Fri. Jan 22nd, 2021

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There’s still plenty to learn

6 min read
There’s still plenty to learn

Kevin from Grand Rapids, MI

I’m wondering if Elgton Jenkins played any snaps vs. the Bears? With the competition so tight going into Game 1, will we see him work in some snaps moving forward or do the coaches prefer to go with just the starting five as long as all are healthy?

Once a decision is made, teams tend to stick with their starting five. They don’t rotate a guy in just to get him looks unless it’s a special package with six O-linemen. Jenkins played two snaps on field-goal protection. His job right now is to watch, learn and stay ready.

“What You Might’ve Missed” for sure pointed out something I missed. Seeing that Rashan Gary only had six snaps doesn’t show a lot of promise, but in the play he is featured on in WYMM, he flashed some incredible strength. It is pointed out that he knocks Kyle Long on his butt, but what wasn’t pointed out is that right after that, he seemingly throws Charles Leno to the ground with a swipe of his arm. I watched that video 50 times with a smile on my face. That’s some raw power.

Gary’s performance against the Bears reminded me a lot of Casey Hayward against the 49ers in 2012. The rookie didn’t play much, but from the snaps he did see, there was a lot to like. He’s playing behind two absolute studs right now, but his time will come.

If our defense shows up against the Vikings like it did in Chicago, can we get Pettine a game ball please?

I’ll have my people talk to Matt LaFleur’s people.

Scott from New Orleans, LA

This week’s game versus the Vikings is very intriguing, especially in the trenches. The Packers’ offensive line and Vikings’ defensive line are relatively the same and know their competition well, while the Packers’ defensive line and Vikings’ offensive line have made considerable changes. What matchups along the front lines should we be watching?

Kenny Clark against Garrett Bradbury, the Vikings’ rookie first-round pick who started last week at center. Winning on the interior, on both sides of the ball, is going to be critical in this one.

Who will be your matchup to watch this Sunday and why?

Besides the one I just mentioned, it’s Davante Adams and Xavier Rhodes. That’s the matchup you put on the marquee. They’re both tacticians who take a lot of pride in their craft. I’m curious to see how Mike Zimmer approaches covering Adams as he moves around the field. There was one play last week where I think Chicago had three defensive backs on him.

What will be the Packers’ biggest test this season?

Since the NFL schedule was released in April, two things jumped right off the page – this early stretch against divisional opponents and the back-to-back road games against Kansas City and Los Angeles Chargers.

Wes, besides getting the W this weekend, what would you most like to see the Packers accomplish?

I’d like to see the Packers establish the run right away against Minnesota. I think the three-and-outs early against the Bears were more a product of not being able to get into favorable third-and-short situations.

I’ve heard much made of the advantages Fangio will have going up against Mitchell Trubisky and CHI this week. Is the LaFleur-Cousins link just too old to have any influence on this game?

There’s obvious familiarity between the two but it’s been five years since LaFleur worked with Cousins. So I don’t know how much of an advantage that gives LaFleur besides having a good barometer of where Cousins has improved over that time.

Craig from Lehigh Acres, FL

If a team has great depth and healthy receivers, do you think they would change up their starters to throw off a defense? Especially early in the season. Like a defense is planning on these receivers and they don’t play as much. Obviously No. 1 plays but what if 4 and 5 get the start over 2 and 3? Just curious.

Defensive coordinators prepare for anyone. Trevor Davis only played 17 snaps against the Bears but I’m sure Zimmer is still paying close attention to him. The area I think the Packers want to exploit this season is with their positional versatility and mixing up their skill-position players with a variety of personnel packages. You got a little taste of that last week with how many two-TE looks Green Bay showed the Bears.

I’ve got to agree with Wes on tie game results. While I agree that the Packers “should” have won the Vikings tie last year, would we rather have seen Minnesota somehow come out in protracted overtime and carry off a win, after all that preceded? The injustice of that game shouldn’t be laid against the fact it ended in a tie, but the officiating. We’re not the Saints, however, so we’ll get over it… right?

Should the Packers have won that game? Absolutely. That was a beautiful play by Jaire Alexander and a terrible call on Clay Matthews. However, that game also was more than that one play. In the end, it wasn’t enough to escape those “narrow margins” Spoff talked about last week. You are what your record says and the final result is what the scoreboard reads.

Leandro remembers the pass interference, but forgets that the Vikings missed every single field-goal attempt (two of which were in overtime), while the Packers failed on their game-clinching field-goal attempt and had a failed drive in OT. Both teams had multiple opportunities to win the game, and failed. I’m with Wes, the tie was deserved.

This, more or less, is what I was alluding to.

Michael from Berrien Springs, MT

For the past few years it seems the Vikings’ O-line was their weakness. I didn’t see the game but it looks like they had no trouble running the ball. Are they much improved on the O-line or were the Falcons just not strong on their defense?

I think there are some nice young building blocks on that Minnesota offensive line. I also think Atlanta’s run defense was a mess in that game.

When home-field advantage is discussed, it comes down almost 100 percent to the noise with which the opposing offense has to cope. New Orleans, Seattle and Minnesota are a few of the loudest and therefore most difficult venues in which to play. Do you think the Packers’ fans will step up into that top tier of stadiums (stadia?) for this crucial contest or will the “sit down, you’re blocking my view” contingent win out?

I think an excited, energized fan base goes a long way in establishing home-field advantage. I consider the three you mentioned outliers. The Superdome traps noise, Seattle puts speakers behind the visiting team bench and U.S. Bank has speakers on the roof of the stadium among its other gimmicks. Yes, their fans have something to do with the environment but some of that is synthesized, too. I’ll just say this – if the Packers’ defense plays as well at home as it did in Chicago, people will get out of their seats. Whatever happens, just please don’t do the wave on offense.

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