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5Qs, 5As with Acme Packing Company: How do Packers recover from slow starts?

Does Matt LaFleur deserve criticism he’s receiving? “It’s like I’m watching the end of the McCarthy era all over again”

Minnesota Vikings v Green Bay Packers Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Following a blowout loss on the road, the Los Angeles Rams travel to the frozen tundra, home of the Green Bay Packers who are 3-point favorites at DraftKings Sportsbook. LA hasn’t been able to beat Green Bay since the 2018 season. Including the postseason, the Rams are 0-3 at Lambeau Field under Sean McVay.

Both teams should be eager for a win to turn around their recent misfortunes. I spoke with Kris Burke from SB Nation’s Packers blog Acme Packing Company to gain familiarity with the opposition ahead of their Week 9 matchup.

Q - Through seven weeks, the Packers have scored 29 points in the first half compared to 111 after halftime. What is the reason behind Green Bay’s first half struggles and why have they been a noticeably different team in the second half?

A - Honestly, I wish I knew and I actually don’t know if the coaching staff knows either. Otherwise, they’d have fixed it right?

My guess is they’re still keeping the training wheels on Jordan Love and limiting the playbook a bit and that’s big in the scripted part of the game plan .

He seems to do better on play-action and bootleg plays. Let Love use his legs more and I’d bet they’d start faster.

Q - Jordan Love started out the season on a tear with six touchdowns in Green Bay’s first two games. Since the Week 2 loss to the Falcons, Love has thrown five TDs to eight interceptions. What worked for Love early in the season and what has contributed to his issues, particularly in the last four games? Additionally, how would you assess him through his seven starts in 2023?

A - I think it was simply a matter of opponents not having a lot of film on Love. Philadelphia didn’t exactly throw the kitchen sink at him in his only extended action and that’s showing up in the last few games.

Opponents now know how to attack him and both he and Matt LaFleur haven’t figured out how to adjust yet.

I’d evaluate him as frankly not being the guy right now, but not necessarily by his own doing. When you’re surrounded by youth, growing pains are inevitable and no one is doing him any favors.

The fact he’s not getting measurably better each week is the most concerning thing right now.

Q - Matt LaFleur has received a fair share of criticism this season given the Packers’ lackluster 2-5 start. Self-inflicted wounds and slow starts are killing this team and the coaching staff continues making the same mistakes every week. How much of the criticism towards LaFleur is warranted and where does he need to improve as a head coach?

A - It’s 100% warranted. The team itself is flat. The same issues keep reappearing and they’re not improving enough if at all each week. We knew this would be a rough year but there needed to be hope. Right now, there’s none and that’s on the coach.

He’s got to adapt quicker. It’s like I’m watching the end of the McCarthy era all over again. It’s not good.

Q - Green Bay has one of the worst run defenses in the league yet gave up only 62 on the ground to Minnesota. Stopping the run has been an issue for the Packers under DC Joe Barry. Besides running the ball, how else could the Rams exploit the Packers’ weaknesses on defense?

A - Honestly, attack the perimeter. Rasul Douglas is gone and Jaire Alexander is hurt. Eric Stokes is returning from injury and he’ll have to get back up to speed quickly.

Q - The Packers are listed as a 3-point favorite with an O/U of 38.5 at DraftKings Sportsbook. How do you envision this game going and how does Green Bay end their four-game losing streak?

A - I have absolutely zero confidence in the Packers to win this game, regardless of who the Rams start at quarterback. They’ve been crushed at home twice. I don’t know how that affects the line but the Lambeau mystique appears to be dead.

It’ll probably be an ugly game. The Packers won’t have an answer for someone while the offense spins its tires.

To pull out of this slump, it’s going to take consistent offensive play. The Packers have shown zero signs of that happening. Until it does, the losing likely continues.