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Notes From a Crazy 2020 COVID Year

In 2020, Covid impacted the world and the NFL was included. Descriptions of 2020 will bring out a record number of adjectives. Yet, the 2020 NFL season has, at this point, led the Packers to an identical record as last year’s team. But this year feels different. The difference is more than a feeling. It can be seen on Sunday. And in 2020, Monday night, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday or any day that the Ravens or Steelers could field close to 53 players. But Covid protocols have also impacted fans. How have the Packers and fans overcome 2020?

Billy Turner

Sep 27, 2020; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) celebrates with guard Billy Turner (77) after a touchdown against the New Orleans Saints during the second quarter at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Offensive Line:

In past years, an injury to a starter on the offensive line was the end of any continuity on offense. The running game would become extinct and Rodgers would need max protections and planned roll outs to have a chance to make a play. The Packers this year have depth on the offensive line that has allowed them to continue to dominate in the run and pass game despite repeated injuries to multiple players who have missed significant playing time. Sunday’s game against the Titans was another display of incredible flexibility by Billy Turner who flipped from guard to tackle when Warner went down. Lucas Patrick came in at guard and the two helped A.J. Dillon keep rolling for a breakthrough performance.

Running Backs:

The Packers third string RB just ran for 124 yards and two touchdowns against a defense that went to the AFC championship last year. He caught every pass thrown to him. His pass blocking did just enough to keep Rodgers upright.

The Packers now have three RB’s that can win their matchups. With snow games coming up this three headed monster looks formidable.

Inside Linebackers:

The weakest position from last years team looks like it can make just enough impact plays to win in the postseason. Last year’s plan of Martinez and Raven Greene faltered with Greene’s injury. Martinez was too slow to play coverage and rarely shot gaps or had tackles at the line of scrimmage. A decent player in the wrong scheme. This year’s injuries have been overcome by the steady improvement of rookies Krys Barnes and Kamal Martin. Adrian Amos has also filled in admirably on dime packages.

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

Tight Ends:

Robert Tonyan. No matter how you pronounce his name, he catches the ball. His blocking is also improved. Last Sunday the Packers were without Sternberger and Dominique Dafney came in and did his job. Solid blocking and a catch for a first down. Tonyan has outplayed Jimmy Graham’s two years in 15 games this year. And Marcedes Lewis just keeps on doing his job.

Aaron Rodgers:

His positive energy has complimented his accuracy. He has bought into LeFleur’s system and knows how to make the offense succeed. The missed throws that haunted the offense last year have all but disappeared in 2020. The MVP award is a definite possibility for Aaron.

Seats put in place for fans before the Green Bay Packers-Chicago Bears game on Nov. 29 at Lambeau Field. The assigned seats were set up to maintain social distancing.

The Fans:

Fans have also looked different this year. The hardest part for many fans on Sunday was that they were watching the Packers dismantle the Titans from their living rooms. Seeing the long view TV shots of row after empty row of Lambeau Field, left us longing for the cold chill of Lambeau’s night air.

For many fans around Green Bay, listening to Chris Collinsworth repeatedly sputter compliments about Davante Adams’ shoes, complete with closeups tight enough to see the Jordan logo, is a sickening second choice to a healthy echo of, “Go Pack Go” bouncing off the stadium walls. Unfortunately, the ticket office at Lambeau is closed in this covid crazy 2020 season, and for the first time in many years, local fans are feeling the pain of fans who live too far away to see most games in Lambeau Field.

Smart fans tried to overcome. Fans outside the regular radio broadcast invested a single game ticket cost in the purchase of NFL.com’s, “NFL Gamepass”. While the plan does not give you the live TV broadcast, it does give you the live radio broadcast. You can choose between the home or away broadcast depending on game location. It turns out Wayne Larrivee and Larry McCarren can help restore your Cheesehead soul in stark contrast to the Aikman, Collinsworth, Joe Buck combo of Packer trollers. Packer fans simply synchronize the radio to their TV with a simple pause as the radio is on a very minuscule delay. The Packer radio broadcast team brings us as close to having a Packer fan sitting next to us as many of us can get this year.

