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A priceless piece of development

Posted Nov 13, 2017

The run defense was up to the task


Amy from Richmond, VA

The Packers stopped the run, ran the ball, won third down on both sides of the ball, got some explosive plays on offense and capped it off with great fourth-quarter QB play. Definite room for improvement still, but a good win overall.

This was a huge building block, for the young QB and for the running game. That was not some pushover of a defense they did that against. The Saints scored 20 and the Panthers three against that unit in Chicago’s previous two games. As I emphasized in my editorial, Hundley was clutch, very sharp in the fourth quarter, and that was a priceless piece of development.

Lane from Kihei, HI

Clay played "pesky" and I think set the tone on defense early.

The tone was set with five tackles for loss on Howard on his 11 first-half carries. Two runs leaked out, but the Packers made it clear early they weren’t going to let Howard control the tempo. The run defense was up to the task.

Luc from St. Thomas, Canada

Did somebody say bunches?

Young quarterbacks are going to take some sacks that veterans would avoid. The Packers didn’t seem to run as many stunts and games up front and they attacked in a more straight-up fashion. That’s certainly Perry’s game. The only problem with the five sacks is none came in the fourth quarter.

Matt from Waunakee, WI

I don't remember ever seeing a punt fielded in the end zone before. Where would the ball be placed if the returner fair-caught the ball in the end zone?

I believe that would be a touchback. The Packers still have a lot to clean up on special teams.

Jason from Stafford, VA

Hey, look at that! Hundley can throw the ball! Only took McCarthy three games to figure it out. Would love to see more of that fourth-quarter action earlier in games instead of runs and screens. Maybe Hundley will be let off the chain a little more from here on out?

I prefer to think he’s earning his way off the chain. The sideways stuff in his first two starts wasn’t all called. He was checking down a fair amount. Hundley definitely trusted himself, his reads, and the pocket more Sunday. It’s a process. I’ve been saying that all along.

Dave from East Burke, VT

Mike, what does Brett need to do to take a couple more steps?

Continue to throw with conviction, and know when a free runner is coming.

Kevin from Louisville, KY

It's almost as if we are watching a young quarterback grow up before our eyes. I read that somewhere.

I’m glad somebody did. Having an audience keeps me employed.

Michael from Yonkers, NY

Congratulations to Brett Hundley and the Packers on their victory over the Bears. But, I have one critique of Brett. I notice he has a similar trait that New York quarterback Gino Smith has, and that is when pressured, Brett drops back 10-15 yards instead of moving up into the pocket. A prime example was the first drive in the third quarter, third-and-1 at the Bears’ 6-yard line. This must be coached out of him.

He hadn’t gone backwards as much in his previous games. He also didn’t tell us when his hamstring started to tighten up on him. It could have been a factor in some of the less desirable escape routes he took. Either way, it’ll be discussed in the film room.

Jennifer from Wauwatosa, WI

Great win, hard-fought game, but still giving up way too many big plays. Do you agree?

The 46-yard TD was way too easy, and it put a bounce in Trubisky’s step that I didn’t think was there for most of the game. He was starting to find a rhythm late and the Packers needed to break it. If Inman catches the ball that went off his hands over the middle on third-and-10 in the final minute, Trubisky’s confidence might have gone up another notch.

Barry from Hayward, WI

With all the focus on Bennett's departure this last week, it seems no one is talking about the wisdom of keeping so many young running backs at the start of the season. Were the three rookie running backs kept because the team expected injury or because they showed the most promise before the season even started?

No one could have predicted the injuries, but the Packers certainly weren’t going to get caught like last year. They also kept all three because they each showed NFL abilities, and different ones they bring to the table. Now, out of necessity, we may get our first look at Devante Mays next week.

Chase from Fort Huachuca, AZ

Assuming the backfield is ever healthy this year, the RB coach will have some hard decisions to make about who gets the most touches.

I’m sure he’d love to have to make those hard decisions.

Paul from Channing, MI

I notice the little things. Rodgers’ picture departing the plane in Chicago showed him with a back pack on and carrying a duffel in his RIGHT hand. Encouraging maybe a little?

He has said he’s pain free, and the hardware has stabilized the injury. He’s just waiting for bone growth.

Kirsten from Madison, WI

Not a question, just a comment. You guys do a great job putting out a phenomenal amount of content, especially on game days. I don't expect you to print this. I just wanted to make sure you know that we appreciate you. Thanks for all your hard work!

Well, I’m going to post it, Kirsten, because I want our entire digital team to read it. If I’m allowed to say so myself, this group is at its best covering road games, given the additional challenges involved with some on location and others at home base. It’s a blast to see it all come together. Thanks for the kind words. We know Packers fans can never get enough, and that’s what drives us.

