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Once you get the momentum going ...

Posted Nov 8, 2017

... the rest will take care of itself


Andrew from Dayton, OH

So much for opening up the playbook for Hundley. After the first drive, seemed like nothing but check-downs at or behind the line of scrimmage. Also very eager to scramble when given the slightest pressure. How can we have a passing game with someone who clearly isn't comfortable passing the ball?

Hundley looked more comfortable as the game progressed. He clearly settled in more after the move to the no-huddle. While you can’t live in it, I think the Packers found something to hang their hat on. Hundley has the ability. He was quick and decisive on the slants to Randall Cobb and Lance Kendricks late. He needs to play faster. Experience should help that.

Jonnie from Detroit, MI

I hope you aren't too blistered from the heat I'm sure you're getting after the atrocious showing on Monday night. It seemed like the offense needed the defense to make some stops, and the defense needed the offense to sustain some drives to help each other out. What did you see as the bright spots on both sides of the ball? It sure was hard to see any from a fan's perspective.

I think you and Spoff hit it right on the head. One plays off the other. A big play on offense can go a long way for a defense and vice versa. Right now, it’s just not happening. The youth on the roster has been the bright spot so far. Aaron Jones, Blake Martinez and Kenny Clark can play.

Mitch from Milwaukee, WI

Why does Trevor Davis return the kickoff? Wouldn't it make more sense to start our drives on the 25?

I don’t blame him. He’s trying to make a play to help Hundley and the offense. The first two were a few yards into the end zone, but the rest Davis didn’t have much choice. He had to return them.

Kevin from Asbury Park, NJ

Not to say this team can't win any game at any time, but on paper it looks like there are five winnable games left on the schedule. If third-down efficiency improves on both sides of the ball there is a chance this team can finish 9-7 or better. I was guilty of feeling like the season ended Monday night against the Lions, but there's a lot of football left to be played and this team is by no means out of the hunt.

I stand by what I said Monday about the season not being over regardless of this outcome. Last year proved why it’s important not to get too high or too low in Week 10. And don’t say this year is different because Rodgers isn’t the quarterback. That didn’t matter to anyone last year when the team was 4-6.

Chris from Jackson, WI

I'm a firm believer of the “players, not plays” mantra, but is it possible Capers' defensive scheme is too complex for the players executing it? Between all the substitutions, packages, and players lining up in multiple positions, perhaps it's complicating things instead of placing focus on winning one-on-ones. This defense was close to full strength and still showed little to no improvement.

Defense is so complex. It’s tough to point to one specific area and say who’s at fault. It doesn’t look like it should, though. The Packers have to get to the bottom of it. While Morgan Burnett exited with the groin injury, that’s as healthy as they’ve been on defense since the opener.

Jack from Chicago, IL

The Detroit game stunk. There's definitely something to build off of though. Great tackling by our DBs and especially Blake Martinez. Anyways, the only thing I care about now is beating the stinkin’ Bears.

The Packers had eight tackles for a loss. It’s an entirely different ballgame if they could have parlayed those plays into a few stops on third down. Martinez, now on pace for 147 tackles, has been a bright spot. I think Nick Barnett’s 138 are the most in a single season for the Packers since 2000.

Paul from Henderson, NV

Do you really think the offense is a problem? Brett Hundley is now getting snaps and is improving every week. Do you think Packers can win games without at least forcing a punt the whole game? I mean seriously, Packer fans, how many teams in the NFL can win with a defensive showing like that?

I won’t argue with you here. Unless you’re forcing three or more turnovers, you’re in for a long day if you don’t force the opposing team to put its punter on the field on fourth down.

Mike from Novato, CA

Tough to watch Monday night. I've been a longtime Capers defender, but now I'm not sure. I think we have way too much young talent to be as bad as we've been. King, Jones, Clark, Martinez, Randall, Clinton-Dix, Daniels, Morgan...throw in Perry and Mathews and we should be able to get off the field on third-and-long. Thoughts?

