As the Packers begin going their separate ways for the (very early and much needed) bye week, many are of the opinion that they are a team muddled with question marks.
Aaron Rodgers went from having arguably his best performance ever against the Redskins to by far his worst game in several years against the Bengals.
Eddie Lacy, the salvation for the much beleaguered running game, was concussed against the Redskins.
His replacement, James Starks, was injured against the Bengals.
Jonathan Franklin AKA Next Man Up rushed for over 100 yards after Starks was injured-and personally contributed to the Packers’ loss with a fumble.
Clay Matthews suffered his annual hamstring injury against the Bengals.
Where has Nick Perry been? Has he been on the field?
How about first round pick Datone Jones? Has he been playing?
Should the play of the secondary against the 49ers and Redskins even be brought up?
And then there is the return game, which has been less than spectacular to say the least to start the season.
Sure seems like a lot of questions and issues for a team picked by many to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl, doesn’t it?
Thankfully, the season is only three weeks long, which allows time to correct all of the above issues. And improvement is most definitely going to be needed if the Packers want to even consider a deep playoff run this year.
Improvement will come once the identity of the Packers is finalized, and that is a work in progress.
In the victory over Washington, the Packers were clicking on all cylinders. The offense did whatever they wanted to do. The defense was aggressive and relentless, also doing whatever it wanted to do. It was a dominating victory.
Against the 49ers, Green Bay looked like a second tier playoff team in the NFC. They played the defending NFC champions substantially better than they had last January, but still looked like a team who had been passed up in the structure of the conference. What makes this loss sting even more is how poorly the 49ers have played the past two games since beating up the Packers to begin the season.
Sunday’s loss to the Bengals is a head scratcher. They started out so poorly, falling behind 14-0 before rolling off 30 straight points only to come up just short. Aaron Rodgers was clearly off, but the running game was on. The play calling was suspect, but was good enough to win. It was an odd game to say the least.
So where do the Packers reside? Are they the dominant team that was on display against Washington? Or a second tier team like they were against the 49ers? They cannot be the team they were this past Sunday, can they?
The truth is we simply do not know-yet.
Three games is nowhere near enough time to draw a conclusion about what this team will be like at the end of the season. Have there been positives thus far? Sure. Going toe to toe with the 49ers for the entire game on their turf was a welcome sight following the beat down the Packers suffered to end last season. Have there been negatives? Absolutely. Nobody ever wants to lose a game they way they did Sunday. It can be crushing for the entire team. Thankfully the bye week comes at the perfect time as it allows for everyone to get away and forget about the loss, rather than having it linger over their heads for the week.
The identity of the 2013 Packers has yet to be determined. There is still a lot of football left to play for them to create their identity, and in the process, create their destiny.
John Rehor is a writer at PackersTalk.com.
He can also be heard as one of the Co-Hosts of Cheesehead Radio. ---------------------
He can also be heard as one of the Co-Hosts of Cheesehead Radio.You can follow John on twitter at jrehor or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.