Is It Actually Good That Green Bay Won?

Commonly, teams bounce back the week after firing their head coach, due to a newfound sense of urgency, willingness to what to improve and other extenuating reasons. But normally a team does not come out and play as well as Green Bay did after firing their head coach of 13 seasons.

But here we are, talking about the fifth victory of the season, a 34-20 win at home against the equally-hapless Atlanta Falcons. This loss by Atlanta pushes them even farther up in the draft order, falling to 4-9 on the season and 1-5 on the road. Green Bay moved to 5-7-1 and 5-1-1 at home.

With the victory, the Joe Philbin-led Packers now have a six percent chance to make the playoffs, a subtle increase for a team that, to help with its refresh (not rebuild) needs to miss the playoffs.

While a storied franchise never wants to miss the playoffs after being so used to making it year after year, there comes a time where having a bad season is helpful. It provides a golden opportunity to retool, and especially for this franchise that has the integral pieces in the right places, a chance to work on its most glaring weaknesses.

The game began at a decent pace, with both teams scoring on their opening possessions. Touchdown catches by Julio Jones and Davante Adams paced the first quarter, but that was all that was heard from the Atlanta offense until the second half.

For Joe Philbin, even though he has been an offensive coordinator and head coach for many years in this league, today marked his first career game calling plays, something very hard to believe.

Philbin’s game plan was decently consistent, but it was quite evident where his play choice inspiration came from. He was able to incorporate a few more wrinkles into the plan, including motion and formation differences, but the schematic elements remained mostly consistent to Mike McCarthy calls. A big-time positive from the calls was that he made sure Aaron Rodgers was either in the shotgun or involved in quick, two-step drops, limiting the damage of the Falcons’ rush that was taking advantage of three linemen (Byron Bell, Bryan Bulaga and Lane Taylor) all being out.

Less possession play calls were made, meaning that such plays as receiver screens were utilized less than normal, helping create a better offensive flow. Philbin also used Jamaal Williams more than Aaron Jones unfortunately, but thankfully that trend only existed in the first half. Jones made the most of his touches, scoring on a 29-yard run just under the six-minute mark in the third quarter.

Defensively, game balls go to Jaire Alexander, Bashaud Breeland and Tony Brown.

Alexander was tasked with following Julio Jones all across the field, and while Jones finished with eight catches for 106 yards and two scores, most of that yardage and one of the scores was tallied on the opening drive. Jones was blanketed for most of the game by number 23, and the Louisville rookie has more than earned the designation of number one corner on the team.

Breeland recorded the team’s first defensive touchdown of the season and his second in his career, house-calling a pass from Matt Ryan deep in Atlanta territory. This was Ryan’s 16th career pick-six, a big-time asterisk on an otherwise solid quarterback.

Brown is the more surprising pick here, especially when considering his stat line of only five tackles. However, Brown has done some considerable growing up this season, being thrown into the fire with injuries striking the secondary unit. Brown loves to lay down the law too, as he forced a non-called fumble of Mohamed Sanu after Sanu turned up field, right into Brown’s helmet.

Overall, Philbin’s first game as Green Bay’s head coach was not by any means career defining, but it was a solid performance that was not surprising to see. Philbin is one of the elder coaching staff members on this team, with both head-coaching and prior GB coordinator experience adding up to someone who was great to help right the ship after a tumultuous week.

For his future, while he has been a solid voice for Green Bay, and his pedigree is well respected, he should not by any means be considered for the full-time promotion.

He has the respect of the players and fellow coaching members, which is fine and dandy, but he lacks the creative juices and willingness to adapt to current succeeding offensive measures to take full advantage of what is left of AR’s career. Philbin is a solid offensive coordinator option, but not one that I fully believe could lead this team back to what we all know and have been forced to reminisce about lately.

Speaking about if this win was a good thing, there are a few reasons to be skeptical, most notably the draft status and the status of Philbin.

Relating to the draft, a selection in the top 10 is what is going to most benefit this team going forward. While I would not be disappointed with a top-15 pick, being able to be in the top 10 provides so many more options, one of which includes packaging that pick and other assets to move up and severely improve any aspect of the team.

