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Aaron Rogers Uses TE and RB Perfection to Fuel Packer Victory

When a quarterback has a pass catcher secure every throw targeted to him, sound strategy dictates that you keep throwing him the football. That strategy didn’t pigeon hole Aaron Roger’s options on Monday night as TE Robert Tonyan, RB Jamaal Williams and RB Aaron Jones combined for 19 completions on 19 targets. Those 19 targets produced 233 yards and 4 touchdown catches in the victory over the Atlanta Falcons.

Robert Tonyan had his biggest day as a pro, 3 touchdowns on 6 receptions for 98 yards. Williams complimented Tonyan with 95 yards on 8 receptions, including a beautiful high point catch down the sideline with a defender cutting his legs out as he hauled it in for a gain of 29, the longest catch of the night for the Packers.

While the Williams, Jones and Tonyan trio received most of the post game glory, the unsung WR unit did some dirty work. Valdes-Scantling caught multiple passes to keep the chains moving on third down. Darrius Sheppard caught a critical third and seven pass for a first down and narrowly missed a touchdown catch when officials ruled him down inside the one yard line on a play that looked very close on replay. Malik Taylor has a nice introduction to the Packers 2020 offensive machine with a catch and run on fourth down to keep a drive alive. Atlanta did a decent job of containing the Packers run game but their inexperienced secondary had no answer for the Rogers and Company air assault. In total, Rogers threw 33 times completing 27 passes for 327 yards and four touchdowns. The Packers offense leads the league in points scored. Rogers’ passer rating for the game was 147.5. The Packers fourth victory also was their fourth game without a turnover, they are now the only team in the NFL without a turnover.

Packer coach Matt LaFleur must be given credit for a game plan focused on targeting his most reliable playmakers and making it work. The Packers started two inexperienced receivers. While they were not the focus of the game plan their limited successful touches combined with more healing time for Devante Adams and other injured starters may pay double dividends down the road this season. The end of the game TV feed showed Aaron Rogers as happy as Packer fans have ever seen him on a football field. Let’s hope he is still smiling like that in February.

TE Robert Tonyan celebrates

Oct 5, 2020; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers tight end Robert Tonyan (85) celebrates his third touchdown with wide receiver Malik Taylor (86) and wide receiver Darrius Shepherd (82) against the Atlanta Falcons on Monday, October 5, 2020, at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. William Glasheen-USA TODAY NETWORK

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Paul Edwards

Paul Edwards is a lawyer, victim advocate, writer, and long term Packer fan and Packer history enthusiast.

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17 Comments

  1. Lawrence Kolcz October 7, 2020

    This is why McCarthy. Couldn’t win the big one, never adjusted, this guy is the real deal, knows what to when things change. We have a coach for years to come!!!

    Reply
    1. Kato October 7, 2020

      I mean, he was the coach when they won in 2010. But to your greater point, he didn’t evolve with the times. Speaking of, the cowboys have Ezekiel Elliott at running back, and with McCarthy at the helm they rank dead last in rush percentage, and percentage of runs on first down. Granted the cowboys defense has been real bad and put them into early holes, it seems natural to want the run the ball with the 4th overall pick of the 2016 draft and keep the defense off the field.

      Reply
  2. PF4L October 7, 2020

    Just to piggyback on what Lawrence touched on concerning McCarthy.
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    Not only did this team regress under the watchful eye of Ted Thompson (Mark Murphy)
    The offense was also at a serious disadvantage with McCarthy’s play calling over the years. I don’t know how many times i said that McCarthy needs to hire an offensive coordinator to run the offense and call plays, so he can be the head coach.
    Look…Packer Nation has complained for years about McGravy’s stale offense. About the fact fans knew what plays were coming, and in turn, other teams knew what plays were coming.
    Then….McCarthy was going to re-write the playbook…..never happened. This Packer team didn’t stand much of a chance with those 3 weighing down the team. It’s also no wonder if Rodgers had disagreements with McCarthy. He should have.
    It should be noted…..that Jerry Jones reportedly insisted that McCarthy doesn’t call plays. For whatever that’s worth.

