Packers Periscope: Week 9 Bye

With the Packers on the bye week, there really isn’t an opponent per say, but the break offers a good chance to take the periscope and do some introspection. How are the Packers doing – have they improved from last year?

The Past: Last year the Packers had the misfortune of getting week 4 off, the earliest bye week possible in the NFL. At the point, the Packers were very much a paper-tiger; while they had one of the best offenses in the NFL and an improving defense, another home loss to the San Francisco 49ers and a somewhat surprising last minute loss to the Cincinnati Bengals left the Packers at 1-2, not exactly the best way to start your vacation. However the Packers were able to pick it up after the bye, winning 4 straight games until week 8, when Aaron Rodgers broke his collarbone against the Bears. From there, the Packers spiraled out of control until the resigning of Matt Flynn, who managed to lead the Packers to two wins, good enough to leave a recovered Aaron Rodgers and Randall Cobb the chance to win the division against the Bears in the season finale.

The Present: The Packers got perhaps the best bye this year, basically spitting their season evenly in half. Perhaps even better is that the Packers don’t really need the bye to heal up their players; there haven’t been as many huge injuries as there were last year, where Rodgers and Cobb missed significant time while Jermichael Finley and Johnathan Franklin’s career ultimately ended. Again the Packers go into the bye with a loss to a good opponent that they could have probably beaten, but the Packers do have some advantage in the second half of the season where they play a lot of games at home.

On offense, the Packers remain a pass first, pass second and maybe then run it a bit type of offense; Aaron Rodgers again leads one of the most explosive passing games with Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and rookie surprise Davante Adams. Eddie Lacy has been gotten past a slow start and has logged a 4.1 yard per average, but has made strides outside the running game in 3rd down pass protection and the screen game.

On defense, at least one thing has been corrected; the Packers have one of the better pass defenses in the league with both Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers applying pressure and a deep defensive secondary who are tied for 3rd in interceptions. However the biggest Achilles’ heal for the Packers is their run defense, which currently ranks 31st in yard allowed per game. Some of this has to be attributed to the fact that the Packers have gotten smaller and quicker on the defensive line but also has to do with the fact that there has been a lot of flux in the inside linebacker position; Brad Jones started the beginning of the season, Jamari Lattimore took over after injury and really Sam Barrington has now taken over for Lattimore due to injury.

The Future: The Packers are one of the most well managed teams every year thanks to general manager Ted Thompson and lead contract negotiator Russ Ball. The Packers currently have $7.8 million free cap space, which is plenty to cover any injury replacements and might even be enough to facilitate a mid-season re-resigning, which is one of the Packers favorite strategies. For 2015 free agents, Randall Cobb probably leads the Pack as the Packers priority free agent followed by Bryan Bulaga. The Packers have some options with Tramon Williams, Davon House and Jarrett Boykin; all could be resigned for decent contracts or be allowed to test free agency. The 3 injury concerns could also play a factor; BJ Raji will likely take a even lower deal than what he got this year, Derek Sherrod likely will take near the league minimum after showing next to nothing this year and Don Barclay has been just good enough to warrant a second chance or even a decent contract. Outside of 2015, the next biggest potential free agents are Mike Daniels and James Starks in 2016 and Josh Sitton, TJ Lang, Micah Hyde and Eddie Lacy in 2017. Overall, the Packers always manage to get their stars to take slightly below average deals so the Packers will be able to retain their choice of players in all likelihood.

The Packers 2014 draft has turned out relatively well; 1st round pick Ha Ha Clinton-Dix has shown flashes but at the very worst is likely a very solid rookie safety, which is really good enough for the 1st year. 2nd round pick Davante Adams has taken advantage of Jarrett Boykin’s injury and is now definitely the 3rd wide receiver and has gained the trust of Aaron Rodgers. Past that and it’s a little bit more of a mixed bag; 3rd round pick Richard Rodgers has been good and bad, sometimes all in the same game while fellow 3rd round pick Khyri Thornton was terrible during the pre-season and was thankfully placed on IR. 4th round pick Corey Linsley is one of the highest ranked centers in the league according to PFF but mostly as a run blocker and not in pass protection. The rest of the 2014 draft class is composed of Carl Bradford, Demtri Goodson, Jeff Janis and Jared Abberderis, all of which have played little to no snaps with Abberderis on IR. Overall, the Packers didn’t get many pleasant surprises with their later round picks but did seem to hit on their premium picks which is where it really counts.


Thomas Hobbes is a staff writer for Jersey Al’s


12 thoughts on “Packers Periscope: Week 9 Bye

  1. The description “paper tiger” popped out at me while reading this article and I think it carries over to this year. Yes, we all know about the inconsistent defense and last place run ranking, that doesn’t appear to have changed from last year or the year prior. If we are to live on the arm of our offense then we should have a scoring juggernaut. I can’t say that our offense has shown the strength to carry this team. When we run up against a team that can get pressure with 4 we sputter like a sputtering paper tiger. Other than against the garbage teams, we don’t even dominate on offense.

