Huddle Up: Which are the real Packers?

Stu Courtney
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Each week, Press-Gazette Media will look at national stories involving the Green Bay Packers as well as stories about their opponents this season:

Packers:  Carolina’s convincing 37-29 victory over Green Bay signals a changing of the guard in the NFC, writes Alex Marvez of “So which are the real Packers?” Marvez asks. “Will they carry the late momentum from Sunday’s loss into the second half of the season or was all the preseason Super Bowl hype unjustified?”

Packers: Green Bay (6-2) might be the slowest team in the NFL when it comes to speed at the skill positions in the passing game, writes Rob Demovsky of, citing an analysis of past 40-yard dash times of all 32 teams’ top three receivers and No. 1 tight end. The Packers’ combined average time of 4.65 ranks dead last, which could help explain their passing-game struggles. On the other hand, the Patriots (4.64) rank next-to-last and they don’t seem to be having any problems scoring points.

Packers: The Packers have been consistent winners the past two decades because they do an outstanding job of building 53-man rosters, according to Lynn Henning of the Detroit News. “Unlike the Lions, who have had decades of issues on the personnel front, the Packers use deep drafts and an eye for the unemployed or under-appreciated in crafting seasons that often feature deep-running playoff teams,” Henning writes.

Lions: Could coach Jim Caldwell survive the upheaval going on with the Lions (1-7), who last week dismissed their president and general manager? Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press notes that after the 2012 season, both the Jets and Panthers shook up their front offices but left their coaches (Buddy Ryan in New York, Ron Rivera in Carolina) in place. “We’re not the lone wolves in this regard,” Caldwell said.

Lions: The futures of quarterback Matthew Stafford and wide receiver Calvin Johnson in Detroit could be linked, writes Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “If the Lions decide to start anew at quarterback, for instance, it might not make sense to keep a receiver with one of the highest cap figures in the league,” Birkett writes.

Vikings: After getting thumped 20-3 by the 49ers in their season opener at San Francisco, the Vikings (6-2) will fly out to the Bay Area a day early, departing after Friday’s practice rather than waiting till Saturday as they prepare to face the Raiders in Oakland on Sunday. “Go back to the first game,” Vikings running back Adrian Peterson told Matt Vensel of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, “it just felt like we were playing at 10 o’clock at night. Our bodies just weren’t adjusting to that.”

Bears: Alshon Jeffery has been unstoppable for the Bears (3-5) since returning from a strained hamstring, notes Adam L. Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times, surpassing 100 yards in receiving for three consecutive games. “He’s making it easy on me,” quarterback Jay Cutler said.

Cowboys: Dallas’ defense has struggled to maintain a consistent pass rush, writes Brandon George of the Dallas Morning News, and that has played a part in the Cowboys (2-6) forcing a league-low four turnovers. “Your ability to affect the quarterback is really what leads to a number of turnovers in this league,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said, “and we haven’t done a good enough job of that on a consistent basis.”

— and follow him on Twitter @Stucourt

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