Rodgers missed a few passes but overall he played quite well. He clearly wasn’t the reason that the Packers lost on Sunday night. He finished with 351 yards, 3 TDs, and 0 INTs for a QB Rating of 115. He also added 33 yards rushing, leading the team in that category. Rodgers has been imperfect lately but he’s clearly still a top-tier quarterback fighting to produce on a very not top-tier football team.
Cook’s return from a Week 3 injury added some vertical threat to the offense. Cook took over as Rodgers’ no. 1 receiving threat against Washington. He garnered 11 targets, nearly double any other receiver or running back on the roster. He was able to turn all of that attention into 6 receptions for 105 yards and a TD. Unfortunately, Cook may be remembered most for his crucial turnover late in the game. It’s true that that fumble killed any chance that the Packers had to come back but they wouldn’t even have been poised to make a late run if it weren’t for Cook.
The 36 year old outside linebacker had his best game of the season on Sunday night, grabbing a sack of Kirk Cousins and batting down one pass. Cousins wasn’t too shaken in the pocket but when he was it was thanks to some sporadic but decent pass rush from Peppers and Nick Perry. The bitter truth, however, is that performances like this are becoming fewer and fewer for Peppers, who is likely riding out his final NFL season with a losing ball club.
Can we just stop with the Barclay experiment? How many times do we need to see the guy blocking like a wet noodle to realize that he’s not an NFL offensive lineman? Rookie Jason Spriggs came in for Barclay in the second half and held his own. Barclay has been in the league five years now. We’ve seen who he is, and it’s not good. He’s likely a great guy, and I wish him the best, but he has no future on this team.
The Entire Defense
Yes, the secondary is beyond shaky due to injuries. That doesn’t excuse the fact that the Redskins were throwing deep on the Packers at will. Safety play was generally inept and unable to help the young corners. And what has happened to the top five defensive front? They gave up 137 rushing yards and 3 TDs to Rob Kelley.
Earlier in the year, it looked like the defense was improved. While the offense looked anemic, it was the defense that was keeping the Packers in games. Now every wheel has come off of this team. The defense looks absolutely atrocious at all levels. It’s unclear whether the offense or the defense is more routinely embarrassing.
Injuries and Depth
Every team faces injuries throughout the season. The Packers seem to consistently face quite a few. In the past, however, they’ve been able to take a “next man up” approach that has usually worked. It’s clear, however, that this team is severely lacking in depth. The unitary approach to building the roster through draft and develop has left the team young but inexperienced. Injuries have totally sunk the defense. For a team with a MVP-caliber QB and Super Bowl aspirations, this is indefensible.
I have loved Ted Thompson throughout his tenure in Green Bay, but it’s clear that the Packers are in need of some fresh faces and ideas. Many expect that Mike McCarthy, at least, will stay with the Packers, and that if anyone were to go it would be Thompson.
According to Jason La Confora, Eliot Wolf, Director of Football Operations, son of Hall of Fame GM Ron Wolf, and heir apparent to Thompson will likely be fielding offers from teams this offseason. With the Packers struggling, there is absolutely no reason to let Thompson ride out a few more mediocre seasons while jeopardizing the long-term future of the team.
The Packers need to make the move to keep Wolf by giving him the GM job after the completion of the 2016 season. If Thompson wants to aid Wolf in the transition in some way, so be it, but the job needs to be Wolf’s.
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.