    I am trying to come to grips with having a team that will do well but will never really compete for the top prize. Talk of resigning Bulaga or Sherrod tells me that we really don’t want to get tougher in the trenches just like our D-line. Sorry to bring the discussion down but it is periscope down for this fan.

    1. Just telling it like it is ….Packer Nation needs this kind of toughj love to get past the “soft” era ushered in by TT/MM/DC et. al.

    2. Thank you for not drinking the malt liquor and keeping it real. Resigning the whale pussy Sherrod tells me they want Rodgers career to be over.

      1. First off, no foul language.

        Second, no one has said they should resign Sherrod, I only said that if the Packers resin Sherrod it will likely be at the veteran minimum.

    3. Seattle,New Orleans, Miami pass rushers made Bulaga look bad. I hope the injury to Lang isn’t serious, Could very well be another one and done in the playoffs and thats if the Lions fold in December.

    4. My feeling is that Bulaga has been very average this year but this very well could be him just getting all the rust off after losing two seasons to injury. I would also argue that the Packers are a scoring juggernaut. They are currently 6th in the league for points per game; every team has their weaknesses and the Packers is a good pass rush (as with a lot of teams to be honest), honestly there’s simply no way to be good in all aspects and teams have to pick and choose what they are good at.

  2. As I see it our offense can compete with and defeat any team in the league, although there is still room for improvement. We still need a tight who can block effectively and be a major threat down the middle of the field. Quarless, in particular, has not been able to get the job done blocking on run plays. He got blown up on the safety against Detroit and on the 4th down play against New Orleans as well as some less obvious plays. Our OL while improved needs to get better at both tackle spots and TJ Lang is inconsistent even when healthy. But the offense is not the issue with this team. Defense remains the problem for the Packers, especially the run defense. Guion has made some plays but not consistently enough, the same for Daniels. Our ILBs are better with either Lattimore or Barrington in the game, but again not consistent enough. The pass rush is better but not yet to the point that makes a QB uncomfortable in the pocket. With the improved safety play the DB has become the strength of this defense. I still believe that the Packers can win their remaining home games, with the possible exception of the Eagles and they should take 2 of 3 on the road with a possible loss to Buffalo, but I can’t see Kyle Orton!? putting up more points than Aaron Rodgers. For the future we need to resign Cobb, possibly name him the franchise player, then we need to draft OL and DL with our early picks rather than mid to late picks. With our usual draft position (22 or higher) it’s difficult to get a blue chipper but maybe a red chipper falls to us in the 1st round. Bottom line is that if we don’t improve our OL and DL we will continue to struggle against top tier teams especially on the road and in the playoffs. Go Pack Go! Thanks, Since ’61

    1. I think luckily, Cobb doesn’t have much leverage considering that the Packers are set at wide receiver and losing Cobb wouldn’t be the end of the world (as opposed to the Lions losing Calvin Johnson in comparison). Also, Cobb has to look at previous deals that the Packers have done with wide receivers and realize that he’s not going to be able to force a huge contract because the Packers aren’t the type to open up the bank for anyone (even Rodgers took a very fair deal)

      1. Cobb is a slot receiver. They get no love in the NFL. There is no reason to think GB won’t pay FMV, which is something in the area of $6-8 million per year. There are no problems with age, and it looks like he has proved he is back from his injury.

  3. An old movie called ‘Operation Petticoat’,an awesome comedy with Cary Grant and Tony Curtis, comes to mind with the defense.Its about a submarine that is held together with girdles,bras, and a solid coat of pink primer and staying afloat was the challenge and achieving the ultimate victory of making its way back to port.

    The Packers are this submarine,trying to stay afloat via parts that don’t belong and arriving to claim a Division or Wildcard berth as success.However,like the submarine,the Packers will be taken out to sea and ordered scrubbed shortly thereafter by those who actually are in command. 🙂

  4. The short answer is that GB needs someone to step up at ILB (Lattimore, Barrington or I suppose Bradford) AND someone to step up on the defensive line, perhaps Pennel, Guion or Datone. GB might have to play Peppers at DE more. Neal has been very quiet lately, but that is probably because Perry seems pretty solid to me, along with CMIII and Peppers, the OLB spots are in good shape. Secondary is fine (only ok if Shields doesn’t come back). We can reasonably look for improvement from Clinton-Dix and Hyde, who are both learning new positions. Hyde has looked slow, but for a safety he is not at all slow, so I hope it is just recognition issues. Otherwise, this D is only good with a lead.

  5. The run defense will be the bane of this team’s existence in the playoffs. I’d like to see more out of Datone Jones. He keeps having these ankle injuries, which I’m sure is frustrating for him. But in his 2nd year, I’ve been looking for him to take a big step, esp. with attention being drawn to Peppers and CMIII. Not the case thus far, I want more out of Jones in the 2nd half of this year or he’ll start turning into another Nick Perry (oft-injured, disappointing and inconsistent).

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