A lot is riding on the 2019 season for the Green Bay Packers.
After two dreadful years due to injury and discord, the Packers need to get it together and show that they can be a perennial contender in the NFC North once more.
Bovada has the Packers just behind the Eagles and the Bears to win the NFC this season, so they are still considered a top-five contender in the conference. But they need a strong strong start to set the pace for the season and that begins with the Thursday Night NFL Season Opener in Chicago.
The Packers head into Soldier Field on Opening Day of the 100th NFL Season to face the Bears for the 199th time in history.
Aaron Rodgers will be healthy, and if there is one thing we have seen this offseason, it’s that the franchise is trying to put more talent around Rodgers on both sides of the ball. Surprisingly, enough, most of that talent has come on the defensive side of things. There are plenty of new-additions to defense.
Over the last few years, Green Bay has ranked towards the bottom in points allowed as well as pass defense – 29th. But that looks like it is about to change – despite the departure of Clay Mathews. Za’Darius Smith came over from the Ravens, who racked up a healthy, 8.5 sacks in 2018. They also have Lowry for added depth inside. Kenny Clark will be an impact player if he can keep the injuries at bay.
On top of some added depth up front, the Packers have put some serious effort and a bit of coin into upgrading the secondary, especially at safety. It looks like their trade up to grab the Maryland star is paying off because Darnell Savage Jr. is on the roster at Strong Safety and will be trading time with Josh Jones. Then the Packers got Adrian Amos from the Bears in Free-Agency to take the No. 1 spot at Free Safety. This has been their weakest link over the last several seasons. So if they Safeties do their jobs and effectively back-up Jaire Alexander, Kevin King, and Josh Jackson covering the receivers (and of course help the LB corps) then the Packers should bring down their points-allowed stat significantly.
It’s Matt Nagy’s second year as coach, and we all know that this is when teams usually start to click under new leadership. I’ll just come out and say it, right now, according to projections, the Bears are the team to beat in the NFC North.
They may end up being even better on defense this season, with Mack adjusted and new additions rolling in and adapting to Nagy and Pagano. Then again, Pagano is the Bears biggest X-Factor.
One thing we do know is Mitch Trubisky is starting to shape into that Franchise QB the Bears moved up for a couple of years ago. So we should expect better offensive production from Chicago this season. That said, this is a tough division, and no one is locked in …. except for maybe the Lions, they’re surely locked into the bottom of the Division.
This is a rivalry game and a significant one, so we need to expect both teams to come out swinging, trying to set the bar for the season. 3.5 to 4 points is a lot to give in a division rivalry game like this, so I lean on Green Bay to cover that spread. Aaron Rodgers is going to come out with a chip on his shoulder. He is going to show Matt LaFleur why he needs quick, versatile play calling with plenty of time to audible and run the show from behind center, once he gets a read on the defense.
This game means a lot to both teams. It could set the tone for the entire season, so don’t blink. Don’t run to the BBQ to get more wings once the game starts, because this one is going to be a war fought down to the final seconds.
This is a huge game, this bears team went 12-4 last season, and their playing at home. the Packers finished the season at….well, never mind.
If this was a normal season under McCarthy, i’d have the Bears winning this all day. But with a new offensive, the bears will be on their heals a bit i believe. I’m not as sold on Trubisky as our esteemed Mr. Rooney. I think he’s the one piece that stunts their growth but i’ve been wrong before (see 2008).
With all that said….gun to my head i still have to take the Bears until i see something of substance from the Packers. It’s hard to shake the memory of a 0-31 drubbing by the fucking Lions
Howard, sometime soon i want to discuss with you….. What aspect of similarity will this new Packer offense and the Falcons offense have in common?
Good article Mr. Rooney, not so sure on the safety position paying off yet, but time will tell. I view Amos as more of just a body, and we find ourselves relying on a draft pick again (which has been the status quo since….years ago). After that we have malcontent Josh Jones and hard hitting hell raiser T Willy.
I personally feel (and hope im wrong) that trubisky makes another leap this year. Dude has a cannon..isnt a diva..and super athletic. Reminds me of slightly less talented version of young #12.
Yea Stig, you might be correct. But i’ve seen plenty of QB’s who look better than they actually are when they have a dominant defense. See Cam Newton, Kaepernick, etc.
PF4L, The Falcons offense of 2016, when LaFleur was QB coach?
Either, or…i haven’t seen Koetter switching it up any, from when Shanahan was running the offense. But i will say, it will be a complete 180 as to how the Packers have operated in years past.
I’m getting ahead of myself a bit as i haven’t even seen the Packers play yet,lol. So i’m banking on my educated guess.