The Packers didn’t win on third downs on either side of the ball. It’s as simple as that. That’s the lifeblood to winning time of possession and controlling tempo. The Lions were just one step ahead on defense Monday night. Green Bay has defenders who are capable of making plays, but they haven’t just been there for one reason or another lately.

Sean from North Webster, IN

Do you think the Packers might re-evaluate the QB position in the draft and maybe try the first or second round if the pick fits? Apparently they weren't smarter than everyone else picking Hundley in the fifth round pick. At least they tried.

Let’s wait until the end of the season before beginning that conversation. Regardless, I don’t see the Packers using a first- or second-round pick on the position. There are more important areas to address.

Wally from Bloomsburg, PA

It seemed like Brett held onto the ball in the pocket too long. (Former) Coach Gruden pointed out that he had the same issues at UCLA. Is this something that can be coached out of him (with regards to quicker decisions, etc.)? Would running quick slants and other higher-percentage routes help? It seems like he's also a little too eager to escape the pocket. I get he's a mobile QB but some of the plays need time to develop (assuming the O-line is providing protection).

I think the Packers have actually done a good job in scripting their first 15 plays the past two games, but it’s up to Hundley and the offense to build off that first series. I don’t believe he’s been overanxious to escape the pocket. He’s learned from one of the best to ever do it. I don’t want to speak for Hundley, but I wonder how much of that has to do with him trying to create an extended play downfield.

Aaron from Seattle, WA

The announcers often talk about the first 15 plays being scripted. I assume that can't mean they just run whatever play is listed regardless of situation, so how would that work? It also seems the Packers are generally way more effective for those first 15 or so plays. Do you have any idea why?

It’s not as rigid as it used to be, but most teams will put together a menu of plays for the first dozen or so snaps and pivot from there during the rest of the game.

Steve from Minocqua, WI

I was worried from the opening drive against the Lions when the Packers used an end-around and a QB option. Two more-or-less trick plays that early tells me MM didn’t have much confidence for winning this game.

I didn’t hear anyone complaining when Jeff Janis was picking up 20 yards on end-arounds late last year.

Matt from Marshall, MI

I don’t think it’s wrong that fans question the results of this defense. ROI. The past decade has seen a heavy investment on that side of the ball. Two reasons are consistently noted: health and youth. One cannot be realistically controlled, the other is a choice of the front office. Fans literally support everyone getting a GB paycheck and would like answers and/or change. This doesn’t seem to warrant the recent rash of high-school snark being found in the replies of this column's author(s).

My responses are in lockstep with the tone in which the question is asked. I’m all for having a conversation, debate and discussion. But it seems many “fans” can’t put together a constructive thought without hurling insults. I respect those who give respect. Real recognizes real. I have no time for the rest. I’m a sparring partner, not a punching bag. 

Patrick from Paducah, KY

I think it is fair to say that the expectations were high coming off of a bye week, yet the same issues were evident against Detroit. 1) D couldn't get off the field on third down 2) not pressuring the QB and 3) the offense was far too reserved. When and how does that change moving forward?

The Packers didn’t get the job done on third down and they paid for it on both sides of the ball, and there wasn’t enough pressure on Stafford despite Capers often sending an extra rusher. There is no magic formula. As Jordy Nelson says, players and coaches just have to keep working at it. It’s not one or two players – everyone must perform better.

Bob from Verona, WI

Very concerned with the lack of pass rush. A healthy Clay could not even get past a backup tackle. Where is Perry? What do you think can help get a better pass rush with what we have?

I felt the Packers were trending towards a sack game because of how much they’ve been flying around the quarterback, but Monday night was a step back. You have to find a way to get home.

Craig from Cortland, NY

While the bye week certainly was beneficial from a team health standpoint, did it adversely affect the team due to the interruption to the cycle of week-to-week preparation, especially for someone in Hundley's situation (thrust unexpectedly into the Minnesota game; crash course preparing for NO; bye week; Monday night game; and now a short week leading up to an away game)? He has yet to experience back-to-back "normal" weeks as QB1.

It’s funny you mention that. Clay Matthews said as he gets older he prefers to keep playing and get into a groove. Health trumps everything, but you could probably make a case for what you’re saying.

