It’s been a little over a day, and I can finally string together some coherent thoughts. Had I tried to do this yesterday, it would’ve been jumbled word salad much like Aaron Rodgers’ on-field interview and he blotchy-faced tried to spark a few brain cells together and all that came out was, “We footballed good.”
Wow, what a game. I think I scared my dog to death and the surly tween screamed, “Shut up, I was sleeping!”
It was an iconic win, something that will be in the replay reel right along with the QB sneak in the Ice Bowl, just like Favre streaking across the field a the Superdome with his helmet held high. The Packers were losing for every second of regulation. The Lions anticipated another lateral game of keep of way. Surely Jim Caldwell had heard of a guy named Aaron Rodgers before. You know him–about six two, cannon for an arm? Oh yeah, that guy. He hasn’t really been an entity in five out of the last four previous games. But man, did he show up when everyone had all but forgotten he was there.
Sure, Rodgers seemed lost on the field for 3 and 3/4 quarters in Detroit. He looked miserable. Didn’t smile. Passes were in accurate, and he slapped his helmet enough times in frustration that there is likely a drinking game associated with it by now. But instead of seeing ghosts like he has through this second half of the season, something changed. Who knows what finally clicked, but he was back and making passes. Maybe he decided to take a page from Serrano from Major League and decided to tell Jobu to go screw himself, he was going to do it himself. Whatever it was, for a few plays we got out Rodgers back. And the rest they say is history.
But make no mistakes about it, there is still a lot wrong with the floundering Packers offense. They may have knocked the Lions out of playoff contention, but there are still a death of a thousand paper cuts that they could inflict on themselves to knock themselves out.
Let’s face it, the offense cannot rely on one miracle play to win the next game. As far as those types of plays go, the Packers have already hit their quota for this generation this past Thursday, and will have to win by conquering the actual 60 minutes of regulation and not try to go for all the marbles with a single free play.
The offense needs to find its identity, because right now it has none. I’ve written about it before, but it lacks leadership right now from the top down. Rodgers has been unable to lead as of late, and if your field general can’t find a way to do it, then someone needs to step up and lead him. It doesn’t have to be a quarterback whisperer. It doesn’t have to be something as dramatic as Kevin Greene telling Clay Matthews, “It is time.” But has to be something, anything to spark his joy for football and help him regain his self-confidence.
If that person is supposed to be the play caller Tom Clements, then he is failing miserably. He can’t get the team into a rhythm. He is painfully predictable. And I want to point out again that Clements failed so miserably in this capacity the last time he was given the keys the car that he was relieved of all play calling duties in October of that season.
And then there’s the running game. All rushing yards combined didn’t amount to anything, and Aaron Rodgers scrambling for his life accounted for half of them. If you want to get Rodgers–who right now may be a very flawed only option to move the chains–killed, take away the running game. The offense becomes exceptionally a one-trick pony when that happens. Teams have figured it out, especially with the ailing offensive line. Blitz Rodgers, and a QB with the yips will be all the more a basket case if he’s knocked to the turf umpteen times in a game.
Yes, Eddie Lacy and Alonzo Harris broke the curfew rules. I get that, and I appreciate the need for discipline, but continuing to sit Lacy just to prove who is top dog is fool hardy. In the two games before his big timeout, he ran for 100 yards each time. But no, the Packers decided to cut off its nose to spite its face–at the expense of potentially exposing Rodgers to more risk of injury than he needed to be–decided that sitting Lacy was in the “best interest of th team” or whatever they want to describe pissing in every corner to mark the territory between coaches and the rule breakers.
While Harris factored very little into the offensive scheme, while they decided to let Lacy sit in the corner, the called up a kid from the practice squad that has probably never played a down of football with Rodgers and decided to make him the great hope for the running team. Needless to say, he didn’t amount to anything either.
Finally the receivers. They finally got it in the last few minutes of the game and realized their job was to catch the ball. Yes, Adams continued to struggle. But unlike Lacy who was punished to prove a point, Davante was rewarded with Rodgers’ trust even after the shade cast in the past week about preparation, maturity and video games (maybe that shade was directed at Lacy, who knows…) and he was on the money in the end zone.
Trust. They simply need to trust each other more. They need to find that joy and remember it is fun winning games and working together instead of sniping in the press conference equivalent to subtweeting.
And then there’s Richard Rodgers. He’s my new favorite player. So all those times I called him an uninspired Bubba Franks wearing oven mitts on his hands and cinder blocks for shoes, I take it all back. Call it his basketball background. Be happy he has more skills than Bostick. But when that ball came down, he leaped up like an NBA forward and snagged that ball from the sky.
The Packers have long away to go to be great this season. But that Rodgers to Rodgers pass may be the fire that the entire team needs to spark a final run to January.