PF4L. One of the things I like about LaFleur is he appears to have been a very good student of the head coaches and offensive coordinators he worked under over the years. It appears LaFleur has taken and kept notes about what LaFleur believes works and doesn’t work. LaFleur will adjust his groupings and play calls to fit the game and personnel available. My feeling is LaFleur will adapt in game, from game to game, and from the beginning of the season to the end. Those type of adjustments are something MM could not or would not perform.
With that said, many think LaFleur will follow McVay or Shanahan in the way LaFleur lines up the offense and calls plays. I don’t think so, but I do think you will see both influences on LaFleur’s play calling and alignments with some added Rodgers input. Some may not like Rodgers having input, but I think it is smart, and I’m sure LaFleur agrees.
Out of LaFleur, McVay and Shanahan, McVay appears to stay more rigid in his personnel and sets than the others. Basically McVay uses a 11 personnel at a high 70 to low 80% rate. The next highest personnel is 12 at 15 to 18%. Most of the time McVay will bunch the receivers inside the numbers on one or both sides of the alignment. You would think LaFleur would have taken that offense to the Titans but he did not. Sure LaFleur used the bunch and tight receiver sets, but LaFleur also spread out the receivers and used a lot of Multiple TE personnel groups something McVay does not do often.
The two things I think LaFleur will take from Shanahan is the multiple TE personnel that LaFleur used last year and multiple back personnel, that LaFleur did not use last year for some reason? The one difference between the 2016 Falcons and last years Falcon team is the 2016 Falcons were in 21 personel 30% of the plays. Last years team 10%. Shanahan coached teams use 21 personel at 30% 2016, 38% 2017, and 54% in 2018. Those are high %s in today’s NFL. The Packers last year used 21 at a 2% rate. That % I believe will increase a lot this year.
I’m not sure how things are going to play out at the first of the year on offense, but I think we have a head coach that has studied the game and those whom he coached under and has taken the things that work best from all and will incorporate those things that work into his multiple offensive schemes and personel groups. Also I would expect that the receivers route concepts are going to look a lot different from the MM era. My bigger concern is the experience as a Head coach and making those in game adjustments and decisions in all 3 phases.
Wowzer… Are you trying to make me think or something? Next time i’ll have to remember not to leave such an open ended question…lol
Yea…i don’t know what were going to see as far as 2 back sets, 2 tight end sets, personnel and position groupings. What i do think i know……is that they are going to play with more quickness and urgency. I think we’re going to see more pre-snap movement and finally, some new formations and plays that the opponent hasn’t seen 300 times before, Thank God.
I’m not putting too much stock in LeFleur’s year at Tennessee (in fact none at all). With that talentless team plus the injuries, he had an empty gun.
So…..my question was directed at you because we discussed this once or twice before concerning the mishandling of clock management (or lack of) that cost the Falcons SB LI.
My educated guess tells me that there is a good chance that the Packers will leave some time on the clock. I don’t know if it will be 10-14 seconds like the dirty birds, but i’d welcome it. If i see Rodgers get a delay of game penalty, or have to call a time out one more time (without McCarthy) i will seriously lose my shit. Not that it won’t happen at all with a new system, and new players, but you know what i mean. So that’s it, the Packers leaving some time and not taking the clock down to zero anymore. (It’s real hard for the defense to know when your going to snap the ball when you play the clock down to zero,lol)
Since you got me all razzed up Howard i’ll add this. If i see Rodgers run around and just throw the ball out of bounds some more (without McCarthy) maybe i’ll be calling for Kizer. (That last part was a lie, I don’t turn on my boy).But i’ll be plenty pissed.
I thought the game and play clock management might be one of the things you had on your mind. That is why I asked about the 2016 Falcons. I do think that LaFleur will expect the offense to not be predictable and that includes the speed that the offense goes to the line and the timing of the snap as it relates to the play clock.
The Rams can be unpredictable with their snap timing and how they approach the line. I think LaFleur from what I’ve read wants to follow a similar path as the Rams and some other teams on that front. I think that is one thing that Rodgers and LaFleur are having some discussion. I believe that LaFleur and Shanahan learned a hard lesson from that 2016 Super Bowl loss as it relates to game and play clock management.
I’m all for not running the play clock down to 0, and being inconsistent with the time left on the play clock when the ball is snapped. I do think as a game goes on (late 3rd to 4th Q) and if you have a two score or more lead then you should milk the game and play clock while still throwing a change up or two, but moving the chains is still key.
I’m a big believer in the offense helping keep the defense off the field as much as possible. As the game reaches the late 3rd to 4th Q it is even more important to keep your defense as rested as possible, and critical if your defense was on the field a lot in the first half of a game. I think LaFleur, Rodgers, and Pettine can all come up with a time management plan that works for the entire team.
