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Early results don't write the book on the season

Posted Sep 18, 2017

Teams will look different in a few months


Justin from Gilbert, AZ

Insiders, let me take this one. I would like to welcome everyone to the first of many overreaction Mondays. As your host today, we will discuss: injuries, bad referees and whether or not we should trade Aaron Rodgers. If there is anything that I took away from this game, it was despite the fact we ended up playing without 7/22 starters, several questionable calls and inconsistent play, we fought back. Happy Monday Packer Nation.

We’re on to Cincinnati. Hey, we only get to say that once every four years, so might as well.

Chris from Rhinelander, WI

The team looked bad in defeat, no doubt. Especially the second and third quarters. But it's not as if we all looked at the schedule and said, “That's an easy win." Still, there were some positives. What's even more concerning are the injuries piling up at certain positions.

Suddenly that early bye week wouldn’t seem like such a bad idea.

Jessi from Sterling, KS

Okay, that was PAINFUL to watch. Thankful the Pack hung in there and didn't quit and were able to narrow the lead. Aaron certainly wasn't left with much to work with, so many things going against them. I know we can't "blame" losses on that, but that injury and inactive list was not stingy. Those are KEY players we're talking about. How much of that loss was injuries and inactives?

It didn’t help matters, but Atlanta just played better, period. The injuries didn’t cost the Packers the game, but they concern me more moving forward with two home games the Packers absolutely can’t let get away.

Dan from New York, NY

I think if Marty's "pick" play and the Rodgers fumble go the Packers’ way it is a different outcome. Those plays seem to be the ones that cost them the most.

Rodgers was asked about those a lot, which is why I focused my editorial on them. I thought everyone deserved to read his comments. But perseverating over those calls is exactly what the Seahawks were doing all week, and in the aftermath they almost lost a home game Sunday to a clearly inferior team. Our eyes told us the Packers were the better team last week, and the Falcons were the better team this week.

Chris from Racine, WI

I just wanted to say I thought Kevin King had a really good game. I'm not trying to knock Damarious Randall, but I think King is clearly a better matchup with a receiver the size of Jones. He didn't give up one catch when he was covering him. We should've started him tonight.

I’ll leave the playing time to the coaches, but at 6-3, King’s size was a big reason the Packers drafted him first. I liked what I saw from him as well and am eager to take a closer look at the video.

Cameron from Augusta, GA

A lot of negativity and pessimism about the Packers is going around. I personally am encouraged, however. The two touchdowns on either side of the break were avoidable on many levels and would have completely changed the game. However, in light of those, we still had a fighting chance with, again, very limited key players and the second half showed the Packers’ poignant potential on offense. It's a long season and I like this team going forward. Go Pack Go!

This result didn’t change my opinion that the Packers are a playoff contender. The offense has to get healthy and the defense has to close the gap. Ten plays of 15-plus yards in the first three quarters is too many, but I said all offseason no result in the early weeks would write the book on the 2017 defense. It’s going to evolve and progress. I believe that.

KJ from Minneapolis, MN

Help me find perspective here: Atlanta seems to be fully krausened, as they say. I can't find a part of their game that needs work. This is their second year playing at nearly an identical level. The Packers meanwhile seem to lack a strong identity. Without a dominant offense I'm not sure who they really are. Like Atlanta this is the second year of this sort of play. What can the Packers do to flip this script and avoid what looks like an inevitable outcome?

How soon we forget. Three years ago, Seattle came off a Super Bowl title and handled the Packers by 20 in Week 1. Did anyone at that time think Green Bay had a shot to go to the Super Bowl if it had to go back to Seattle? Yet we all know who should have won that game. It’s a long season.

Joe from Dundee, IL

Did you get any indication of why McCray was used at RT instead of Adam Pankey against Atlanta?

The coaches obviously felt he was the best option in a difficult spot. I give Murphy and McCray a ton of credit. They deserve props for how they performed. When the bad news was announced 90 minutes before kickoff, I was flashing back to Arizona in December of 2015. The Packers had their problems in this game, but pass protection was not at the top of the list.

Ryan from Atlanta, GA

Did you get the sense that Rodgers was singling out the play of Jahri Evans, by specifically mentioning his name in association with the play of the inexperienced tackles?

Only from the standpoint the offensive line is not as cohesive a unit with so many new players at the same time. Evans is new to this line and this offense. That’s all Rodgers was saying.

Paul from Chicago, IL

It seems that 40-yard dash times are misleading. Players don't just run once in a game. They need endurance to last a game. It suggests to me that those "slower" DBs and safeties that are successful can sustain throughout a game (as well as have good footwork, anticipation, etc). Do you agree?

