Our guys give their predictions for the Week 14 showdown between the Green Bay Packers and the Cleveland Browns. (Dec. 8, 2017) USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin
It’s finally here. The game fans have been asking me about for over a month is finally about to be played. The fears of dubious Packers fans everywhere could be laid bare for all to see if Mike McCarthy’s team can’t find a way to get out of Cleveland with a victory.
“What if the Packers lose to the Browns?” is something I’ve been hearing pretty much every day since Aaron Rodgers broke his collarbone and Brett Hundley took over as the starting quarterback in Green Bay.
I’ll say this, no matter what happens on Sunday, it shouldn’t be viewed as anything close to approaching a referendum on Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy ... but if they lose, it undoubtedly will be in certain corners of the fan base.
On to your other pressing questions.
From Noah Peterson:
With general manager openings in Cleveland and New York, and maybe a few more to come, should the Packers make some kind of preemptive move to keep Eliot Wolf in Green Bay? I know Ted Thompson is still under contract for a few more years, but do you think Mark Murphy would possibly ask Ted to take an early retirement for the good of the franchise?
Well, as you’ve undoubtedly read by now, that Cleveland opening closed up real quick with the Browns announcing the hiring of former Packers personnel man John Dorsey on Thursday. Dorsey would have undoubtedly been on Murphy’s short list to interview for the job in Green Bay if and when he decides it’s time to move on from Thompson.
As far as Murphy trying to keep Wolf in Green Bay, the team has given him several promotions, not to mention several raises, to do just that. They’ve denied him opportunities to interview for positions in the past, but that changed somewhat over the course of the last year. Interestingly enough, Ernie Accorsi, who is helping head up the Giants’ search for a new GM, recommended Wolf to the Lions but the Packers reportedly ending up denying the interview request.
Murphy and the Packers would undoubtedly like to keep Wolf in the fold, but that’s going to get harder and harder the more chances he gets to interview. One thing working in the Packers' favor is his age. At 35, Wolf is still relatively young among the personnel landscape and teams may shy away from handing the keys to someone quite that young.
When it comes to the Packers and Thompson, I don’t see anything changing until at least the end of Thompson’s contract, which reportedly runs through the next two drafts. Not only that, but it wouldn’t shock me entirely if Murphy gave Thompson a contract extension of a few years.
That may not be what some Packers fans want to hear, but it’s certainly a possibility. Murphy hasn’t had to make too many big decisions when it comes to the football side of the franchise. He’d undoubtedly like to keep the continuity in that part of the building, and the annual trips to the postseason, going for as long as possible.
Murphy has expressed his confidence in and admiration for the job Thompson is doing on countless occasions. There’s little to suggest he has any interest in shaking things up any time soon, especially with a move as dramatic as pushing Thompson out for Wolf.
From Mike Allen:
While pondering why we’ve had such bad luck with cornerback injuries over the past few years, I started to wonder if it has anything to do with the prevalence of Capers’ “soft zone” schemes. Leaving underneath routes wide open often puts added pressure on DBs to close from a distance, well after the catch, and then make difficult, high speed open field tackles. Thoughts?
Not sure I buy that, Mike.
Each and every player, not just the guys in the secondary, do a ton of running and hitting throughout the year, whether in the offseason, during camp or in regular and postseason games.
I highly doubt having a few extra plays where they are required to cover some extra ground is really going to cause anything more than what I would chalk up to normal wear and tear from playing football.
Now, maybe there’s a correlation to the action you’re talking about and some of the soft-tissue injuries that have popped up in the secondary over the years, but confirming that would undoubtedly require access to a lot of the player performance data that the Packers keep.