Packers XLV

Packers and Vikings: Two Ships Passing in the Night

Posted October 28th, 2013 @ 03:10am

When the Packers benched Tim Masthay from kickoff duty after Cordarelle Patterson's opening kickoff return, little did we know we wouldn't see him at all the rest of the night, in any capacity. But as we surmised, the Vikings defense had no answer for the Packers' suddenly balanced and unpredictable offense--the Pack scored every time they touched the ball until they were in kneel-down mode.

It was the Packers who moved the ball on the ground more effectively this time around, with a season high 182 yards, led by "Baby Beast Mode" Eddie Lacy's 94 yards on 29 carries. James Starks provided fresh legs in relief in his first game back from injury. If these guys can stay healthy, the Pack will have no trouble treading water offensively until Jones and Cobb return. You have to love what a solid running game can mean for Aaron Rodgers. Well, it means he can put up 30+ points with Jarrett Boykin, Myles White and Andrew Quarless as his targets after Nelson.

The penalties continue to concern. Datone Jones' personal foul in the first half cost the team three points and pass interference calls led to 14 points. The Pack needs to clean that up before things get real in December.

The defense, minus three starting linebackers was solid. They contained AP and dared Christian Ponder to beat them. Needless to say, #7 wasn't up to the challenge. My hunch is Freeman takes over next week and holds the job for the rest of the year. As for Peterson, he got only 13 carries for the second straight week, due in large part to the Pack's stranglehold on the ball, holding it for 40 of the game's 60 minutes. After Patterson's opening play magic, the Vikes were soon playing from behind and couldn't move the chains.

As for Rodgers, he was nearly perfect, with a 130 passer rating. He converted third downs  at will and when they failed he converted on fourth down. The Pack finished 13-18 on third downs and 2-2 on fourth downs. The long drives wore down the defense, as evidenced by Starks' 25 yard touchdown run in the opening minute of the fourth quarter.

The Packers did precisely what they were expected to do. They dispatched an overmatched divisional opponent in quick order and get set to return home for a pair of home games where they'll be favored by more than a touchdown. More importantly, their injured guys are getting closer to return each week. With the schedule working in their favor between now and Thanksgiving, they should be on top of the division and they should have a number of keys back by the time they head to Ford Field.

Next up, da Bears. I'll be at the Park Tavern next Monday night to watch the Pack take down the well rested but critically injured Bears (no Jay Cutler and no Lance Briggs). If the Packers thought the Vikes' defense was soft, wait till they see what the Bears trot out. George Halas will be spinning in his grave. It'll be a party. Hope to see some of you there.

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Comments (14):

Larry & OSSG...you're right, this was a lot of fun! I love spirited discussions like this where the participants are civil and get their point across at the same time. I'm sure this won't be the last time this topic comes up, and I'm looking forward to the next time! We'll talk some Bears after THC's analysis is posted. GO PACK!

on November 1st, 2013 at 11:41am

Wasn't Masthay on the field for FG & PAT attempts? A fricken' awesome game--they might as well tear the dome down tonight...

on October 27th, 2013 at 10:59pm

After the game Greg Jennings was seen standing outside the Packers' clubhouse door hold a sign that read, "Will Work For Quarterback. Take me back with you, please."

on October 28th, 2013 at 06:41am

My game ball always goes to Aaron Rodgers in victory. He is that first step on the climb to the top. Some may take him for granted but he is the straw that stirs this team. There were a lot of positive kudos on this game ....but one unbelievable stat that was shown during the game was that the Pack has 50 of their 53 man roster that have only played for the Pack. That is a great statement for TT's drafting and the coaching of this staff. This is why the team is always among the youngest in the league. In the past I was always for the team to go after some veterans like Marshan Lynch and Stephen Jackson. and some veteran wide receivers....but I was proved wrong....my buddy the "Voice" was always strongly for developing from within and so far he has been proven correct. Acknowledging that I would still like to throw out this possibility.....If Finley is going to be out this year and maybe longer....I would look to Atlanta to get Tony Gonzalez. He is in like a Jared Allen role in that he is playing for a losing team at the end of his career. The Pack almost got him when he left KC as a free agent but at the last second he signed with Atlanta. Before you say this guy is done I say he would be a perfect compliment to the passing game. I believe you could get him for a mid round choice. TT loves his draft choices but this is a guy he earlier wanted. Would be a great move !! GO PACK GO !!

