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Midweek Miscellanea: the Receiver Search Continues

Aaron Rodgers, notorious for not throwing to receivers who haven’t gained his trust, has been extraordinarily patient with third-year streaker Marquez Valdes-Scantling – but I can’t see this continuing for much longer. On Sunday, MVS was targeted four times without a completion. On the year, MVS has been targeted 34 times, but has only managed 15 catches. Not only that, but he and Aaron are not hooking up on any deep throws. In his last four games, MVS’s longest reception has been for 17 yards. The only reason he’s a starter at this point in the season, and in his career, is that the Packers are without better alternatives.

Oct 25, 2020; Houston, Texas, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) celebrates with wide receiver Davante Adams (17) after a touchdown during the first quarter against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Meanwhile, GM Gutekunst continues to troll (in the fishing sense) the waiver wire. His latest effort, pursuing slot receiver Seth Roberts right after the Panthers released him, smacks of more desperation. Despite going undrafted out of West Alabama, Roberts hung on as a sometimes starter with the Raiders for four years, and then spent a year with the Ravens. The Panthers strangely signed him up this year for $3.75 million, but got a return of only four catches for 23 yards.

Roberts, who is now 29, had his best year in 2018, when he had 45 catches for 494 yards. The Packers might get some benefit from his experience in the league, though his acquisition is more a rebuke of MVS, Equanimeous St. Brown, and the other receiver subs than it is a positive move for the team.

Given the above, Allen Lazard’s recovery is critically important if Green Bay is to have any postseason success. There hasn’t been much medical news about Lazard since he underwent core muscle surgery in early October. A week ago, the Texans made a terrible miscalculation by attempting to guard Davante Adams one-on-one, but that’s an error that’s not likely to be repeated by opponents the rest of the season.

It has taken three years, but Jaire Alexander is currently more than living up to his promise. Opposing offenses are increasingly avoiding throwing anywhere near him. Chosen by Gutekunst as the 18th overall pick in the 2018 draft, he’s emerged as a true shutdown cornerback – and there are only about a half dozen of those at any given time in the NFL. Better yet, he’s only 23 years old.

I promised to be vigilant in watching for signs of Aaron Rodgers lapsing back to the bad habits he developed from 2015 through 2019. Despite the good outcome against the Texans’ weak defense, Rodgers was not nearly as sharp as he was in the first four games of the season. Six throwaways, several scrambles, and a fair amount of inaccuracy isn’t going to cut it against quality adversaries. In completing just 23 of 34 passes (67.6%), Aaron’s completion rate for the season now stands at 65.9%, which puts him in 20th place. Without the targets to Davante, Rodgers would have been just 10 of 18, and take away Davante’s 196 yards of receptions, and that would leave left just 87 for the rest of the team.

Expanding on the above theme, the Packers have been determined this season to convert on more third downs, and to score more touchdowns once they reach the red zone. To achieve these goals, they hoped to have more third downs with just a few yards to go. A good way to do this is to have a high completion percentage (for positive yardage).

Against the Texans, Green Bay converted seven of 12 third downs, and they went four of four in their red zone drives. However, that success was due mostly to a sublime performance by Adams, and despite a mediocre completion rate and several third-and-long’s. All seven of the third down passing conversions went to Adams. These include a 28-yard gain on a third and nine, an 18-yard gain on a third and ten, and another 18-yarder on a third and seven.

Six games into the season, the Packers have converted exactly half of their third downs, 37 out of 74. They rank fourth in the league, behind only three other winning teams, the Saints, Bills, and Steelers. In 2019, their conversion percentage was 36.1, good for only 23rd place.

The Vikings, who come to Lambeau Field on Sunday, are wounded and in disarray, and Coach Mike Zimmer is said to be on the hot seat after a 1-5 start. Coming off a 40-23 defeat by the previously winless Falcons, they would seem to be easy prey. However, they still have offensive talent in RB Dalvin Cook, WR Adam Thielen, and rookie WR Justin Jefferson. Pro Football Focus currently has Jefferson graded as the top wide receiver in the league.

Who the Vikes don’t have are two Pro-Bowl defenders: defensive end Danielle Hunter (out for the season) and OLB Yannick Njakoue (just traded). Also, in that Falcons loss they were down to using third-stringer Harrison Hand at cornerback. Against a much better group of defenders (relatively speaking), Rodgers ran up 43 points in the season opener.

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Rob Born

Smart drafters don’t select the best available players, they fill a team’s positions of greatest need.

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15 Comments

  1. PF4L October 30, 2020

    “Aaron Rodgers, notorious for not…….”
    Unlike all other QB’s in the NFL.
    .
    Get your shit together Aaron…..i’m serious!

    Reply
  2. PF4L October 30, 2020

    Lets depart for a moment on the QB/receiver trust issues, always fascinating, but for a brief moment let us sink our toes into the pool of reality.
    .
    MVS has a career target catch rate of 48.4.
    When people (i won’t name names) wanted Adams cut or benched his first two seasons because of his drops, he had a target catch rate of 55.3. Writers and fans bitched about Rodgers going to him to often, and bitched why he got opportunities over other receivers.
    To me…MVS shouldn’t be worried about getting Aarons trust. Maybe he should improve his play, giving a QB reasons to go to him. MVS should be thankful he’s on a NFL payroll and and not sitting on his couch at home watching the games and enjoying oven baked nachos with J’Mon Moore.
    .
    So back to the ever entertaining trust issue……
    Conclusion: Rodgers doesn’t trust MVS enough. and he trusted Davante Adams….too much. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
    .
    STOP THE MADNESS AARON!!

