7

October

Poll: Are the Packers a Good Team Playing Mediocre or Just a Mediocre Team?

Packers WR Jordy Nelson hauls in a pass against the Lions

After the Packers yawner of a win over the Lions on Sunday, I keep asking myself one question: Are the Packers a good team playing mediocre or just a mediocre team?

Let’s take a look at the case for each:

Good team playing mediocre

  • The Packers are 2-2 despite another barrage of early-season injuries, playing a good chunk of two games without Clay Matthews and dealing with the loss of Eddie Lacy and Jermichael Finley early in two other games.
  • As I was writing this, reports surfaced that Matthews has a broken thumb. Well, Nick Perry and Mike Neal showed signs of life on Sunday after Matthews went out. Can they keep improving and fill in at least somewhat admirably if Matthews is out for a while , or, gulp, the rest of the season?
  • Hey, a running game! Eddie Lacy was one yard away on Sunday from giving the Packers their third straight 100-yard rusher.
  • Dropped deep passes from Ryan Taylor and James Jones made the Lions win seem much more ugly than it actually was. If one of those plays goes for a TD, do the Packers blow away the Lions and we all leave that game feeling better about the state of the team?
  • If the Packers set their mind to stopping a certain aspect of the other team’s offense, they’ve done it. Shut down Colin Kapernick’s and Frank Gore’s running, corral RG3, contain A.J. Green, bottle up Reggie Bush. Done, done, done and done.
  • Mason Crosby is actually making field goals.

Mediocre team playing mediocre

  • The Packers are 2-2. A .500 record is the very definition of mediocrity.
  • If so and so didn’t drop this pass or such and such made that play….Teams that are better than mediocre don’t have to worry about those “what if” questions. They just make the damn play.
  • The Packers two wins have come against a gimpy RG3 and a Lions team playing without Calvin Johnson. Big whoop.
  • There’s no rhythm on offense. Unless Rodgers is throwing deep to a WR who makes a circus catch, the offense is predictable and boring.
  • Someone needs to tell Mike McCarthy that with Lacy, he finally has a RB that gives him a chance on third down. Lacy was on the bench twice during third-and-short situations on Sunday.
  • The Packers defense can shut down certain aspects of an opposing team’s offense, but Dom Capers still struggles to adjust when other aspects of a team’s attack start causing damage.

I’ll stop now. That’s six points that argue both sides. Personally, I think the Packers are a good team that is playing mediocre. Another season of injuries has caused this team to sputter a bit, but there are more signs of life than causes for concern, in my opinion.

EDIT: Like I mentioned above, news of Matthews’ injury broke as I was writing this post. Obviously, Matthews’ thumb is yet another cause for concern — a major one. I’m still going to say this is a good team playing mediocre, though. We’ll see if I have to eat my words.

Am I seeing things through green and gold tinted glasses? Vote in the poll and expand on your thoughts in the comments section.
Are the Packers a good team playing mediocre or just a mediocre team?
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Are the Packers a good team playing mediocre or just a mediocre team?
Good team playing mediocre. The Packers are better than they have looked so far.0%
Just mediocre. What we’re seeing now is what we’ll see the rest of the season.0%

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Adam Czech is a freelance reporter and a Packers fan living in the Twin Cities. Follow Adam on Twitter. Read more of Adam's writing on the Packers here.

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50 Responses to “Poll: Are the Packers a Good Team Playing Mediocre or Just a Mediocre Team?”

  1. Chazman says:

    I picked good team playing mediocre but I am definitely wearing my green and gold glasses.
    I think the defense is coming along, hopefully Matthews can play with a club, I mean cast, but my main concern is the offense and the play calling. Yesterday when they did have Lacy in on a 3rd and 1 . . . throw a quick pass to Cobb? Really? Now maybe I change my tune if it doesn’t get batted down but it seems that if you have the big back, use him.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

    • Jersey Al Jersey Al says:

      The thing that bothered me most about that play was that the Lions had completely shut down the bubble screens/quick outs to that point. Not only had they shut them down, but they seemed to know exactly when they were coming and were tackling guys for losses. They had found something that was tipping them off. I remember on that play the Lions linebackers shifting pre-snap to that side and I remember thinking that I hoped the Packers were going to the other side. Instead, they go right into the heart of the Lions’ charge. dumb dumb dumb.