Relating to Philbin, yesterday’s performance cannot become one that sticks in Mark Murphy’s and Brian Gutekunst’s heads when it comes time to conduct interviews. Especially if the team wins out, way too much stock will be put into what kind of coach Philbin is, severely stunting the coaching search that needs to occur.

Again, nothing against Philbin, but he just is not the correct fit for this team at this time. They require a leader who is going to renovate this offensive game plan to the point where we can be inserted into the grouping of offenses redefining the league. Sorry chief, Philbin ain’t it.

As always, leave your thoughts, concerns and questions in the comments below! Also want to give a big shoutout to everyone who read my article last week about why Green Bay needed to lose. I felt that was one of my favorite ones to write so far, and with how the season has gone, it was cool to see the amount of interest fans had after McCarthy was let go.      


Mike Johrendt has been an avid fan of the Packers ever since he can remember. He is now a writer at PackersTalk and you can follow him on Twitter at @MJohrendt23



11 thoughts on “Is It Actually Good That Green Bay Won?

  1. So what is your experience with hiring coaches that makes you think ” Philbin lacks the creative juices and willingness to adapt to current succeeding offensive measures to take full advantage of what is left of AR’s career” ?

  2. How can Philbin change the offensive scheme with 0 off season? The players memorized Mike McCarthy’s playbook so therefore they have to run plays out of that playbook.

  3. You’re were assuming that Green Bay would throw the last four games? With all the tools we already got, plus two first round draft picks? Honestly, just let the professionals who run that organization do their thing! They have to see who they’re going to keep, and who they’re going to part ways with the very first week of their offseason. Which, considering their schedule, I’m assuming will be the wild card week of the playoffs. LOL

  4. why is no one addressing the elephant in the room – which is the possibility that Rodgers played “slow” on purpose to get McCarthy out and now suddenly is looking more like his old self? ?????

    1. Shame on you. He loves the game to which he has devoted his life. And, he has a solid ego; he wants the numbers.

      1. which is why he had to get rid of McCarthy…just wonderin….

  5. How about putting Saints QB coach Joe Lombardi in the discussion? He’d make an excellent HC!

    1. I’ve been thinking about him too. He’s a QB coach in New Orleans and now I know what is job is with the Saints. Being Vince’s grandson makes it extra special. He’d also be able to handle Rodgers and I think they would be able to work together. If not him I like the Raven’s coach. Of the two Harbaugh’s he’s the only one I like.

  6. many points.

    first: i don’t like when other writers or fellow fans tell other fans how to be fans.. the world is diverse with diverse opinions. if you don’t believe that the Packers tanking can be a good thing, fine, i understand; however: there are other points of view.. please don’t force your view on others.

    second: the percentages of the Packers entering the playoffs are subjective.. the only way to accurately get a percentage is by knowing all of the variables involved, and: there are way too many variables for anyone to be accurate. that is, until a team is eliminated.

    third: let’s wait until after next weekend to decide if tanking is the right strategy. a Packer win in Chicago, combined with a few other outcomes, will give Packer Nation a different feeling.

    fourth: regarding draft selection order: tanking can get the Packers to a top 10 selection in every round of the draft. that has value. there are value charts to give estimates as to how much value say, the 9th selection is vs. say, the 16th selection (roughly, the 55th pick in the second round). how much value a win in New York is v. Sam Darnold’s Jets may be highly subjective too.

    finally: i am not forgetting that this is entertainment.. i am going to watch all of the games and look for different things.. the pressure is off.

  7. It’s frustrating to look back over the season and the games we never should have lost. Just two would make all the difference. The Rams game and the Cardinals game for sure we should have never lost. Two wins in the four game stretch after the bye week were needed. Rams,Patriots,Seahawks, and Vikings one right after the other was the meat of our schedule. Rams game was truly ours to win and that would have given the confidence to win one of the next three I truly believe and made all the difference in where we’re at today.

  8. The season was one of some big mistake at crucial times. A look at the games which we should or could have won: Vikes tie which was won to me, Patriots, Rams, Seattle, Cards, to say oh shit. We didn’t have much, but were really right there even with holes. So, not Lombardi a QB coach for Brees, like Brees needs him? Not. We need a head coach who can change schemes, gameplan, and inspires with some energy. We definitely need two motor edge rushers with the first two picks and an experienced safety through FA. Get this and we will roll again. We’re are few pieces away!

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