No doubt, this year has been different. Both on the field and off. For players and fans. In 2020, the team has been able to overcome every obstacle that in years past have contributed to their undoing. Here is hoping that the Packers and their fans will all remember 2021 as a winner.

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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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39 Comments

  1. PF4L December 30, 2020

    IMO, the loss of fans in the stands is a very small price to pay for having a full season. Out of all football fans , the ones who attend the game is miniscule in it’s percentile to television viewers,
    I know this, When i’m watching a game, i have not lost any enjoyment because there aren’t fans there. Frankly i don’t think of it.
    The only thing i don’t like is some sound engineers, when they pump in their fake fan noise. Sometimes it’s hard to hear the announcers. Other times the noise is delayed, like on flags, or a turnover, etc. Like an interception, and 2 seconds later the crowd starts cheering…lol.
    .
    I’m just grateful (amazed) we had a full football season. I know some fans had to sacrifice by not going to the games because of Covid. But name me someone in the world that hasn’t sacrificed because of Covid.

  2. Howard December 30, 2020

    The Packers finally get Snacks, if Snacks wants to play ball? Hmmmmm.

    1. Skinny December 30, 2020

      I was on board earlier in the season but this guy comes across as a total ass hat now. He just doesnt seem like a good fit personality wise for this team. Believe he said earlier that he turned down Green Bay, didnt want to play for them. Would rather sit on his ass out in Seattle on the practice squad which is all he did. Now he wants in with the Packers, lol. I dont believe it. He better bring it if he does actually report to the Packers.

      1. PF4L December 30, 2020

        Gute better hopes he brings it…or Gute is the real asshat.

        1. PF4L December 30, 2020

          Correction: To me personally…there isn’t a question if Gute is an ass hat.
          .
          I don’t care what the Packers record is, i’ve seen more than enough.

  3. Ferris December 30, 2020

    Snacks!!

  4. Howard December 30, 2020

    What a long strange trip it has been. I think Seattle did sign Harrison to their 53 after Harrison spent some weeks on the practice squad “getting into playing shape”. I think Seattle elevated Harrison from the PS to the 53 one or two times. Once Harrison was in “playing shape” the Seahawks waived Anthony Rush who after a few weeks in Chicago was waived and picked up by the Packers. If Pettine wants big butts like Capers did he has two in Harrison and Rush. If Snacks passes the physical the Packers will need to release a player or put someone on IR. It would be strange if Harrison bumped Rush off a roster for the second time in a season from two different teams. Snacks did say he did not want to be claimed off waivers, maybe to try to negotiate more money, but has indicated he will report to Packers.

  5. PF4L December 30, 2020

    Hmmmmmm…is absolutely correct. Seems he had a few good years under his belt from 2016-18. To me…there are some valid concerns about this dude. I may never understand how Brian Gutenkunst brain works, or what he’s thinking.
    .
    1) Is Snacks mentally ok?
    .
    2) Why do we want some new guy with questionable character in our locker room, whose best years are clearly behind him to join our team in week fucking 17…Gute?
    .
    3) He’s on his 5th team in 9 years..duh
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    4) He’s a QUITTER!!!!!! Don’t anyone tell me that Seattle doesn’t have a chance at getting to the Super Bowl, we all know they do. So what does Snacks do in week 17? HE QUITS ON SEATTLE FANS, HIS COACHES, AND HIS TEAM MATES. This is are missing piece Gute?
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    5) To repeat…who the F, would quit on a Super Bowl worthy team in week 17? How much of an asshole would you have to be to do that to your team?
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    Am i the only one thinking that something isn’t passing the smell test?
    .
    “All players waived at this point in the season are subject to waivers, and Harrison said in a tweet after his release that he was not interested in getting claimed.”
    .
    “He’s decided to stop playing,” Carroll said Monday during an appearance on 710 ESPN Seattle. “He’s done playing. I talked to him this morning. He’s in good spirits and all of that. He’s really grateful for the opportunity in playing here, and he did really well by us, but he just … he’s done.”
    .
    Is Snacks a liar? In week 17…what’s the upside here?
    .