I don’t want to throw STs into this, but my recollection was the Falcons were even kicking/punting with close to 10-14 seconds remaining on the play clock. It was crazy. All the Falcons needed to do was pump the brakes a little in the late 3rd and 4th Q.
We don’t even know what the final roster looks like yet. How the hell did we get to week 1 without a single preseason game played? I’d like to see a schedule WITHOUT beginning with the Vikings or Bears in the first 4 weeks of the season. Save those games for later.
That’s right, we still have to crown the pre-season MVP’s.. I look forward to the pre-season, for about 10 minutes.
It’s all about the season. The NFL is celebrating their 100th and they wanted to put two highly recognizable teams with strong rivalry history. Personally, i have zero problem with that 1st week schedule. Bears vs Packers, Thur. Night opener. Can’t get here soon enough for me.
I suppose the NFL could have pitted the Packers against the queens, but the NFL probably didn’t want to risk the queens shitting the bed, like they did against the Eagles.
4 Most Likely Free-Agent Destinations for DE Muhammad Wilkerson
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County Jail perhaps?
Don’t forget, the Bears lost Vic Fangio who seemed to have Aaron Rodgers number. Fangio and Capers coached together for 16 years before Capers came to the Packers. Think they ever discussed Rodgers weaknesses?
I put $300 on GB at +4 the first day the line was out. Trubisky does not handle pressure and I expect this potent Packer pressure D to keep him on his ass all game long. A healthy GB OL should give Rogers enough time to pick Clinton Dix apart. I expect Jones to hit a few home runs on the ground.
I can respect anyone throwing a few large on a football game, but your kind of betting blind. On one hand, the Packers new offense could set the Bears defense back on their heals, or…..the Packers experience the inevitable growing pains of a new system. At this point i’m calling it a wash. But i believe this game does lie in the hands of the Bear defense. If they tore up our O line and stuffed runs, would anyone be in shock?
There have been a lot of positive reports out of camp for Rashan Gary, so take that for what you will. Winning a lot of one on ones from OLB and 3 technique. That is key for the Packers defense to be competitive. Also seems like the fullback will have a bigger role in the offense.
Kato, I also had the same thought about the fullback, except when calling plays last year for the Titans, LaFleur went with 12 personnel 32% and 13 personnel 21% of the plays. LaFleur only went with 21 personnel on 3% of his play calls. Maybe LaFleur used the TE groupings at a high % because Mariota needed the protection or receivers were injured. When I saw Titan games last year they had a porous O-line and the QBs were getting pressured and hit a lot . 21%, 3 TE grouping is a very high %. I still think the Packers will use a fullback this year, see comment to P4FL for continuation.
What happened family night?
More people showed up, and paid money, to see a practice session than many NFL teams get in their seats for an actual regular season game.
Packer fans from all over the state, and then some, showed Matt LaFleur and some of these new players what a dedicated fan base looks like. Maybe some players and staff came from a fanatical college program along the way which might be a comparable, but nothing like this exists in the NFL. I’m sure some were awestruck by it.
That is just a couple things that happened and I sure hope that the team that looked up into the stands to see that, does everything it can to earn it.
Oh yeah, I heard Kevin King is probably hurt again too.
It’s been reported that attendance is down this year. Not sure why, but it could be 2 losing seasons, and even more years of regression.
I dvr’d it and basically fell asleep. It was 41 minutes into it before you saw anything. I can only watch and listen to the Packers King of Homer fans Larry McCarren for so long.
On the up side, i think it’s cool to see all the kids dressed up in green and gold dancing around and having fun. But otherwise, the “practice” bored the hell out of me. Just my opinion.
I can go back and re-discuss the different fans of today vs. yesteryear, but i’ve done that already. Suffice to say the “new fan” will be gone, when the winning is gone imo.
Kevin King got a hamstring injury (again). LeFleur kind of avoided the question of whether it was the same one that took him out last season. “Ya know…ummm” – LeFleur
Coming close to the season here i still have 3 plus concerns. Corners and safety, i’m not one who thinks those positions are now solid, far from it. Tight end and the Off. line. Same deal.
My upside…most people think the defense will reign supreme, maybe, but…..i think once the bugs are out of the offense and they hopefully jell sometime mid season. When we discuss this teams success, i’ll always roll with Rodgers. Now when/if the defense stands up and earns acknowledgement, then i will crown them. A lot of people think this is going to be a top 10 defense….fine, then show me.
“Bovada has the Packers just behind the Eagles and the Bears to win the NFC this season, so they are still considered a top-five contender in the conference.”
LOL, this team hasn’t made the playoffs since 2016, yet somehow without any solid proof of ANYTHING they’re the third best team in the NFC? This is based off of what… a shit ton of blind hope and the name Aaron Rodgers? Quick, someone get Lafleur his Coach of the Year award already.