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Midweek Miscellanea: The Cream Is Already Rising to the Top

Only three weeks in, and in my mind the pecking order is already set, with the Chiefs and 49ers occupying the top tier; tier 2: Packers, Seahawks, Bills, Steelers, and Titans (all 3-0), and the Ravens (2-1) and Saints. The Bears (with Foles at QB), and Cowboys (with a wealth of talent), join the Rams, Cardinals, and the 1-2 Saints in Tier 3. Injuries of course are bound to cause some shuffling to occur in the course of the season.

The first half of the Pack’s 2020 schedule was supposed to be more challenging than the second half. But that was before the Pack nailed down wins in two of the league’s (previously) loudest venues: Minnesota and NOLA. There’s Houston, but they are surprisingly winless, on Week 7 and the Niners in Week 9 – both away games. Otherwise, things look fairly smooth the rest of the way: no Seahawks, Bills, Chiefs, Steelers, Ravens, or Rams. The schedule does have two meetings with the (3-0) Bears, and one with the 3-0 Titans, as well as an encounter with Tom Brady and the Bucs (2-1). All in all, a repeat of last year’s 13-3 isn’t out of the question.

League parity seems to be lacking this year. After three weeks, there are still seven undefeated teams and seven winless ones.

 

Sep 20, 2020; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Detroit Lions wide receiver Danny Amendola (80) rushes with the football after catching a pass as Green Bay Packers outside linebacker Christian Kirksey (58) defends during the fourth quarter at Lambeau Field. Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

 

The news that Christian Kirksey, who’s essentially the team’s middle linebacker, will miss a number of weeks due to a shoulder injury is devastating, but there is some time to regroup and make adjustments. Speaking of replacement needs, let’s credit commenter extraordinaire Howard with this prescient posting, which TP ran on September 17: “ If Clark is gone for an extended time, and hopefully that is not the case we should maybe look or hope for Billy Winn to be a good FA pickup. Winn may help in plugging the middle of the run defense, if he can stay healthy.” Lo and behold, the 8-year veteran soon joined the Pack’s practice squad, and then was elevated to the team roster on September 26. The big defensive lineman missed all of last season with a triceps injury. Winn did get six reps against the Saints, and the 305-pounder even made the stat sheet, with one pass defended.

Referring to my Packers alumni report, “Rick” replied with a further list of ex-Packers, who I believe are mostly on other teams’ practice squads. He included Jake Kumerow and labeled him as being with the Bills. While he wasn’t on the original practice squad group formed on September 6, media reports say he was officially added on September 8. If he gets released, I would think the Pack would retrieve him, as they are woefully thin at wide receiver.

After three games, Green Bay is the only team without a giveaway – how’s that for discipline and precision? With their two interceptions and one fumble recovery, the Packers are +3 in turnover differential.

Is it just me, or are Green Bay’s edge rushers, who I assume are primarily the Smiths, consistently looping to the outside and trying to come up on QBs from behind? This leaves QBs with clear lines of vision, prevents rushers from knocking down passes, and allows QBs with running ability to take off running at will. Especially with a QB like Brees, you’ve got to take a more direct route. We need more bull rushes, spin moves, hand to hand combat, and stunts to get by blockers. Preston Smith (6 tackles, 1 QB hit on the season), in particular, looks to be in a rut.

On Monday the leagues’ top-scoring offense (our guys, at 40.7 points per game) goes up against the worst defense, Atlanta, averaging 36.0 points allowed. Rodgers and his troops must be salivating over the prospect. On the other hand, the Falcons lost by only one point to the Cowboys, 4 points to the Bears, and 13 to the Seahawks – three opponents with a combined 8-1 record. Matt Ryan, who’s a year younger than Rodgers, has passed for 961 yards, behind only Dak Prescott (DAL) and Josh Allen (BUF). Rodgers, at 887 yards, sits comfortably – especially for a run-oriented team – in sixth place.

Rob Born

I’m with Matt: “You gotta make those chunk plays!”

