Jimmy Graham would effortlessly replace Jordy Nelson, and that EQSTB, Moore and MVS would be huge additions to the passing game because their tall, fast and I'm sure some other thing though.

Of course, all are better than "poverty" WR Adam Thielen! (Yes, he was actually called a poverty wide receiver)

Jimmy Graham: 61 targets, 36 receptions, 486 receiving yards, 2 TD receptions (11 games)
Jordy Nelson: 40 targets, 25 receptions, 353 receiving yards, 3 TD receptions (10 games)
MVS: 44 targets, 25 receptions, 413 receiving yards, 2 TD receptions (11 games)

Yeah, I'd say Jimmy Graham has effectively replaced Jordy's production.  And I'd argue that MVS has as well.  And the Packers' future with their WR corps looks exponentially better with MVS/Graham than it does with Nelson's corpse.  Nelson is done.

And taking the one random homer talking about Thielen and trying to paint an entire fanbase is a joke.

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2 hours ago, Krauser said:

By 2020, a Packers team built around Rodgers, Bakhtiari and the young blue chips listed above should be deep enough and experienced enough to contend for the division.

Nothing I'd disagree with your post.  All things considered, the Packers could/would absolutely be right back in the mix with things with a strong FA and draft class.  Offensively, they've got some really good pieces.  Aaron Rodgers is still Aaron Rodgers, it's just a matter of getting him to buy back into the system.  Aaron Jones has taken off since he was given the starting RB spot.  He's 18th in rushing yards this season and he's got the highest YPA.  He's looking like a potential star.  After jettisoning Jordy Nelson, MVS and ESB have gotten significant amount of snaps.  I'd argue only 3 rookie WRs have been more productive than MVS: Calvin Ridley, Christian Kirk, and DJ Moore.  Ridley was a first round pick, Kirk was a 2nd round pick, and Moore was a 1st round pick.  MVS was a 5th round pick.  Now let's see if he can make that sophomore year jump.  Even ESB has looked good in limited snaps.  Jimmy Graham has been solid if unspectacular in his first year.  David Bakh is a top 3 LT in the NFL.  Lane Taylor is an average LG, nothing special.  Corey Linsley is playing well.  Byron Bell needs to be replaced, and the Packers probably need to think about life after Bulaga.  Offensively, they're in good shape.  They need to rebuild that IOL and look for their future starting RT and TE.  Add some more depth at WR, but overall the future offensively looks good.

Defensively, the DL is a semi-question mark for me.  Kenny Clark is breaking out in a huge way, and while Mike Daniels is a bit out of place in Pettine's scheme compared to Capers, but he's still a good DL.  They probably need to continue to add more to the DL, but overall it's a strong line.  I'd suspect Wilkerson is back, but that's just speculation.  Their EDGE group is a mess.  When Kyler Fackrell is your top pass rusher, it's an issue.  But that's something that will likely be addressed this offseason.  Their ILBs are remarkably average.  Blake Martinez is good enough you don't want to replace, and Oren Burks was drafted in the 3rd round so the hope is still there.  King, Jackson, and Jaire are a strong trio moving forward at corner.  You're probably looking to add more depth there, but the talent is there.  The safety play is the biggest hole after pass rusher.  I'm not sure there's a guy I want as our starting safety next year.  Tramon likely comes back by default.

If they grab a veteran safety in FA to pair with Tramon Williams, and draft a pair of EDGE, a safety, and an OT in the first few rounds, they'll be fine.

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14 hours ago, CWood21 said:

Jimmy Graham: 61 targets, 36 receptions, 486 receiving yards, 2 TD receptions (11 games)
Jordy Nelson: 40 targets, 25 receptions, 353 receiving yards, 3 TD receptions (10 games)
MVS: 44 targets, 25 receptions, 413 receiving yards, 2 TD receptions (11 games)

Yeah, I'd say Jimmy Graham has effectively replaced Jordy's production.  And I'd argue that MVS has as well.  And the Packers' future with their WR corps looks exponentially better with MVS/Graham than it does with Nelson's corpse.  Nelson is done.

And taking the one random homer talking about Thielen and trying to paint an entire fanbase is a joke.

The argument I believe was prime Jordy Nelson I don't think people were getting excited over potentially getting an underwhelming player. The expectation was Graham would put up something like 1000 yards and 10 TDs. 

I could be wrong though. Maybe everyone was happy and hoping Graham would underperform..?

And Thielen has routinely been dissed by GB fans as far as I know.

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21 minutes ago, SteelKing728 said:

 

I'm surprised it happened now. It'll be hard for the next coach to completely fail with Rodgers but hopefully they get the next chip Kelly

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I don't understand doing it midseason unless they actually view Philbin is a legitimate candidate. 

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It will be curious to see what happens with the Packers’ coaching staff. 

If they do a complete overhaul, there’s definitely a few coaches I’d be throwing a lot of money at. Namely, James Campen. 

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13 hours ago, skywindO2 said:

I don't understand doing it midseason unless they actually view Philbin is a legitimate candidate. 

It's better to move on quickly when you already know it's going to happen then to hang on and let the negativity permeate and drag the entire organization further into the depths.  Just pull off the band-aid.  Philbin won't be a legitimate candidate, but he's the only one with any legitimate previous HC experience (yes, that's a slam against the Browns).  

Edited by swede700

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6 minutes ago, swede700 said:

It's better to move on quickly when you already know it's going to happen then to hang on and let the negativity permeate and drag the entire organization further into the depths.  Just pull off the band-aid.  Philbin won't be a legitimate candidate, but he's the only one with any legitimate previous HC experience (yes, that's a slam against the Browns).  

I agree. You make the move to regain focus. I know their season is lost but the front office likely wants a better look on the roster for next year. Hard to evaluate the roster when you're playing for someone you know won't be there. I doubt Philbin will be considered in the end.

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15 hours ago, vike daddy said:

The Packers placed cornerback Kevin King and running back Tra Carson on injured reserve Wednesday, the team announced.

King tried to come back from a hamstring injury last week but returned to the sideline Wednesday after a setback.

https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2018/12/05/packers-place-kevin-king-tra-carson-on-ir/

And that is why Cook and Barr have missed so many games this year because of hamstring injuries.  

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The information coming out of Green Bay continues to make Rodgers look like a complete douchebag. I am not sure why anyone would want to go up there and TRY to coach that guy.

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