John from Highland, IN

First, I would like to send my congratulations to the organization on their third win without No. 12 as QB. Must be so proud. Now, when will anyone acknowledge this is a 4-5 win team at most without Rodgers? They must pay you big dollars to not answer these questions. Anyone who believes this team is going anywhere with TT, MM and DC at the controls is fooling themselves. Can't wait for your typical "OK" answer for that one.

Proud of yourself? If you’d like to pay me big dollars, I’d happily take it, even from you.

Mike from Mitchell, IN

There seems to be an extreme amount of injuries across the NFL this year. Wouldn't it be wise to replace one of the preseason games with an additional bye week, or just add an additional bye week? The quality of the NFL is suffering.

I could see that suggestion being considered.

Paul from Oxford, NC

At the end of the Vikings-Redskins game, Washington attempted an onside kick. The kick barely went 5 yards, and Washington stood around and watched it finally roll out of bounds. Vikings ball there, game over. If Washington picked it up before it went out of bounds, wouldn't it be illegal touching of the ball, 5-yard penalty, kick again, getting another attempt at the onside recovery?

No. The Vikings would be able to take the ball at the spot of the illegal touch.

Russ from Bowie, MD

I realize you cannot comment on the Martellus Bennett situation, but anyone who has followed the Packers knows that Dr. Pat McKenzie does not encourage injured players to play and that he has the organization's support for that philosophy.

It did not surprise me in the slightest to see multiple players, past and present, very quickly and strongly come to Dr. McKenzie’s defense.

Mike from Niagara Falls, Canada

Do you think the Bennett situation lit a fire under the Packers? It seemed like they had emotion for the first time in three weeks yesterday.

I don’t think it had anything to do with it. I talked all week about making some big plays early to spark the team. That’s exactly what happened with Cobb, the DPI, and the Montgomery TD run in the first half. Then the emotion ratchets up more when victory is within reach. That’s what I saw.

Rick from Andover, MN

Why hasn’t the team put Bulaga on IR yet? He’s not coming back this year so it seems like a wasted roster spot. Is it just as simple as that they don’t have someone to fill it yet?

The delay of the inevitable move is probably due to the fact that any roster addition this past week would have been inactive on game day anyhow. Jason Spriggs is eligible to return from IR next week, and I would anticipate he’ll take Bulaga’s roster spot.

Gary from Davenport, IA

My dad used to be an assessor and every year people would challenge their home value in front of the board. Occasionally, the value was wrong and got raised after review, thus leading to increased taxes. I bet those people know how John Fox felt on Sunday.

As soon as I saw a replay, I said that’s Green Bay ball. I’ve expressed my distaste for the rule in this space before, but it sure helped there. What I wonder is if Fox hadn’t challenged it, would anybody have seen a replay soon enough, and knew what happened, to tell McCarthy to challenge it? I regret not asking McCarthy that after the game. My bad.

Sean from Milwaukee, WI

The touchback rule played a significant role in this game, thankfully in the Packers’ favor, but I still think it needs to change. How we get the ball when no one in a white jersey touched it is beyond me.

Give young safety Marwin Evans credit for not giving up on the play. His shove to Cunningham’s midsection appeared to contort his body in a way that contributed to him losing the handle on the ball.

Steve from Green Bay, WI

Insiders, happy “Victory Monday.” Great team win. Earlier in the year I didn't agree with the pylon fumble in the Jets-Patriots game. This one was pretty clearly the correct call. So in this age where coaches preach ball security, especially in the red zone, where do you see the risk/reward pendulum sitting on reaching the ball out? Consider what the Dez "non-catch" cost the Cowboys in the playoffs. Should coaches start telling players that unless it's fourth down or last play of the half, just hang onto the rock? Personally I'd love to see a rule that says if you reach in attempt to advance the ball beyond your body position, you've officially surrendered its protection and now it's "live until the whistle" – no more down by contact. Make the carrier survive to the ground like a receiver. Elbows hit the ground and ball pops out? Now it's a live-ball fumble. I'd love your thoughts.

I don’t want to see any more rules, no. But the coaching aspect you raise is interesting to me. There’s inherent risk anytime the ball is away from the body, but a player’s instincts when the goal line, pylon or first-down marker is within reach can’t just be quashed. I think it just falls under the category of “if you’re gonna do it, make it work.”

Dan from Houston, TX

How underrated is Adams’ ability to overcome adversity? He always bounces back in a big way.

I thought his drop on the slant pass early in the fourth quarter was going to be one of those huge regrets after the game. He never loses confidence in himself, and his quarterback – whichever one – never does either.

Leo from Hamburg, Germany

I feel like we can run the table. I really do.

Doesn’t count when you say it after the first victory. Only before. But whoa, let’s not get carried away. Keep improving through next week’s game. Build on what was done. That’s what matters now.

Amanda from Villa Rica, GA

We’ve got 5. Now onto 6!

The sooner the better.


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