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GB-WAS Injury Report: Washington down two key WRs, Kevin King questionableby Evan "Tex" Western on December 6, 2019 at 9:35 pm
Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images The Packers are healthy once again, while Washington comes in down two receivers. For yet another week, the Green Bay Packers have a fortunate injury report. The Packers have no major notable injuries on this week’s report as they prepare to host Washington on Sunday. However, there are a pair of significant injuries on the Washington sideline, as the team from DC will be missing two of its top three wide receivers. Those players are Trey Quinn and Paul Richardson, their WR2 and WR3. Both are well behind rookie Terry McLaurin in the pecking order on the outside, as McLaurin’s 646 receiving yards make him the only player on the team with more than 300. However, that should allow the Packers to focus their pass defense on McLaurin, potentially shadowing him with Jaire Alexander throughout the game. That may be the desirable plan anyway, given the Packers’ one significant injury. Alexander’s running mate, Kevin King, is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game after being limited in practice all week with a shoulder injury. Tramon Williams and Chandon Sullivan would likely get more snaps if he cannot play — and even if he can — but given the struggles of Washington’s offense, the team may not need him much. Also questionable is reserve cornerback Tony Brown, who has not played significantly on defense since early in the season. Washington has one extra player out on Sunday, backup safety Deshazor Everett. Here are the full reports for both teams. Packers Injury Report (Friday practice status in parentheses) Questionable CB Tony Brown (limited, heel) CB Kevin King (limited, shoulder) Washington Injury Report (Friday practice status in parentheses) Out WR Trey Quinn (DNP, concussion) WR Paul RIchardson (DNP, hamstring) S Deshazor Everett (DNP, shoulder)
Washington-Packers Q&A: Evaluating Bill Callahan and Washington’s eventual coaching searchby Jason B. Hirschhorn on December 6, 2019 at 9:30 pm
Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images Andrew York of SB Nation’s Washington blog Hogs Haven answers our questions about the team. On Sunday, the Green Bay Packers return to Lambeau Field to take on Washington. Andrew York of Hogs Haven kindly volunteered to answer our questions about the Washington and provide some insight into their strengths and weaknesses. APC: Already in 2019, Washington has undergone a change at head coach, firing Jay Gruden from his post after an 0-5 start. How would you evaluate the performance of Gruden’s replacement, interim head coach Bill Callahan, and what type of coach do you expect the team will hire for the full-time position this offseason? Callahan is a contrast to Jay. Where Jay ran soft practices and was a “players’ coach”, Callahan is an old-school disciplinarian who forces the players to run wind sprints at the end of practice and has increased the number of padded practices. Where Jay was a creative signal caller who favored the passing game, Callahan prefers a simpler run heavy, smash mouth approach. One positive change implemented under Callahan is an increase in the amount of self-scouting. He’s asked the Redskins pro scouts to sit in on practices and games and give the coaching staff evaluations of our players as an independent check of their abilities and whether or not they’re being used correctly. He’s also brought college referees into our practices to call penalties when they see them in an attempt to reduce the number of penalties in games. However, he doesn’t seem to be as good of a gameplanner as Jay, nor is it clear if he has any influence on the defensive side of the ball. Callahan has also struggled with in-game decision making, like when to use timeouts or challenge a call. Overall, I think he’s done fine as an interim head coach, but I don’t think he deserves the job full time. In terms of who the team will hire, it’s tough to say because we don’t even know who will be making the decision. The team has had a vacant GM position for 2 years, and although Team President Bruce Allen has been the de facto GM, there’s a decent possibility that changes this offseason. If Bruce Allen is making the pick, then it will probably be someone he knows from his time in Tampa Bay. Owner Dan Snyder reportedly tried to trade for Mike Tomlin (a Tampa Bay connection) as soon as Jay was fired, but the Steelers weren’t interested in his offer. The team could make another run at Tomlin in the offseason. Redskins VP of Player Personnel Doug Williams has a close relationship with Todd Bowles, so he is another possibility. If I were to make the pick, I’d try hard to get Gary Kubiak. He’s a proven Super Bowl winning head coach and an offensive guy who’d be able to provide stability for our rookie QB. If not him, I’d look to a young and rising DC like Matt Eberflus or Robert Saleh and follow a Bills style rebuild, focusing on the defense (which is the strength of the team from a personnel perspective). We’d like to thank Andrew. Be sure to check out the rest of our Q&A session with Hogs Haven over the course of the week as well as our Q&A session over there. As always, keep your internet machines tuned to Acme Packing Company this Sunday for our comprehensive game-day coverage of Washington versus Green Bay.
