Packers XLV

The Big Takeaway: Three More Takeaways.

Posted September 23rd, 2019 @ 01:09pm

The Packers were far from perfect on Sunday, sporting a leaky run defense and a still sputtering offense that saw Aaron Rodgers throw a bunch of balls in the ground to avoid the pass rush. But the Packers' strength through games is emerging: a fast, aggressive, talented defense that is adept at creating turnovers. At plus six in the giveaway-takeaway department through three weeks, the Pack leads the league. That's how you get to 3-0.

The Smiths continue to show that Gutey spent his money wisely in free agency. Both were in Flacco's face all afternoon, combining for five sacks and a bushel of hurries. Their protege, rookie Rashan Gary finally got in on the act, recovering a fumble and notching his first sack. And the youngsters on the back end continue to impress; the takeaways by Jaire Alexander and Darnell Savage were back breakers.

But there were some issues on that side of the ball as well. Teams that commit to running the ball are having success, leading to long drives--keeping Pettine's crew on the field. They didn't give up any long runs, but Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman delivered body blows all afternoon and that's something that needs to get shored up. Ugliest was the short TD run by Lindsay, where both Kenny Clark and Dean Lowry appeared to have him stopped, only to watch him churn his way to pay dirt. Kevin King also had a few bad plays that need to be cleaned up.

It's a really nice start for the defense, but they have yet to face an above average QB (here come Carson Wentz and Dak Prescott) and they will get Zeke in a couple of weeks, who must be licking his chops after seeing the Pack's run defense the past two games. Big picture: the defense is light years ahead of last year and could use one more dependable piece to slide in alongside Blake Martinez. Maybe Oren Burks fits the bill when he returns from injury, maybe BJ Goodson gets comfortable there, or maybe Gutey finds that piece via trade or on the street.

Offensively it was a mixed bag once again. They got off to another nice start, but Aaron Jones couldn't get untracked. Jamaal Williams played his best game of the season and showed that he is a valuable complement, both as a runner and a receiver, but on a wet day when the Pack was nursing a lead, a better running game would have taken the pressure off Rodgers.

That stretch in the third quarter where Rodgers appeared to throw the ball away five or six times was a bit alarming, as was his body language. He was clearly frustrated, either by the play calls or his teammates. The offense continues to be a work in progress, with MVS stepping up on a day when the Broncos paid close attention to Davante Adams. He caught all four balls thrown his way, but he'd like to see more targets--we'd all like to see that and LaFleur and Rodgers need to find a way to make that happen.

After the game, Rodgers was giddy about how good he felt after getting knocked down only once all day. The quick throwaways may have been frustrating to watch, but it kept him from getting hit--vital with another game coming up four days later. The Broncos remain sackless through three games and Rodgers came out of this one clean and ready to welcome the Eagles.

The offense still is not making good use of the middle of the field. The tight ends are not making plays (Robert Tonyan had a chance at a long TD catch, but slowed down just enough to miss making the play) and Geronimo Allison continues to be pretty much AWOL.

We didn't get much of a look at the new returners, though newcomer Tremon Smith made his presence felt with a potential TD saving tackle on a kickoff. Darrius Shepherd fielded one punt cleanly and otherwise made good decisions to let punts go. Punter JK Scott continued his strong start, flipping field position a couple of times.

It's a promising start, precisely what this team needed the way the schedule flows. The Lambeau love continues with three of the next four at home and the Pack needs to take care of business, before the schedule toughens up at midseason. The banged up Eagles come to town Thursday, off a home loss to the Lions. They'll be ornery and embarrassed and the Pack will need to be ready for that.

Based on what we've seen so far, we can count on the defense to do their part to take away their hopes of a turnaround on the road.

I'll record a "Packer Preview" podcast Wednesday morning as we look ahead to the Thursday night game against the Eagles. Find it at kfan.com, iHeart radio or on iTunes.

 

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Comments (19):

Fix the consistency on offense and the Run Defense no longer matters. If you get a better run defense and the offense keeps stalling, you have to figure out how to win games with under 20 points scored total. I dont like those odds. I want to believe this team is undefeated but my history precedes it. The optimistic part of me says if they beat Philly and find their oats when the possession arrow is green and gold, watch the hell out NFL. We might be witnessing something magical.

on September 23rd, 2019 at 03:25pm

Can you guys get to the NFL officials and tell them to not take clear touchdowns away from Philly like has been happening in Lambeau. I didn't think the Diggs one could be topped, but that hold on Denver when the back walked into the end zone was one of the best I've ever seen in Lambeau. Jobs are at stake for coaches and players. This has to stop.

on September 23rd, 2019 at 04:31pm

It only happens at Lambeau huh Greg,the only jobs at stake are on the overrated Vikings players and coaches,stop the f...ing whining,go on the Vikings site and whine!!!

on September 23rd, 2019 at 07:43pm

I think Rodgers really did lean on the Defense. His risk aversion and willingness to throw those balls away speaks to his belief that they didn't and weren't going to really need to take those risk. He continues to say the right things in the Pressers after the game. MVS continues to be the only thing near shiny after Adams in the passing game, and he could still use a lot of polish. Vitale had his one nice catch. It can be hard to catch in the rain, but pros are pros. The tackling was an issue. Too many guys standing up and hugging. It should be addressed again in practice. The Eagles have like no wide receivers right now. This would be a game to flex our muscles a little bit. It's a good time to play them, and We'll need to keep winning. There are no losing records in the North.