    1. Howard December 31, 2020

      Would some of Harrison’s actions in the last week make more sense if I told you Drew Rosenhaus was Harrison’s agent.
      .
      I have looked at most of Harrison’s snaps with the Seahawks. To keep it short Harrison played hard, no pass rush, will stuff the middle. Surprisingly Harrison played substantial snaps in games, 20 + on average.
      .
      I believe Harrison was mad about being a healthy scratch. That may show Harrison is interested in playing hard? I do not like Rosenhaus. I think the call to not be claimed on waivers is Rosenhaus wanting to negotiate a higher salary with a team (probably Packers), after all Harrison’s approximately $62,000 dollar salary with the Packers does not leave much scrap for Rosenhaus.
      .
      Unless Harrison is a locker room problem, then the Packers are not putting out a lot of money to potentially free up Clark to be more aggressive, on a few plays, while allowing Harrison to eat up some blocks. To me the question is what games will Rosenhaus try to play. If Rosenhaus wants to play games or if Harrison doesn’t, the Packers are not out much financially. The Packers probably expend more on a game day meal than they will on Snacks.

      1. PF4L December 31, 2020

        Yea Howard, i did notice that. But i disregarded it as Snacks is 32, end of his career, he’s probably doing his own thinking.
        .
        I think you are correct, i think he quit because he felt the Seahawks quit on him and he was pissed.
        But, so many questions…why would a guy leave a team in week 17? Uproot yourself? Change teams to make the same money? Both teams have a chance at the SB.
        Then you remember how he said he didn’t want to play for the Packers back when he signed with the Hawks.
        So you ask yourself….what’s his motivation? All i can think of is revenge to jion the Packers and beat his old team.
        He isn’t joining for more money, he isn’t joining for a SB chance….he has that. Must be revenge.
        .
        You make a good point, he’s low risk. But man…you bring a guy in on week 17?
        I’m sorry, i just don’t get it.
        Maybe it’s probably more because i don’t think he’s a stand up guy.
        .
        I never viewed Pete Carroll as a dumb guy. I’m thinking there may have been a reason Snacks was made inactive last game.
        I never got to meet Pete, but years ago i worked for his brother Jim in Menomonee Falls and after i left, did some business with him. If Pete’s half as smart as Jim, he most likely had good reason to sit him.
        .
        But again, your right….at the end of the day, it’s low money, low risk.
        I still think he quit on his team and i don’t see much honor in that.
        But then again, i wasn’t there.

        1. PF4L December 31, 2020

          I didn’t think he was joining for more money. But then i recalled how Gute and Russ Ball handle player financials, so i’m walking that back for now.

        2. Howard December 31, 2020

          This is the reason I said Hmmmmm… when this was announced. Several aspects do not make a lot of sense. Two things that do make sense to me are:
          1. Carroll made Snacks a healthy scratch because Bryan Mone came off IR. Mone is a younger, faster, and maybe bigger version of Harrison. Mone is 6-3 366. The starter at 0 tech for the Seahawks is Ford. Once Mone came back there was very little chance for Harrison to get snaps. I always thought Harrison was a bad fit for the Seattle style defense. Carroll likes his interior defensive linemen to shoot gaps on occasion and slant. Not a good fit for Harrison at this stage in his career. Harrison more fits a 3-4 two gap nose.
          2. The Packers are planning/hoping all their playoff games go through Lambeau. If weather is bad, stopping the run game will take on more emphasis than playoff games normally do. In addition there are several playoff teams that can run the ball, and keep QB#1 off the field If needed including, but not limited to the Seahawks. The Packers are still concerned with their run defense.
          .
          I think the move is low risk, with a potential for a good reward, but still Hmmmmm.

          1. PF4L December 31, 2020

            Howard, i lost my first response again by responding to Stigg, and then i clicked a wrong key and lost the 2nd…i’m done…sorry, i agree with you.
            He was signed as a fill in. He doesn’t know that?
            So he got sat down….got mad, then went to his boss and told him he wanted to grab his marbles and go home.
            Is he a team player, or a me player?
            .
            Sorry, if i’m Gute, i’m a hard no.
            .
            There was far more, but you get the jist.
            .
            I’m officially done talking about this dude :)

    2. Ferris January 3, 2021

      I wouldn’t want to play for Pete Carroll either.