I thought Joe Whitt’s comment this past week about receivers like Julio Jones and Jordy Nelson was enlightening. He said receivers like them can still get behind guys who have better “timed speed” because their speed doesn’t top out at 30 or 40 yards. “They keep getting faster,” Whitt said.

Steve from Ely, MN

To paraphrase “The Brady Bunch”…"Well, all day long I hear how great Nitro is at this or how wonderful Nitro did at that! Nitro, Nitro, Nitro!" Jeez, fans, it's one defensive scheme in a whole array of them. I'm guessing it's the name as much as anything. Get over it! Keep up the sharp work, Mike and Wes.

Of course it’s the name, just like when Capers introduced Psycho in his first year in Green Bay. When you have the personnel, it’s another tool in the tool box.

Matt from Cedar Rapids, IA

With all the focus on the Nitro package, deservedly so, how does it differ from when Woodson or Hyde would drop into the box? Were they just playing safety close, or was that an early predecessor to the Nitro of today?

Woodson and Hyde were mostly playing slot corner. When they played safety and dropped into the box, they were an extra run defender, not replacing a linebacker.

Greg from Ann Arbor, MI

Sorry, Wes, but I started the trend of winning the coin toss and deferring back in the days of Tecmo Super Bowl. Tim Harris, Chuck Cecil, and that Packers’ D never let me down.

College coaches have been deferring for decades. It amazed me how long it took the NFL to come around and offer its coin-toss winner the same choice.

Ryan from Sturgeon Bay, WI

Regarding No. 80 being used for another player, I am a big Donald Driver fan but I appreciate seeing the potential Marty B. has to add to the lore of No. 80. I also feel Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is a great candidate for No. 21. For the Packers, what other numbers come to mind that seem to have a continued string of players who represent their numerical identity well?

I thought it was really cool when Nick Collins was given LeRoy Butler’s No. 36 when Collins was drafted in 2005. Even better is that he lived up to it.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

Toughest two-game stretch of the season?

Cowboys and Vikings back-to-back on the road is coming up soon.

Tom from Two Rivers, WI

Wes, I've been trying to figure out who Ty Montgomery reminds me of. I finally did. If he holds up, he's possibly the Packers’ first true West Coast offense running back. Does the name Roger Craig ring any bells? I'm not going to anoint him yet. But his build and style of play are very Craig-like. Maybe ask the older dude, Mike, about it. I realize you were in diapers when Craig played.

I would classify Craig as a more elusive runner than Montgomery. I also think Ahman Green was probably more like Craig and was the definition of a West Coast back. I think we should just let Ty be Ty.

Jake from Greenville, NC

Thinking about how Green Bay is going to defend Atlanta, I began to realize just how instrumental Freeman and Coleman were to Ryan getting MVP honors last year. Do you think having a back like Montgomery might be what it takes for Rodgers to find his next level?

Rodgers won MVPs with no running game in ’11 and with a bruising, power back in ’14. He can get to that level a variety of ways.

Dave from Chicago, IL

Insiders, I love Ty Montgomery's game but I am surprised he has embraced transitioning to running back so willingly. Is it not a less-prized and shorter-lived position compared to receiver? If you are good enough to be an NFL receiver, why make the change?

Because your employer asked you to, and it was a great opportunity to get on the field and display your all-around skills. Refusing would be an easy way to not get a second contract with the team that drafted you, forcing you to start over elsewhere.

John from Brick, NJ

Mike, in regards to the Nitro package do you ever see Capers using Josh Jones alongside Morgan Burnett? Or is that going too small? With Jones' size and speed it would give them another cover guy plus the ability to play the run.

I could see it on third-and-really-long, where there’s no threat of run and you have a mobile QB who requires a spy.

Art from Edwardsville, IL

Two games in and already so many injuries. Am I the only one who feels like we rarely get to see these guys play with a full deck on Sundays?

Injuries are everywhere, and everyone wants a reason, a scapegoat. I don’t have any answers for you, and I don’t waste my time thinking about it. This game got a little ridiculous, yes, but every team has trouble. The Vikings’ QB couldn’t play six days after having the game of his life, and the 2-0 Panthers have lost their stud tight end to a broken foot. Teams will look different in a few months. It’s how this game is.

Ethan from El Dorado Springs, MO

I know that Seattle has developed into a rivalry with the Pack. I’m starting to feel the same about the Falcons. Agree?

Not the same to me. Seattle is about lots of “stuff” over the last five years. Atlanta is just about who’s better right now and setting a standard the Packers must work to match. They’ve got 14 games to get that work done.

Evan from Ann Arbor, MI

Angst.

Perspective.


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