on September 23rd, 2019 at 09:57am

crapola effort. You'll get crushed this week. I'll go 48-3 iggles.

on September 24th, 2019 at 05:53pm

The games tomorrow and I've listened to the podcast. If Z can't go, I'll be surprised. Still, I expect they will play Gary more and see how he does. Preston has been on fire! He may actually turn out to be the most Impactful of the Smiths. I'm nearly convinced, though, that the Guty is scouring the waiver wire for a guy named Aaron Smith, just so he can triple down on the names. I sure hope Aaron Smith can catch. Speaking of that...I'm going to ahead and predict that this week is the week they get Vitale more involved. I'm just hoping MVS can get a couple more deep catches. I didn't see a lot on the highlight reel against the Lions to worry me, but I may just be underrating both teams. I nearly nailed the last score with my stock 27-17 Packers score. I'm feeling dynamic this evening, 35-14 Packers. Road teams on Thursday night that have hurt receivers don't do well against top defenses. This doesn't feel cocky, I just hope reality doesn't bite.

on September 25th, 2019 at 08:27pm

If "you are what your record says you are" the Packers are a 3-0 team to start their new season with a new head coach and a lot of new assistants and players and system. How they've gotten it done matters less than the fact that they have. How they get it done tonight matters less than that they get it done. Tonight's game will be a good measuring stick of progress under LaFleur. The Eagles were a prime NFC preseason favorite for the Super Bowl but have stumbled out of the gate and can't afford to lose any more ground in their race with Dallas in the East. But if the Falcons and Lions can beat them the Packers should be able to do it with home field on a short week.

on September 26th, 2019 at 04:54am

Pack defense is 'slightly better without Capers and drunken cheddarheads are like " WOW .... we are now better than the 85 Bears + steel curtain combined ! ...... ... well, reality will arrive soon.

on September 26th, 2019 at 10:08am

Fudge packers reality has already arrived for the Bears and Vikings,Idiot!!!

on September 26th, 2019 at 10:14am

My name is Zeke. Does anyone know what the rushing record is in an individual game? I'm just wondering. Your friend, Zeke!

on September 27th, 2019 at 05:39am

Your run defense is a disaster. That's going to be fun all year. Good luck against Zak Elliot. I don't think you're going to win another game for a while. That D got exposed. If not for a terrible call to take away a Vikings touchdown, you guys would be a .500 team, which is about where you'll probably finish.

on September 27th, 2019 at 07:11pm

Dave missed most Saturday shows over the past few years when the Vikings beat the Pack. He was on his show a couple of weeks ago though when the Pack beat the Vikings. I could swear Sinny had his blog up the next day after each of the 3 packer wins this year, but we are missing one all of sudden. It's weird how it all works!

on September 27th, 2019 at 08:30pm

Your weird Greg,is that the lady queens only goal,to beat the packers,no wonder you don’t have any super bowl wins!!! Typical lady queens fan purple troll whining about the refs!!! Loser mudducks

on September 27th, 2019 at 08:45pm

You're

on September 27th, 2019 at 09:44pm

OK Greg, you win this round. _I'll admit I'm one of those 'out of the closet' types that cannot spell._I also know absolutely nothing about football._ I prefer badminton Thank You.

on September 28th, 2019 at 03:35am

I know a lot about football,I’m sure you never played,I can’t whine about officiating when Cousins the offensive line and the kicking game all suck!!! P.S. pussy thielen can’t push off anymore

on September 28th, 2019 at 03:52pm

You have to listen to Davey, St. Paul guy. He was whining on his morning show today that on Rodgers pick, it was defensive pass interference. No, I'm not making that up.

on September 28th, 2019 at 04:10pm

As a measurement game the Pack didn't measure up Thursday night. But as the old saying has it, football is a game of inches, they weren't exactly a mile off the mark. They lost because of a disastrous second quarter when they gifted the Iggle 3 short field td's as the result of their own gaffes and breakdowns. Twice in the fourth quarter they were on the Philly 1 yd. line and came away empty both times. Those 5 situations or plays represent, at minimum, a 27 pt. swing in the game to the Packers. We should not overreact to the loss any more than we should have had they won. Play each quarter of the season a 3-1 and it adds up to a 12-4 year. We knew there would be some bumps in the road and some tough stretches. What was most disappointing in that game, though, was that the Packers didn't match the energy, aggression and physicality of the other team. Philly played more like the home team on a short week. This could be viewed as a simulated playoff and the Packers showed like they have too much in the past in that kind of a situation. There's work to be done and a dozen more games to get it done.

on September 28th, 2019 at 06:19am

We finally had one ref in Green Bay with some integrity. When Adams pushed off to get free in the end zone, and they threw the flag for defensive pass interference, I almost cried from laughter. But low and behold, they huddled up, and the one honest ref won out. Then, they threw the flag on Ertz to try and take away the td pass. I immediately thought of St. Paul and how he didn't even want that one. Much to St. Paul's dismay, they huddled up again, and that one honest ref won out again. I was literally in shock that those were overturned! I am still somewhat in shock. Not as much as St. Paul guy is, but it's a start to clean up the mess that always occurs in Lambeau. Most of the refs tried as usual in Lambeau, but somehow an honest one was let onto the field.

on September 28th, 2019 at 06:40am

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