    If we had a ho hum QB conducting McCarthys offense, we would have had a sub .500 team, year in and year out, and i believe that.
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    Funny thing is….for years some fans wanted those 3 fired, along with Capers. While some of the sheep (Gary Ellerson, Bill Micheals, and countless others defended those guys. Until….they were fired (sans Murphy) and they changed their tune (candy asses).
    .
    The bottom line is, those 3 or 4 were the most responsible for wasting away years of a HOF QB and that will still piss me off until i don’t know when.
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    And kudos to those minority Packer fans who had the wisdom and critical thinking to realize what was going on.
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    Last year you can dismiss as a transitional season, but they still made it to the NFCCG. None of us envisioned that and if anyone says they did, they are lying.
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    So…the defense still seems to be the issue this season, despite last seasons scoring improvement. It’s reverted and that’s a current problem. Of all the resources spent on this defense through the years…..draft picks, free agents, winning lottery tickets….we better start seeing improvement.
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    Who is responsible? From top to bottom…1) Murphy- makes all final decisions. 2) Gute – in charge of player acquisition. 3) LeFleur – (PASS) 4) Mike Pettine – Def Cooridnator
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    Who would be fired first? #4
    What happens when a new Def. Coordinator comes on board….more time is needed to implement a new defense, player acquisition, etc.
    So if Pettine doesn’t work out. Then the waiting…….continues.
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    The reason LeFluer gets a PASS……is because he was forced to keep Pettine.

    Reply
  3. Howard October 7, 2020

    Last year in the preseason LaFleur put emphasis on red zone play. At years end the Packers offense ranked #4, and the Defense ranked #6 in red zone TDs. This year in the training camp and off season I heard LaFleur indicate that 3rd downs was the emphasis. This year so far both the Packers offense and defense are ranked #1 in the NFL in 3 and out drives.
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    The three and out drives are helping the Packers win games this year just like the red zone TDs helped the Packers win games last year. Now if the Packers can get back to last years red zone TDs rankings. Currently the Packers are ranked #13 on offense and #24 on defense in red zone TDs.
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    Last year no one knew for sure how LaFleur would address problem areas. We found out when Adams went down last year in the Dallas, Raiders, Lions and Chiefs games.
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    LaFleur, no doubt understands what the problems are each week and each season in all three phases of the game, and has a plan, or will implement a plan on how to correct the problems on a weekly and yearly basis.
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    To me LaFleur has done a very good job in developing strategic and tactical plans, clearly relays those plans to coaches and players, and then forcefully Implements those plans onto the field. If something goes wrong the first person LaFleur looks at is LaFleur. A true leader.
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    As PF4L rightly states if the defense does not improve Pettine job is on the line. I do think the defense will stabilize with Clark’s return. However; the explosive plays allowed by the defense, run defense, and missed tackles are a carry over from last years(s) defensive issues.
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    I was actually surprised that LaFleur did not fire Pettine at season’s end last year when he fired Whitted (WRs) and Simmons (DBs). Maybe LaFleur was not allowed by Murphy to fire Pettine, or maybe LaFleur is concerned firing Pettine would cause some problems in the locker room. I’m fairly confident that LaFleur knows what a good defense looks like, and right now the Packers do not consistently have that defense. I’m confident LaFleur has a long and short term plan in place on how to fix the defenses weaknesses.
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    Since it is week 5, remember how McCarthy use to do a self scout every 4 weeks, and when the Packers came out of those self scouts the team usually regressed. I don’t think we have to worry as much about those regressions with LaFleur.