    Random…..If MVS was kept…..and J’Mon Moore was released after one season….how bad of a draft pick was J’Mon Moore?
    .

    Reply
  3. PF4L October 30, 2020

    This….i can get on board with….
    “Gutekunst as the 18th overall pick in the 2018 draft, he’s emerged as a true shutdown cornerback.”
    I’ll use the word “emerging” but it’s all good.
    .
    That’s the good news.
    The bad (pathetic) news is Gute has only drafted 2 starters in 3 drafts.

    Reply
  4. Ferris October 30, 2020

    Bert Farve or whatever his name is endorses Trump…..Dead….to….me. Burning my old #4. If I can find it in the attic. I can’t believe I ever wore a jersey to a game, but I did. Idiot.

    Reply
    1. Skinny October 30, 2020

      I always knew Favre was smart. I also endorse Trump. This mask and quarantine shit has got to stop. Its not doing anything but making it worse. We need to open the country up. Bars, restaurants, the sled hill at Lambeau. Its all gotta open up! Im not doing this in the Spring. Id rather die. Democrats, Evers, woke millennials, etc. lol. You all gotta go. Theres no room for you in this country other then in Delaware.

      Reply
      1. MMSUCKS October 30, 2020

        Skinny, you’re a putz . . . Obviously you have NO FUCKING IDEA about Covid-19. If you did, you would have never written the things that you just did. YOU are part of the problem. With all of the UNINFORMED Americans that are clueless and dense as hell about this pandemic we continue to be the LAUGHING STOCK of the world.
        *
        BTW, did you know that during the 1914-1918 pandemic (Spanish Flu as it was called then) that it was considered patriotic to wear masks? It is amazing just how GULLIBLE, ENABLED (spoiled), and FOOLISH most of you Trumpsters are to the facts, danger, and divisiveness that you are being played by daily. Shameful, repugnant, and sad!
        *
        Thanks to malcontents like you, America is in WORSE SHAPE than any other first (or second) world country on earth right now . . . YOU GUYS are protracting this event by acting like recalcitrant children and NOT taking this pandemic seriously! Continuing to listen to that Orange Shit Gibbon telling you lies certainly does not help anyone . . .
        *
        Fuck Trump . . . Fuck Favre . . . and if you support this treasonous, criminal grifter . . . Fuck you too.
        *
        So far, this is America where I still have the right to say fuck you to anyone that is an asshat! Let’s trust that that is still there after Nov. 3rd. Ridin’ with Biden! To help get us away from this CANCER in the White House! Just my opinion! Go Pack Go!

        Reply
        1. PF4L October 31, 2020

          I’d comment on this, but i’m late for my anger management class

          Reply
          1. KzooPackFan October 31, 2020

            Lol ^^^

            Reply
      2. Ferris October 31, 2020

        Skinny…your comments are ignorant but expected. You and your Trump fools need to vacate the country and the planet. I encourage you to not wear a mask around all of your fellow idiot, uneducated, gun toting, white supremacist cronies and stop breathing my air. In fact go find Bert and be happy. Maybe he will show you his dick pics. Maybe you can blow him and Trump together.

        Reply
    2. MMSUCKS October 30, 2020

      Exactly! Thanks you Ferris. This ^^^^

      Reply
  5. Howard October 30, 2020

    Reports have said the Packers made contact with the Texans about Will Fuller. It may only be a half year rental at about 5 million, but I would give up a 3rd plus something else for Fuller. Worst case if you cannot extend or sign Fuller to a long term contract the Packers could receive a 3rd or 4th round compensatory pick for Fuller in the 2022 draft.
    .
    I think Fuller had a 4.3 something forty coming out of college so we know he can stretch the field. I also think Fuller is on pace to have about a 1,000 yards and 10 TDs this year. Go for it Gutekunst. Adams #1, Fuller #2, Lazard #3.

    Reply
    1. MMSUCKS October 30, 2020

      This ^^^^

      Reply
    2. Kato October 31, 2020

      Agreed. Although Fuller always annoyed me in fantasy football

      Reply
    3. PF4L October 31, 2020

      Fuller can be dynamic and can be a #2, the problem with Fuller is he’s so slight of build..170ish.
      .
      He’s also had recent injury history. In the last 4 years he’s never completed a season, and he’s missed 22 games.
      .
      I’m taking a step back before i lay a heavy 2nd contract on him. This is going to be his second contract, this dude wants to be paid.
      .
      As a pretend General Manager, who is highly respected by 1 to 3 people in here, i’m going to pass.
      .
      Maybe if Gute addressed this back when……………………………………………

      Reply
  6. Mick October 31, 2020

    Two starters in three drafts!!!!!!!!!!!!! Kind of says it all for our esteemed Scouting and management departments. But then again, aren’t we used to this? UUUUUUGGGGHHH!

    Reply

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