Lack of consistent touches after breakthrough games may define Aaron Jones’ Packers careerby Shawn Wagner on December 6, 2019 at 6:30 pm
Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports The third-year pro has struggled to be utilized to full capacity, especially in games following significant offensive output. Every NFL team wants a running back that has home run ability as a rusher and reliable hands to present danger as a receiver. The Green Bay Packers, luckily, have one on their roster. Yet, for the better part of three seasons, they have chosen not to take consistent advantage. A significant fear now is that the Packers will never employ Aaron Jones to his maximum ability while he is on the roster. Jones only has one more year under contract in Green Bay after being drafted in the fifth round in 2017 and there is a more than reasonable chance he will not be extended. Management has not shown a tendency to value the running back position as one of any premium, and even the flashes Jones has shown on the way to 14 combined touchdowns in 13 games so far in 2019 figure to generate an offer the Packers are unwilling to match. Knowing this could be the case, why would Green Bay choose not to amplify Jones’ workload while a member of the team? From Mike McCarthy to Matt LaFleur, there has been a concerted effort to reduce the mileage on Jones throughout the season. Injuries, admittedly, have been a concern, and Jones does seem more primed this season to be a healthy factor down the stretch. But his workload has been curious coming off of some of his best games, dating back to his rookie year in 2017. After Jones totaled his first 100-yard rushing game of his career against Dallas in week five that season, he took just 13 handoffs the following week. Albeit, the opponent was a stingy Minnesota defense, but Jones was a relative non-factor. The very next week, Jones once again crossed the century mark versus New Orleans before the bye and came back the following game to carry the ball just five times at home against Detroit. While injuries affected Jones for the remainder of the season, he would never carry the ball more than four times a game the rest of the way. Moving to 2018, Green Bay was slow to commit to Jones, with the back receiving no more than 11 carries in a single game until week 8. Perhaps due to media and fan pressure, the Packers began to utilize Jones more consistently from that point on with 12-15 carries over a three-game stretch, in addition to a handful of catches out of the backfield. Suddenly, the Packers abandoned the running game in Seattle with Jones carrying just 11 times, but he did manage five receptions for 63 yards to be a weapon in other ways. The following weeks, despite seeing targets as a receiver, Jones’ carry logs would be 17, 11, 17, and 4 (influenced by injury). Despite Jones showing that he could handle more touches until his knee injury in Chicago, he rarely received those carries in back-to-back weeks. That leads us to this very season, 2019. Even with a new head coach and playcaller, the chart below points to Jones, once again, struggling to get consistent touches in games following impressive outputs. For example, a 27-touch, 150-yard performance in week two was followed up by 11 touches for 13 yards in week three. Another 26-touch, 182-yard day in week five was backed up with just 15 touches for 60 yards in week six. A 20-touch, 226-yard show in Kansas City resulted in just nine touches for 29 yards in Los Angeles. In fact, after seven receptions against the Chiefs, Jones had just one catch over the next three weeks. Year after year, Jones’ usage comes under scrutiny and there has never been a clear rhyme or reason for why he cannot be a vital part of the game plan week in and week out. It was understandable as a rookie, but now in year three, one has to wonder if fans will ever get to see Jones in a season-long bellcow role. In the team’s three losses, Jones has failed to eclipse 13 carries and in only one of those games was he truly relied on in the passing game. From the head coach to the quarterback, there needs to be an emphasis for the remainder of the season to get Jones, one of the team’s most explosive playmakers, involved - not just occasionally, but every week. Otherwise, he may leave Green Bay leaving everyone to wonder “what if” for a long time to come.