    Reply
  4. PF4L October 7, 2020

    Man….that’s a lot to take in and think about. But that’s the treasure of Howards post, they make you think, and not many do it better.
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    If i’m reading this right…the Packers offense has the most 3 and outs in the league, but….they lead the league in scoring (152) and point differential (+52).
    Conversely….and again, if i’m reading it right, the defense is #1 in the most 3 and outs, which normally portrays high success. But….they sit 18th in points allowed at 25.3. After 4 games last year the Packers defense gave up 15.5 PPG
    So…in my opinion, the most, or least 3 and outs, doesn’t allows give an accurate indicator.
    To me…imo…..Points scored, and points allowed per game, are the two most important stats, underneath wins and losses.
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    I for one, thought the Falcons offense was going to look a lot better than it did. I’m thinking the Falcons were desperate, desperate enough to bring back Ridley and Jones too early. Ridley didn’t do shit (5 targets 0 catches), and Julio left because of his hamstring injury.
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    As far as their defense….that horse was dead when it left the stable. To be fair…their causality list didn’t help them.
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    Is it just me, or does it seem the Packers have more injured players missing games than they had all of last season? I’m thinking it must be close.
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    In closing….I couldn’t agree with Howard more on LaFleur’s performance. Sure…you are going to have more people open in season 2 of a new playbook regardless who’s playbook it is. Simply because it’s new and it’s not McCarthys decade old playbook.
    But the thing is, i think LeFleur is an improvement across the board..A-Z. I want to say that i like what LeFleur has to say. He does always give you the best answers…but the thing is, you actually believe he does what he says needs to be done. It’s not just lip service.
    Also people view him as a nice guy and although i don’t know this first hand, he seems to actually intend to make coaches and players accountable. How new is that??
    Also…he doesn’t give you the impression that he’s learning as he goes. He seems to know what he wants, and is fully focused on it. Knowing the rules of the game is also a bonus. No offence Fat Mike.
    The record, he’s what…18-4? At a certain point, you can’t use the words lucky, or coincidence. Even if he lost the last 12 games, he’d still have a winning record after 2 seasons.
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    Now…if someone could coach up Darius Shepard, that if he runs a route to the end zone, KNOW where you are. More importantly, if your not in the end zone, fight for that 12 inches, lean into the end zone, push with your legs….at the very least, attempt to reach the ball forward for a TD. If i know that, so should he.

    Reply
    1. Howard October 7, 2020

      PF4L, the offense has the fewest 3 and outs in the league per % of drives. There is not much that the Packers offense is Not top in the league at, except red zone TDs. The 4th down goal line stops against the Packers O do not help. The defense has forced the most 3 and outs in the league per % of drives. That is about the only stat the Packers D is not at or below the Mendoza line.
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      I always thought it was odd that teams usually practice with the #1 offense or defense against the #2 Offense or defense. LaFleur changed that when he became coach, at least in training camps. It usually shows up with both groups being better for practicing against the best possible player on the other side of the ball. That is why I think last year both offense and defense benefitted from the emphasis on red zone, and this year both have benefitted from emphasis on third downs. Of course it helps the defense a lot when you are practicing against QB#1.
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      No question in my mind the Packers have more injuries this year than last year. I have to believe there is an increase in injuries across the league based on the injured lists I have seen.
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      Has anyone noticed how the refs are allowing, for the most part, teams To get away with offensive holding. I think that is one of the reasons scoring is up. I always have felt that defenses always start out a new season stronger than offenses? Not this year, and holding flags on offensive linemen may be one of the reasons? I would like to hear others opinions on why the offenses have come out so fast this year compared to other years?

