Every Thursday, Patrick Kotnik provides two observations, a quote of the week, one question, and a prediction regarding the Green Bay Packers.
The front office once again shows they’re all in — Say what you want about Team President Mark Murphy, GM Brian Gutekunst and the rest of the front office, but they’ve shown once again that they are indeed all in for this 2021 season.
The team is bolstering its pass rush with veteran Whitney Mercilus, according to reports on Wednesday, joining fellow veterans Rasul Douglas and Jaylon Smith as recent additions on Green Bay’s defense.
— Eli Berkovits (@BookOfEli_NFL) October 20, 2021
Now we know the Green Bay Packers were all in for this season with Rodgers and company with this potentially being his last season in the green and gold. The contract restructures, one-year deals and recent additions of these veterans along with trades for Corey Bojorquez and even Randall Cobb (at the request of Rodgers) as well as the offseason signing of De’Vondre Campbell have all backed that up.
Of course, another reason for these signings has been injuries to starters Jaire Alexander, Kevin King and Preston Smith.
Again, say what you want about the front office and this whole Rodgers saga and so on, Gutekunst has drafted fairly well as GM and hasn’t been afraid to be active in free agency to fill needs and add depth. Yes, the Packers still emphasize player development which is important, but utilizing free agency wasn’t among Ted Thompson’s priorities when it came to roster management and that’s been a welcome change under Gutekunst.
Green Bay's defense currently ranks fifth in the NFL for total yards allowed. 💪
Packers Daily ⤵️ pic.twitter.com/ejiqTiBgVN
— Green Bay Packers (@packers) October 20, 2021
Somehow, someway the Green Bay Packers are 5-1 despite numerous injuries and that’s an ode to the team’s player development, evaluation and signings.
AJ Dillon is perfect for “the closer” role — I wrote a couple of weeks ago how wrong it was for Matt LaFleur to abandon the run late in the game against Steelers when AJ Dillon was hitting his stride.
Thankfully the Green Bay Packers stuck with the run up by 10 late in the game with Dillon in the backfield, effectively running out the clock. With 2:14 to go, the Packers sealed the game with a couple of first downs thanks to rushes of 8, 3, 9 and 3 yards by Dillon.
This is a role similar to that of Hall of Famer Jerome Bettis. Football is a war of attrition, especially late in games and when you need to run the clock out. It helps to have a bruiser like Dillon because let’s face it, defenses (even a stout front like Chicago’s) don’t want to tackle a 247-pound back when they’re tired.
— MJ Hurley (@Mjhurleysports) October 19, 2021
It’s just one of the many ways the Green Bay Packers can utilize the former second-round draft pick.
Quote(s) of the Week: “He’s a veteran guy that’s played a lot of ball, but it was good to see him perform to the level that we thought he could do.” —Matt LaFleur on cornerback Rasul Douglas
Let me just start by saying no quote from the week will surpass what Rodgers said to the Chicago crowd after his rushing touchdown. So let’s talk about one of the newest Packers.
After spending last week on the inactive list against the Bengals, Douglas made the most of his opportunity against the Bears — replacing Isaac Yiadom and playing 85% percent of the defensive snaps.
Aside from a helmet-to-helmet hit on Justin Fields, Douglas had a solid game for someone who was just signed a couple of weeks ago.
NFL QB Rating: 66.0
— Jake Morley (@JacobMorley) October 18, 2021
Douglas has had his ups and downs as I mentioned two weeks ago but don’t judge signings before they have a chance to play out. He’s played a lot of football since he’s entered the league in 2017 and is showing his capability to hold down Green Bay’s injury-riddled secondary.
1 Question: What does the offensive line look like when Bakhtiari returns?
With All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari returning the practice, it’s fair to wonder how much shuffling will take place once he’s ready to play.
Whenever Bakhtiari does return, the Green Bay Packers have options. A potential starting lineup could be Bakhtiari at left tackle, Elgton Jenkings at left guard, Josh Myers at center, Royce Newman at right guard and Billy Turner at right tackle.
Depending on how long Myers is out, his backup in Lucas Patrick can continue to fill in for him. The Packers could also opt to start Jenkins at center. Jon Runyan Jr. could start at either left or right guard. He and Patrick could replace Newman at right guard if the rookie struggles continue. Billy Turner could also play guard if needed which could lead to Jenkins shifting to right tackle.
The good thing here is that the Packers have depth which gives them options with players who can play multiple positions. Yosh Nijman is also available on the bench with three starts at left tackle this season under his belt.
1 Prediction: Davante Adams records another 200-yard receiving game this season
I found it hard to believe Green Bay’s thrilling win over the Bengals was Adams’ first 200-yard receiving game of his career, but he’s been close before.
Why teams still decide to single cover the league’s best receiver and route runner at times is beyond me. Although his four receptions on Sunday were a season-low, they still amounted to 89 yards which further goes to show that Adams can impact the game any time he touches the ball.
Of course, you’d think that more teams will make Adams a focal point for their secondaries, but he’s the best receiver in the game for a reason and will find a way to keep making plays for the Green Bay offense. That will include another 200-yard receiving performance this season.