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If he has to, he will

5 min read
If he has to, he will

Elyada from Boca Raton, FL

What are your expectations for this game, and how much of the playbook do you think they are going to reveal this week?

LaFleur is going to use as much as he needs to in order to win the game. Game plans are always extensive, but often teams don’t get the chance, or have the need, to use everything they’ve put in. But if he has to, he will. It’s his first game, against the defending division champs. The champs are the champs until they’re beaten. This is a chance to announce the NFC North is truly up for grabs.

Chuck from Kenyasi, Ghana

Finally! The bologna stops Thursday. GBP makes the playoffs if they go x-x versus division opponents?

I’ll say 4-2 or better.

I have to believe many fans are excited to see what the new offensive design will look like. Understanding it won’t be a finished product on Week 1, there must be a few fundamental differences that will stand out. Can you share a few thoughts on what could look markedly different about our offensive system this year based on what you’ve observed so far?

Pre-snap motions, jet-sweep actions and bunch formations are all employed with greater regularity than I’ve seen in a long time.

Steven from Silver Spring, MD

When Thompson took over as GM it was noted/criticized how quickly the roster turned over in just a few years. Now that we are in the age of analytics and have readily available data as to the success rate on third contracts and situational production based on systems, is there less objections to the similarly quick churn we are seeing with Gute? Going into his second year the roster is almost two-thirds replaced.

I see more similarities than differences, frankly, and for good reason. The Packers went to the playoffs four straight years from 2001-04, then missed two years in a row. After eight straight from 2009-16, they’ve now missed two years in a row again. I would expect the roster to be vastly different in both instances, analytics be darned.

Who is a sleeper going into the season that could play an important role in the team’s success?

Zvonimir from Mountain View, CA

I caught myself not as worried about Bears as I was the last year. I realized that is because they don’t have Vic Fangio as their DC anymore. In your opinion, how much weaker/stronger/different is the Bears’ defense going to be this year compared to the previous one? Do you expect Pagano to install his own ideas or continue the path Fangio stamped? Personally, I consider Fangio to be the greatest defensive mind in the NFL after Belichick.

I’m no football coach, but if I’m Pagano, I’m not changing much from a unit that ranked first in the league in points allowed, first against the run, first in first downs allowed, third in total yards, first in takeaways … and changed only two front-line players, a safety (Clinton-Dix) and nickel corner (Buster Skrine). New coordinator or not, the hardest parts to repeat will be the 36 takeaways and six defensive TDs. To me, that’s going to tell us whether Chicago’s defense is any different, not so much the coordinator.

I am surprised Gutekunst didn’t use his high waiver status at cut down day. At what point in the season does that priority change?

Now that we know the 53, and from everything you’ve heard this summer, does this team remind you of any other recent NFL squads? The coach, the go-to WR and RB, and the investments on the D-line are all giving me a strong 2017 Rams vibe.

I’m not going to go anywhere near a comparison until I see this team play a game or six.

Any thoughts on whether or not the Bears will assign one cornerback to cover Davante?

In the past, for the most part, the Bears haven’t matched up with Adams that way. Last year, both Fuller and Amukamara took their turns. But you never know.

Jody from Grand Rapids, WI

How would the game change if the NFL actually prohibited picks and nobody, offense or defense, could wear gloves? Sometimes it feels more like basketball played by Spidermen. Just one grumpy old man’s opinion.

The picks have always bothered me more than the gloves. The offense has enough rules in its favor, so I’ve never been a fan of picks, but we’ll see if the ability to challenge for OPI on a key play changes their frequency of use.

It’s a lot easier to work uphill from mid-September than it is from mid-November.

True enough, and the Packers have five of six games at home after this opener, followed by four of the next five on the road through Thanksgiving weekend. So trying to climb uphill in November becomes especially difficult this year.

Phillip from Wonder Lake, IL

Who do you think will score first touchdown, defense or offense against the Bears?

After the Bears’ defense scored six TDs a year ago, it would really be something if the opposing defense scored first against them this year.

Longtime reader, first time asking. I want to know what you think was the best move we made this offseason and is Gary gonna make a name for himself this season?

The best roster move the Packers made was infusing the outside linebacker position with young talent. Matthews is one of the franchise’s all-time greats, but adding two 26-year-olds and then supplementing them with a first-round draft pick gives the defense a whole new look. Gary will get a chance to make a name for himself, because I expect him to get a lot of opportunities to rush the passer on third down.


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