- A look at the polarizing QB’s performance in a big comeback at Lambeau Field, and examining how worried the Packers should be about their defense after giving up a big fourth-quarter lead at home
On the Monday Morning NFL Podcast, Andy Benoit and Gary Gramling analyzed the good and bad of Kirk Cousins after a comeback in Green Bay, why the Vikings wanted him, and whether or not it’s time to worry about the Packers secondary again…
BENOIT: Kirk Cousins, for all his faults—he doesn’t have a ton of them but they’re distinct faults and they’ve lead to turnovers over the years and that’s why he’s a little bit polarizing—he has incredible toughness in the pocket. Some of these negative plays stem from him taking that toughness a tad too far at times. The plus side though is you’ve got a guy who’s equipped to make plays like this late in the fourth quarter. I remember that Seattle-Washington game last year where the Redskins had all backup offensive linemen in and went up to Seattle and won with Cousins making two incredible throws deep downfield. You saw a little bit of that in this game. That touchdown to Adam Thielen that tied it up and set up the Diggs two-point fade—is that as perfect as ball placement can get? That’s as big-time as it gets.
GRAMLING: He was getting crushed on that too. That was something.
BENOIT: That’s an all-time type of play. That’s superstar type of stuff.
GRAMLING: It was one of those things, especially from the broadcast angle, it was like, “Oh my goodness, that ball’s gonna get picked.” No, it fit right in there and Thielen made the play on it.
BENOIT: Should we be worried about Green Bay? Last week we got all excited about their secondary. They drafted these young corners: Jaire Alexander, Kevin King is in his second year, Josh Jackson, who can match up with tight ends at time, a bigger guy. They stopped the Bears in man-to-man, like, “Oh they can blitz now. It’s a Mike Pettine defense.” Here they are getting torched when they face two of the league’s better route runners at least in Diggs and Thielen, but those guys had their way with these Packers DBs today.
GRAMLING: I wouldn’t say I’m worried about it. They’re still a whole lot better than they were a year ago and they played well for basically three quarters in this game. It got dicey in the fourth quarter. I think they just faced a couple of superior receivers who made a lot of plays and a quarterback who got hot. I don’t think it’s problematic, especially if you are putting them on a trajectory where they’re going to improve as the year goes on. I think the Packers have something in that secondary. I think they’re going to be really good. I think when we’re talking about this in December and January, I think we’re going to be talking about them as a reason why the Packers are once again Super Bowl contenders.
BENOIT: One other thing to keep in mind: Kyle Rudolph today had seven catches for 72 yards. When John DeFillipo was the offensive coordinator in Cleveland, that was the year Gary Barnidge—remember clunky running Gary Barnidge?—came out of nowhere and finished Top 10 in yards for tight ends. He did that under DeFillipo. DeFillipo does a nice job, by design, of using his tight ends. Both getting them the ball and then using what the tight end needs to create opportunities for other people.
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Also on this week’s edition of The Monday Morning Podcast:
2:15—Jaguars get revenge and then some on the Patriots
6:35—Kirk Cousins brings the Vikings back, Rodgers looks like he’s gonna be just fine
17:02—Browns shank some kicks, but also keep insisting on playing Tyrod Taylor in an offense designed for Baker Mayfield
25:06—Giants caught completely off-guard by blitz-happy Cowboys, Dak Prescott does his impression of Cam Lite, but the Cowboys offense is still in trouble
30:44—Case Keenum wins ugly as Broncos come back against Oakland
35:10—Patrick Mahomes lights up another defense on the road, and Steelers miss Joe Haden
37:01—FitzMagic does it again, looking at what Nick Foles’s future is if this was his last start for the Eagles
44:20—Falcons finally find red-zone success, Damontae Kazee’s filthy head shot on Cam Newton
48:43— LIGHNING(ish) ROUND!
• Titans get creative to outlast reeling Texans
• Dolphins halt Sam Darnold hype train
• Indy jumps on Washington early
• Lions play hard but can’t get it right; Garoppolo gets away with one
• Chargers hammer Bills, Vontae Davis retires at halftime
• Rams destroy Cardinals
• Josh Gordon’s next team
59:12— Andy and Gary each pick their “Thing of the Week” awards
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