      Reply
      1. PF4L October 7, 2020

        Ok, i knew something didn’t sound right. I haven’t tried hiding my drug addiction, so i’ll blame it on that.
        Just as i was there for you with your alcoholism, it wouldn’t kill you to show me a lil backing and support here and there…maybe a “just say no to drugs” support once in awhile?
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        Looks like i got it right on the defense. The most 3 and outs, but at the same time they give up 10 more points per game than last season…as of now.
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        These refs are hired by the league, therefore they take directive from the league. I wouldn’t be shocked if the NFL wanted more points scored this season. As far as flags for holding with the O line. I believe if the Refs wanted to, they could find a hold on almost every snap. I think they let them play unless it’s pretty obvious, maybe the same with the def. backs but it would be interesting to compare PI calls after 4 games, compared to last season after week 4.
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        They had a retired ref on air during the game talking about how Bakhtiari was very smart as he would push everything to the edge of being called a foul or not. Maybe he will tutor Jenkins on that as he had 8 penalties (4th) last season. But to Jenkins credit, he only has one so far this season

        Reply
        1. Howard October 7, 2020

          I could not find the penalties after 4 weeks for 2019. I was able to find the following:
          Defensive pass interference (DPI) 2020, after 4 weeks is 86 total enforced, or an average of 21.5 per week.
          DPI 2019 total for regular season 269, or 16.81 average per week.
          Offensive holding 2020 after 4 weeks is 88 total enforced, or an average of 22 per week.
          Offensive holding 2019 total for Regular season of 562, or an average of 35.12 per week.
          .
          I could be very wrong with these numbers as in my youth drug use was wide spread and used often, as far as I can remember. I do remember something about a frying pan with an egg or bacon sizzling and something about this is your brain on drugs. However, it could have just been that I like fried eggs and bacon. So just remember fried eggs or bacon are bad for your brain, as far as I can recall. :-).
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          It looks like DPI is definitely up this year on average and offensive holding is way down this year on average. I guess this could change. One interesting thing about DPI calls is the Saints are far and away the worst with 11 in the first 4 weeks! I guess if you don’t get home with blitzes your DBs can start grabbing when on an island.

          Reply
  5. PF4L October 7, 2020

    Fun Facts: Aaron Jones is on pace for 2,036 combined yards and 24 TD’s
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    The more he plays, the more his price goes up.

    Reply
    1. Ferris October 7, 2020

      Good pick Ted! His last lucid moment before eating popcorn on TV.

      Reply
  6. Deepsky October 7, 2020

    I like the balance of LaFluer’s offense, especially the varied ways he uses the backs as well as the work he’s done on making sure everyone blocks. But let’s remember, the Falcons have the just about the worst defense in the league, so basically, anything the Packers did would work. And I’m not defending Mccarthy, but the Cowboys offense is actually the top offense in the league.

    Reply
    1. PF4L October 7, 2020

      Dallas can have the #1 yards gained. The Packers have the most points scored. That’s Mr. Rodgers Neighborhood.
      .
      Yards don’t win games, points do.
      .

      Reply
  7. Dean October 7, 2020

    Howard, no/low crowd noise takes away a defenses advantage especially at domes like MN, NO, and Seattle. A cagey QB like Rodgers should have a monster year with 16 games of being able to draw d-lineman off-sides.

    Reply
    1. Howard October 7, 2020

      Very good point. This may also be part of the reason for less offensive holding penalties?

      Reply
      1. Dean October 7, 2020

        Makes sense if the d-lineman can not get off the ball as fast.

        Reply
  8. Dean October 7, 2020

    I think the Packers have a points per drive average of almost 4 points. Therefore, anytime the packers defensive has a 3 and out (or even a 20 play drive that ends in a field goal) it results in a net point gain with this present packers offense!

    Reply
  9. Dean October 9, 2020

    In LAFleur’s offense, are the TEs 1) not as valuable as WRs 2) as valuable as WRs 3) more valuable than WRs.

    I suspect that Gut/LaFleur value TEs (or big WRs that can block and catch) higher than other GMs/coaches. Lazard (6-5 229 lbs) and Tonyan (6-5 239) were big WRs in college. Both were undrafted free agents that were allowed to grow in the packers system after being cut by other teams.

    Also, the pack have drafted TEs in the 3rd round in the last to drafts. Even signing Devin Funchess (6-4 236) hints at the value they place on big bodies to block for the running backs or on WR screens.

    Reply

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