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Could 2018 finally spell the end of Mike McCarthy's fullback

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Could 2018 finally spell the end of Mike McCarthy's fullback

Messagepar panxing18 » Mar 12 Fév 2019 03:13

Any true Green Bay Packes fan has had the following text exchange with a fellow Cheesehead:“If they run that fucking fullback dive play one more time , I’m going to throw something.” When it works, the existential questions about wanting your team to succeed while balancing Mike McCarthy’s willingness to once again reach for that playcall tortures any astute fan of the Green & Gold. “Dammit, now MM is going to call it again,” might read the text. I dunno, just spitballing here. John Kuhn became a folk hero before Aaron Ripkowski was tabbed to replace him. Rip hasn’t performed nearly as well as a blocker or a receiver and his fumble in the 2016 NFC Championship Game represents a somewhat forgotten turning point in that game. Once the Packers didn’t score there, it was basically over.Even without accounting for Ripkowski’s underwhelming tenure with the Packers (how high can the expectations reasonably be for a modern fullback?) there are structural reasons to believe Green Bay may be ready to move on.What do the Packers really need with a fullback so long as Aaron Rodgers is the quarterback? They can spread teams out more effectively and create matchup problems more consistently with tight end movement than with fullbacks. And it seems as though the team has realized it. Brian Gutekunst brought in Jimmy Graham and Marcedes Lewis along with an undrafted athlete in Robert Tonyan, who has fought to make this team. The more the Packers can play two tight ends, the less often they would play with a fullback. Lewis in particular brings the kind of blocking chops Ripkowski lacks and clearly has the higher upside as a receiver. Through two preseason games, the Packers have played with just one running back or fewer on nearly 84% of offensive snaps per Pro Football Focus. That’s close to what this offense looked like in 2016 (the last full Aaron Rodgers season) when a fullback was on the field for roughly 12% of offensive snaps. During that year, when Rodgers was in "Run The Table" mode, Green Bay deployed the most four-receiver formations in football according to Sharp Football and the second-most five receiver sets. Given the quality of the receivers on this roster and the possibility that the Packers may have to keep seven players at the position, there should be a desire to get the maximum amount of playmakers on the field at once. Even some of the traditional two running back looks could be deployed by McCarthy with Ty Mongtomery and one of the other backs, not for blocking purposes but matchups. How will defenses treat Montgomery? Do they go sub-package and use a corner or a safety? Do they treat this as heavy personnel and keep their linebackers in? Either way, that creates an advantage for the Packers. This type of positional flexibility doesn’t exist with a player like Ripkowski. Splitting him out in spread simply creates a 1-for-1 trade. The Packers are sacrificing an offensive weapon to simply take up a defender. There’s no reason they should have to do that when they could simply put Marcedes Lewis or Lance Kendricks out there and have him actually be a threat. Ron Zook and McCarthy like the versatility of fullbacks on special teams, but again, the presence of quality tight ends preclude the necessity for fullbacks in such a role, particularly when they’re going to be so limited in terms of their use in the offense. The Aaron Jones suspension complicates the matter even further. With Jones sitting the first two games , the Packers may be forced to keep an emergency running back on the roster instead of a spot that might otherwise go to a fullback. Once Jones returns, some roster shuffling could open up aspot for the fullback, but with three capable running backs and at least that many tight ends, do the Packers really have the luxury of keeping such a niche player on their roster? These tight ends, including the surprising Tonyan, actually possess offensive value above and beyond limited effectiveness in the run game. All four are more adept pass catchers and though Kendricks isn’t a great blocker, his skill and versatility should make him considerably more valuable offensively than any fullback. The time has come for McCarthy to ditch his pet plays and start maximizing the talent on his roster. The construction of this team hints he may finally be ready to let go. At the very least eschewing a fullback would save Packers fans on their phone bills. Always the perfectionist, that Aaron Rodgers.The Green Bay Packers quarterback looked a little more mobile playing for a third straight week with a brace on his injured left knee. But he felt like he didn't have his best day on Sunday against the Buffalo Bills.The defense had his back.The Packers had seven sacks and pitched a shutout for the first time in eight years in a 22-0 win over the Buffalo Bills."Yeah, we were championship defensive level and non-playoff team offensive level today. That was not great by any stretch of the imagination," Rodgers said.And that was after a shutout.Rodgers was 22 of 40 for 298 yards with one touchdown. Green Bay (2-1-1) had decisive edges in total offense (423-145) and first downs (22-11).Rodgers also threw an interception off a deflected pass and fumbled the ball away on a sack early in the fourth quarter. The offense wasn't as productive in the second half after a fast start."It was as bad as we've played on offense with that many yards in a long time," Rodgers said.When considering that the two-time NFL MVP is playing through an injury, and that the offense didn't have Randall Cobb because of a sore hamstring, the Packers weren't actually that bad. Two 52-yard field goals from Mason Crosby helped bail the offense out, too."Aaron's just gutting it out, I thought he played really well," coach Mike McCarthy said. "I think what he's fighting through is a tremendous asset to our football team."The Bills (1-3) were much worse.Rookie quarterback Josh Allen accounted for three turnovers, including two interceptions and a fumble late in the fourth quarter that stood on review. He was 16 of 33 for 151 yards.The Bills had a much tougher time on the road in the NFC North , a week after a stunning win at heavily favored Minnesota."I take this one on my shoulders," Allen said. "We can only go as far as the quarterback goes."BILLS BITSBuffalo did manage to force Rodgers to throw his first interception of the year . But a 16-0 lead at the half was more than enough cushion against Buffalo's feeble offense. Even the return of running back LeSean McCoy, who missed a game because of a rib injury, didn't help Buffalo."We were out of rhythm on offense. We needed to find some consistency," coach Sean McDermott said.GOING TO GRAHAMRodgers and Jimmy Graham connected on their first touchdown pass of the year . Signed in the offseason as a free agent, the athletic tight end made his first official Lambeau Leap after a touchdown earlier this season was wiped out by a flag."Usually they come in bunches, so hopefully this is the beginning," said Graham, who finished with 21 yards on three catches.ANOTHER AARONAaron Jones added 65 yards and a score on 11 carries for the Packers, who slowed in the second half after a fast start on offense. A slasher with big-play ability, Jones could eventually emerge as the top ballcarrier in the Packers' crowded backfield.PACKER POUNDINGA physical defense for Green Bay held the Bills to eight punts and three turnovers on their first 11 drives. Kyler Fackrell had three sacks.Things went so well for the D that linebacker Clay Matthews was credited for a half-sack after drawing roughing-the-passer penalties in each of the first three weeks."We've got to make sure we establish the line of scrimmage and that sets up the running game, that sets up the pass game," McDermott said. "But you've got to make sure you're winning your one-on-one, whatever that is."INJURIESMcCoy finished with 24 yards on five carries, and 13 yards on three receptions. He walked out of the locker room after the game with what appeared his left hand heavily wrapped. ... Bills WR Kelvin Benjamin had one catch for 34 yards before leaving in the third quarter to be evaluated for a head injury... S Micah Hyde had a disappointing return to Lambeau after leaving in the first quarter with a groin injury. Hyde left the Packers as a free agent after the 2016 season. ... Packers WR Geronimo Allison left in the third quarter to be evaluated for a concussion.UP NEXTBills: Host Tennessee Titans on Sunday.Packers: Visit Detroit Lions on Sunday.
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