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12 Comments

  1. PF4L October 2, 2020

    PF4L October 1, 2020
    Here’s the thing, EVERYONE first reported that Kirksey had a shoulder injury, now it’s listed as a pectoral injury?
    ……..
    A player misses 23 games the last 2 seasons, the same player gets picked up in free agency and has what may be a recurring injury and misses time.
    .
    What are the chances.

    Reply
  2. PF4L October 2, 2020

    In other news…..
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    Lazard suffered a phantom core injury and needed surgery. He will be out indefinitely. Core injury…out indefinitely…that clears things up.
    I hope EQ’s phantom knee injury is healing up. The only question now is, will Lazard join EQ on injured reserve? You would think so.
    .
    Fun Fact: Damarius Randall was signed to Seattle’s practice squad.

    Reply
  3. Kato October 2, 2020

    Time to start looking at FA receivers. Why hasn’t Josh Gordon been called in for a workout yet? This team is screwed if Davante Adams goes down again. And yeah, what is the deal with ESB? The guy isn’t doing us any good injured constantly. It is going on two years since he has been on an NFL field. Kirksey? Lol. Same crap, different year.

    Reply
    1. PF4L October 2, 2020

      Kirksey obviously has/had talent, as evidenced by his 2016-17 seasons. Not Pro Bowl as far as playmaking, but productive.
      I always wonder about guys like this that get cut by their own team, no effort to trade, or no takers.
      .
      Brings to mind guys like Nick Perry, Mike Daniels, and Damarius Randall, some success, but ultimately cut by the Packers. I would look more positively on players like that if they went on and had success some where. But Nick Perry is out of the league…and Mr. tough talk Daniels is now a back up for the Bengals. Cut by the Browns and the Raiders, Randall is now on a practice squad for the sea chickens.
      .
      Players usually get cut, and hop from team to team for a reason, that’s if they stay in the league. No offence Nick.
      .
      Remember how bat shit crazy i went over the contract they gave Perry?….yea…well

      Reply
  4. Robster October 2, 2020

    I was dithering over the Saints, and I see that I ended up with them both in Tier 2 and Tier 3. In another couple of games, we should no whether time is catching up with Brees or not.

    Reply
  5. Howard October 2, 2020

    Thanks Rob. That is a first, I can guarantee I have never heard or seen my name and the word extraordinaire next to each other in my 60+ years.
    .
    Unless Kumerow did not want to leave the Bills practice squad the Packers could sign Kumerow off the Bills practice squad to the Packers 53 roster. As of this week the Bills have not protected Kumerow from being signed off the practice squad. As a reminder Teams this year can protect 4 practice squad players each week, on Tuesday, from being signed by other teams.
    .
    Kumerow would make sense to sign, if possible, as Kumerow knows the offense and has had practice meshing with the other receivers routes and the offense. Plus Kumerow is a willing blocker and LaFleur requires that WRs be willing blockers.

    Reply
    1. PF4L October 2, 2020

      Howard…extraordinaire
      .
      That’s twice in the same day.

      Reply
  6. PF4L October 2, 2020

    Maybe if this receiver problem was addressed back in 2018 and 2019 (or before like Rob wanted) we wouldn’t be scurrying to sign no name receivers to the practice squad.

    Reply
    1. Robster October 2, 2020

      Be on the lookout for my next post.

      Reply
      1. PF4L October 2, 2020

        I can just imagine.
        .
        Who could we have drafted besides Josh Jackson, Savage, Gary, Burks.

        Reply
  7. Skinny October 2, 2020

    Are there any more released Browns players that would fit in this Packer defense?

    Reply
  8. Kato October 3, 2020

    There has been a lot of criticism for the Packers not drafting a receiver, and that has amplified this week. Most teams will have problems if their top two receivers go down. Not to mention ESB ended up happening hurt again (not exactly predictable) and Funchess opted out because the pandemic. That is a hell of a lot of bad luck at one position. Adams will be back soon enough if it isn’t this week. The bears were able to put up 30 on the Falcons, the Packers, even with injuries should be able to do at least that.

    Reply

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