Packers Morning Buzz: London organizers determined to bring Green Bay overseas
Welcome to your Morning Buzz, rounding up news and views regarding the Green Bay Packers from around the web and here at PackersNews.com.
We'll start with the ongoing efforts to get the Packers to play overseas. The Packers are the only NFL team not to play in London, and luring them there remains a priority for the International Series, NFL UK managing director Alistair Kirkwood said, via ESPN UK.
"We want a volunteer home team where the Green Bay Packers are on the away schedule," Kirkland told the Nat Coombs podcast. "That would be a really nice ribbon to attach to this whole journey.
"There have been times over the past two or three years where I thought we were going to get the Packers, and there are always other elements and aspects going on behind the scenes.
"You [the NFL] have an idea four years out as to what the game schedules look like every single season, some of it will be luck and design, and some of it will be because we want to make it happen.
"There is a desire to say that we've had all 32 teams. The Packers themselves have said they would love to come over, it's just up to us to make it happen."
You can find the whole ESPN UK story here:
ESPN's NFL Nation reporters review the first half of the season and address each team's outlook. Here's beat reporter Rob Demovsky's analysis of the Packers:
First half in two words: First place. Despite Sunday's dud against the Chargers, the Packers lead the NFC North in what many thought would be a rebuilding year under new coach Matt LaFleur. But quarterback Aaron Rodgers wasn't kidding when he said this offseason there's no grace period for this team. After two years out of the playoffs, the Packers look like a contender again.
First-half MVP: Brian Gutekunst. The second-year GM knew he needed to fortify his defense and went all-in on that side of the ball. He hit home runs with sack leaders Preston Smith and Za'Darius Smith and found a stabilizing force in safety Adrian Amos. He drafted a budding star in safety Darnell Savage. Only top overall pick Rashan Gary has been a bit of a disappointment, but there's time to groom him. The only knock on Gutekunst was his failure to give Rodgers another weapon, but a GM can't address every shortcoming in one season.
The second half will be a success if: Rodgers and the offense are more like what they showed against the Raiders and Chiefs than the way they looked against the Chargers. Rodgers put himself back into the NFL MVP race after the two former games, but the entire offense was a failure in the last loss. With Davante Adams back from his toe injury, Rodgers and LaFleur have to figure out how to mesh their Pro Bowl receiver with the success running backs Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams enjoyed while Adams was out.
You can read about the other 31 teams here:
There are questions about the Packers' run defense. Pete Dougherty might have an answer:
The Packers' punt-return team is in danger of being historically inept:
Former second-round pick Josh Jackson remains buried on the depth chart at defensive back:
In their Green 19 Packers Podcast, Tom Silverstein and Jim Owczarski break down the keys to Sunday's game against the Panthers:
Green Bay is well represented on USA Today's NFL all-breakout team, with three starters:
RB — Aaron Jones, Packers: For all of the spring and summer speculation about what Matt LaFleur's offense would look like for Aaron Rodgers, there remained a good deal of intrigue about whether the attack would better utilize Jones, who led the NFL with 5.5 yards per carry in 2018 but was still used sparingly. At midseason, Jones has already nearly surpassed last year's touch total (157 to 159) and, with 11 total touchdowns, ably handled the duties of an all-purpose catalyst. As effective as he's been on the ground, Jones adds an all-important dimension with his ability to split out wide and create mismatches against linebackers, which LaFleur utilized repeatedly in a win over the Chiefs.
CB — Jaire Alexander, Packers: The second-year standout is intent on becoming the NFL's next lockdown corner, and he already plays with a bravado befitting the role. For most of the year, Alexander has bottled up opposing receivers and tracked down the ball when quarterbacks have tested him, as his 11 passes defensed rank second in the league. His next step, however, will be to rein in his overly audacious tendencies, which Cowboys WR Amari Cooper capitalized on while recording 11 catches for 226 yards in their September matchup.
P — JK Scott, Packers: Labeled a "weapon" by Pro Bowl left tackle David Bakhtiari and a "true difference-maker" by coach Matt LaFleur, Scott has helped Green Bay frequently flip the field with a 42.5 net yards per punt average.
You can check out the rest of the team here:
The Packers got a good look Sunday at the other team that former Cowboys executive Gil Brandt deemed to be better than its record:
The 49ers host the Packers two weeks from Sunday:
Packers tight end Jimmy Graham talks about his passion for flying (as he did in this Jim Owczarski story) ahead of Veteran's Day:
Will Packers GM Brian Gutekunst's phone be ringing?
And finally: Lions coach Matt Patricia practicing the fine art of talking up your opponent:
Contact Stu Courtney at (920) 431-8377 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @stucourt