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 2

      • Sven says:

        Except that, I believe it is this same lateral movement from opposing defenses that is allowing the Packers running game to gain ground. The team is in a transition on offense. They are becoming a running team, which I believe is the right thing to do, as we want a healthy Rodgers all season long.

        The offense pounded the ball all first half and it drained the clock and set up the passing game in a big way.

        Small things went wrong that led to FG and not TDs, but the team capitalized. Rodgers made great passes, there were some drops, and the running game was perfect. Lacy pounded the lions D and then Cobb burned them. It was “Thunder and Lightning” as some many have been asking for.

        Now we have it. If Johnson had been in, maybe McCarthy would have had to get more aggressive in play calling, but the approach would have limited Johnson’s time on the field.

        I thought this was a great win, and the team showed a lot of good stuff.

        Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

        • Dobber says:

          I wouldn’t say that the Packers are becoming a running team. Their run-pass ratio on the whole is comparable to where it’s been in recent years. They’re just getting more out of their run calls than they have in the recent past (keeping in mind that the respectable 5.5. ypc yesterday drops to 3.3 if you subtract out the Cobb run).

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

          • Sven says:

            But the same could be said for almost any team. If you subtracted, Peterson’s big 60+ yard run against the Steelers, he would not have been so productive.

            I see you point on the ratio, but I noticed that the Packers ran more than they passed yesterday. What I was most impressed with was the lack of any negative run plays by Lacy. He always got something, and that speaks to the play of the line and to his ability.

            Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

      • Dan "FireMMNow" Blakley FireMMNow says:

        I agree with Jersey Al. There is something that is a very easy read for defenses to pick up on with the bubble screens right now. I saw the shift as well, that means the formation and down and distance must be really predictable. switch it up MM.

        why run play action with cobb on 3rd and 1? we called a timeout why did they not bring lacy into the game? did the lions really think the packers were going to smash cobb into the line on 3rd and 1? i sure didnt. one of the most confusing decisions of the game. I do not mind play action there, but get Lacy in the game for that please. then you can atleast have cobb in the pattern.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

        • Mandarichbestpickever says:

          Gotta agree with Al (as usual) and FMMN. A Rodgers fake to the slot-screen with a receiver feint block, ala slug-go, …wide open.
          Change it up!

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

          • Dobber says:

            Turned out they didn’t need that yesterday, but you better bet Baltimore will prep for those plays this week, and the fake could pay big dividends.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

            • Mandarichbestpickever says:

              I can only hope that’s MMs thought…Use it when I absolutely need it.

              Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

        • Mark says:

          When the O-line shows coach they won’t allow penetration in the run game, coach will call short yardage runs. Give MM credit – no way EDS, Lang and Sitton can be TRUSTED to keep Suh and Fairly out of the BF on 3 and 1.

          TT picks ‘em, MM plays ‘em, we cheers ‘em.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • Bob says:

        Of course they know its coming!!! I know its coming. We drafted Lacy & Franklin who are giving us yards on the ground for the first since SB playoff run. Yet on third and short they pass. What happen to the MM going to run the ball. I have been saying all along that if you want to keep MM then you need to bring in an OC to call plays. We have a much better chance of winning more games

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  2. NYPACKER says:

    Defensive coordinators are playing tight on our WR’s, taking away the quick passing game that MM wants to use to help our oline keep AR upright. In addition they usually have both safeties over the top. With one defender on our slot receiver this leaves only 6 defenders in the box, which is why we have been able to run the ball so effectively. Playing us this way has resulted in teams giving up a lot of yardage to us, but making it more difficult for us to hit “big” scoring plays. I’d like to see some “bunch” formations & “rub” plays to get our receivers some open field after the catch. I’m surprised that Finley wasn’t more of a factor yesterday.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

    • Razer says:

