Getting outplayed by the Titans was bad enough, but the most disappointing aspect of the last two weeks for the Green Bay Packers was the utter lack of passion. The defense was consistently beaten at the line of scrimmage, and showed no ability or creativity to stop quick passes over the middle. It seems the offense has finally shown up halfway through the season, and the defense has all but disappeared.
Here are the four major questions for remainder of the season and the offseason:
Could the Packers still make the playoffs?
The NFC playoff picture is a mess. The Packers sit one game off the division lead with games remaining against both the Lions and Vikings. It’s a realistic possibility the winner of the NFC North would be 9-7 or even 8-8. However, the Packers haven’t shown anything that makes me believe they could go 5-2 for the rest of the season. Even if they made the playoffs, their defense hasn’t shown the ability to slow down offenses the caliber of Seattle or Dallas.
Is Mike McCarthy’s job in serious jeopardy?
I’ve historically been what fans would describe as a McCarthy-apologist. While he has weaknesses in certain aspects of game management, he has proven consistently to be great at keeping his teams focused and prepared…until recently. I think the cracks started to show last season, but the team has shown a lack of effort this year and McCarthy may be losing the locker room. However, if he is fired, who would be a more qualified replacement out there?
Is Ted Thompson’s job in serious jeopardy?
I think Thompson getting fired would be more unlikely than McCarthy. Elliot Wolf seems to be waiting in the wings, so perhaps this would be a good time for TT to ride off in the sunset. I think it’s time for the Packers to get a General Manager who is willing to use Free Agency as a way to accent strong drafts, and Wolf seems like the candidate Mark Murphy is leaning towards. However, if there is going to be a coaching change, would the Packers leave that decision to Thompson and have a year-long transition, or let Wolf choose his own coach?
Does Brett Hundley get an audition this season?
If the Packers are eliminated from the playoffs in the coming weeks, I think there’s a good argument for letting Hundley play. There’s no reason to risk Aaron Rodger’s health for games that won’t matter, it allows the Packers to have a better chance at landing a higher draft choice, and gives other teams a chance to see Hundley play and possibly drive up the trade market for him.
Why do the Packers have a seemingly endless string of injuries?
I’m not sure if it’s the training staff, the type of players they draft, or something else that is beyond my comprehension, but the Packers continue to struggle with staying healthy. Even minor injuries seem to stretch out into extremely long absences. Something needs to change in the way players are prepared for the season, and how they recuperate from injuries during it.
Last week I promised a look at the upcoming draft if the Packers lost. So, here are some players I’d love to see the Packers take a look at:
Cornerback: Jalen Tabor – Florida, Adoree Jackson – USC, Marshon Lattimore – Ohio St, Marlon Humphrey – Alabama
The Packers have a major need at Cornerback (especially if Sam Shields is forced into retirement). 2017 should be one of the best CB classes we’ve seen in awhile. Any of the four guys are capable of being top 15 picks. The Packers need the type of athletic lockdown corner who can be a true number one on the outside.
Jabrill Peppers, Michigan – Safety/Linebacker – Of course drafting the guy who draws Charles Woodson comparisons would be a great option for Green Bay. They need someone who can cover Tight Ends and bring a toughness and playmaking ability to their secondary.
Tight End: OJ Howard – Alabama, Jake Butt – Michigan. Howard is a freak athlete, but has often been inconsistent (think of a better Jermichael Finley). Butt is a also a good athlete, but is a better blocker and route runner than Howard. Both these players could be late 1st or early 2nd rounders.Andrew Mertig is a a lifelong Packers fan and draft enthusiast. He has covered the NFL draft for radio and television stations in Green Bay. He is currently a host of the Pack-A-Day podcast and a writer for PackersTalk.com. You can follow him on Twitter @andrewmertig