  6. PF4L December 31, 2020

    Speaking to the Title of this article.
    .
    I think the year 2020..deserves a big middle finger.
    .
    Hope everyone has a Happy New Year with 2021, being the start of a positive recovery.

  7. PF4L December 31, 2020

    To get an idea what a NFL team suffers in local revenue loss, i’ll use Green Bay as the example.
    .
    The Packers (and each team) got $296 million dollars in broadcast revenue from the NFL in 2019.
    In total revenue for 2019, the Packers received $506.9 million.
    That means the Packers generated $210.9 million in local revenue. I’m sure they still sell some HOF tickets and merchandise. But i would assume it’s only a sliver of what a normal season generates.
    .
    So thus far it seems……the entities who have suffered the most financially so far are the teams.
    The NFL and and the NFLPA suffer also, but to a much smaller percentile. Although the league itself may have some hits coming into next season, but that is only assumption
    .
    The players, made what they normally make per their contract.

  8. Mick December 31, 2020

    I’m trying to figure out what makes Harrison tick. Earlier in the year, his plan was to sit out for the opportunity to get the most money; and play for a winner. Since then he was signed by Seattle; a winning team, then decides not to play? WTF? Reports have it that he is a good run stuffer. Well, if I was in his shoes, and wanted to play for a winner with a chance to make more money, I’d put my best foot forward and show my teammates, coaches and fans that I’m all-in. I agree with PF4L on this one. Something stinks to high heaven. Will he turn over a new leaf and prove us wrong, or will this smear crap over the teams chances at a deep playoff run? I’m thinking that if he doesn’t work out, even Gute is smart enough to cut bait—–quickly!

  9. Mick December 31, 2020

    It will be interesting to see how much the revenue for each team will be reduced next season. There is a lot of opinions (and bullshit) out there by people who only think they know what’s going to happen. Some talking heads say there will be a 10 to 15 percent reduction per team, some say that the players will have to take a certain percentage of salary reduction; and on and on! How is that gonna effect players salaries with guaranteed contracts? Not only has the virus disrupted 2020, but is legalities and money gonna smear 2021?

    1. PF4L December 31, 2020

      I’m somewhat buying into that adjustment, but i think 10-15% is way over the top. Maybe less than that, like 4-6%.
      I mean…5 percent of this years cap is almost 10 million.
      .
      Each team has to determine on their own where the money goes and who gets it, inside the legalities of player contracts. One or more players could (will) suffer simply because of a players high guarantee.

  10. Mick December 31, 2020

    A few comments here about the Harrison signing. If he performs to his capabilities, he bolsters the D-line against the run; which will free up the OLBs’ to do better at the pass rush. Also, makes the ILBs’ job a little easier. Might even take away some of the double teams on Clarke. All of which would make the defense more dynamic. As far as him being a locker room disrupter, Coach LaFleur will have none of that, then he’d be gone faster than he came in. I think coach is very good at connecting with his players and he’ll know quickly if things are amok. I’m with Howard on his dislike for Rosenhaus!

    1. Dean December 31, 2020

      I see no downside as long as team chemistry is not affected by signing Snacks. Frees up Clark and maybe now they can limit the run with 4 DL instead of 5 or 6 DL.
      .
      GB is playing as a team and they seem to have fun together celebrating each other after a good play. Credit to LaFleur and all the players that are great leaders. I do not think the players will put up with someone who causes disunity.

  11. stiggy December 31, 2020

    Per snacks…the Seahawks signed him as an injury stop gap. As they’ve gotten more healthy he was replaced by a lineman returning to the roster. He was made inactive as a result and decided he wanted to play somewhere else.

    Not saying its the truth but that’s what he said.

    1. PF4L December 31, 2020

      He decided he wanted to sign on to another team in week 17, before he was released?
      That seems like a stretch Stigg, unless there was tampering with a player under contract.
      .
      I thought his tweet said he was not interested in getting claimed?