      ” I’m surprised that Finley wasn’t more of a factor yesterday”…

      Yeah, but has a ton of potential

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3

  3. Jerry says:

    I say a very good team thats playing mediocre. I kinda thought the Lions DB’s had their hands on the Packers receivers all day. I really think the Lions are a poorly coached team but Gunther Cunningham is a very capable DC,and has his unit ready to play. It seems like the key for the Packers dominance over the Lion’s is M Stafford’s propensity for throwing picks and putting the ball on the ground. There were no turnovers this game so the Packers played it smart with good defense and their offense wore the Lions defense down with an effective running game.I really enjoyed seeing Nick Fairley huffing and puffing after that big Randall Cobb run!If the Packers can contain the injury bug they could make a deep run this year.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

    • Sven says:

      Even Saragusa mentioned how often the Refs were letting interference go in the game.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  4. Savage57 says:

    I’ll go with Good playing mediocre, with a caveat – how good they can be is entirely dependent on their ability to get a run of games where injuries don’t decimate a position group or one side of the ball.

    It’s apparent that those rare times that the Packers have the majority of their roster intact, they can overcome an awful lot, and that includes some really bone-headed play calling by MM.

    Still, I keep looking for that ‘breakoout’ game like last year vs. Houston. Maybe Sunday vs. the Ravens.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  5. JH9 says:

    We have the talent now at every position to be a good team except on the O-line. IMO, whether the Packers are a good or mediocre team will be determined by how well the O-line plays.

    We know we have one of the best passing attacks in the NFL. With the addition of Lacy and Franklin we have now have a running game. Our defense has looked good against the run in every game. Now that Burnett is back, all we need is a healthy Hayward and our pass defense will improve.

    On paper, our O-line doesn’t have the same talent or experience at their positions as we have on the rest of the team. I believe if they can somehow gel as a unit and play above their individual limitations, that will determine whether this team is good or mediocre.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 4 Thumb down 6

    • marpag says:

      Well, I’m not sure how the O-line looked “on paper”, but I do know that yesterday they played against a good D-line, gave up just one sack, and paved the way for 180 yards rushing.

      Were you expecting something more than that?

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  6. francesco says:

    good team absolutely! but actually not playing so good as they could..MM has a lot of work to do..this is a crucial season for him…with rodgers as QB you should go to SB almost every year

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 4

  7. Razer says:

    Not sure what to think of this team. I was expecting an offense that dictated the game and imposed its will. Perhaps our new offensive genius is to kick field goals instead of flirting with the red zone. I am glad that the run game is showing strength. I am disappointed that our TE’s are not part of the picture.

    On defense, I love that our D-line is taking away the ground game. I wonder if it would have been the case with Megatron in the game.

    Still a win is a win

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

    • bubbaloo says:

      I agree Razor, Holmgren used the 2 tight end sets to a huge advantage, and I keep waiting for McPuffy to catch on, to no avail it seems. What we saw yesterday from the Packer tight ends was nothing less than disappointing.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  8. Barry says:

    Good team with mediocre coaching.

    McCarthy and Capers are average and our special teams coach is well below average. Our guys did not even know how to lineup for a kickoff without getting penalized. I would expect a coach with total focus on special teams to know that and prevent that penalty.

    It seems that our STs do something foolish every week and the STs coach really hollers loudly at them. I do not blame the players, most of them have other major responsibilities and are not properly prepared by the coaches.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 4

    • bubbaloo says:

      While we’re bashing coaches Barry I think you’d be remiss to leave out the D-Backs and O-Line coaches. Talk about inept!

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  9. Dan "FireMMNow" Blakley FireMMNow says:

    side note: receivers are playing spectacular right now. the top three all had amazing catches in that game. cobb the 1 handed catch on the deep corner route. every catch jordy made had amazing body control on the sidelines or a defender draped on him. jones had a great catch late on the left sideline.