Washington-Packers Q&A: Evaluating rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskinsby Jason B. Hirschhorn on December 6, 2019 at 6:00 pm
Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images Andrew York of SB Nation’s Washington blog Hogs Haven answers our questions about the team. On Sunday, the Green Bay Packers return to Lambeau Field to take on Washington. Andrew York of Hogs Haven kindly volunteered to answer our questions about the Washington and provide some insight into their strengths and weaknesses. APC: Washington named Dwayne Haskins as the starting quarterback last month. Now with four starts under his belt, what are the rookie signal-caller’s strengths and weaknesses at this point in his career? He is very raw at virtually all aspects of the QB position. This was know from the beginning, as he only started one year at Ohio State. He has made mistakes in processing the field, reading defenses, calling protections, and calling plays correctly at the line. However, he has very visibly improved in all of these areas since starting, and will no doubt continue to improve. One of his biggest strengths is that he has a cannon of an arm and can throw the ball effortlessly 50 yards down the field. He has proven to be surprisingly elusive in the pocket, and has shown a lot of ability the last couple of games at extending plays. He’s also fearless; the prospect of getting hit doesn’t seem to scare him, and he bounces back from mistakes without playing timid. His biggest sticking points have been footwork and knowing when to throw the ball away or take a checkdown. In terms of footwork, I think his big arm has allowed Dwayne to get away with poor footwork in college, because he has enough arm strength to push the ball downfield without setting his feet properly. However, his poor footwork results in inaccurate throws in the short to intermediate areas of the field. It’s the same problem Lamar Jackson had his rookie year, and it took Jackson an offseason of consciously practicing his footwork to correct it. I think the same will be true of Haskins. We’d like to thank Andrew. Be sure to check out the rest of our Q&A session with Hogs Haven over the course of the week as well as our Q&A session over there. As always, keep your internet machines tuned to Acme Packing Company this Sunday for our comprehensive game-day coverage of Washington versus Green Bay.
Friday Curds: Packers benefiting from healthy rosterby Jason B. Hirschhorn on December 6, 2019 at 2:00 pm
Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images The Packers haven’t enjoyed such a healthy roster this late into the season in several years. For years, a large segment of Twitter referred to the Green Bay Packers as the “PackIRs.” Though that moniker might some day return, the team has managed to largely avoid major injuries in the first year of Matt LaFleur’s tenure. Though not the only reason for the Packers’ 9-3 record, the good health has played an important role in the success under a first-time head coach. Packers coach Matt LaFleur knows firsthand the importance of a heathy late-season roster | Packers News LaFleur understands and acknowledges the benefit of player availability to his team’s success. But while roster health can vary randomly, the Packers have made a concerted effort to load manage their players, especially older ones. LaFleur also credits the work of the strength and conditioning staff as well as “Flea” and the athletic trainers. Exploring potential Packers playoff scenarios with ESPN’s Playoff Machine | Packers Wire This came out before the Chicago Bears defeated the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday Night Football, but most of the scenarios remain intact. The Packers can still reach the No. 1 seed and can still miss the playoffs altogether. More likely, they’ll battle it out with the Minnesota Vikings for the division crown and the third seed. Rashan Gary has ‘made improvement from Day 1’ | Packers.com The development and play of first-round rookie Rashan Gary has become a divisive topic among Packers fans, many of which wished the team would have selected a different pass rusher, a linebacker, or another weapon for the offense. However, Green Bay’s coaching staff sees Gary as an ascending player, one whose potential might not manifest until next year. “He’s on a progression,” defensive coordinator Mike Pettine says, “he’s on a path that we feel he’s made improvement from Day 1 and we’re certainly confident that’s going to continue. At 36, a ‘more cerebral’ Aaron Rodgers remains a potent weapon for Packers | Packers News Rodgers claims to have “sharper muscle memory” than in the past and has made incremental improvements to the mechanics of his game. ”When I first got into the league, it was a lot of one-speed throws. Just lasers on a line, and I think over the years I really learned how to put touch on the ball and use eye discipline and use my legs to put myself in a position to make more accurate throws.”