Jordy Nelson and Everyone Else Playing Through Injuries
Say what you will about a very embarrassing loss to the Atlanta Falcons, but there were some guys on the field who pushed through major pain in order to help their team. Jordy Nelson was wearing a kevlar vest. Davante Adams admitted that he was in pain the entire game. This was a banged up unit. By the end of the game, Letroy Guion was playing offensive guard. It was a gutsy performance for the Packers even if the result was less than optimal. There’s something to be proud of in that.
Rip has come on strong this year and looks to be a long-term staple of the Packers offense, admirably taking over the fullback reins from John Kuhn. However, he caused the game-changing turnover early in the first half. He also lost a fumble later in the game even though he was called down by contact. If the game would have been closer, Atlanta would likely have challenged and they would have won. That’s essentially two fumbles for Ripkowski in the biggest game of his career.
Lack of Pass Rush
Matt Ryan basically went untouched yesterday. The Packers were not able to generate any heat or even to collapse the pocket. Clay Matthews has seemingly fallen off the face of the earth as a pass-rusher. The usually good Nick Perry was invisible. Julius Peppers was non-existent. What used to be a strength for this defense has faded quickly. The Packers need to restock themselves with some serious threats to the opposing QB.
#Packers knew what they had to do Sunday. Lang: "It felt like this week we were going to have to score every drive.”
That's some pressure.
— Ryan Wood (@ByRyanWood) January 23, 2017
Take some time to let that soak in. Ted Thompson (if he remains the Packer’s GM this off-season, which he almost certainly will) needs to listen to his Pro Bowl guard. Going into this game, apparently at least some members of the Packers offense felt that they would need to score on every single drive in order to have a chance to win. That’s ridiculous. It doesn’t matter how offensively potent Atlanta is, you should not come into a game with the feeling that a single punt will mean a loss.
The Packers have some big name players on defense who are scheduled to become free agents this off-season including Julius Peppers, Nick Perry, Datone Jones, and Micah Hyde. Thompson needs to be selective on who who he resigns so that he can pursue a top to mid-tier free agent or two. This defense needs a few immediate shots in the arm.
I know that Thompson is allergic to major free agent signings but this is not a draft-and-develop team anymore. This is a team that needs a little help to get its once-in-a-lifetime QB back to the Super Bowl before it is too late. Clay Matthews’ contract needs to be restructured and lessened. Matthews will be a $15.2 million hit on the cap next year. The Packers cannot pay him that. Sam Shields’ $12 million hit is also likely to be erased (not including $3 million in dead money).
If Thompson plays his cards right, the Packers are going to have some money to play with. He needs to play to win.——————
Taylor O\'Neill is a Packer fan born and raised in Oshkosh, WI. He currently lives in Florida and is pursuing his PhD. Taylor is a writer with PackersTalk.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @TaylorONeill87 for more Packer news.