    J-mike had a drop that was nullified by a d holding penalty, but he is playing stronger with the ball in his hands than I have ever seen him play. He has broke more tackles in three games this year than he broke all of last year.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  10. Scheny Schen says:

    Good team playing mediocre. My main concern is still MM’s inability to adjust in-game. It was clear that the bubble screens were defensed very well by Detroit, yet MM still keeps going back, even when the “look” is not there. He needs to deviate from the game-plan if the game-plan is not producing the way he expected. That is my main issue. I was very surprised that the tight ends wern’t able to accomplish more in that game, although I was very impressed with the speed and open field tackling by Detroits LB’s. that may have been the reason. Lacy looked ok, but I thought he left some yards out there. Seemed to make decisions just a hair late and I wish he lowered his head more often and danced less. Might be a bit skittish after the concussion. Important win nonetheless. Still waiting for a complete game. GoPack!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

    • Razer says:

      Right on with all your comments. Lacy needs to commit and go. A little less dancing will make a big difference for his head of steam.

      Your final words: “Still waiting for a complete game” sums it up perfectly

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

  11. Scheny Schen says:

    Ps. Our return game is about as lackluster as can be. We will need to get someone in there with some wiggle. Fielding players that can only “secure the ball” is not enough. We will need to get some explosion at some point. Even Cobb underwhelms me back there. GoPack!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  12. Elo says:

    Great question, but I think you answered it yourself – the proof is in the pudding – the Pack is 2-2. It’s all hyperbole unless they win. I too, believe they sometimes show great potential, but I’m just not going to go there until the actual game results support it.
    I was at the game yesterday and expected we weren’t going to convert either of those 3rd and ones before the ball was snapped because of the personnel we had on the field. To be a good team, you have to be able to pound the ball for one yard to get a first down. You also need to be able to stop the opponent from scoring quick touchdowns late in the game on successive down-field passes with wide open tight ends over the middle. Until the Pack does those things, they will remain mediocre.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  13. marpag says:

    I get it, Adam, and I’m not going to quibble about words, but in my opinion there ain’t no such thing as a good team playing poorly.

    Scoreboard, baby. The Packers are 2-2. Combined record of opponents, 10-9. That’s so “in the middle” that it could be the very definition of mediocre.

    It’s hard to imagine that I’m saying this, but the biggest disappointment for me so far is the PASSING OFFENSE, and the biggest reason for my disappointment is AARON RODGERS. Sure, the stats still look really good, but it seems like every game there are one or two or three totally wide open receivers and Rodgers just flat out misses them. That just never happened in the past few years. Those two or three plays a game – if they had been successful – could easily have been another 10 points and 100 yards.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

    • Mandarichbestpickever says:

      Isn’t it awesome how spoiled we are? Watch Cutler, or even Manning, for a game, then look at Aaron. All players miss a few times a game, even the Aaron God-gers.
      I’m not disagreeing with you. I expect more out of Aaron. Every miss makes me think, “this isn’t the Aaron of old.”

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Mandarichbestpickever says:

      What are the definitions of over/under-achieving?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  14. Savage57 says:

    Wow!

    Lots of thumbs down for everybody on here. I guess somebody had someone $h!t in their Wheaties this morning.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  15. Alex Parkhurst says:

    One Player who is not playing mediocre:

    Mason Crosby – He is now a weapon and not an anchor weighing us down. If our team is mediocre, he just might be the difference. His improvement couldn’t come at a better time.

    Maybe that competition worked.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  16. palmda says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

    Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 5

    • Rob says:

      They weren’t competing in San Francisco? They weren’t competing in Cincinnati?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

    • Dobber says:

      “I think that is the part of the coaches and management to get these guys fired up. I did not see that last Sunday. The fire is not there.”

      Couldn’t disagree more. It’s the role of coaches to plan and put their players in a position to succeed. If players don’t have the fire to compete on their own, they need to get out of the game…and many do.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

    • Dobber says:

      I think you mean “55th percentile”, meaning just better than average. 55% is a failing grade.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  17. johnblood27 says:

    I believe this 2013 Packers squad has the potential to be outstanding.

    Right now they are a good team playing poorly.

    My perspective is that MM sees what he has each year and lets the team mold itself into the best form of what is there.

    There were a lot more changes this offseason than before and the team is going to take some time to gain it’s footing and maximize the talent and find the schemes that work best, that is what is happening before our eyes. This Packers team is not the same team as in recent years and it is going to take some time for the players to show MM what they do best in the current context and it will take some time for MM to realize this and call the game with confidence and appropriateness.

