Rewind one short week ago. Aaron Rodgers had conquered Dallas in the most heartbreaking fashion for the second time in ten months. The offensive line was getting healthier. The defense made some competent plays. The sky sure felt like the limit. The comeback against Dallas seemed easy…too easy. And it was. My attempt to not upset the football universe was obviously not enough to avoid yesterday’s catastrophe.
Seven days later…the worst nightmare is now the reality. I would bet my house that the season is over. I wouldn’t bet my LIFE, but would bet the house. Hope is all there is, however slim it may be. We all know the biggest story right now. Everyone has a theory on what is going to happen and/or what should happen for the Packers to salvage this season that was instantly thrown into critical condition with a depressingly poor prognosis. With that being the case, it’s time to iron out a number of talking points.
Anthony Barr’s hit was not dirty.
It was a hard hit, but nothing was egregious. Rodgers living the scramble game as a result of poor protection or freelancing is always going to be a risk. It is going to catch up to you. It did in 2013, and it did on Sunday.
To the fans who cheered the injury.
Karma is a sweet, sweet thing. As infuriating as it was to hear some fans cheering Rodgers going down, you can’t let it get to you. As the black guy who got thrown in jail in Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle said, “I learned a long time ago that there’s no sense in getting all riled up every time a bunch of idiots give you a hard time. In the end, the universe tends to unfold as it should. Plus, I have a really large penis and that keeps me happy.”
Colin Kaepernick is not going to be signed, and he shouldn’t be.
There are a multitude of reasons for this.
- He just filed a grievance against the league. Add that to the list of teams that don’t want that distraction.
- The majority of fans, those ones who give money to the league and its advertisers, have an unfavorable view of him. Wearing socks that depict cops as pigs, praising murderous dictators (Castro), and butchering all possible levels of historical context by comparing modern day police officers to slave catchers tend to alienate a fanbase that has voted a black man to the maximum amount of presidential terms that just wants to watch a game and have fun. With the NFL being a business, they probably aren’t going to make moves that lose them more money.
- The talent level does not outweigh the distractions, and it’s not even close. He is not good enough to immediately give the team a better opportunity than someone like Brett Hundley, who is younger, just as athletic, arguably a more accurate thrower, and has years of familiarity with the system. Kaepernick made some splashes when the read-option gimmick was new and effective in the league five years ago. That’s no longer the case. He struggled to out compete Blaine Gabbert last year. He is not that good, his character is lacking, and he’s a distraction. His grievance against the league will fall flat, and we’ll probably keep hearing about him for far longer than any sane person wouldn’t care to.
At least give Brett Hundley a chance.
At noon on Sunday, things were looking bright for the Packers offensive line. Their starting unit was finally back. By 2:30pm local time, three of the starters were out. There’s a good chance none will be back soon either. Justin McCray, who wouldn’t make half of the NFL rosters, was plugged in at left tackle—AKA the most important position on the offensive line. Some guy who’s last name is “John” was playing right tackle. Aaron Rodgers would’ve struggled in this situation. Hundley had a MASH unit protecting him against one of the best defensive fronts in the league. The fact that this was a minor detail in the whole scheme of things is mildly amazing. He was thrust into what would be a hellstorm for any quarterback. He had three interceptions, but all of them were forced by him having to rush a throw while about to get it, or actually getting hit on at least one of them.
Even if Rodgers made it unscathed out of today’s game, the major story would have been the shambles of the offensive line. Last year, the lack of depth in the secondary was the ultimate downfall of the team. This season, it’s the offensive line. Granted, the line has had an inordinate amount of injuries, but they never had any depth in the first place. I called it out before the season started, and it has only rang truer by the week.
In all actuality, the season is over. Go ahead and scream, “Yer jest not a true fan- her dee der!” No, I’ll support this franchise even if it’s at a Cleveland Browns level. The majority of Packers fans born after 1980 are going to bail on this team once Rodgers is done unless lightning strikes three times and they’re blessed with another hall of famer. The fact is, Aaron Rodgers is the team. If he’s out, then the team is done. All other pieces of the organization are replaceable. He is not. He is a once in a generation player. He is better than Brett Favre ever was. The worst possible scenario is now a reality for the Packers. The one saving grace is that they still have a shot at changing their fate. You can bet your house, lose it, and still get a new one. If I am homeless come February, then I’ll be a happy, happy hobo.
________________John Piotrowski is a UW-Eau Claire alum, spending most of his life in western WI. He makes the trek east to Lambeau whenever possible. Follow him on twitter at @piosGBP.