  12. MMSUCKS December 31, 2020

    And just when you think Green Bay has a chance . . . David Bakhtiari tears his ACL and is OUT
    for the season. Totally different playoff picture now without question. The Opposing defenses will FEAST on this O Line now.

    1. PF4L December 31, 2020

      We posted at almost the same exact time, not that it matters a flying F.
      .
      I don’t know about anyone else, but i’m a grown ass man and i feel like crying.
      .
      Bakhtiari must be devastated, wish i could do something.

  13. PF4L December 31, 2020

    Well….this isn’t good.
    .
    Bakhtiari suffered a torn ACL today at practice.
    .
    We kept hearing how Billy Turner can play across the line, we’re about to find out.
    Mostly likely putting Lucas Patrick at right guard.
    It’s a damn good thing Linsley came back.

    1. MMSUCKS December 31, 2020

      I would love to see who hit him . . . Snacks?

      1. PF4L December 31, 2020

        Never know, i’ve seen this happen in a drill at practice without contact with the Pack, the name escapes me though.

  14. Skinny December 31, 2020

    I need Bak to Reggie White this thing. God healed his ACL tear in like two days, remember that? Packers front office had to be like, okaaay, i guess Reg is good to go but the medicals say its a complete tear. What the fuck do we do? Let him play i guess, if God says he can go he can go, lol.

    1. Howard December 31, 2020

      Reggie tore his hamstring. I can hardly survive a cramp in my hamstring so I’m not making light of Reggie’s injury, but with a torn ACL you have no lateral stability. If the injury is a confirmed torn ACL it will be great progress if Bakhtiari plays by December 2021.

  15. PF4L December 31, 2020

    I think this is an original problem, now compouned.
    .
    The Packers have a tough enough time with a strong Def. front even when Bakhtiari is in there.
    .
    It sucks…i get it.
    .
    Someone has to step up.
    .
    Do they look for someone to sign?

    1. Dean December 31, 2020

      Put Jenkins or Turner at left tackle — depends on Wagner being able to play. At least we have a running game.

      1. PF4L December 31, 2020

        3 headed running attack?
        Sprinkled in with some Adams, Tonyan, Lazard, and some quick passes to a running back/tight end that slips out from a chip block.
        .
        Maybe i was wrong, but i believed in my heart the Bears were going to be a tough beat. It just got tougher.
        The Bears are playing for the playoffs, and Trubisky is playing for his livelihood and career.

        1. Dean December 31, 2020

          I have not seen the offense go hurry up much this year (or last year) except at end of half/game. Maybe they can go 2 RBs (Jones/Williams), 2 TEs (or 1TE & Lazard) and #17 and play as fast as they can to keep the defense from subbing. Works if you can get a couple first downs. The DL will be to gassed after 6 plays and you can try long to Adams — like they always did with Jordy.

  16. PF4L December 31, 2020

    I rip on Gute my share, maybe more than my share, but…
    .
    I’ll say this….except for pass catchers, he’s provided way better depth than years before.

  17. PF4L December 31, 2020

    This has been such a fucked up year on so many levels. The clock can’t spin ahead fast enough for me.

  18. Howard December 31, 2020

    That news sucks. I don’t know who plays left tackle, but I try to sign Jared Veldheer off the Colts practice squad as soon as possible. Veldheer will provide insurance at right tackle if needed. Veldheer is also familiar with the O-line coaches and system.

  19. SCPKRBKR January 1, 2021

    Maybe put Snacks as a replacement for Bak? Just kidding, I think Marcedes and Dillion will help shore up that side with blocking. Sucks Bak went out, but as we know, “next man up” Go Pack Go!

  20. Mick January 1, 2021

    Terrible news about Bak! The Bears will stick Mack against whoever plays LT. Maybe GB puts Jenkins in at LT and Runyan in at LG. If those two struggle, I can see La Fleur running plays to the right side, away from Mack with the run and play action. Or, line up Lewis on the left side to help against Mack. Either way, the Pack is in for a dog fight. Pettine will have to find ways to keep Trubisky in the pocket, and not let him escape outside, where he is more effective. He is not that accurate when under pressure in the pocket. Even without Bak, GB is the better team. In this game, special teams will need to play solid football and the offense can’t turn the ball over.