Todd from Bristol, WI

When will the NFL finally get full-time officials? The lack of pass interference calls on Nelson last night plus the ridiculous call on Daniels in the first quarter could have turned the game. Why don't the players demand good officials? Or why can't they demand challenges on obviously bad calls? I would gladly take a four-hour game just to get the calls right.

The NFL doesn’t want that. It wants to shorten games, not extend them. Daniels made contact with an opposing player’s helmet. They’re going to call that every time. You have to be smart. I don’t know what the officials were looking at with the Nelson/Slay non-call. It’s one thing to say it’s not pass interference, but that’s insane if they really told Luke Getsy they were determining whether to flag Nelson.

Jeff from Woodlawn, TN

Why not go for it on fourth down 75 percent of the time from here on out? This defense is bad, don't sugarcoat it. They're not going to stop teams from scoring. So go for it on fourth down. You can't possibly fool us anymore with your Insider knowledge. No D and Hundley makes for a four-win season.

What I don’t get is why make a blanket statement like this, Jeff. You’re now wrong if the Packers win one of their next eight games. Congrats?

Col from Ludlow, UK

McCarthy said Aaron had it, then Aaron pretty much lost two games for every one he won his first year starting, after three full seasons and four full offseasons to prepare. Are we less patient at the moment because this is a temporary problem, whereas we knew we had to give Aaron our time and support for the long haul? Vic had to be smiling Monday if he read your work. Beautiful.

I think it comes from a mix of sky-high expectations for this season and instant gratification. Fans, of any team, don’t like to wait for a turnaround. They want Rome to be built and furnished in a day. There’s nothing wrong with that, either. That’s pro sports. It is what it is.

Dante from Fredericksburg, VA

Was I the only person screaming run the ball? We finally have a RB with multiple 100-yard games in the first half of the season and Aaron Jones finished with five carries. Very inexcusable.

It was obvious the Packers wanted to get the passing game going with Hundley. I wonder if we’ll see more zone-read concepts going forward. It seemed like Hundley and Jones had some success with that early.

David from Los Angeles, CA

In postgame interviews, a lot of players and coaches are always saying that they aren't sure what happened on particular plays and they will have to see the film. Yet, teams have all the technology on the sidelines for just that purpose. What's the deal?

They might have an idea of what happened on a certain play, but what good does it do to verbalize it without breaking down the film? There’s only so much Surfaces can tell you on the sideline. 

Bob from Hudson, WI

When was the last full season that the Packers defense ranked 16th or better in points allowed, yards allowed, and time of possession? At some point, it is a game of results and quite frankly Dom has not produced in years.

2015?

Richard from Yankton, SD

We need a spark? We need something flammable to light first...lol.

Technically not true. You could rub sticks together.

Jesus from El Paso, TX

Can we give the defense some of Wes's ginger ale? If the defense goes after the quarterback the way Wes is going after the sweet children of the Inbox, we'll be in great shape!

Trust your technique.

Jake from Battle Ground, WA

I figure with all the negativity in the Inbox today, you could use a positive story. Monday night was my first-ever game at Lambeau, and it was the best experience of my life. I have made so many lifelong memories, and being able to cheer on the Packers while inside the historic Lambeau field is one of the best. Hopefully you will read this and it will help put a pause in all the doom and gloom you are hearing today, knowing that this longtime fan is soaring high no matter what else is going on. Thank you for all you do.

Glad you had a good time, Jake. I’m sorry you couldn’t take a W home with you.

Ross from Newmarket, Ontario

Insiders, I think four of the next five games are at least winnable. I know, I know, we shouldn't look too far ahead. I'm going to anyway though because the present isn't all that appealing right now.

You have to learn from the past and focus on the future. That’s the only way you get better.

Bob from Yuma, AZ

We've had quite a run the last 8-9 years. One season is not a bad thing to have. We are still a great team!

It’s not over.

Ted from Boston, MA

How soon we forget 4-6. Just get the momentum going.

I couldn’t have said it better myself, so I won’t try. Once you get the momentum going, the rest will take care of itself.


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