on October 28th, 2013 at 09:01am

great win, like your take ossg on the 50 out of 53 . i heard that too, everyone wanted jackson and he just came back, and has did nothing for atlanta. TT is real easy to figure out, draft young guys that are hungry and trying to earn that 2nd payday, and don't over pay for veterans who once they get the money they don't play with the same passion. except #4. of course the key is drafting the right guys also, he has been great on cornerbacks and most safeties, jennings is just ok, but like i said hyde is steal of the draft along with 69. did u notice 22 was not on the field, maybe MM reads my posts on your your blog davey. ha, ha, bring on the bears,go pack

on October 28th, 2013 at 11:21am

Thanks, OSSG, I appreciate the comment. One thing to keep in mind regarding draft and development is that it's a two-sided coin - you've just seen the fruits of one side. Now the other side, and this is the painful one, is knowing when to let a veteran guy go. An example of that could very well be Greg Jennings; at the very least, the Packers had made an offer to him to stay, knowing full well he wasn't worth what he was asking for, and let him go. It's like anything else in life, and I hope Greg can appreciate this..."be careful of what you ask for, you just might get it". Still love ya, GJ! But shifting gears to Sunday night, it was great to see what the Packers could do with the dual backfield of Lacy and Starks - it was great to just sit back and watch the systematic beatdown of the Vikings' defense, not knowing if the Pack was coming on the ground or through the air. And getting back to my earlier point, we got a good example of when you have a QB the quality of Rodgers, you don't need the high priced WR talent of a Dez Bryant, a Larry Fitzgerald, or a Calvin Johnson. What you do need is very good talent that anyone can pick up in the 2nd or 3rd rounds of the draft (or even lower), work with them to improve, and we're seeing the result. Spend the big bucks on your franchise QB, a LT to protect him (although TT got what might be the best draft day steal in Baktiari), a pass rushing DE (in a 4-3) or LB (in a 3-4), and a shut-down CB. Everything else can get filled in as needed. And when these guys who are out hurt right now come back, watch out!

on October 29th, 2013 at 02:14pm

While I'd love to see us add a pass-catching TE (assuming Finley isn't coming back this year), I can't vote yes to giving up a 4th for Gonzalez. We know he is done after this year and we know what a 4th rounder pick can sometimes get ya (Bakhtiari). More likely in my opinion? Skins dump Fred Davis and packers add him for vet minimum. That sounds like the TT way.

on October 29th, 2013 at 07:56pm

I remember when people couldn't figure out why TT wouldn't bring in some free agency help at the safety position such as Mr. Huff. Great example of why fans like us on the outside really don't have the info to judge FA moves very well. From Rotoworld: Ravens waived FS Michael Huff and DT Marcus Spears. Billed as high-quality additions to the Ravens defense, both veterans fizzled out badly. Huff hasn't played a defensive snap since Week 4 and was a liability on special teams. Spears was getting outplayed by third-round rookie Brandon Williams. Signed to a three-year, $6 million deal with a $1.5 million signing bonus, Huff finishes his time in Baltimore with six tackles. Even brilliant GM Ozzie Newsome gets egg on his face sometimes.

on October 30th, 2013 at 12:58pm

OK Voice I get your point. TT gets good grades on his drafting ability to build a team. If you look back about 5 years at the Pack's # 4's he has gotton some solid players to the roster.....Backtari, TJ Lang..Andrew Quarless, Mike Daniels, Davon House,....Jerod McMillan..and Jeremy Thompson (WHO?) were all # 4's. Solid players in roster building. But while you can not argue TT's success and philosophy my only point is we are not always rebuilding ....but at times 1 or 2 players away from the Big Prize. With Finley probably out and maybe only getting Gonzalez for one year I say it would have been worth the gamble. I do not think no one can argue he would be an upgrade over Quarless. Sometimes you need to roll the dice for one year for that one potential impact guy. I am not at all suggesting TT change his roster building approach. It's a moot point as it never happened but it would have been nice !! GO PACK GO !!