    I literallr hold my head to keep it from exploding sometimes at MM’s playcalling. I sincerely wish he would hire an OC he has confidence in so MM can become the HC on gameday. The Packers are at a disadvantage because MM is so focused on playcalling for the offense. Other parts of the team need HC attention and they are not getting it.

    I agree with marpag that AR is playing poorly this season. He has flat out missed wide open receivers and has looked very, very scared in the pocket when the first blush of pressure shows. I sure hope that the 50+ sack seasons aren’t turning him into David Carr lite. He has passed up wide open looks to turn a run play into a success for a throw away pass instead. He can still slide I imagiine? He used to be a weapon outside the pocket by both run and pass. I dont want anything stupid like the read-option, but when we need 3 yards and the field is wide open, just get the damn first down, slide and reload.

    enough for now.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  18. bubbaloo says:

    I’ll go with good, but not real good, and playing mediocre right now, although it’s hard for me to pick between the 2 choices given. I’ve seen both from the Packers this year, and I keep waiting like so many others to see progress. I thought yesterday’s performance was actually a step backwards for the offense, and some of the play calling was atrocious. That said, I keep seeing (or maybe hoping for) some parallel to 2010 when they improved throughout the season and won it all. Ah, wishful thinking!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  19. packett says:

    mediocre team. Until GB can totally dominate the opponent on 3 out of 4 weeks, like Seahawks, Broncos, Saints, Colts….they’re mediocre. When did you last see a dominant performance? GB can go deep in playoffs, but it takes some luck, and things to fall just right. That is not an elite team, but decent team with some luck. Kind of like Patriots. Patriots are winning, but they benefit from weak competition.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

    • Dobber says:

      A win by 20 points counts the same in the standings as a win by 1 point. It’s nice to see a team take its opponents apart, but I’ll be content with the bottom line: Ws.

      With that being said, 2-2 is disappointing, but given the schedule here at the beginning of the season, not a disaster.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  20. Stroh says:

    Packers are a very good team that is playing its way up to their potential. As always w/ McCarthy he has a season plan and is looking for the Packers to develop as the year goes along. Most years under McCarthy they start slow and really hit stride mid-season then become much better and peaking for the playoffs. I like the identity the Packers are developing on both sides of the ball. Playing w/ a lot of physicality, much more than the past couple years. Packers will pick up their first road win of the season in Balt and continue their winning home ways to end the season at 11-5. In the playoffs the only place that I would be worried about is Seattle. Need to hope they don’t get homefield advantage cuz few teams can go into seattle and have a chance to win. By seasons end the Packers might be one of those teams but their not there yet. By the end of the season this team will be a very strong SB contender and one of the favorites.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

    • Dobber says:

      You–and others–who look at development over the course of the season hit the nail on the head. McCarthy teams tend to finish (at least the regular season) strong.

      It’s just a matter of keeping guys healthy and on the field.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  21. Sanguinius says:

    A good team playing a bit mediocre especially on offense and defending the middle of the field.

    Does the team have the potential to improve as the season goes on? Yes, but probably not to an elite level this year.

    The play-calling has really been bizarre this year and also quite predictable at times. 3rd and short situation and 90% of the time the team is going to pass, teams have picked up on this. When you have a bigger back like Lacey you should run a few times in that situation, or why not a QB sneak? Brady has been doing it for years in NE, teams still can’t stop it that much.

    So overall plenty of room for improvement.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  22. Germ Ike Al says:

    Im still thinking “good team”. If you look at our 2 Ls, they were very close losses to strong opponents. Cincy just shut down Tom Brady and ended his consecutive TD pass streak. Also remember that we had to play San Fran with Aldon Smith, Patrick Willis, and their top NT who is now on IR. I think we beat the 9ers if we play them week 5 instead of week 1.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  23. aj says:

    we need a new offensive coord.,mccarthy dont have imagination and repeat the same play in each game.
    when Philbin “nosferatu” was on the team,we had the best offense in the NFL,but when he´s gone mccarthy rise tom clements really????….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1