May 29, 2022

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Inbox: They’ll look at everything

5 min read
Inbox: They’ll look at everything

Tom from West Palm Beach, FL

I think what makes this loss so hard to take is that the special-teams problems were evident throughout the season, and for a while it felt like it was only a matter of time before they cost us a game. Compounding matters are the looming roster/salary cap decisions that make it difficult to foresee a 2022 team that is as talented as the 2021 iteration. What are your biggest takeaways from the loss?

My takeaway was when offenses and defenses are a wash, special teams decide playoff games. I’ve seen it several times now. I don’t think anybody was neglecting the fact the Packers needed to improve in that phase. I just don’t have an easy reply for what can be done to remedy the situation once the season begins. And I’m still not in favor for kicking people off the boat that you put there when you’re halfway to the shore.

Wes, who are the linemen that block for the field goal unit? I saw where Tyler Lancaster was out there who is a defensive lineman, large dude I know, but are there other non-starting OL men out there? Outside of the center, why not keep the starting line out there for field goals?

I wouldn’t put this on the personnel grouping. From left to right, it’s Lancaster, Dean Lowry, Yosh Nijman, Lucas Patrick, snapper Steven Wirtel, Jon Runyan, T.J. Slaton, Royce Newman and Tyler Davis as the right wing. That appears to be the “optimal” lineup, as the starting left tackle and center rarely appear on field-goal protection. The players must know their markers and execute. You shouldn’t need eight All-Pros to make that kick.

Hi guys, at some point during the year, I remember reading how the Packers were pondering putting starters in for special teams. Any idea why they didn’t? Also, for what it’s worth, two SF defensive starters made the two blocks (FG and punt) in last weekend’s game. Thanks.

They did. AJ Dillon broke his rib as blocker on kickoff return. Josiah Deguara played all three phases. Rasul Douglas and Kevin King made coverage tackles.

Shanna from Colorado Springs, CO

We knew AJ Dillon is an important part of cold-weather games. Did anyone anticipate how non-functional the offense would be without him?

Matt LaFleur said Dillon’s injury threw a wrench into the plans. The Packers certainly had a tough time getting the inside-zone stuff going without him. We said over and over how important Dillon was to the offense and his absence was noticeable in the second half.

Ellis from Greensboro, NC

With all the lineup changes all year do you know why Billy Turner was put in when Yosh Nijman had been playing so well?

LaFleur wanted the O-line’s best five out there. Turner had made four postseason starts the past two years and the coaching staff felt like that was the best play without Bakhtiari.

Mike and Wes, great job this season! When all healthy (Jaire Alexander), we have the best secondary in the NFL, one of the best middle linebackers in De’Vondre Campbell, truly the best nose tackle in the league, with the two Smiths (subject to being healthy) and Rashan Gary we have one of the best edge-rushing groups in the league! Keep them all together and build a top three defense for next year! Sorry to say (look at our playoff history) we got beat by teams with very good defense teams, not QBs!

The cap will be the No. 1 question this offseason. Campbell and Douglas have earned every penny they get. If it’s with the Packers, then that’s great for the defense. If they sign elsewhere, I promise you players and agents around the NFL have taken notice of what those two guys accomplished with the opportunity they received in Green Bay this season. That counts for something.

As much as we love Aaron Rodgers, the one hard knock on him is wanting the deep ball rather than just moving the chains. The third-and-11, with Allen Lazard wide open over the middle, just put the frosting on the cake. Too much focusing on Adams and Jones and not throwing enough to the other receivers.

I’m sure that play will stay with Rodgers for a long time. Other than that, I don’t know what you want me to tell you.

Loughlin from Indiana, PA

If Rodgers leaves next year, will the Packers start Love and see what they have, or would they want to go out and sign a FA QB like Mariota or Bridgewater (assuming they have the cap space)? I know that it depends on a number of factors and we may have to wait until the draft to truly know what is happening, but do you have an early prediction?

That’s a bridge we’ll cross when it’s within driving distance. Matt LaFleur reiterated Monday he wants Rodgers to be his QB until he hangs up the cleats. Until I hear differently, Aaron Rodgers is the Packers quarterback.

As soon as Rodgers stated he did not want to be part of a rebuilding project, I think he might as well have said he will be leaving GB. Packers fans need to realize and accept that you cannot pay everyone and that this is the end of an era – time for the next chapter. Agree?

I get this idea of cap management is new to many of you because the Packers lived well beneath the cap for many years, but I assure you NFL teams can remodel a house without blowing it up. LaFleur said they have a plan in place to handle the cap. As far as Rodgers’ comments, I don’t blame him for feeling that way. I doubt there are many established 38-year-old quarterbacks who want to play if the chances of chasing a title appear obsolete.