on October 31st, 2013 at 01:01pm

Larry, the respect is mutual, but let me explain further on this topic. I don't recall how Jackson was obtained (ditto for Galbreath), but Rison was cut midseason by Jacksonville and picked up as a free agent. I have no objections whatsoever obtaining help off the street when needed, but an NFL roster is only 53 players, and you only get 7 draft picks (barring any outside deals) each year. Those 7 picks are GOLD!! And they should be treated that way! Just because that 2014 4th round pick you're willing to give up is an unknown commodity as of today's date, what could it be? Sure, there's a chance of that pick not working out, but on the other side of the coin, ask a Vikings fan how well their 3 1st rounders have worked out so far this year? Aside from a couple of kickoff returns for Patterson, there's not much to crow about. Floyd is off the field more than he's on, and every highlight of Rhodes I've seen is him getting burned. I suppose you could put Datone Jones in that catagory (for objectivity), so since they both play the D-line, Floyd and Jones could be considered long term projects. But I digress - the point being is that even 1st rounders aren't sure thing. Getting back to the original point, why is it that fans latch on to the idea that a "name" player will be the final piece to the puzzle for a team's championship run? Granted it was almost 30 years ago, but how did that mid-season John Hadl trade work out for the Packers? Yes, that's apples and oranges, but again, are you willing to go into next year's draft without a 4th round pick...essentially just giving it away? That's what you'd be doing if you made the Gonzales trade. Remember, he almost retired before this season started. I could care less what kind of season he's having now, because there's no guarantee he'd be anything remotely close to being effective for the last half of the season, not to mention he'd be gone at the end of it. I'd rather have a guy on the roster who's arrow is pointing up (ie: Quarless and whoever is picked in the 4th round next year) than someone who's arrow is pointing down (Gonzalez). And here's another issue - which Gonzalez would you be getting? The one we remember from 6-7 years ago who lit it up on a bunch of bad teams in KC, or the one ready to hang it up at the end of this season? Can you see now why I'm so adamant about this issue? Give me the young guy EVERY TIME over a has-been superstar who's glory days are clearly behind him. I'd rather make a trade for Kyle Rudolph than Tony Gonzalez just because of the upside, and I still wouldn't pull the trigger on that one. I'm just thankful the trade deadline has passed, so all of this is a moot point, but it does make for entertaining conversation.

on October 31st, 2013 at 02:15pm

Last comment on talking about a Tony Gonzalez trade for a 4th round draft choice. It is a moot point as it did not happen but makes for interesting discussion. Again...My point is we are a team that has the potential right now to go a long way. Yes TGO is in his last year but his stats year to date are 38 catches for 395 yards and 3 TD's. That projects out to 87 catches for 903 yards and 7 TD's. Yes....the team systems may be different but it clearly shows the guy is productive and not someone basking on his stats from KC days. With Finley out Quarless or whoever is not a receiving gem and this guy would have been a nice option for Rodgers. We are not the Vikings in a rebuilding mode that will take years. We are built to win now while Rodgers is in his prime. I say give him more options and more concerns in defending the Pack. Just my take !! GO PACK GO !!

on October 31st, 2013 at 05:46pm

Regarding the fan poll question...roughly a 50/50 split for those who responded. For those who responded yes, think about this. Would you trade away David Bakhtiari (a 4th round pick) for Tony Gonzales right now? That would be insane, wouldn't it? By trading away a 4th round pick for a short term solution, you'd essentially be doing the same thing - gutting the future for a right-now temporary fix. There's only 3 days during the year where you trade draft picks, and that's on draft weekend for the purpose of improving your draft position. To build a championship roster, it's all about draft picks and protecting the cap, and thankfully TT wrote the book on this topic. Besides that, Quarless will do just fine, thank you very much. This would be a panic move by a panicked team, and the Packers are not anywhere near panic mode. And you probably already knew which way I voted.

on October 31st, 2013 at 11:04am

I guess it's me and OSSG against u and trashman on this one voice, but it's your take and nothing wrong with that, it makes this fun. this is something i know i'm right on, if we don't get to McNown he will complete passes to those big receivers. this is not as easy as many think,inc.THC. i see it 34-24

on October 31st, 2013 at 11:27pm

voice, i nrmally agree with u, but your wrong on this one, it is easy to say that now on bahkteri, how many guys are not on the roster now over the years that didn't make it? picked up jacskon te from miami, and Rison wr in super bowl year, and if i remember right we brought in ol line harry galbreath also. u need to fill holes when your close and the time is now. we all like picks, but sometimes u need to go for it, 12 will be gone in 5-6 years. we are so young now at te we need davis or gonzy would have been well worth it. we disagree on this one. good talker though.

on October 31st, 2013 at 12:32pm

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